Meet Kayla

KAYLA GEITZLER is from Moncton, NB which is within Siknikt of the Mi’kma’ki, the traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq People. Named “A Rad Woman of Canadian Poetry” by All Lit Up, she is Moncton’s inaugural Anglophone Poet Laureate & host of 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, the first publication of its kind in NB. Kayla holds an MA in English Creative Writing from UNB & has worked as a technical editor on Canada’s largest pipeline projects & written courseware for Air Traffic Controllers.

An East Coast Entrepreneur

“At five years old I knew what I wanted to do with my life: write.”

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. New Brunswickers 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.

Be heard. Change the world. Write you.


Awards & Achievements

  • The Antigonish Review:
    Great Blue Heron Poetry Contest 2020, “Apple Blossom Queen
    of 1942″ – Honourable Mention
  • 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
  • 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    2016 WFNB Bailey Prize for Best Unpublished MS – Winner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
  • Galleon:
    Poetry Editor, 2021
    Editorial Assistant, 2015-2019
  • Each for Equal 2020 International Women’s Day Conference: Network for the Empowerment of Women Halifax, NS
    Day 2 – Emcee
    Day 1 – Presenter, How to Better Your Business Writing
  • The Fiddlehead:
    Ralph Gustafson Poetry Contest, 2020 – Judge
    Editorial Assistant, 2008 to 2012, 2016 to 2020
  • artsNB Category C Creation Grant:
    2020
  • Laubach Literacy Innovation Dinner 2019:
    Keynote Speaker
  • Attic Owl Reading Series Host:
    2019-Present


Interviews

Feb.6th, 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 shell be expanding her reach with working with the Arabic 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!


My “We Are Diamonds” interview with my client, poet and community leader, Reem Fayyad Abdel Samad about my experience in the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic: OMG I wish I could be as bored as everyone else!

Reading Mahmoud Darwich with Reem Fayyad Abdel Samad and Maha Imazitene in the original Arabic, English and French for Love in the Eyes of Poetry, Valentine’s Day 2020 with the Arab Culture Club, Moncton NB

readings


A video my bestie took of me reading my teenage poetry at Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids. 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.”
As Poets Laureate, Jean-Philippe Raiche and myself opened the 2020 festival Frye Festival. Read my pandemic love poem, “Contagion”, the second poem in this video, below!

The Attic Owl Reading Series closed 2020 with an Open Mic event featuring writers from the UK, QC, NS & NB. I read last. Click on the link below to watch!
https://fb.watch/2JCD7Ryu1P/

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 link below to watch it!
https://fb.watch/2JJLzAGZ2Z/


Publications

Cadence voix fEminines female voices, Frog Hollow Press, 2020

Cover: Original visual art by 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, and cultural perspective. 
Our literature is this “being”, a cadence of threads 
& currents, blood & culture, history tangled in future. 
We live in & on the tongue. 
Watch the launch of Cadence here!

CONTAGION
"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
"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

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
confiscated mini-appliances
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

Reviews:
All Lit Up: Chappy Hour & Rad Women of Canadian Poetry
Something in the Water: Kayla Geitzler’s That Light Feeling Under Your Feet
  • Rise & Lead eds. 1 & 3, 2020
    Inspire Feature – “Kayla Geitzler: Editor & Writing Consultant”
    “Rebranding & Sisterhood in the Time of Covid”
  • Les Effeuilleuses, 2018
    Three poems
  • Poetry Is Dead, 2017
    One poem
  • Galleon ed. V, 2016
    Book review & short story
  • The Fiddlehead, Winter 2015
    Three poems

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