“Globe” in Dutch



(translated by Jeske van der Velden) published in Terras

Wat is de aarde meer dan een bol
zo groot als een grapefruit

in je hand, en naar de verste uithoek
van de aarde gaan is reizen over

de lijnen in je handpalm:
aderen die kronkelen

als levenspaden. Dromen
zijn waar we in geloven wanneer we de zeilen

hijsen, de spinnenwebben
nog vers in de tuigage. De ene mens

droomt van een tropisch eiland
en de ander van een landelijk

tuintje met tomaten.
Moeten we dan altijd maar

verder en verder reizen
terwijl de meridianen zich zo scherp

aftekenen in een uitgestrekte hand?
We weten dat we niet ontsnappen

uit het stelsel van haarvaten
en dat de spier genaamd

ons hart ons ooit in de steek
zal laten ergens onder Melkweg

en spiralen. Dus verscheur zaterdag
-avond je visa, je tickets, en besluit

dat je droom is waar je nu staat,
en dat de mensen die je begroeten

wanneer de deuren opengaan
degenen zijn met wie je het beste

je axonen laat vergroeien
tot de verste verstrengelingen.

Globe” (written in 2007) from Wavelengths of Your Song (MQUP, 2013) and set to music by Dutch composer Nico Huijbregts for clarinet, cello, violin and spoken voice (2015).

Photo by Eleonore Schönmaier



“but today the sky is/under no one’s control”

“Parameters of Loss” and “Touchstone” are forthcoming in The Fiddlehead. 

Photograph by Eleonore Schönmaier


Grow expansively

Schonmaier Globe.jpg



What is the globe, but an orb

the size of a grapefruit


in your hand, and to go to the ends

of the earth is to journey across


the lines in your palm:

veins and arteries laid


out like a life plan.  Dreams

are what we believe in when we set


our sails, the spiderwebs

all fresh in the rigging.  One


person dreams of island life

and another of a country


garden with tomato plants.

Must we always travel


farther and farther away

when the meridians are laid out


so clearly in our hand-clasp?

We know that we’re caught


in a system of capillaries

and that the muscle called


our heart will eventually

abandon us along milky way


and spirals.  So on this Saturday

night tear up your visas, tickets


and decide your dream is where

you now stand, and that the people


who greet you when they unlock

their doors are the ones who will best


let your axon filaments grow

expansively snared.


(written in 2007)

From Wavelengths of Your Song (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013)


“Globe” set to music by Dutch composer Nico Huijbregts for clarinet, cello, violin and spoken voice. 2015.


Photo by Eleonore Schönmaier

“Birdsong tangles the branches…”


Eleonore Schönmaier’s poem “Compose” has been published in the latest issue of Arc Poetry along with new poems from Madhur Anand, Alyda Faber, D.A. Lockhart and Téa Mutonji among others. You can order a copy here.

Why is St. John’s Head in my Petri Dish?

Schonmaier Petri Dish.jpg

Recently I said to a Greek composer, “I’ve spent my life stranded between languages.” He said, “You have to learn more languages so that you can be stranded in more places.” I’ve started memorizing the Greek alphabet and a few words. Διάλογοςis dialogue and ποίημαis poem. It’s a new beginning.

The League of Canadian Poets commissioned Eleonore Schönmaier to write on the theme World of Poetry for National Poetry Month. You can read the published article here.


Photo by Eleonore Schönmaier

Poetry as the body’s immunity system

This is how poems help us live.

They match the meshes in the sieve

life puts us through…

—Seamus Heaney

Schonmaier Heaney.jpg

From the archives: Seamus Heaney signs his book for Eleonore Schönmaier.

Photo by R.B. MacLennan

Seamus Heaney in The Redress of Poetry  writes, “[Miroslav] Holub sees the function of drama, and so by extension the function of poetry and of the arts in general, as being analogous to that of the immunity system within the human body.”

During a “normal” flu season garlic-almond soup is a favourite household choice.  Garlic is of course superb for your immune system.  When you cook your ideal garlic dish read poetry in the pauses for a double immune system boost.


From Night After Night She Dreams


…You would see friends together

chopping vegetables. You would see her spooning

the garlic-almond broth. You would see a way


of life she could never have imagined…



From Wavelengths of Your Song (McGill-Queen’s University Press)












The Doorbell


In 2009 I watched Igor Levit perform the Diabelli Variations live in a concert hall. After I wrote the poem “The Doorbell” where the narrator receives a visit from a total stranger and he grants her one wish.  She asks him to play the Diabelli Variations in her living room, and he does. In the time of the crisis Igor Levit is playing a house concert live streamed each day from his living room. Yesterday he performed the Variations which shows us how wishes do come true: music straight from his living room to yours and mine.

From The Doorbell


… S: Would

you play something for me?


She knows she’s to be granted

one wish. And he begins

Beethoven’s 33 variations


on a waltz by Anton Diabelli,

and plays all the way

through.  H: I’d love


to stay for dinner, but—. S: I understand…


from Wavelengths of Your Song (MQUP, 2013).




The People United Will Never Be Defeated

Composer and pianist Frederic Rzewski plays his The People United Will Never Be Defeated.


From Nocturnes



winter months

of insomnia


Frederic inks

three nocturnes

hoping sleep will


reach him like a gift

dropped through

the mail slot…



from Dust Blown Side of the Journey 

(McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017)

Schonmaier Frederic Rzewski .jpg

Photo by Eleonore Schönmaier


Anna Thorvaldsdottir (b. 1977) is an Icelandic composer whose ‘seemingly boundless textural imagination’ (NY Times) and ‘striking’ (Guardian) sound world has made her ‘one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary music’ (NPR).”

Ecological ceiling

Schonmaier Donut.jpg

The inner ring of her donut sets out the minimum we need to lead a good life, derived from the UN’s sustainable development goals and agreed by world leaders of every political stripe. It ranges from food and clean water to a certain level of housing, sanitation, energy, education, healthcare, gender equality, income and political voice. Anyone not attaining such minimum standards is living in the doughnut’s hole.”

The outer ring of the doughnut, where the sprinkles go, represents the ecological ceiling drawn up by earth-system scientists. It highlights the boundaries across which human kind should not go to avoid damaging the climate, soils, oceans, the ozone layer, freshwater and abundant biodiversity.

The world is experiencing a series of shocks and surprise impacts which are enabling us to shift away from the idea of growth to ‘thriving’, Raworth says. “Thriving means our well being lies in balance. We know it so well in the level of our body. This is the moment we are going to connect bodily health to planetary health.”

from “Amsterdam to embrace ‘doughnut’ model to mend post-coronavirus economy” by Daniel Boffey


From When the crumbs fall

into my cage, I taste

Lorca on my lips. why

had I forgotten

the stars? during

all those summers

the water stroked

my skin as I swam

in the night’s mirror…


from Dust Blown Side of the Journey (McGill-Queen’s University Press)

Schonmaier When the Crumbs .jpg



Photos byEleonore Schönmaier