Susan McMaster

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Susan McMaster (born 1950) is a Canadian poet, literary editor, spoken word/performance poet, and 2011-12 President of the League of Canadian Poets. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Her recent poetry books are Paper Affair: Poems Selected and New (Black Moss 2010), Pith & Wry: Canadian Poetry (Scrivener Press 2010), and Crossing Arcs: Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me (Black Moss 2010), which was a finalist for the 2010 Acorn-Plantos People's Poetry Prize, the 2010 Ottawa Book Awards, and the 2010 Archibald Lampman Poetry Prize. She is the author of several wordmusic collections, performance poetry recordings, and scripts; has edited poetry anthologies and series; and was the founding editor of the national feminist and art magazine Branching Out (1973-). McMaster was an original member of the intermedia group First Draft, (1981-), with members including Andrew McClure, Colin Morton, Alrick Huebener, Roberta Huebener, Claude Dupuis, Peter Thomas, and David Parsons. Together, they recorded, published, and performed some 40 times across Canada in the 1980s.

Since 1996, she has been the wordsmith in Geode Music & Poetry (formerly SugarBeat), making four spoken word and music recordings with Jennifer Giles on keyboards, Alrick Huebener on bass, Gavin McLintock on sax, and friends, including Dave Broscoe, Jamie Gullikson, Mike Essoudry, Petr Cancura, Mark Molnar, John Higney, Linsey Wellman, Penn Kemp, Colin Morton, and Max Middle. She has performed and recorded with SugarBeat and Geode at 50-plus venues, including the Banff Centre, the National Library, the Kingston Fringe Jazz Festival, Rasputin's, the Blue Skies Music Festival, the Ottawa Folk Festival, the Elora Music Festival, Artscape, WordBeat, Morningside, Go, the National Arts Center Fourth Stage, and the Ottawa International Writers Festival, and has read and performed at festivals and venues in France and Italy.

McMaster's mid-life memoir The Gargoyle's Ear: Writing in Ottawa (Black Moss 2007) recounts stories from the projects, contacts, and interests that comprise her committed life as a poet. Her millennial book, Waging Peace, collects the poetry, art, and texts from Convergence: Poems for Peace, which presented art-wrapped poems from across Canada to all MPs and Senators in 2001. Her poetry collection Until the Light Bends from Black Moss Press was shortlisted for the 2005 Archibald Lampman Award for poetry, and the 2005 Ottawa Book Award for best book of the year. Accompanying the book is her spoken word CD Until the Light Bends, with Geode Music & Poetry, from Pendas Productions.

Susan came to Ottawa with her family in 1955 and attended First Avenue Public School, Elmdale, Connaught, Lisgar Collegiate (1966), Carleton University (B.A., English, 1970, and graduate studies, journalism), and Ottawa Teachers' College (Elementary Certificate 1971). While she taught for a few years, Susan has spent most of her paid working career as an editor, notably at the National Gallery of Canada from 1989-2008 as an editor of some 40 art catalogues and founder of the Gallery magazine Vernissage. She and her husband Ian now spend part of each summer at their cottage in Nova Scotia on the Bay of Fundy. They have two grown daughters, Morel, and Aven (m. to Mark Sundaram), parents of their grandchildren Eric, born in 2006, and Edmund, born in 2010.

Susan is a member of the League of Canadian Poets, The Writers' Union of Canada, the Nova Scotia Writers' Federation, PEN (Canada), the Writers' Trust, SOCAN, Access copyright, and the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Selected publications[edit]

Selected anthologies[edit]

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