Jeffrey Mackie is a poet living in Montreal, Canada. He also does a regular literary feature on CKUT radio in Montreal.
I've always been poetically inclined ... even though I'm technically "new" to the poetry world... Poetry can be written beautifully and be deeply meaningful. The words used are packed with emotions and it is the authors' way of expressing the prose and feelings they wish to share with the world.
Annually, Montreal plays host to the "biggest poetry competition in history," hosted by the Montreal Poetry Prize, a non-profit, grassroots organization based in Montreal, Quebec. The city also has on offer several cafes, restaurant lounges and bookstores that hold regular poetry gatherings and readings.
Recently, I participated in an ELAN networking event and had the chance to encounter the very charismatic as well as widely published Canadian Poet, Jeffrey Mackie, whose work has been published both in Canada and internationally. Some of his work has been translated into Croatian and he enjoys a very diverse readership.
Jeffrey actively participates in the Montreal writing and poetry scene by coordinating the judging committee for the Script award ceremony at the Fringe Festival for the past ten years as well as also participating regularly at readings of his works. Several videos of his readings can be found on YouTube:
A man of many talents, Mackie also hosts a weekly literary morning feature on CKUT radio in Montreal in which he invites local writers on air to talk about their work and up-coming projects.
When asked what he thought to be the present greatest challenge for young writers these days, he replied: " The death of the book" and simply " keeping up with the times". There is just so much out there and it is hard to position yourself and have your voice heard. He added that writers these days must learn to work with multiple media platforms and be multi-disciplinary. Jeffrey sets a good example: In addition to poetry, he regularly plays hockey in the Montreal Hockey League of the Arts and is a huge fan of the McGill Hockey team!
Also, in 2012, Jeffrey ran for the Green Party in the Quebec Provincial Election. In his poems, he often lends his voice to current events as he critiques and defends social and political issues of their day.
Here below are some examples of his work:
BACK IN THOSE DAYS:
(Poem on the passing of Gary Carter, February, 16, 2012)
Back in those days, years seemed to last forever
Back in those days, we didn't measure time
Back in those days, there were no years, only seasons
Of hockey, baseball, soccer.
As far as we saw
There was no last year for a player
Only last season, for stats
Back in those days
We chose our teams, by their symbol
Or the first game we attended,
Or perhaps the team our dads liked.
A favourite team can be a family inheritance.
Back in those days:
Your grandparents were lucky to be in Florida, for spring training
A curious thing called the 'Grapefruit League'
Back in those days, there was no googling stats
We collected cards for all we needed to know
Then tried to take those cards by playing topsies
Throwing them against a wall, it had its rules.
Back in those days, I had hat head
Because I only took off my Expos cap
For the school picture
Back in those days, you felt anxious
If you didn't get your favourite player's number
When the sweaters were handed out
Back in those days, we didn't know
Some people didn't like the 'Big O'
Back in those days, you played for hours
With a tennis ball and a souvenir bat
Back in those days, garage doors
Were the universal boards and backstop
Back in those days, you learned how
To imitate the cheer of a crowd, with your voice.
Back in those days, we wanted it to last forever
And we still do.
Nobody takes you under their wing
Nobody takes you seriously
Hit hard by the pity house hammer
Fantastically covered in the melted rayon of sorrow
Made with the chemicals coming down.
The world, the state revolves around you.
I don't know if your dinner was vegan
Or how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
I don't know your ideology or your religion
But I do know there are too many teen suicides in Quebec.
Our children are sent to bed without any supper
So, they can think about what they did.
Other children are going to bed, starving
Wondering about existence
They know not everyone wakes up in the morning
And guns can grow quicker than corn
The world will look better in a second
After commercial interruption
The world will look better in a new pair of jeans
The world will get better, mark it on your calendar
The one you got from your boss, customer, church
Plan a future;
There is always a tomorrow on the calendar.
Why do we always say,
They gave me more than I gave them?
If they gave more, then we must give again.
I remember the days when my pain was the worst
When the end of my world was the end of the world.
You have to remember to wake up
You have to remember you love autumn or winter or summer.
Regular Poetry readings are held at :
Argo - 1915 Sainte-Catherine St W Montreal, QC H3H 2E8
Casa del Popolo - 4873 St Laurent Blvd Montreal, QC H2T 1R5