The Drummond Cairn- The fireplace from the Drummond home now sits in a place of honour beside the Cobalt Public Library



Spring Pulse Poetry Festival

9th annual April 21-23, 2016


Laura’s Art Shoppe Limerick Contest 2016


At our first Poetry Festival, we gave our first Lifetime Achievement Award to Douglas Pollard owner of the Highway Book Shop, Cobalt.

We were a bit ahead of the curve. Dec 31, 2008 Mr Pollard learned he was in the most recent list of new inductees to the Order of Canada. Our congratulations (again) go to Mr. Pollard for a life well-lived.

In other news this year, as a response to the successful Spring Pulse Poetry Festival in early April 2008, the Town of Cobalt declared Cobalt to be the "Poetry Capital of the North."

The Poetry Map of Canada features our Poet Laureate of Cobalt, giving us a large red dot in the northern part of Ontario.









The seventh annual spring pulse poetry festival was a great success and considered by many to be our best festival ever. Twenty events happened over 8 days throughout Cobalt and Temiskaming Shores. In Cobalt the lilacs finally bloomed alongside the poetic perfumes of spring’s literary season of poetry. We hosted a group of 11 poets and musicians from Southern Ontario who came on the ONR bus.

The festivals mandate is to share poetry in public places. So our first readings were at Extendicare and a good audience 30 residents enjoyed poetry. Due to an outbreak were unable to carry on to the Temiskaming Lodge. On Monday May26 several poets read and heard poems from the Grade 8 class at St.Pat’s school Cobalt. A very well blended music and poetry reading concert at the hospital was hosted by Linda -Bea Chamber’s events co-ordinator. The league of Canadian Poets funded a poet in the school programme for Marsha Barber to workshop for 2 days with students at TDSS, New Liskeard Public, Haileybury Public and St. Pat’s in Cobalt. She reported much enthusiasm in mentoring our local writers.

Thursday night at Temiskaming Shores City hall our “Fun in the Foyer” event was well attended The Temiskaming Art Gallery was open for the Boreal North Sculpture Association exhibition. The Literacy Council had a silent art auction; Gabby Smith once again came and played her fiddle. Laura Landers announced her Limerick contest winners were Jerry Jordison first, Emma Laughlin second, and Ayla Daignealt third. We greeted the poets who arrived on the bus with a reception and open mic poetry reading. The new Poetrain documentary ”Blue Train” was launched of Ian Ferrier’s performance on the Poetrain in 2012.Cosmic Hummmologist Jerry Jordison closed the evening leading us in a humming experience that brought all our voices into harmony.

Friday New Liskeard Library hosted a well-attended poetry writer’s workshop of 11 participants learning from Toronto teacher Mick Burrs how to construct a better poem. At 1pm 6 poets from Southern Ontario (Allan Briesmaster, Peter Martin, Shannon Pass, Fran Figge, Mick Burrs, and Margaret Code) read their works to an appreciative audience. Once again a wilderness/history tour hosted by Norm Hawirko took our literary guests to Pete’s Dam outside New Liskeard. Friday night at the Cobalt Library saw the re-appointment of Poet Laureate Ann Margetson. Emma Laughlin was once again named “Volunteer of the Year” for her dedication to community service.

The Drummond Hour evening commenced with Mayor Tina Sartoretto reading the Official Town of Cobalt poem Bloom-Song of Cobalt by Dr. Drummond. Drummond Researcher David C. Brydges read excerpts from his upcoming biography of Drummond’s life in the north. Drummond’s poetry and original pieces by local poets in honour of his life were performed by John Gore, /Vivian Hylands, Cliff Moulder, Ann Margetson, Coleen Belanger, and Gailand MacQueen ended with a tribute poem by S. Weir Mitchell M.D. L.L.D.The ghost of Dr. Drummond played by John Paul Gravel in white tuxedo made an appearance.

The second half was the Dr. William Henry Drummond Poetry contest awards hosted by judge Allan Briesmaster. We had record 223 entries from across Canada for the oldest non-governmental national contest in Canada. Winning poets in attendance were Fran Figge, Cliff Moulder, and Deborah Cox, (2013 1st. winner) This year’s winner (Deidre Reitav) travelled from Madoc Ontario with her family to receive her award and read her poem The Rooster. Final event of the night was at Studio Luxe Hair Salon where Lindsay Clattenburg hosted us in the well restored former Bank of Ottawa building of 1911.Doyali Islam travelled form North Bay to share poems along with Debbie Okun Hill. The evening ended with Kent Bowman reading/ singing his compositions.

Saturday morning the Cobalt branch of the Ontario Poetry Society had its annual meeting and open mic. Twenty five poets shared their creations in the historic ambience of the Cobalt Train Station. The Cobalt Public Library board hosted a lovely lunch from noon till 1pm. After began the Poetry Hall of Fame induction of Ann Margetson with Over 80 people in attendance .Several of Ann’s children was in attendance. Becky Henderson and Philip Margetson participated in the ceremony. Heather Borean performed some of Ann’s poems into song. Her son David even said hello on Skype. With over 7 thousand poems written all enjoyed a small selection her many poems.

The Haileybury Legion Pipe Band was waiting outside the library to lead the poetry parade to the Dr. Pollard Poetry Park. Marilyn Chevrier Temiskaming first nations elder performed with Grace Wabi and Betty Rose Tepiskon a blessing ceremony. In front of a Tamarac tree planted for Ann Margetson poetry hall of fame inductee, Marilyn sprinkled sacred tobacco, asking creator to bless Tamarac with growth.

An annual rite of spring is to remember the White Dog of Cobalt at his memorial stone. A circle was created, with background drumming and 12 white balloons were released to honour each year of his earthly life. Kent Bowman hosted poetry, music, storytelling event in front of the gazebo. The St. James Anglican Church Cobalt organized a spaghetti dinner that was appreciated by all. Our final event of the day was a concert at the Miners Tavern with local singer/musician Robin Dewar opening and Mary Elizabeth Grace Toronto spoken word performer sharing stories and poetry. The featured artist was singer /musician Dave Patterson from Kenabeek.It was a great ending of entertainment and socializing.

Sunday in Haileybury we sent off the poetbusers with cinnamon bun gifts and happy smiles. One poet commented, “Cobalt and area hospitability is certainly without parallel and we had a wonderful time”. Big thanks to Helen Lovekin from the Ontario Tourism for helping fund bus transportation for the poets from from Toronto & area. Special thanks to all our local sponsors and volunteers who gave their best to make the festival a true expression of community excellence.

David C. Brydges
Artistic Director


Dr William Henry Drummond (1854 - 1907)

Dr. William Henry Drummond Poetry Contest

Deadline: Monday April 4, 2016

Cash prizes totalling $1,600 for poems in English.

We are accepting online submissions. Send poem(s) to with subject heading Drummond poetry contest. Include a separate attachment with contact information of title of poem(s), name, address, phone number, email. We cannot accept online payments. Therefore send a cheque or money order to Spring Pulse Poetry Festival, Box 247, Cobalt Ontario P0J 1C0. Upon receiving your payment of $10 per poem we will process your submission(s).

More details on rulesFollow here for more information on the Contest rules


Winners 2007-2008 Follow here for 2007-2008 winner's lists 2009 winnersFollow here for winner's lists Winners of 2010  Follow here for winner's lists Winners of 2011 contest Follow here for winner's listsWinners of 2012 Follow here for winner's listsWinners of 2013 Follow here for winner's listsWinners of 2014 Follow here for winner's listsWinners of 2015 Follow here for winner's lists





Thou art the Iris, fair among the fairest,

Who, armed with golden rod

And winged with the celestial azure, bearest

The message of some God.

Thou art the Muse, who far from crowded cities

Hauntest the sylvan streams,

Playing on pipes of reed the artless ditties

That come to us as dreams.

O flower-de-luce, bloom on, and let the river

Linger to kiss thy feet!

O flower of song, bloom on, and make forever

The world more fair and sweet.

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow