a sack of salt

Posted by Daniela Elza on Jan 26 2023 | Comment now »

First acceptance of the year will be my essay called A Sack of Salt to be published in New Traditions issue #14 of UNTIL Magazine a publication of the Victoria Arts Council. It is all about food and making and connecting and traditions.

The Infidels Presents: Daniela Elza with Clyde Reed & Jared Burrows

Posted by Daniela Elza on Jan 03 2023 | Comment now »

I will begin this January with one of my favourite things: jamming and improvising with the amazing Clyde Reed and Jared Burrows.

The Infidels Presents:
Daniela Elza with Clyde Reed & Jared Burrows at Frankie’s After Dark
SATURDAY, JANUARY 28, 2023 AT 11 PM – 12:15 AM
@ Frankie’s Jazz Club, 755 Beatty St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2M4

Award winning poet Daniela Elza, has been collaborating with Vancouver improv veterans Clyde Reed (bass) and Jared Burrows (guitar) for over a decade, but poetry and music are an ancient combination. Notes and tones, metaphors and meanings swirl in the vortex of the improvised moment.

Frankie’s After Dark takes place every Friday and Saturday at Frankie’s Jazz Club in downtown Vancouver and is curated by Tim Reinert of Infidels Jazz. Shows start at 11PM and tickets are $10.

For the FB event page click here.

I hope to see some of you there and toast the new year.

for kith and kin and ki

Posted by Daniela Elza on Jan 02 2023 | Comment now »

What is a year without new beginnings? I am happy to think back on the last year with a number of beginnings. Let there always be new beginnings to remind us that we should never stop learning and growing in our hearts and minds and abilities.

Last year was another year of transitions as well. Some not as exciting as I would have liked. So much of what I did in the last few years involved one learning curve after another. During the pandemic a lot of those curves felt like curveballs. I kept dreaming of a teaching term in which I could teach without having to learn another platform, or technology, or fight with technology, or try to outsmart technology, just to be able to get to my work.

The pandemic also forced more of us to think about time and rethink how we spend our time. That has brought on a lot more focus on what we are doing with our lives, the planet, and an awareness when we have reached our limit with the speed with which our lives move. I too have been doing these kind of re-evaluations and have made more progress toward balance in my life. I can do better still. I probably did the most yoga in the last year compared to previous years. I sure needed it. Thank you, Yoga with Adriene.

In keeping with these thoughts, an idea has been percolating in the back of my head on how to rethink our relationships with the living world. Ever since my kids went to kindergarten the world was split into animate and inanimate. I resented that.  It felt like doing damage to their spirit and souls. It went downhill from there. The world they lived in was sensate and animate and they could talk to a tree, a rock or an animal with no trouble. What if we continued to have that stance the the living world. Many cultures do, so why not this culture that decides so much of the fate of the planet?

My wish going forward is to be mindful how we speak of the living things that are not human, without rendering them dead or taking away their agency with the strike of the small word “it”.  Here is a piece to inspire you by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I heard her speak of this a while back:

“Inspired by the grammar of animacy in Potawatomi that feels so right and true, I’ve been searching for a new expression that could be slipped into the English language in place of it when we are speaking of living beings. Mumbling to myself through the woods and fields, I’ve tried many different words, hoping that one would sound right to my leafy or feathered companions.
…With full recognition and celebration of its Potawatomi roots, might we hear a new pronoun at the beginning of the word, from the “aaki” part that means land? Ki to signify a being of the living earth. Not he or she, but ki. So that when the robin warbles on a summer morning, we can say, “Ki is singing up the sun. Ki runs through the branches on squirrel feet, ki howls at the moon, ki’s branches sway in the pine-scented breeze, all alive in our language as in our world.”

With her permission I would like to adopt this generous and aware word ki. I invite you to join me in your own way of acknowledging the animate and sensate world around us: all our kith and kin, where kith used to mean the land and living earth and kin is all our relatives.

Wishing you all a lighter step and breath in 2023. Let’s hope it is healthier and saner from the last few. And let it be more animated and alive with the respect each living being deserves. We will not be here without this circle of relations and life that made it possible.

another longlist

Posted by Daniela Elza on Nov 25 2022 | Comment now »

My essay He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: In the Murky Waters of Online Dating has been long-listed for the Creative Non-Fiction contest of the BC Federation of Writers. It is nice to see this piece getting some love. It is itself a humorous take of a  journey of finding and figuring out love.


book review of Cornelia Hoogland’s chapbook

Posted by Daniela Elza on Nov 20 2022 | Comment now »

It has been a while since I have written a book review and thought this fall  I will do a few. Here is the first one up on the British Columbia Review (previously known as the Ormsby Review).  It looks at Cornelia Hoogland’s chapbook

Dressed in Only a Cardigan, She Picks up Her Tracks in the Snow


Click on the title to read it.

*to be or not to be: a recipe*

Posted by Daniela Elza on Nov 12 2022 | Comment now »

My poem to be or not to be: a recipe   received an Honourable Mention in the Dr. William Henry Drummond Poetry Contest 2022.  All the winning poems and Honourable Mention poems are published in Dr. William Henry Drummond Poetry Contest Anthology 2022, a chapbook.


*split ends*

Posted by Daniela Elza on Nov 11 2022 | Comment now »

Tickled to see my poem split ends won the 1st Honourable Mention spot in the Oregon Poetry Society Contest on the theme of The Moon.

Judges’ comments truly capture it:

“split ends” constructs a series of surreal, decentering images stitching together, in ways imagined rather than prescribed, the loose fabric of human existence. As in reality, in the poem our lives are comprised of fragmentary impressions that elude chronology and hover in the forefront of memory without aligning.”

Thank you to the judge who gave it some love. It has been around for a while staring longingly at the moon. You can read the winning entries here. split ends will be published in Verseweavers (early 2023).

play across genres

Posted by Daniela Elza on Nov 02 2022 | Comment now »

I am facilitating this workshop with my colleague Hanako Masutani. It is part of the Community Workshop series at The Writers Studio at SFU. There are still some spots left. Sing up here:

TWS Community Workshops: Multi-Genre Writing Kickstarter

Can’t decide whether your creative writing idea would be best as a poem, memoir, essay, or short story? In this course, you won’t have to decide. Roll up your sleeves and play with multiple genres in this 2.5-hour appetizer of cross genre fun! You will learn some of the conventions of different genres and celebrate your writing discoveries and successes.

 Instructors: Daniela Elza and Hanako Masutani

Let me know if you have any questions.

on precarious work that matters

Posted by Daniela Elza on Oct 31 2022 | Comment now »

One of my essays is long listed for the Susan Crean Award for Non-fiction. The current title is: What Do You Do Again?: On Labour of Love and Other Work That Matters

The topic of work and labour is a scary one for some of us precariously employed writers. Perfect topic for Halloween.

Hopefully this essay will find its home soon and have a roof over its head. 


be a link, not a fragment

Posted by Daniela Elza on Oct 10 2022 | Comment now »

My latest piece is now out in the Queen’s Quarterly, Fall 2022 Vol. 129 No. 3.

Be a Link, Not a Fragment is a memoir piece that tries to make sense of the war stories that circled around the dinner tables in my family. Three or more generations affected by war.

If you get a chance to read it, would love your thoughts.