Month: October 2014


Why Zombie Poetry?

by Tom Leduc

People often ask, why Zombie Poetry? Well, because they’re easy pick in’s I say. They’re walking metaphors, or should I say stumbling, dragging metaphors. Zombie poetry is so much fun and full of interesting subject matter, I have trouble focusing on where the poems take me.

For instance, you can take anyone from this reality and Zombify him or her. I have one poem that describes what happened to an orchestra conductor after the zombie apocalypse, and have also created several poems that describe a roofer who was trapped on the roof of a church during the dawn of the dead and his fight to survive.

This summer I spent a couple of Saturday afternoons converting children’s nursery rhymes into Zombie rhymes, what fun. You can convert all kinds of famous poetry into Zombie poetry. I have re-imagined Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night”. Now it will be given a whole new life and re-introduced to a new generation of fans.

We can also write poems that challenge the moral or philosophical questions of a Zombie apocalypse. Would you be able to take down a threat? What if your loved one was involved, or your neighbour or even that bully from your childhood? Would you fight until the bitter end or would you give-up? Zombie poetry or story-telling can offer a place to explore these otherwise taboo subjects in a therapeutic way.

One of the most powerful ways to write about Zombies is to describe the way they reflect our own culture. We, as a race, are mindlessly consuming the planet. Our eating habits and our lifestyles are contributing factors to our possible extinction. The constant pressures of advertisers, tax collectors, and the needs of the people around us, in a way, mirror the constant threat of being attacked and eaten by zombies. We spend our days slaving away at our work, most of us lost within a giant corporation never really seeing any results, and in the world of Zombies you can spend day after day beating away at hordes of Zombies never really getting anywhere, they just keep coming. I write about this in my poem “Hordes Of The Dead,” but can be best captured in my poem “Zombie On The Inside.” My wife came home from an extra hard day at work one day and said to me that she “felt dead on the inside, rotting, not really alive anymore, as if [she] was missing out on life.” I replied, “ you feel like a Zombie on the inside” and instantly I understood what she was trying to say. I sat down and started writing, her words are the first two lines to the poem. The poem can be read from different perspectives such as someone feeling the way my wife did that day, such as an elderly person slowly losing themselves, or as someone who has been bitten by a Zombie as is now becoming one. Our culture is full of these kinds of examples, even the fans of Zombies consume everything Zombie, thus becoming the very thing they fear.

This is why I like to write Zombie poetry, because it can have so many layers to it.

If you would like to have some fun and hear some of my Zombie Poetry and see some short films, come out to Little Montreal on Elm St., Tuesday October 28th, 8 to 10 PM. Dress up and bring some non- perishable goods to support the Sudbury Food Bank.

Attention Young Writers of Sudbury

On Sunday October 26th, Sudbury’s Poet Laureate and our very own Writers’ Guild member, Tom Leduc is kicking off an exciting new adventure, The Young Writers’ Guild of Sudbury.

  • Find out how to enter contests, get published, self-publish and edit writing
  • Discover how to address and read aloud to a crowd
  • Learn to host an event like a poetry slam
  • Pick up tips and tricks and all the ins and outs of the writing craft from some of the most prolific and talented writers’ from right here in Sudbury.


The Young Writers’ Guild is a group of young people, ages 12 to 18, who meet monthly to share their common interest in all aspects of writing.

Imagine entering university with a portfolio of published work and the confidence to reach your goals. We have the tools and connections, we only need you. So come check it out, get involved and help create the kind of writing environment you want for yourself and the city.

Sundays October 26, November 30, January 25 @ 1 PM – Main Library (74 Mackenzie Street, Sudbury)

For more information contact Tom directly at: tom.leduc@greatersudbury.ca or 705-673-1155 x4761.

Click here for poster for event: Young Writers Guild of Sudbury – POSTER

Gut Wrenching – Not for Everyone

by Vera Constantineau

I’m entering a creative phase. I can feel it in the way I want to scribble down my observations. Everything inspires me to pick up a pen: the way someone steps off the sidewalk, the look in a person’s eyes when a car gets too close in the crosswalk, a woman’s hair shaved so close on the sides and flipped in front the way a man in the fifties who used Brylcreem would have done. Every visual is a potential writing gift.

I know I can write about these things and you will understand, because we’re writers. We all have flashes of inspiration, bursts of internal dialogue, the dream that delivers the exact word or phrase or clue we needed to finish a story that’s been nagging at us.

I stopped writing in June, just stopped.

At first I thought there was no reason. I thought that I was tired, mentally snuffed. In hindsight I think the stoppage was a little more specific than that.

I got an e-mail containing a link to a writing call. I often get such e-mails, no surprise there. This time though, when I read the fine print, the gatherers specified that in writing this submission, we, as contributors, should be gut-wrenchingly honest.

The phrase gut wrenchingly honest ran me off the writing track, slammed me hard against the imaginary bales of hay I have placed at my imaginary limits, a writers crash and burn.

I tried to settle on a topic for this essay call, tried to come up with an idea that was fresh and interesting, nothing. Or at least nothing I wanted to write about in detail. Nothing that required producing a dose of gut wrenching that would be considered effective on both the sending end and the receiving end. I stalled for weeks. During the stall I found it increasingly hard to observe in my usual way, even worse, I recognized the lack.

In 2013 I signed up for an online course in Nonfiction Creative Writing offered through the community college online network. I’ve taken more than a dozen courses over the past five years and I have been to many workshops. I am accustomed to tapping into my deep dark places, so imagine my surprise when I tried to complete my first assignment in this course and discovered I had developed a severe aversion to telling, what amounted to me, to be my secrets.

In hindsight I can see that this was gut wrenching honesty, round one.

The course came perilously close to memoir and I have always stepped gingerly around that topic.

This call for (gut wrenching honesty in our) submissions was for personal essays. I guessed I was not ready to spill blood onto a page for the benefit of a phantom reader.

Correction, I wouldn’t spill blood in large quantities. In Haiku and Senryu I have dropped my share of blood-load. Through Haiku I’ve dealt (honestly) with my mother’s death, the curse of my illegitimacy, cancer, and other topics, all of which definitely qualify as gut wrenching. I just couldn’t see myself drawing on the kind of details that would get me published in this particular magazine.

Until last week I remained snuffed big time—a snuffing of monumental proportion.

Then … I received a copy of Wah.

Wah is a Haiku journal from India with the sole purpose of developing a cultural exchange between Indian Haiku poets and poets in the rest of the world. The first of four poems they accepted was there, printed in English on page 41 and facing it on page 42, in Punjabi.

Getting this journal in the mail was exactly what I needed. I read through the list of contributors and found fellow Guild member, Irene Golas, as well as others I admire locally and in the broader world and I stopped feeling tired. I stopped feeling mentally snuffed. And Halleluiah, I returned to my favourite pastime, the observation of my fellow humans.

The writing process is not something everyone understands. I think only those of us who look past the surface and see past the green hair will truly relate to the crushing pain a good snuffing delivers.

If I am ever again called upon to deliver gut wrenching honesty I know exactly what I will say: Writing is hard.

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