About

Eleonore Schönmaier is a Canadian writer whose 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 (1999) 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, 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 Earle Birney Prize, the National Broadsheet Contest, and was a Sheldon Currie Fiction award winner among others.

Her poetry was chosen for the Academy of American Poets Poem in Your Pocket Day booklet in 2018, and 2021 and for the League of Canadian Poets Poem in Your Pocket Day brochures in 2018, 2019, and 2021.

 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 received 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 poetry 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 and raised in a northern Canadian wilderness settlement she currently divides her time between Atlantic Canada and coastal Europe.