is from Moncton, New Brunswick, which is within Siknikt of the Mi’kma’ki, the traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq People. Taught to read at age two, by the time she was five Kayla knew what she wanted to do with her life: write. Since then she has been named “A Rad Woman of Canadian Poetry” by All Lit Up & is Moncton’s inaugural Anglophone Poet Laureate. She also hosts the Attic Owl Reading Series. Her first book That Light Feeling Under Your Feet was a Calgary Bestseller & finalist for two poetry awards. Kayla is co-editor of Cadence Voix Feminines Female Voices, a multilingual poetry anthology. Kayla holds an MA in English, Creative Writing, has worked as a technical editor on Canada’s largest pipeline projects & written courseware for Air Traffic Controllers. A passionate leader in the literary arts, she is dedicated to fostering inclusive, healthy writing communities & lifestyles.
Kayla, how do You pronounce your name?
Don’t let it stress you out. A lot of cultures don’t use the long ay sound in Kayla & as for Geitzler, well, it’s Norwegian. (Yes, Viking!) Even people who have known me for years mispronounce it…often.
an east coast entrepreneur
Writers commune with place & my home, Moncton, is a writer’s refuge. Small, natural, fluid in landscape & tongue, our most abundant commodity is time. Life is slower here; we are hardworking, friendly & caring. These values are a part of my business. I care about my clients, I give you my time. My clients are writers of all levels & genres, self-publishers, women in business & public life, entrepreneurs & small businesses, non-profits, academics & students—anyone who needs assistance with documentation or writing projects. I am here so that you can be heard & change the world.
2021 Moncton Chamber
of Commerce Top 20 Under 40 Award Winner!
Honouring young leaders & innovators who are making a difference in Greater Moncton’s economy, arts & culture!
What a fabulous night! I was so proud to receive my award with Zina Aljaratli of Surreal Design & Claire Kelly-Orozco of World Immigration Consulting Inc.
Moncton: “My Favourite Place in Canada”
“It’s not very exotic…”
Says Andrew Gunadie, and he’s right! But watch this video to learn about why this is such a great place.
Awards & aCHIevements
Inaugural Anglophone Poet Laureate: 2019-2022, Moncton, NB
Having a Poet Laureate at the City of Moncton was a long-held personal goal of mine, but I knew that this was a position that needed someone with just the right mix of humility, wit, professionalism & creativity. We found all that & more in Kayla.
Kayla has taken on the post with gusto. Her ingenuity in the face of “unprecedented” times, her connection & empathy to Monctonians, her storytelling, her complete dedication to making sense of the world for the rest of us, well, I can’t imagine anyone better.
It can be tricky terrain, navigating the spaces between languages in Moncton, playing one language off of the other, but Kayla accomplishes this with ease. She has an uncanny ability to put people at ease & ever so gently introduces them to themselves through her poetry.City of Moncton Mayor, Her Worship, Dawn Arnold
- City of Moncton:
Poésie Moncton Poetry: An anthology of video poems
- The Antigonish Review:
2020 Blue Heron Poetry Contest Honourable Mention
- Network for the Empowerment of Women:
2020 Intl. Women’s Day Conference: MC & Presenter
- The Fiddlehead:
2020 Ralph Gustafson Poetry Contest Judge
2008 to 2012, 2016 to 2020 Editorial Assistant
2020 The PEI Writer’s Guild Poetry Contest Judge
2020 ArtsNB Category C Creation Grant
2019 Attic Owl Reading Series Host & Organizer
2015-2019 Galleon Editorial Assistant, Poetry
- festival Frye Festival:
2020 Opening & Closing Poems with Jean-Philippe Raiche
2020 Festival Event Co-host with Jean-Philippe Raiche
2019 How to Twine Tongues in Poetry, Day workshop
2019 Prelude – Emerging Anglophone Poet
- Laubach Literacy Innovation Dinner 2019: Keynote Speaker
- That Light Feeling Under Your Feet:
2018 WFNB Fiddlehead Poetry Prize – Finalist
2018 Alberta Publishers’ Robert Kroetsch Award for Poetry – Finalist
2018 NeWest Press Inaugural Text – Crow Said Poetry Series
2018 Calgary Bestseller List
2016 WFNB Bailey Prize for Best Unpublished MS – Winner
- University of New Brunswick:
2010-2012, MA in English, spec. Creative Writing
2012, Diploma of University Teaching
2010, Dean’s List; Angela Ludan Levine Writing Award
2009, Angela Ludan Levine Writing Award
2006-2010, BA in English, First Class Honours
“Moncton’s Poet Laureate Crosses Many Cultures”
Buzz Local TV – February 6, 2020
Kayla Geitzler is Moncton’s Poet Laureate. Her role is to put into poetic text the mood & feeling of Moncton. Cultures from around the world give voice to their communities in such a way. Kayla brings this idea to places like schools and the Frye Festival. Soon she’ll be expanding her reach collaborating with the Arab community and their poets as well as embarking on an ambitious project. Kayla visited us in the studio to tell us all about it.
Watch the interview here!
“We Are Diamonds”
L.E.A.D. with Reem – April 2020
My “We Are Diamonds” interview with fellow writer, Lebanese-Canadian poet, brilliant Life Coach & community leader, Reem Fayyad Abdel Samad. We talked about my experiences in the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic & my perspective of the pandemic as a writer. “OMG I wish I could be as bored as everyone else!” may have been a really accurate account of what Covid-19 has been like for me.
LITERARY READINGS & ATTIC OWL READING SERIES EVENTS
festival Frye Festival Opening – April 2020
During April & August each year of our mandates, Jean-Philippe Raiche and I transform from Poets Laureate to Poets Flyee to compose & co-host for the Frye Festival. The Frye was one of the first literary festivals to transition to a virtual format in 2020 & we were tasked with exploring the changes & anxieties the pandemic had brought to our communities.
“Mr. Sexy…The Giraffe”
My best friend, artist Amy Miller, took this video of me reading my teenage poetry at Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids. It was probably extra amusing for her, as she would have remembered my teenage dreams of becoming “a real poet”. It was a great night. Formally trained poets are discouraged from losing their composure, but the audience was infectious. I turned into Morty Smith, “Awww geez.”
Attic Owl, December 2020 Event
The Attic Owl Reading Series closed 2020 with an Open Mic event featuring writers from the UK, Quebec, Nova Scotia & New Brunswick. I read last. Click on the Facebook link to watch!
A moving Attic Owl Event
During 2020, one of the things we missed most as writers was the interaction we receive from our audiences. I was so pleased that this was such a special & moving evening (despite my technical inexperience). Click on the Facebook link to watch!
CADENCE VOIX FEMININES FEMALE VOICES
FROG HOLLOW PRESS, 2020
As a high school student, I wanted to one day publish a bilingual anthology of female New Brunswick poets. Eighteen years later, my good friend Elizabeth Blanchard partnered with me & we expanded my original vision to create Cadence. A multilingual translation anthology of female New Brunswick poets. The first publication of its kind in our province, it covers featuring the art of the incredible Nancy King Schofield.
Cadence is a poetry anthology featuring twenty-five accomplished women, non-binary, trans-writers & translators who are indigenous to, or have settled, in the land now known as New Brunswick, Canada. This edition features poetry in Arabic, English, French, German & Vietnamese. Cadence is about the energy & movement of language in NB. Even the word itself, cadence, possesses an interlingual fluidity….
a word that in French is feminine, as is the word langue, as are the voices in this collection, des voix féminines…voices of women poets who, like their “many-a-mothers” before them, have always been here, or who, by desire or circumstance, have settled here. Each write from a unique linguistic, social & cultural perspective. Our literature is this “being”, a cadence of threads & currents, blood & culture, history tangled in future. We live in & on the tongue.Co-editors Kayla Geitzler & Elizabeth Blanchard
Cadence took 18 months to complete & despite the pandemic, we were determined to celebrate our incredible achievement with all the women who had so generously contributed their work. We were thrilled that the Frye Festival partnered with us for the launch.
THAT LIGHT FEELING UNDER YOUR FEET
NeWest Press, 2018
That Light Feeling Under Your Feet plunges headfirst
into the surreal and slogging world of cruise ship workers.
These masterfully crafted poems challenge perpetuating
colonial and class relations, as well as the hedonistic lifestyle
attributed to the employees of these floating resorts. Kayla
Geitzler’s debut collection interprets isolation, alienation,
racism, and assimilation into the margins as inevitable
consequences for the seafaring workforce of the most
profitable sector of the tourism industry.
from “feral mini fridges of Cozumel”
“…in the dreams of the conquered
even a cruise ships sleeps
weighty 3 am tonnage
just a buoy under
a faceless moon
hop down from towers of themselves
they shuffle to the ship’s ribs
& faulty chill-seal mouths bite
wheel-handles & crank
spreading the vessel’s breastbone
wide to a humid wind
a swell & they spill
into a flapper’s sequined dress
fish take wing frenzied…”
No mere three-hour tour, That Light Feeling Under Your
Feet is an unflinching portrait of life at sea, and the
discrimination, racism, and misogyny inherent in the
tourism industry. Darkly humorous and deftly realized,
the poems in That Light Feeling Under Your Feet stick in
the mind like ‘endless leviathans’ harnessing the
controlled chaos of the word.”
~ Jim Johnstone, author of The Chemical Life
“Like a workaday Virgil, Kayla Geitzler takes us from
the upper decks of rum cocktails, jackpot bingo, and
conga lines into the underworkings of cruise ships —
the sale-to-sail palliative powers of simulacrum, the
trinket-exhausted ports, and the forced smiles of deck
staff under a manager’s beady gaze. In poem after startling
poem, Geitzler’s sustained meditation forces our attention
back to this absurd microcosm, proving herself a provocative
emissary to frantic mass tourism.”
~ Tammy Armstrong, author of Take Us Quietly
All Lit Up: Chappy Hour & Rad Women of Canadian Poetry
Something in the Water: Kayla Geitzler’s That Light Feeling Under Your Feet
"CONTAGION" - The Time After, LCP Chapbook Series, 2020 O hear us skimming the lake the spring melt calling to the geese our bantering our imaginations transforming lungs into enchanted forests credulous illuminated we mettle ourselves as magnificent bestiaries of self-isolation as shuttled threads as knots of time in a feral weft woven by manic birds newly returned and you my lumbering loon hoarse and hollering my longhaired gaul wild and swarthy my jaunty homme d’honneur my charming wartime anti-fascist my avellinese capo shhh we don’t talk about la familglia my dreaded pirate my very great friend in rome O Biggus— and you call me your columbina carved with ink your blue- faced celt your valkyrie predisposed to conquer and pillage steal those goats burn that village in our west end streets we are each minute’s exodus and genesis lutist and troubadour we are the ballads of our tendons and our bones we are every sweeping tidal bore mud flats and diaphragm finite as Florence during her black primavera when the young gathered fragrant carnations and carried them sweating sickness laying low Anne Boleyn in her one thousand days her pestiferous nightmares of you and me rapacious incubation and lymphatic swellings contagion— it is like this like this O like this dwelling in—our bodies countries and abodes hours and eras infectious descending and ascending travails and tempests it is like this like this O like this renaissance borne on the scourge’s resurgence scoured hands stinging we are clasped throwing ourselves backwards onto the bed where there is a tolling of us pealing and resonant we are fou rire and flushed—all that we are now all that will ever be of us will never exist beyond this beyond our cells and laughter in this disorder we carry each other’s heart in a fist well-scrubbed squeezed in a rhythm you to me you to me you to me a steady brachial embracing it is like this like this O like this our spirits neither downcast or uplifted but unending suspended in the chest’s tight treasuring in the beat between inhale and breathless
"GRETA HRÍMGERDR" - Gnaw & Gnarl, FHP: NB Chapbook Series, 2018 transitional cell-sick stubborn-Greta Hálfdansdottir became hrímgerðr: illness-withered crone-bent smoke-haired pallor-grim Greta Hrímgerðr irritable and quarrelsome round-shouldered and gloaming-fearing pulled the bedsheets to her chin recalled a voyage parent-accompanied on a Nepalese riverboat in her winter-darkened window my galdr gaze scryed their vessel tide-turned and fog-steered rudderless drifting through Terai wetlands halted by a shroud of marsh birds undulating into the dusk by the thousands exposing in the long grasses of that country frost-aged and crone- bent a vǫlva to whom Greta Hálfdansdottir shouted greetings until Eric Hálfdan her father silverheaded pillar-straight strong-shouldered but omen-blind bade his noisy progeny Be silent. Greta Hrímgerðr gestured to her reflection said No vǫlva was there ever—from the bow I hailed my fylgja: crone-grey hospital- gowned bone-bodied. duty-laden Charles Hálfdanson brother-brought his sister- vagabond stubborn-Greta Hrímgerðr tongue flyting to the seiðmenn of oncology: Greta-Hrímgerðr crone-grey body fluid-filled and corpse-bloated flyting Charles Hálfdanson my father silver headed pillar-straight strong-shouldered laid both his sister and his hopes before gods of scalpel and pharmaceutical cure-all Greta Hrímgerðr hysterectomy-delivered the cancer baby-sized and organ-gorging colostomy-bowelled fevered Greta Hrímgerðr harridan-hounded surgeons with complaints of her wound wandering and suppurating from unexpected places so into Odin’s empty eye they slid her— the organ-divining machine discovering liver- hidden the dooming dísir I: Braga Hálfdansdottir the amber-haired verse-smith strong-shouldered Vör-sighted spent each evening heavy-hearted light-voiced visiting my father’s sister stubborn-Greta Hrímgerðr her life-thread measured by the constrictor-cuff machine and sustained through clepsydra-intravenous optimism-sickened hospital food-refusing she took from my aunt-cheering hands the rice I made her from sunset passed moon-rising and after the curfew-crowing slowly going we ward-wandered and paced the breezeway walled by windows winter-sieged Our kinship greater said stubborn-Greta Hálfdansdottir In that we are women of wanderlust: sea-roved and land-rambled. we steered our trek king-tired feet to the sicklings’ chapel I guided her stood hand on the pew’s shoulder as she Bibled at the informal pulpit stroking the Irish lace altar grimacing at the mortuary van visible through the stained glass my aunt Greta Hrímgerðr crone-bent smoke-haired pallor-grim thanked me for my kindnesses but nun-minded was I never—I gave nothing to her but my time I: Braga Hálfdansdottir amber-haired verse-smith remorse- ridden might have studied the doctor’s doctorate been a sleuth of veins and vim taken valkyrie halberd and spear to bodies’ Ragnarok but fylgja-led to the word-smithing of my mother’s people my knowledge-gleaning verse-creating of little use to stubborn-Greta Hrímgerðr my father’s sister norn-denying dísir-doomed the orderlies troll-mighty came to gurney-gather the flesh- wasted bone-body of Greta Hrímgerð down down into the hospital bowels they bed-steered her into care and kind assertiveness of life-end nurses graveyard grey and silent in the palliative care unit my aunt Greta Hálfdansdottir slept pain-sedated in a room cloister-quiet single-bedded cord-tangled with medical equipment Hálfdans gathered wake-waiting in the looming star-spotted winter gloaming I daughter of Charles Hálfdanson accepted his seat of vigil-keeping heart-strong fate-defying Greta Hálfdansdottir sickly-struggled to turn her body Charles Hálfdanson long-loving sister-pitying curled his fingers in stubborn-Greta Hálfdansdottir’s clutching bent his silverhead to her brother-begging voice- failing final-wishing Get me out of here