Eco-Poetry: Using Arts to Celebrate the Earth

London Public Library’s 2022 Environmentalist-in-Residence Jennifer Chesnut is in conversation with Penn Kemp. Poetry is a way to connect to the wonder of natural spaces that are sacred and magical, and to bring our inner lives and what we feel and value into the public realm.

River Revery launched at Wordsfest 2019

River Revery launched at Wordsfest 2019
cover of River Revery book by Penn Kemp
available now

Penn’s latest book, River Revery (Insomniac Press) is now out! 
River Revery features photographs by Mary McDonald and QR codes linking to poetry films by Mary McDonald and by Dennis Siren.

Diana Beresford-Kroeger joined Penn Kemp with a reading “In Conversation”, moderated by Nina Desjardins, on November 2, at Wordsfest, Museum London. After watching Mary MacDonald’s poetry film, Wishing Well, we launched RIVER REVERY along with Diana’s visionary new book, To Speak for the Trees: My Life’s Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest. Diana wrote the Forward to RIVER REVERY (Insomniac Press, 2019).  You can join the excitement on Dennis Siren’s video of the event on

The London Free Press helped celebrate our river on


River Revery Book of Poems Coming Soon!

River Revery Book of Poems Coming Soon!
Cover image for River Revery Book of Poems coming soon!

River Revery Book of Poems is coming soon! Penn’s latest book, River Revery (Insomniac Press) will be launched Nov. 2, 2-3 pm at Wordsfest, Museum London. Admission is free.
River Revery features photographs by Mary McDonald and QR codes linking to poetry films by Mary McDonald and by Dennis Siren.

For pre-orders, see Amazon

Cover by Mary McDonald for River Revery by Penn Kemp

Penn’s reading from River Revery is sponsored by The League of Canadian Poets.

Get Creative at the Library

Get Creative at the Library

Join me at the Central Library for some creative discovery. We’ll be drawing with Augmented Reality, and editing photos and videos with mobile apps to harness the creative power of that smartphone in your pocket.

Thursday, Sept 19, 4:30 to 6:30 Central Branch

Creating with technology calls for a poke and play mindset. 

There are no wrong answers.

Let your curiosity, your courage and creativity awaken your sense of play.

We will be using apps that are listed on the Community Resources page. Bring your curiosity! This is “discovery learning” — when you jump into mobile photo and video editing and drawing in AR. Technology, apps, are all changing so quickly nowadays that it isn’t really possible to learn “how to do” — now you need to learn “how to learn” through what I like to call, the poke and play method.

It’s creative thinking that is good for you and your brain. What happens when I do this…? and this? And what happens when I combine these two actions together? Ask questions, be curious, test and find out. A perfect mindset for science literacy week!

Drawing in Augmented Reality is a full-body, 3D experience. Come out and try it out! Let’s get creative together!

Poster for Library Drawing with AR
This program is offered in partnership with the London Public Library

There are many programs being offered at the London Public library branches for Science Literacy Week. Check them out here. We are so fortunate to have such rich programming and amazing facilities here in London through our library system. Visit your neighbourhood branch and join in!

If you are on the West coast, join poet Natasha Boskic and me for some creative play with Words and Media for Culture Days Vancouver! And to experience an interactive Augmented Reality, participatory installation — find us at one of these Word Vancouver, Bowen Island, or Victoria Library events with Still/ed Here. On Newcomer Day, Still/ed Here will be coming to London!

International Travel for River Revery

International Travel for River Revery

Wishing Well and Silicon Valley have been selected for the Newlyn Film Festival occurring this weekend in Penzance, UK. Both of these films were shown at the wonderful Reel Poetry festival in Houston, Texas. And on April 11 Wishing Well will be shown here at the London public library for Gathering Voices, and across the ocean at #OER19 in Galway, Ireland, land of the poets! Penn Kemp’s beautiful text travels out into the world to be heard by audiences across the water!

I was very lucky to be able to accompany Wishing Well and Silicon Valley to Houston for Reel Poetry festival where I was warm welcomed by the wonderful people I met. I experienced a wide variety of poetry and explored the roots of the poetry film genre through the events and workshops they had organized. I participated on an international panel discussion of creating poetry films. I’m glad to say that both poetry films were very well received by both the Houston audiences and the other international poetry filmmakers! I’m looking forward to connecting further with the poetry filmmakers I met through Reel Poetry and will introduce you to them in further posts when I am finished my wandering travels, spreading the word about poetry films and River Revery!

And in other news, in preparation for upcoming workshops, a new Community Resources page has been added to the Story Wall section of the website. Stay tuned for downloadable images, video, nature sounds and music clips to jumpstart or remix your own project!

announcing international Travel for River Rivery with yellow forsythia blossoms up close in London Ontario
magic blooms….

You are invited to Gathering Voices

Join in the Gathering Voices reading to celebrate April, National poetry month! Celebrate poetry, and our natural Canadian beauty at London Public Library!

Thursday, April 11, 2019. 7-8:30 pm. Gathering VoicesKaterina Fretwell, Penn Kemp, Susan McCaslin and Susan McMaster are reading for National Poetry Month on the theme of Nature: We’ll be showing Mary McDonald’s 4-minute film interpreting Penn’s poem, “Wishing Well”, from
Stevenson & Hunt Room, Central Library, 251 Dundas Street, London, Ontario N6A 6H9. Sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets. 

sun coming in to light up berries in London, Ontario

Across the ocean, on the same day, April 11, Wishing Well will also be shown at the Open Educational Resources Conference in Galway, Ireland as an example of how connecting artists and community together can create a resource which can be used for many levels of education.

Become part of the River Revery story and join the Gathering Voices on April 11 in London! This is where the magic happens — community, poetry, nature, sound and visual delights….join in!

Exploring the text of River Revery

Harold Rhenish is the author of a beautiful blog series, Okanagan Okanagan — Reclaiming the Art of Living on the Earth.,  featuring gorgeous photographs and a detailed investigation into the language of poetry.

He has explored text from “River Revery” in intricate detail on two of his extraordinary blogs: Towards a New Cartography Part 3  and Reading Penn Kemp and the World: The Role of Poetry in Civic Planning. 

Reading his work will allow you to look through his eyes and see and hear the beauty within the world as he does — an incredible gift, a beautiful read for a Sunday afternoon on the cusp of spring.

People are talking about River Revery!

The news is spreading across Canada and people are talking about River Revery. Radio host Carmelo Militano recorded an interesting conversation with Penn on River Revery for his show at the University of Winnipeg.

Susan McCaslin commented: “Just listened to this very deep and engaging interview with Carmelo Militano, Penn. You two are a good team as interviewer and interviewee. I think his term “archeologist of the heart” is very fitting to describe you and your work, but I would add “sonic delver” to the mix. I appreciate your poetics of stepping into the unknown and moving into the transpersonal, inclusive, larger fields rather than getting stuck in the merely personal. At this stage of our lives and of history, we are lured, compelled, drawn by the call to expand, deepen, and serve the larger world, the earth, Gaia.”

Join in and become part of the story! And people, let’s talk about River Revery, let’s start talking about the beauty of our river, its natural environment, and our community of London, Ontario!

talking about River Revery, close up of seed head, wild native grass found along the banks of the Thames River, London, Ontario
Life Within by Mary McDonald