Poetry review: An Accord of Poets – (Almost) all things in segments of five

Photo by Cameron Anstee


Five poets, five days, four cities… Shit, they broke the pattern.

Jeff Blackman, jesslyn delia smith, Cameron Anstee, Justin Million and Rachel Simpson, are described as being five “approximately Ottawa based-poets” who recently went on a five day odyssey of poetry readings to Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and Peterborough.

The group visited St. Veronus taproom in Peterborough on October 15, sans Rachel Simpson, who was unfortunately ill. It was made certain that her voice was still present, though, as each poet read one of her poems along with their own.

Special guest David Emery, once a resident of Peterborough, filled in the remaining space.

The event was inspirational; but also bittersweet, as it was the last stop on the tour. Each poet stood and expressed their gratitude for the support they had received throughout the experience, then read beautifully for the last time.

The five ‘accordions’ were promoting their recently published book Five, which (reasonably) features contributions of new poetry from all five poets.

The book was published by Apt. 9 Press in Ottawa, which is actually run by one of the five poets, Cameron Anstee. They primarily publish chapbooks of poetry, by both new and established writers, making Five a perfect fit.

As was expected, some of the poems from the book made an appearance during the reading, and I certainly didn’t hesitate to dog-ear particular pages as they were being read.

A few lines from Anstee’s poem “Late January” expressed the atmosphere following the final reading, as the group faced the long drive home, leaving behind their books and words with audience members, but taking with them new memories, and the strong bonds they had so obviously formed between them.

“the heart gapes at the process of living

our footing is terrible; we will arrive late, and exhausted
but we will arrive”

For more information about Five, as well as each poet and their respective works, check out the An Accord of Poets website at anaccordofpoets.wordpress.com.

About Emma Cullen 1 Article
I’m a second year English Lit major at Trent, getting my Cultural Studies specialization in Writing and Narrative. In addition to my grandiose list of lifetime achievements, I am also the current copy editor at Arthur. I’ve roadtrip’d the perimeter of the UK, met Noah and the Whale (with photographic proof), run my own writing blog for the past three years, played competitive soccer half my life, and succeeded in being annoyingly sarcastic throughout my 19 years. I want to do that clichéd thing where I travel the world someday. Until then, I’m doing the other clichéd thing where I take it all one step at a time.