Turning Straw Into Gold

There was a time when I would collect journals and pictures, and they were just for me. I wrote journals from age nine, and my mother's stack of childhood journals inspired me. I read Anne Frank around age nine, and so my first journal was a long descriptive account of grade five to Kitty, Anne's childhood friend. I kept writing journals until I was in university, and then I switched to writing songs. I had a Roland keyboard, and I would write about a song a day. I wanted to write songs that were melodic and singable for corporate worship. A few times they sang my songs in church and for the worship at TWU.     

Finally I was discovered at a party in Seattle by a producer and he offered to make me a recording, without having even heard any of my music. I employed a friend who was a Jazz singer and we went back to Seattle and made a demo in one day, staying there until midnight. This was the demo through which I secured a CD contract and had two of my songs published by Vineyard Music. Keep in mind that I was only the songwriter, not the singer. My good friend Sherilyn Keller was the worship leader who did the recording.

By the time I graduated from university I had two songs out on the CD The Cross, and one of them ended up on the radio. It was them that I was offered the option of recording more songs with both Vineyard and Integrity. Unfortunately I never followed up on their offers, and never sent them more songs. I did not really have the backing of enough good people in the industry to even make another demo. The original producer moved to Nashville, singing love ballads to me all the way out there, and wanted me to go with him but I refused.         

Although I wrote songs, I refused to write any poems at all during my university years in Seattle. I wrote one at Christmastime but that was just for my friends and relatives. It wasn't until 2002 that I began writing down my old poetry from memory and began making them into a book for my niece. I had burned all my writings and my journals in 2001, and thought that was one way of ensuring they would never be read by anyone, but also, never published. I went out into the world, taking nothing with me but my guitar and a suitcase. I had nothing else at that point, but wanted to live life simply.

All the poems I have published now have been written down from memory or composed since 2002. There are over 1800 poems that I have published in books since 2011, when The Fleur-de-lis was published. Do I write songs anymore? Not very often, but I see them in a pile and hope one day they will be used a corporate worship because they have stood the test of time, and are still relevant. I evolved from songs into poems because it needed only a pen and paper to produce. Art is often a very singular activity in its creation, but now I see more opportunities for music turning up. The church I go to has built a sound studio to record music. They are asking for more songwriters; and when they ask for laments I know they are serious. That is seriously Emily.



New Book Coming This Year

What does the lily mean to poetry? There is a lily in my poetry, particularly the Fleur-de-lis Vol II, that is coupled with the Rose. I meant for them to refer to Duchess Sarah Ferguson and Lady Diana Spencer. There was a moment in time that I wrote for royalty, but now the poetry has become the possession of everyone. There are still the old volumes available, but that publisher has gone out of business, so now I must start over with a new publisher. This year I am releasing a volume of my collected works, with 130 new poems that I wrote in the last year especially for this volume. Dove Publishing will be releasing this project, which is dedicated to Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau. 

My new book, Hallmark: Canada'a 150 Year Anniversary whose booksite is attracting visitors each day by the hundreds, and whose featured music mirrors my best poem: The Ballad of the Oboe Player (the story of the oboe player who played Gabriel's Oboe) is live to generate interest in advance. If it makes you teary, well that's the best part.

You may have to wait to read this poem, but in the meantime now you can log into: www.hallmarkcanada150.com

The Wild Lily Institute is the new name we merged into last year, and again the symbolism has more to do with Emily Carr's symbolism than mine when you look at the history of British Columbia and her fields of wild lilies. We cannot just say they no longer exist, for they are a celestial appearing in this time.

Visit the Wild Lily Institute at www.wildlilyinstitute.com

Yours Truly,

Emily Isaacson


O Canada

The grey jay now flies as Canada's bird. National Geographic has declared a winner. This was the year I wrote five bird poems for the top five birds from the thousands of comments on the National Geographic site. Thank you Canada for writing so much about each bird. There is a wealth of both information and personal experiences with these birds' unique natures. Read the poems here.

Dear Canada, we are patriotic once again. With everything from Canada t-shirts, to red and white smarties, there is a 150 year anniversary logo everywhere you look. I am chiseled like marble, polished like rubies, and poured out like maple syrup.

I will not forget to ask people to join the revolution in a year of change. This is the revolution song that was recently published in O Canada: Celebrating 150 Years, by the Fraser Valley Poets Society.

The Weeping Branch

O country of sweet sheaves, hear my humble invitation;
The branches are weeping.
There has been a struggle in the baser realms,
The virtue of the earth has been shaken.
I bring with me the spirit of Canada,
A pleading to your noble station.

The world has seen your heart despised.
I spoke to you and you replied.
When I sing of revolution in the dead of night,
   you hear.
Then answer me with all your might.

This is the moment of the turning,
    and it is not for the weak;
Much is at stake.
I prophesied the sanguine salt was guileless,
And chunks of coal were your revenge in darkness.
The oyster sun spoke over the sea,
Churning the machinery of democracy.

O Canada:
I was born into the quiet moments of Windsor,
I am a prophet under the order of Samuel.
Canada’s gates will never be shut;
I am last to call my people home.
I am in it ’till the bitter end.

Sincerely Yours,



New Poetry in a Year of Celebration . . .

Well, it has been a while since I have felt the ponderous weight of this blog. And here I am, dear friends again. Much has happened since the publication of the themed Fleur-de-lis. Many other books of prose poetry have followed. If some of you are waiting to get your copies of these slender books of spiritual weight, you can now buy them directly from anywhere in the world through our Potter's Press online bookstore.

My ancient visions see once more the light. I am growing wise quickly but it is a maturity I don't despise (including grey hairs). At 29 I had a mid-life crisis when I realized there was no book by my name in print. The problem was no one even knew I was a writer, as I had not revealed it to anyone. When I was growing up, I simply called creative writing "procrastinating." Alas! My family was shocked when in 2005 I decided to become a full-time writer and said I was writing a book. I even wasted time by sitting at a desk all day staring at a blank page. Then I turned to automatic writing and channeled a lot of dead poets.

When McMaster's interviewed me last year as a Canadian writer, it turned out I was suffering from an undue amount of persecution. I mentioned Ernest Hemmingway as an example of what it feels like.

I started writing down my poems when once of my relatives asked me to put them down for my niece. Now she is nineteen, and does she read? Hardly. She is a cook though. Everyone else reads. People constantly mistake me for my niece; they even exclaim, "You don't look a day over nineteen!" And they think I am a cook.

I am a brand ambassador for a company that takes on contracts from food companies. I have done this for five years now. This means I talk to hundreds of people every weekend. Rarely when I am talking to someone does poetry come up. But there are a few chosen people who see beyond. They want to know what are the books I write. Soon they will find out. We are leaping across Canada this year just in time for the festivities.

Yours Truly,