• Biography

    Almost a decade ago, poet Susan McMaster and her husband Ian found a beautiful summer home in Minasville on the Fundy shore, where they now spend much of each summer, returning to Ottawa each winters. Susan was the president of the League of Canadian Poets (2011-12), and is the author or editor of some 30 poetry books, anthologies, and periodicals, including recordings with First Draft, SugarBeat, and Geode Music & Poetry. Recent collections completed in Nova Scotia include Haunt>, Lizard Love: Artists scan poems by Susan McMaster, Pith & Wry: Canadian Poetry (ed.), Paper Affair: Poems Selected & New, and The Gargoyle's Left Ear: Writing in Ottawa. Crossing Arcs: Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me, which both began and was finished in Minasville, was shortlisted for the the national Acorn-Plantos award and Lampman Poetry Prize, as well as the Ottawa Book Award.

    Susan has presented her poetry across Canada and abroad, and broadcast on such shows as WordBeat, Go!, Richardson's Roundup, As It Happens, and Morningside. Other projects include founding the national feminist and arts magazine Branching Out; writing "Dangerous Graces: Women's Poetry on Stage" for the Great Canadian Theatre Company, "Dark Galaxies" for the National Arts Centre Atelier, and "Poetry in the Park," for the summer festival in Ottawa. She organized "Convergence: Poems for Peace", a millennial project to bring poetry and art from across Canada to all Parliamentarians in 2001. Convergence included a selection by Nova Scotian Carole Glasser Langille.

    McMaster enjoys collaboration, and her poetry has inspired works by many artists and composers. She is grateful for a warm welcome into the Nova Scotia literary world through readings arranged by Marc Petersen at the Acoustic Maritime Music Festival (with bassist Alrick Huebener), Heather Pyrcz at Acadia University, Jeannette Lynes at St Francis-Xavier, David Rimmington at the Seahorse Tavern, Susan Sweet and Gwen Frankton at Galley 215, Doris Hagmann at the Avon Emporium, Kelly Bingham at Bing's Eatery, the jams at the Minasville Community Centre and elsewhere, and Scott Rines and Kennetcook School. In 2006, Susan read her poem, written 25 years earlier, "Today, I turned everything around" and drank a glass of champagne with neighbours and friends and the crew who had just lifted her house up with two cranes, moved it 80 feet, and turned it around so 12 of 17 windows now open to views of the sea.

    • Paper Affair: Poems Selected & New. Black Moss, 2010. ISBN 970-0-88753-468-3.

    • Pith & Wry: Canadian Poetry, ed. Scrivener Press, 2010. ISBN 978-1-896350-41-7.

    • Crossing Arcs: Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me. Black Moss, 2009, 2d. ed. 2010. ISBN 978-0-88753-462-1. Short-list: Archibald Lampman Poetry Prize, Acorn-Plantos People's Poetry Prize, Ottawa Book Awards.

    • The Gargoyle's Left Ear: Writing in Ottawa. Black Moss, 2007. ISBN 978-0-88753-443-0.

    • Until the Light Bends. Black Moss, 2004. ISBN 0-88753-397-3.

    • Uncommon Prayer: A Book of Dedications. Quarry, 1997. ISBN 1550821962.

    • Learning to Ride. Quarry, 1994, illus. Robert Verrall. ISBN 1-55082-104-0.

    • The Hummingbird Murders. Quarry, 1992. ISBN 1-55082-048-6.

    • North/South. Underwhich, 1986: w. composer Andrew McClure, poet Colin Morton. ISBN 0-88658-054-4.

    • Dark Galaxies. Ouroboros, 1986. ISBN 0-920301-07-X.

    • Pass This Way Again. Underwhich, 1983: w. Andrew McClure, artist Claude Dupuis. ISBN 0-88658-015-3.

    • Dangerous Graces: Women's Poetry on Stage, ed. Balmuir, 1987. ISBN 0-919511-41-4.

    • Siolence: Poets on Violence and Silence, ed. Living Archives Series, Quarry, 1998. ISBN 1-55082-158-X.

    • Waging Peace: Poetry and Political Action, ed. Penumbra, 2002. ISBN 978-1894131377.

    • La Deriva del Pianeta / World Shift. Schifanoia, Italy, 2003, transl./ed. Ada Donati. ISBN 88-87882-30-4.

    • Branching Out Magazine, founding ed., 1973-75, contributor 1975-80.

    • Selected Recordings
      • Wordmusic: 1981 First Draft 2007. Indpendent publication, 2007.

      • Until the Light Bends. Pendas Productions/Geode, 2004, w. Jennifer Giles, Alrick Huebener, David Broscoe, Jamie Gullikson, John Higney, Mark Molnar.

      • Two Lips, by Penn Kemp. Pendas Productions, collaboration on selected pieces, 2003.

      • Convergence: Poems for Peace. LCP, spoken word anthology, 2002.

      • Geode Music & Poetry. Geode, 2000, w. Giles, Huebener, Michael Essoudry, Petr Cancura.

      • SugarBeat Music & Poetry. SugarBeat, 1998, with Giles, Huebener.

      • Carnivocal. Red Deer Press, sound poetry anthology, 1999.

      • Dangerous Times. SugarBeat, 1996, with Giles, Huebener, Gavin McLintock.

      • Wordmusic. First Draft, 1986, w. McClure, Morton.

    • Literary Editor
      • Convergence: Poets for Peace, ed. 35 boxed sets, 2500 poems with art. LCP, 2001.

      • Bookware: Ottawa Valley Poets, co-ed. with C. Morton. LCP, 1994.

      • Women and Violence, ed. Living Archives Series. LCP, 1993, Quarry 1997. ISBN 0-9690327-8-1.

      • Two Women Talking: Erin Mouré & Bronwen Wallace, ed. Living Archives Series, LCP, 1993. ISBN 0-9690327-7-3.

      • Illegitimate Positions: Women & Language, ed. Living Archives Series, LCP, 1992.

    • Poetry in Selected Anthologies
      • Re:Generations, Canadian Women Poets in Conversation, eds. Di Brandt, B. Godard, Black Moss, 2005. ISBN 0-88753-393-0.

      • 100 Poets against the War, ed. Todd Swift, Salt Publishing, 2003. ISBN 978-1876857981.

      • Line by Line,ed. Heather Spears, 2000. ISBN ISBN 1-896860-50-8.

      • Imprints and Casualties: Poets on Women and Language, Reinventing Memory. ed. Anne Burke, Broken Jaw Press, 2000. ISBN 9781896647241.

      • Feminism and the Language of Love, ed. Maria Jacobs, Living Archives, LCP, 2000.

      • Crossing Boundaries: Women's Poetry on Sport. HKCanada, 1999. ISBN 0736000887.

      • A Room at the Heart of Things, ed. Elizabeth Harvor. Véhicule, 1998.

      • Nothing but Blue Skies. Blue Skies Music Festival, 1998.

      • Poets in the Classroom, ed. Betsy Struthers. Pembroke, 1995. ISBN ISBN 1-55138-055-2.

      • Vintage '93. Quarry/LCP, 1994. ISBN 9781550821222.

      • Women and Violence, ed. Sarah Klassen. Living Archives Series, LCP, 1993.

      • The Windhorse Reader. Windhorse, 1992.

      • Celebrating Canadian Women. ed. Greta Hofmann Nemiroff, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1989. ISBN 9780889026469.

      • Capital Poets: An Ottawa Anthology. ed. Colin Morton, Ouroboros, 1989. ISBN 0-920301-12-6.

    • Theatre Productions
      • "The Pleasure of Lusting" poetry and music script, w. SugarBeat and Colin Morton, for "Poetry in the Park," Strathcona Park, 1998.

      • Dangerous Graces: Women's Poetry on Stage, director Jennifer Boyes-Manseau, workshopped by actors at Fireworks festival, 1987, Great Canadian Theatre Company, w. composer A. McClure.

    • Lizard Love: Artists Scan Poems by Susan McMaster
      • Dark Galaxies wordmusic script, workshopped by actors, Page to Stage Festival, National Arts Centre Atelier, w. composer Andrew McClure.


    {Haunt} (Black Moss, 2018)

    Haunted by family and friendship, grief and jubilation, politics and philosophy, this warm, human, and conversational poetry speaks to a wide range of readers. Her images and inspiration spring from the natural world of forest and lake and sea.

    • Ottawa Book Awards, shortlist 2005, 2010

    • Archibald Lampman Poetry Prize, shortlist 1992, 2005, 2010

    • Acorn-Plantos People's Poetry Award, shortlist 2010

    • CBC National Literary Contest, poetry, shortlist 1988 and 1991

    • Best Poet in Ottawa, SAW Gallery Apple Awards, shortlist, 2003.

    • Jane Jordan Poetry Awards, HM in 1994, 2nd place 1996, 3rd place 1998.

    • Canadian Author's Association, Ottawa, Poetry, HM 1994.

    • League of Canadian Poets National Poetry Contest Anthology 1993.

    • Canadian Author's Association National Poetry Award shortlist 1992.