Ann Elizabeth Carson, poet, writer, artist, feminist and psychotherapist, was selected as one of Toronto’s Mille Femme at the 2008 Luminato Festival, which paid tribute to women who have made a contribution to the arts. Her latest book, The Risks of Remembrance, (Words Indeed) distills a life’s experience in poetry and visual images.
Born in 1929 in Toronto, Ann began writing and publishing in high school, continued during her undergraduate university years and while raising a family. In 1970 she earned a Master’s in Adult Education and Counselling at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and worked for many years as a counsellor, supervisor and instructor at York University.
In 1988 Ann explored art as a therapeutic discipline in a two-year course at Arscura Art School, and expanded her private practice to include various forms of expressive therapies — a happy convergence of artistic and therapeutic worlds.
Carson has recently completed We All Become Stories, twelve profiles of older people recounting their experience of memory over their lifetimes and highlighting the extraordinary changes they made that enabled them to find a place in societies that seldom welcome or respect old age.
Recently published works:
- 2010, The Risks of Remembrance (Words Indeed Publishing) new poems. Carson’s subtle yet accessible poems risk “one fierce question at a time” as she fearlessly excavates the “rich mulch of memory” , untangling the skeins of her life to transform trauma into songs of celebration. Margo Little, author, Portraits of Spirit Island: The Manitoulin School of Art comes to Life.
- 2007, My Grandmother’s Hair (Edgar Kent, Dundurn, 2010), a social memoir in prose, poetry and visual images — a story of how we are shaped by family and social contexts, noted by Marion Woodman as an “autobiography told with alarming authenticity . . . in the connecting power of myth and of her own painting, poetry and sculpture.”
- Shadows Light (Longboat Alliance, 2005), a collection of early and new poems illustrated with colour photographs of her sculptures, reviewed by American poet Jan Bailey as “Earthy and elegant . . . confronting the silences through poignant images grounded in daily life we fall wholly into uncensored emotion.”
Selections and reviews of Ann’s books have appeared from Maine to Manitoulin Island and Vancouver, most recently in Herizons magazine (2008), Canadian Woman Studies/les cahier de la femme (2008/09), Celebrating Poets over 70, McMaster University Centre for Gerontological Studies and the Tower Poetry Society (2010) and Monhegan Memo #6 (2010).
Popular on the reading circuit, Ann’s interactive readings are multimedia events with other poets, writers, and artists, and with dancers and musicians — spoken word accompanied by paintings, sculptures and music.She leads a variety of workshops such as What’s the Difference: Exploring Poetry and Poetic Prose, and Solutions in Your Hands — how the arts can create a new perspective on how we see ourselves and our world, which Margo Little of the Manitoulin Expositor found “opens up new approaches to our work and how we problem solve professionally and in our personal lives.”
At 82 Ann writes, sculpts, and paints full time in Toronto and on Manitoulin Island. She reads from her work at various venues and continues to lead workshops. She also maintains a part-time private psychotherapy practice. She is a member of the Heliconian Club for women living in the arts, in the Literature and Humanities sections, as well as a member of Old Town ARTbeat, The Ontario Poetry Society, The League of Canadian Poets and the Tower Poetry Society. She enjoys music, theatre, her garden, the company of her three children, six grandchildren and a wide circle of extended family and friends.