June 1: Julie Berry, Claire Cadwell, Elisabeth de Mariaffi

June 1, 1533: Ann Boleyn is crowned Queen of England. June 1, 1974: the Heimlich Maneuver technique is published in Emergency Medicine. June 1, 2011: Julie Berry, Claire Caldwell and Elisabeth de Mariaffi read for Pivot. Come mark these momentous world events with us at the Press Club.

Julie Berry is the author of the poetry collections worn thresholds, published by Brick in 1995 and reprinted in 2006, and the walnut-cracking machine (Buscheck 2010). Her work appeared in numerous anthologies including Open Wide a Wilderness from Wilfred Laurier University Press (2008). She is the winner of the 2006 short Grain prose poem contest. Julie lives outside of St. Thomas, Ontario. Since leaving the teaching profession she has been dabbling in the art of radio documentary-making. She has produced a children’s radio program that aired last year in southern Ontario. Her writing projects include a journaling partnership with Gilbert White, a naturalist who lived in southern-central England during the mid to late 1700’s.

from The Walnut Cracking Machine

the machine broke up the shells
spit them out one side
the meat of the walnuts dropped into
a small china bowl underneath

uncle ingersoll reached down
turned the machine off
the silence was a solid embraceable thing
i carried home
sometimes i take it out and hold it
and dream of someday making something
as loud and useful
as the walnut-cracking machine


Claire Caldwell is a poet living in Toronto, where she is pursuing her MFA in creative writing through the University of Guelph. Her poetry has appeared in the Scrivener Creative Review, and is forthcoming in Prism and Misunderstandings Magazine. She is the 2010 recipient of the Lionel Shapiro Award for Creative Writing from McGill University.

They Will Take My Island

After the tourists left, we made a map of Venice
with black licorice. It snowed that year, and our father
painted dead fish in the markets. We took turns
trailing feral cats and ladies draped in winter furs.
The canal slithered past the cobblestones, sleek
as a silver chain. Mother cursed the water
in her bones. My brother built forts for his
glass animals, too young still for the cartoleria
where the man with marbled eyelids told fortunes.
I delivered his ink on Sundays. He stamped my feet

before reading their soles. Our island won’t sink
if it’s sailing,
he’d say every time. I chose to believe him.


Elisabeth de Mariaffi is the author of one poetry chapbook, Letter on St. Valentines Day (TERU, 2010) and her poetry and fiction are widely published in Canadian magazines. Recent work has appeared in The New Quarterly, Descant, Misunderstandings Magazine and online at The Puritan.
No Poem for Manitoulin Island

You envy nothing. Not the firm riot
of trees casting closer
as boat pulls to shore. Not
shore. Not road. October’s

chroma wash blank
against the shoulder, does anything
but make you touch
tongue to window-flare,

orange pure as burnt salt.
First time you walked
alone, heavy with four o’clock
darkness, the long slide off
the aperture, pupils soaking

blackly around. Reach in your pocket and throw
those crumbs out. Want no one. Want
no home. Cramped fist. Lump of ice
wedged in the throat. Wait for it
to melt, or choke.


Pivot Readings at the Press Club
Featuring Julie Berry, Claire Caldwell, and Elisabeth de Mariaffi
Wednesday, June 1
8 PM
The Press Club
850 Dundas Street West


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