Eleonore Schönmaier is a Canadian writer of poetry, essays and fiction.
Her work can “be enjoyed for the beauty of the language alone” (Arc Poetry).
Manifesting “experiential empathy” (League of Canadian Poets), her poems “are acts of deep poetic cognition” (Antigonish Review). Her writing often “takes an ecological approach with its rich selection of nature poetry” (Canadian Literature) and the “natural world is prominent, almost dreamlike” (Prairie Fire). “[O]ne also hears a constant music in the poetry” (Canadian Poetries). “The effect is like that of a symphony with interwoven and subtly varied musical statements, and, as in a symphony, the effect is cumulative” (Arc Poetry). In their “clear-eyed perceptiveness” (Atlantic Books Today) her poems are “wonderfully unforgettable” (Fiddlehead).
Eleonore Schönmaier is the author of the critically acclaimed collections Field Guide to the Lost Flower of Crete (2021), Dust Blown Side of the Journey (2017), Wavelengths of Your Song (2013) and Treading Fast Rivers all from McGill-Queen’s University Press. Treading Fast Rivers was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for best first book by a Canadian. Dust Blown Side of the Journey was a finalist for the Eyelands Book Awards (Greece). Wavelengths of Your Song was published in German translation in 2020 as Wellenlängen deines Liedes from parasitenpresse (Cologne).
Schönmaier’s poems have been set to music by Greek, Dutch, Scottish, American and Canadian composers including Carmen Braden, Michalis Paraskakis, and Emily Doolittle. The New European Ensemble and the St Andrews New Music Ensemble have performed her poetry in concert.
She has won the Alfred G. Bailey Prize, the National Broadsheet Contest, the Sheldon Currie Fiction award (second place), the Dave Williamson National Short Story contest (honourable mention), and the Earle Birney Prize, among others.
Her poetry was chosen for the Academy of American Poets Poem in Your Pocket Day booklets in 2018, and 2021 and for the League of Canadian Poets Poem in Your Pocket Day brochures in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2023.
Her writing has been published extensively in literary magazines in Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Her work is widely anthologised in the United States and Canada including in Best Canadian Poetry.
Eleonore Schönmaier studied nursing science (BNSc) and psychology (BA) at Queen’s University, photography at NSCAD University, creative writing at St. Mary’s University and she holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia. She has also studied music with Michalis Paraskakis, Nikos Galenianos and Panos Gklistis among others.
Layered with a deeply felt compassion, her writing has a strong musical pulse and is alive with visual imagery.
A talented and generous teacher she has taught advanced fiction courses at St. Mary’s University, creative writing at Mount Saint Vincent University, and has worked as a poetry mentor for the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.
As volunteer chair of the Barrens and Backlands Group she worked to achieve the nature reserve designation for the Duncans Cove Barrens, Nova Scotia.
Born into a working class migrant family, she was raised in a northern Canadian wilderness settlement. Currently she divides her time between Atlantic Canada and coastal Europe.