born 1955
Toronto Ontario
to Douglas Dean Maxwell
& Shirley Anne Maxwell (nee Ward)

educated
Havergal College (I kid you not – they allowed boys into kindergarten when I attended – I believe the policy was changed shortly after I left.)
Blythwood Public School
Glenview Senior Public School
North Toronto Collegiate Institute
Trent University (Peterborough Ontario)

I started writing poetry at the age of 12 because I thought it would be a great way to impress girls. It worked. I’m married. Happily I might add.

I was first published in the student newspaper Arthur at Trent University – when I went on a hitch-hiking trip around the Gaspe peninsula – and Riley Tench went through all my notebooks when I was away (we were roommates) and published 4 poems in the paper (he said he was starting a poetry section and he needed copy) before I got back in time for classes. I had arranged to miss introductory week and – as a result – the first edition of the year’s newspaper. Riley told me he thought the poems were good. I could have killed him – but was secretly pleased.
Riley became the poetry editor of Arthur and as a roommate I felt it was my duty to make sure he did a quality job. It was a good thing we had a piano in the kitchen.
We met – through unasked for submissions (we thought the poetry page was ours) – many mutually addled poets – Michael Dennis, Richard Harrison, and Ian David Arlett. Riley dragged in his brother John Tench in an obvious act of inspired nepotism. We went public, commandeering the student pub – the Hangman – by standing on the tables and shouting our poetry at the drunken patrons until they shut up and listened. We discovered the best editor is a live audience who is encouraged to voice its dissatisfaction. And one that buys you drinks when they liked what they heard. We grew.
We were fortunate to be joined on occasion by Dennis Tourbin who read with us, and urged us to do even better.
I was also fortunate in my first year at Trent to be able to show my work to Margaret Laurence who encouraged me, and welcomed me to her home in Lakefield a couple of times. Fortunately, I was too young to appreciate the honour – she was just a great lady (an old broad I think she would have said) with an unmistakable presence.
In my mid-twenties Michael Dennis arranged for me to meet Earle Birney and that was another honour — and a delight. We had lunch with him and Earle regaled us with stories of living in Paris (same time as Morley Callaghan) as a 20 year old struggling poet – and upon hearing our stories of commandeering bars, shared with us his experience — attending an open poetry reading in a Parisian bistro where the winner helped the burlesque dancer remove her clothes. It was more than apparent Earle won in the category of successful bar poet.
I was published in the 80’s in various magazines (Rampike, CVII, other smaller magazines) and then I quit – a victim of ego.
And so I wrote – without submitting (what an odious term) and accumulated poem after poem – without an audience (what a fool).
Time to set things straight. Here I am – going for broke – 12 books of poetry this year. The stakes are high – lets see if I make it.

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