What's New
Marianne Bluger - What's New
October 1, 2011: Marianne is included in the anthology The Bright Well: Contemporary Canadian Poems about Facing Cancer, edited by Fiona Tinwei Lam. See more about this book and how to purchase it by clicking on the cover below.

The Bright Well, 2011

August 15, 2011: Stan Dragland of Brick Books has recorded six of Marianne's poems, two each from her three Brick Books: On Nights Like This, Gathering Wild and Summer Grass. His excellent renditions can be heard at: Stan Dragland reads Marianne Bluger. Brick Books is also planning to digitize Marianne's Brick titles and make them available online as e-books.

February 8, 2010: Duncan Schouten has written a score of contemporary music around three of Marianne's haiku in a piece he calls "Three Haiku on Isolation". It will be premiered at "Designs in Harmony", A Contemporary Music Concert benefitting the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation on Saturday, March 20 at Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal. He say of the work, "My personal inspiration for the work, which is reflected in its title, is the sense of disconnection and estrangement that spreads through society, even among close-knit groups of people seeking to achieve similar goals or reach the same location, at the onset of winter."

April 2008: Marianne is included in the Red Moon Press Postscript Series, a series of chapbooks designed to honor recently deceased haiku poets. Each chapbook is culled from the entire oeuvre of the poet's lifetime, with an eye to what made the poet both distinctive and ahead of their time. Each book is handmade in limited quantities. At present there are four titles available: pictographs (haiku of Tony Quagliano), change (haiku of Wim Lofvers), sparklers (haiku of Lorraine Ellis Harr, and faint notes (haiku of Marianne Bluger). Other volumes in preparation include work by L. A. Davidson, Francine Porad, Jerry Kilbride and Kay F. Anderson. Each volume 24 pages, $5. All these fine books are available from Red Moon Press, Winchester, VA.

faint notes, 2008

August 28, 2007: In honour of Marianne's birthday (August 28), a file containing a fairly complete bibliograpy of her work is being added to the website. Click on the following link, Bibliography for Marianne Bluger's Poetry, to access the file in html format. It will be updated as new information comes to light. Please feel free to send any missing references to this website, at larry.neily@rogers.com, for inclusion.

May 19, 2007: In the last few months of her life Marianne wrote 15 canticles as her contribution to the beautiful anthology, Poetry as Liturgy: An Anthology by Canadian Poets edited by Margo Swiss and published by St. Thomas Poetry Series, Toronto. The book is dedicated "In Memoriam - Marianne Bluger". Today was its launch at the St. Thomas Church. A podcast of the entire reading is available on the St. Thomas's website. If you wish to have a copy of this wonderful work by 14 Canadian poets please order it from their website or for $25+$5 postage (as of 2007) from The St. Thomas Poetry Series, 383 Huron Street, Toronto M5S 1G5.

Poetry as Liturgy: An Anthology by Canadian Poets, 2006

Nov. 18, 2006: Nearly a year after her death, Nude with Scar (Penumbra Press) was published. The launch, which was also a remembrance of Marianne; and was held on November 18, 2006 at the Kingsway United Church, Ottawa. The eighty or so attendees, most of whom knew and loved Marianne and/or her work, agreed that it was a party the like of which she would have approved. Plenty of food and refreshments were provided by poet friends, her poetry was read by some of her best friends, and her favourite charity (Tabitha Foundation) was well represented.

Nude with Scar, 2006

Nov. 18, 2006: This is the date for a very special event. Marianne's final book, Nude with Scar from (Penumbra Press) will be launched at the Kingsway United Church hall in Ottawa from 2 to 5 PM on this day. Some of her friends and fellow poets will be reading and/or speaking. Marianne expressly wished her funeral to be attended by close family only, and suggested a memorial later on to give her many friends and acquaintances an opportunity to celebrate her life, rather than mourn her death. She hoped it might coincide with the launch of Nude with Scar; and it has. Marianne would want you to rejoice with her in the publication of this book of her poetry, and to enjoy a party to celebrate her life (rather than a funeral to mourn her loss).
Kingsway United Church is where the launch of Zen Mercies / Small Satoris took place in April 2005. Many of you attended that event, the last of her book launches that Marianne was able to attend. For those who might not know how to find it, the church is at 630 Island Park Drive in Ottawa.

Aug. 2006: In the last few months of her life Marianne decided to put together all her remaining work, not included in one of her ten previous books, that she considered ready for publication. Knowing her time was very limited, and in the hope that these would see the light of day, she suspended work on all new and unpolished poems (with the exception of the Canticles) and gathered this body of work into a manuscript she titled "Nude with Scar".

She worked hard on this manuscript in her last two months, aided by her faithful husband, Larry. She was able to do a careful and thorough edit. Towards the end of the final polishing process, she was unable to read, only to listen and nod "Yes" or "No". In the case of "No", suggested changes were also given a "Yes" or "No". A good friend, Ronnie Brown, did a quick edit and her suggested improvements received the same treatment, as far as possible.

Marianne loved her work, and being able to finish this manuscript in the face of impending death was a joy to her. It was sent off quickly to John Flood at Penumbra Press, who suggested he would be honoured to publish it. This news reached Marianne in time for her to be able to rejoice in it.

Now, nearly a year after her death, "Nude with Scar" is in the final stages before printing. The launch, which will also be a remembrance of Marianne, will likely be in November 2006. Please stay tuned.

Jan. 2006: The entire series of Poems of the Month, from Oct. 2001 to May 2005, has been made more easily available online. Visit the Poems of the Month List for an index.

Marianne Bluger at Home with husband Larry Neily
Marianne Bluger at Home with husband Larry Neily
Photo by Elaine Hutter, Richmond, BC - Summer 2005

Marianne died peacefully at home at 11:05 AM on Oct. 29, 2005, after a long and courageous fight with cancer.
Click here to view her obituary.

She has asked me, her husband (Larry Neily) to pass along this message to her friends:
Marianne, like Christ, loved her friends. She took joy in their triumphs and was saddened when they suffered. She often said that her friends were the most important thing in her life.
I know that your friendships gave her much joy.

A manuscript called NUDE WITH SCAR was completed, with the help of her husband, just a month before her death. It was a volume of portraits and snapshots in verse and other poems that she felt were up to her high standards for publication.

THE ETERNITIES was published by St. Thomas Press, Toronto in October 2005. From the St. Thomas announcement:
           "Ottawa poet Marianne Bluger has published nine books of poetry with such presses as Brick Books and Penumbra. Though her father was a Holocaust survivor, she was raised as an Anglican. With lyric intensity, and from her own passionate love for "that radical, Yeshua, the Christ" Bluger honours her father. You will weep and you will laugh when you read this account of a woman's coming to consciousness of the unspoken terrors of history which overshadowed her youth."
           "It can be ordered from The St. Thomas Poetry Series, St. Thomas's Church, 383 Huron Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2G5. This new book will be produced with the usual quality and care at Coach House Press. Nancy Ruth Jackson continues to design the cover and other features, in consultation with Stan Bevington of Coach House."
Marianne Bluger thanks everyone who attended the launch of ZEN MERCIES / SMALL SATORIS.
Over 100 folks enjoyed the reading & celebration held Saturday, April 23, 2005 at the Kingsway United Church in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

ZEN MERCIES / SMALL SATORIS, an exciting new book of tanka, is published by Penumbra Press in spring 2005. The scope is far-ranging and the poems compellingly direct and deeply felt. Can be ordered now from Penumbra Press.

A profile of the poet and her work was featured on REGIONAL CONTACT on February 5, 2005 at 6:30 PM (2nd half of show). Regional Contact is a long-running and well-loved program on CJOH TV Ottawa. The shoots were done in spring and fall of 2004 at Bluger's home, in a few of her favourite natural haunts and in a reading for Lampman nominees. The photographer is Paul Wing, a talented veteran, and friend of the poets.

The poet's health is fragile at this time (2004). In this period she is staying close to home, joyfully completing two manuscripts of lyric poems and editing the work of her friends.

Zen Mercies / Small Satoris, a tanka sequence, was editor John Barton's choice for the Winter 2003 issue of ARC, Canada's National Poetry Magazine.

In the fall of 2003, Bluger judged the Diana Brebner poetry competition, sponsored by ARC, in Ottawa.

First reviews for EARLY EVENING PIECES have been wonderful, and initial sales good.

Among recent anthologies featuring Bluger's work:
Eternal Conversations: Remembering Louis Dudek, ed. Skarstedt, Gnarowski, & Collins; DC Books (Montreal), 2003
Basho Festival 2003 (Japan) - selection "in soft summer dark/resting my oars I glide/on floating stars".
HAIKU: Poetry Ancient & Modern 2002 MQ Publications (London)
HAIKU: Poésies anciennes & modernes 2003 Éditions Véga (Paris)
Redmoon Press, TANKA Anthology, winter 2003

Two new manuscripts; BORN TO BIRD (A Birder's Year in Verse) and MY FRIEND THE KINKAPOO, are ready for the publishers. Bluger's next project is a volume of portraits in verse.

In July 2003, Bluger and her husband travelled to the Maritimes and New England for family reasons and to birdwatch. She is working on several maritime poems and is increasingly absorbed with the interconnectedness of philosophy, politics, religion and poetry. She is fascinated with The Great Republic.

Bluger judged the American Tanka Society annual poem competition with Tom Clausen. The adjudication notes she wrote were published in the society's newsletter.

EARLY EVENING PIECES launched in May 2003 with a well-attended reading and reception. Orders: Buschek Books e-mail at buschek.books@sympatico.ca or BuschekBooks Online.

Marianne Bluger
Photo by L. Neily, Marathon, TX - April 2003

Issue # 13 of American Tanka featured a study of the poet's life and work by Angela Leuck.

Bluger took first place in the Tanka Splendor contest, sequence category, October 2002.

Recent anthologies including Marianne's work were: Larger Than Life - edited by Roger Bell - Black Moss Press; and Waging Peace: Poetry and Political Action - edited by Susan McMaster - Penumbra Press.

A handsome anthology, Poetry and Spiritual Practice, (St. Thomas Press, 383 Huron Street, Toronto, ON    M5S 2G5) came out in May 2002. Included are several poems by Marianne Bluger, an essay by her and an assessment of her work. Orders: dkent@centennialcollege.ca

Bluger recently won a prize for tanka in Japan. The prize was 100,000 yen; the reception for the winners in the Hoshi-to-Mori Co. contest is on June 8, 2002 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Tokyo. Although there was a provision for travel included with the prize, the trip would be very expensive, and, in any case, her health is too fragile for such a trip right now.

In May 2002, Haiku Canada passed the constitution proposed and drafted by Marianne five years ago. With minor revisions by Nick Avis, it is now the official constitution of the Haiku Society of Canada.

The haiku group founded in Ottawa last fall by Bluger and Terry-Ann Carter held a spring meeting in May 2002 at the Japanese Embassy in Ottawa. The group already numbers about 30 members, many of them fine poets and artists and people of all ages. If you will be in Ottawa, inquire about joining us for a meeting.

Marianne spent three weeks in Texas in April 2002 bird watching with her husband. They saw 266 species and she wrote tanka, haiku and notes for lyric poems. She fell in love with the state and particularly with the Rio Grande Valley.

springtime on the bayou
a gallinule steps lightly
where crocodiles smile

just these big clear stars
and oil field torches burning
in the Texas night

The Tabitha Foundation operating in Cambodia of which Bluger was a co-founder is making a difference in that troubled land. If you are interested, do check the website and read the news about the Tabitha Foundation.

Thank you for checking this website and for having a care about the poetry.

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