growing things

Posted by Daniela Elza on Apr 24 2016 | Comment now »

Another busy month. Spring break is gone.  The little garden plot is planted and the kale is about three inches tall already. Back at the Writers’ Room doing exciting work and witnessing wonderful writing by young people. I love the work I do.

The first Okanagan Writers’ Festival has come and gone. Penticton, you did it again. Thank you for making me feel so welcome.  Last I saw you was when I launched my book the weight of dew in 2012.

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Thank you to the Writers’ Festival organizers. Thank you to those who came and worked hard in the workshops. Thank you for your amazing feedback. And for coming to the final Paper Trails reading after two intense days.
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Thank you for your support and for purchasing books. I will sing for you again, Penticton!

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During April I also wrote to the current art exhibit at the Gertrude Zack Gallery.

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We had a night in which we featured the poetry written to the art with the artists in attendance.

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[Photos above are courtesy of an audience member]

It was great to spend time with the kids as well. Listening to them play guitar and cello always delights me. Important conversations, off-screen time. They are now teaching me how to put away my computer and not to text on the cell phone when we are together. Love it. I must have done something right.

Hope everyone is having a great April.
Happy birthday to my sister and my dad who were born in April. Best wishes for a beautiful year ahead, good health, and much love to you both.

three more poems to go out into the world

Posted by Daniela Elza on Apr 08 2016 | Comment now »

After a bit of a dry spell, I got two acceptances in two days. Today three more poems are getting more than my love and will start their journeys into the world. This never gets old.

  • their thin mouths will be published  in Don’t Talk to Me About Love, 2016.
  • plotting and lost language will be in the next issue of Word Magazine, 2016.

Thank you to the editors for selecting these poems and also for the effort they make to pay writers they publish.


words to live by

Posted by Daniela Elza on Mar 25 2016 | Comment now »

“Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”
—Stephen King

Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival

Posted by Daniela Elza on Mar 22 2016 | Comment now »

Happy Spring to all. I am ready for spring! Here is what is coming up in April that I am getting excited about. I will be giving a number of workshops in Penticton at the Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival. Check out the schedule if you are in the area and please help spread the word to people you know might be interested.
Here is the info on the festival and in particular on the things I am doing:
Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival, April 8-10: Bringing writers, authors, and book-lovers together in Penticton. Choose from 16 workshops presented by publishers, agents, editors and successful authors on writing, selling and marketing your fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, songs, and screenplays.

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Here are the workshops/talks/readings I will be giving.

April 8, Friday, 4pm
Workshop: Wading into the Swamp: Getting messy with writing
In this workshop we will generate writing through prompts. We will discuss the importance of the generative process, its messiness, shapes, forms, and its discoveries. There will be time to share. Bring your curiosity, your questions and your passion.

Friday Evening welcome and entertainment
I will be contributing to the evening performances.

April 9, Saturday, 9:30 am
A2: Poetry workshop: What’s in an Image:
In this workshop we will work with images and objects. We will explore their significance in our writing and how they could help us in addressing bigger questions. Bring an object with a story, your curiosity, your questions and your passion.


April 9, Saturday, 11am
B2: Poetry Salon      
Where do I begin? The first line of the poem is missing. In its wake— the sense of sudden water, the stillness of an egret… What is poetry? Where does it come from? What is poetic attention? How do we cultivate and sustain the poetic consciousness? Bring your questions to this celebration.


April 10, Sunday, 9:15 am
D2: Selling Poetry: Publishing
We will look at the business aspects of writing from the perspective of a publishing poet. Where do you submit? How often? How wide? How do you deal with rejections? What about contests? Do you have a manuscript and are embarking on finding a publisher? Bring your questions.


April 10, Sunday, 1:00
Waking through walls: Having fun with rejections
In this workshop we will play with rejections. We will look at a gamut of real rejection letters, break down barriers, examine what rejections mean in our lives and on our writerly journeys. Whether you are a rejection veteran or have not received your first rejection yet, come and help tease some wisdom out of the inevitability of rejections.
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April 10, Sunday, 2:15-3:15pm
Paper Trails
Please join us for Paper Trails—a multi-genre reading with authors Daniela Elza, Barbara Lambert and Michelle Barker. Their respective writing paths will lead listeners down sun-drenched Tuscan roads, to childhood memories, crows and snow, and along the emotional landscape of departure. You’ll meet an ageing Barbie and get the answer to that elusive question of why you only ever see one shoe by the side of the road. April 10th, 2:15-3:15pm @ the Galleria, Shatford Centre, 760 Main Street, Penticton. Free Event.


20 min. One-on-one consultations


To book or sign up for the Extras!: Call 250.770.7668 to book.

for women around the world

Posted by Daniela Elza on Mar 08 2016 | Comment now »

In celebration of women today
and every day around the world.
For all those who fight the small daily battles
and for those who fight the big ones.
None are insignificant.
Happy International Womens’ day.

everyday is valentines day

Posted by Daniela Elza on Feb 16 2016 | Comment now »

This month love is on my mind. Well, truth be told, love has been on my mind a lot in the last few years. Also the lack-of-love. Or what it is we get, or give, that we think is love. Actually, now that I think of it, the idea of love and intimacy, and what they are, has been pursuing me for a long long time.  And thank goodness, since that has kept me on my toes. Thinking. I keep asking over and over what love is. What it takes to love. What we need to overcome to love well and truly. It is a constant flux, a swirl of thoughts and emotions, this topic. There is not a lot I am certain of, but one thing I am sure is that without love we will be less. We might be even lesser than less. We might be nothing.

So in the month of love on these around-Valentines-days again I am thinking of what and who it is I love and what that means to me. How I love, and how I show my love.  I came upon this quote on love:

“There isn’t any formula or method. You learn to love by loving – by paying attention and doing what one thereby discovers has to be done.”
—Aldous Huxley

I like that. It means you need to pay attention to discover what needs or has to be done. There is no recipe.

What about selfish love?  Or tough love? What do these look like? How do I learn to recognize the forms they take in the world?

What about withholding of love?  How it can be used as punishment.  How much is that worth? Or under the pretext of love to judge harshly? Or putting up with stuff you should not put up with because you love deeply and faithfully, because you think if you do somehow that will make things better?
Puzzle after puzzle it is.
I do not have answers. Just lots of questions.

Of course I cannot define love. I would not dare. I would hope it is much bigger than any definition I can give it. I have known love best in being present and available (emotionally and physically). I have known love in being compassionate. I have known love in understanding. It is an open stance to the world. In such moments openings are created and I allow something magical to come through. Whether I am in the forest with trees, or I am with a loved one. I would hope love in this sense is like poetry, it will not be defined. The moment we try to define it, it will slip through the back door.
Another interesting quote that got my attention:

“If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all.”
—Yogi Bhajan

I have suspected this for a number of years now. Make sure to include yourself in those you love. Do you love yourself enough to be generous with your statements, interpretations, and actions?

When does love become unconditional? Can you imagine loving like that?

Well? What are you waiting for?

Okanagan Valley Writers Festival

Posted by Daniela Elza on Feb 09 2016 | Comment now »

I will be doing some poetry workshops in Penticton this April at the Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival.
The event will be from April 8 to April 10, 2016.

There will be concurrent sessions offering a range of genres, whether you’re writing poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction, screenplays or songs.

In the main body of the festival I will be offering a poetry workshop, a poetry salon, and a workshop on publishing your poetry during the conference.
I am offering two extra workshops which are open to all genres.
These you will find in the *Extras!* section here.
Pasting the descriptions here.


Wading into the swamp: Getting messy with writing
$35/90-120 minutes. Friday afternoon at 4:00.
In this workshop we will generate writing through prompts. We will discuss the importance of the generative process, its messiness, shapes, forms, and its discoveries. There will be time to share. Bring your curiosity, your questions and your passion.
Call 250.770.7668 to book.


Walking through walls: Having fun with rejections
$20/60 minutes. Sunday afternoon at 1:15.
In this workshop we will play with rejections. We will look at a gamut of real rejection letters, break down barriers, examine what rejections mean in our lives and on our writerly journeys. Whether you are a rejection veteran or have not received your first rejection yet, come and help tease some wisdom out of the inevitability of rejections.
Call 250.770.7668 to book.


Three one-on-one consultations.
$20/20 minutes. Sunday afternoon; only 3 sessions available.
Looking for feedback on your poetry? Send us not more than 4 poems (or up to 4 pages) of poetry, along with a note about what aspects, concerns, or questions you’d like to discuss–or just ask for general comments. We’ll pass your pages along to poet Daniela Elza; she’ll meet with you for a one-on-one consultation.
Call 250.770.7668 to book.

Check out the other presenters.
Registration page is here.

I hope to see some of you there.

Make it True

Posted by Daniela Elza on Feb 09 2016 | Comment now »

The Vancouver launch of Make it True: Poetry from Cascadia (Leaf Press, 2015) was a delightful gathering that crossed borders, and generations of poets. The anthology invites conversations about place.
I worked on getting the Vancouver launch organized and was very pleased to see the gathering and the wonderful evening of exchanges and conversations. Thank you to Pandora’s Collective for hosting the evening at their Twisted Poets Literary Salon reading series.
Thanks to Paul Nelson we have great recordings of the readers that night. Here, have a listen. I am the last one on the list. I had to come in late after work, but so glad I made it.
Thank you to all who participated and made this gathering such a celebration.

happy new year

Posted by Daniela Elza on Jan 04 2016 | Comment now »

The new year has arrived and it is only a few days old. Still brand new and shiny. I did not catch myself wishing for too much. My main goal is to find a publisher for my next book. Other than that I feel content with my life and the balance that it has acquired between work for money, work for writing, family, friends, love life, performances etc.. On New Year’s Eve I expressed my gratitude for all that as I continue to chip away at the details and keep doing the work it takes to keep that balance. It is a lot of work. But I like it. It is rewarding.

Two events I will be part of are coming up :

On  Thursday, January 7th, 2016, 7pm.
I will be doing about a 20 min set in collaboration with virtuoso musicians Clyde Reed (double bass) and Jared Burrows (guitar) at the Sidney and Gertrude Zack Gallery. A great way to begin the new year: play with some favorite people. Other featured poets are Bonnie Nish, Wilhelmina Salmi, Enrico Renz, Amanda Wardrop, Maria Dimas, and Fran Bourassa. The audience will get the chance to write to the glass exhibit too and share at the open mic portion of the evening. Location: Jewish Community Center, 950 West 41st Avenue. Free Event.

On Wednesday, January 13th, 2016, 7-9:30pm
Our first event of the year at Twisted Poets literary Salon will be launching the Make it True: Poetry from Cascadia Anthology (Leaf Press, 2015). Over twenty featured readers from the anthology will read their poems. Here are their names:
Robert Lashley, Bill Carty, Paul Nelson, Thomas Walton, Nadine Maestas, Anastacia Tolbert, Sarah de Leeuw, Hope Anderson, Judith Roche, Crystal Hurdle, Lary Timewell, Daphne Marlatt, Meredith Quartermain, George Stanley, Cath Morris, Jordan Abel, Judith Copithorne, Stephen Collis, Susan McCaslin, Renee Saklikar, Heidi Greco, Renee Rodin, Dennis E Bolen, Daniela Elza.
Location: The Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street. Suggested donation at the door: $5.
Twisted Poets runs the 2nd Wednesday and the 4th Thursday of the month. There is no open mic this time. But most Twisted Poets evenings have two features and a number of open mic spots. So if you are a writer looking for a venue to read some new work, or read your work for the first time do come. It is a very warm and welcoming place.

Other than that, I am still in submission mode. Trying to meet deadlines. I have been hard at work over the holidays making up for the submissions I procrastinated on. Finished the year with 40 submissions in 2015. I love this work I do in the writerly sphere. I will have it no other way. It inspires and is life giving. And also this week I am getting ready to go back to work work. And so it goes. I love it all and am grateful for it.

Wishing my friends and family a year of health and happiness. More of what you wish for yourself in your life, and less of what you can do without. Lots of inspiration and creativity too. And most of all wishing you love. Hold your dear ones close, tell them how much you love them. Nothing beats that.

What are you grateful for?

the light, the green light

Posted by Daniela Elza on Dec 27 2015 | Comment now »

The Solstice has come and gone. I meant to write on that day, but the day was busy. So, it had to wait. So much has to wait because of the busy lives we live. I have been practicing splitting the second this past year. Pushing the time boundaries that define out lives. Stealing snippets of time where and whenever I can.  I think I am getting good at it.

These days between Christmas and New Year’s day are my favourite. The presents mania has subsided, somehow it is quieter, people are mellower, and the streets are emptier. I love this peaceful time. Unburdened with expectations running away with themselves. Just being with people I care about, drinking wine, and talking in the glow of candlelight, has been a treat.

Incidentally, the third issue of the Absinthe Poetry Review came out on the day of the Solstice. I am the Green Hour feature in that issue. I have had pieces published in each of the first three issues.

I like their description:
Absinthe Poetry Review exists to present poems made of green fire –
poems that dialogue (metaphorically or literally) with the proverbial green fairy professed to appear with absinthe; poems that are introspective, imagistic, lyrical, maverick and/or esoteric.

I was pleased to find out that The Absinthe Poetry Review has also nominated me for The Pushcart Prize for 2015. Much gratitude to the editor Pan Ska for his attention to my work. You can check out all three issues here (just scroll down).

I have been working on getting some submissions out before the end of the year. Quite pleased with that. Also I am happy with the reworking on my latest manuscript. I like the way it is coming along and shaping up.

In the days of so little light, and such thin light (yes, it is raining again here today)  I am enjoying the quiet and the peacefulness and making the best of it. I hope you are taking this time too for much needed and important work. Even if that means doing nothing. Just sitting and listening to the rain. Just writing down some words that line up in surprising ways.

By now, I would hope, you already know it is not nothing we are doing, but perhaps the most important thing we might do in our lives.