Marilyn Lerch in Parrsboro

Marilyn Lerch is an American-born Canadian poet, teacher, and activist.  You can meet Marilyn, hear her poetry, and get your books signed at Main & Station’s Nonesuch Café on Friday, 29 November, 2019 beginning at 7pm.

Marilyn Lerch Author Photo


Born in 1936 in East Chicago, Indiana, she is the author of five volumes of poetry, served as Sackville Poet Laureate from 2014 through 2018, and was president of the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick from 2006 to 2010.


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that_we_have_lived_at_all_cover_2x“Marilyn Lerch defines insight, perception. She moves through the world, feet sensing ground, eyes witnessing all, and then finding what is endless reward, i.e. the proverb: “life not to be questioned, but borne”; “mortality the hardest truth to live with”…. In every line, a haiku lurks; in every poem, there’s radical instruction: “refuse any form of slavery … /perform acts that feel right and lovely in themselves, /create profound, poignant, terrifyingly beautiful art….” With the “moon my essential companion” and “coming to serenity in the flow” of tides and light and love, Lerch is as sensitive as Dylan Thomas, but as clear-eyed as Elizabeth Bishop. A trustworthy inner voice cupped gently by paper.”

–George Elliott Clarke
7th Parliamentary Poet Laureate (2016-17)

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Marilyn has degrees from Indiana University and the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, and taught high school English in Washington, D.C., from 1967 to 1995. She has long been active in cultural movements devoted to social justice and environmental protection. She helps to facilitate PFLAG (Sackville–Amherst Chapter) and is a member of the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Coalition.

Since moving to Sackville, NB in 1996 Marilyn has also formed the Sackville Screen Shot 2019-11-05 at 9.46.30 AMWriters’ Group and the Roving Poets; taught creative writing at Westmorland, Springhill and Dorchester prisons; played an instrumental role in organizing Sackville’s annual Poetry Month events; offered several workshops in Tantramar schools; hosted Poetry Reading events throughout the Town; written and read many original works at Sackville events; and is teaching Memoir with the Tantramar Senior College.  She lives with her partner Janet.

To learn more about Marilyn Lerch and read or hear some of her poems, see here  and here and here


Lambs & Llamas, Ewes & Me (2001)
Moon Loves Its Light (2004)
Witness and Resist (2008)
The Physics of Allowable Sway (2013)                                                                                That We Have Lived at All (2018)

Making a Difference, Toute la difference: A Celebration of the 3M Teaching Fellowship (Editor, 2005)
Breaking the Word Barrier: Stories of Adults Learning to Read (Co-editor, 2009)

Musical Settings of her Poetry
We Move Homeward (Alasdair MacLean, 1998)
The Whole is Enough to Drive You Crazy (W.L. Altman, 2002)
We Move Homeward (Lloyd Burritt, 2011)
Moon Loves Its Light (Lloyd Burritt, 2011)
Triptych (Lloyd Burritt: Canadian premiere, 2013; American premiere, 2014)
Trees on the Edge (Nicholas Piper, 2014)


Rae Marie Taylor, Post-Residency Thoughts

It was a pleasure to have Rae Marie Taylor with us for a Nonesuch Residency during the month of September. Despite weather disruptions Rae gave two outdoor poetry readings and managed to accomplish much of what she hoped. Below is her brief summary of the residency and what she took from it…

First BEach BeginningIn spite of Hurricane Dorian and being evacuated for a week (from cliffside cabin to apartment in town), the time at Main & Station for the research for my long-term multi-disciplinary project “Steady Against the Absurd. Kinship at the Core” was wonderfully rich!

First Beach Reading. Kinship in a Broken WorldThe beaches of the Bay of Fundy offered themselves as perfect sites for two readings, the first on First Beach then on Partridge Island beach where the intention of us finding kinship with the earth and each other was nourished. Many Thanks to all who walked with me for the performance! And to Judith for the video!

Partridge Island AFTER reading

PHOTO: Allen Shepherd

Being evacuated gave unexpected extra time to the development of Parts 2 and 3 of the poetry scenario, through simply writing and two wonderful interviews with Parrsboro women whose work gives them insight into both violence, healing and kinship between men and women.

GD Partridge Island reading

PHOTO: Allen Shepherd

Warm thanks for their willingness to share their thoughts.


From its inception I have seen this scenario accompanied by an installation.

The Fundy Geological Museum, the Carboniferous cliffs near Parrsboro, as well as Joggins Cliffs and Judith and Harvey’s Black Rock beach were all perfect – at low tide of course!! – for my intended study of fossils and documenting them for material for an installation in process that will create a timeless “place” for the poetry scenario’s performance in exhibit settings. On horseback with Bill Gilbert or on foot, the upending of the earth, fossilized raindrops and ripples, cyanobacteria fossils (the first bacteria on the earth), and a dragonfly fossil are all powerfully inspiring material!

Seaweed Splash Writing and Research materials

Another research focus was gathering natural materials which have now found there way to my studio in Montreal: dulse, tidal grasses, wild paper, kelp, and lichen and bark from Shoreline Spruce broken by the hurricane.

Thomas Cove_Although not initially a focus for the project, the highest tides in the world in the Bay of Fundy never escape notice! Meeting with Sandra Currie at FORCE, (a center for harnessing tidal energies for clean energy), was wonderfully valuable for deepening my grasp of our planet’s rotations, and our possibilities.

All this of course with peace, lots of thinking, fun in and out of the studio, and daily amazement, alone or with the welcoming people at Main & Station and in Parrsboro.

Pietà (asemblé)


Then there was, the incredible density of stars at night.. dew in the sun, the daily presence of heron, eagles and raven…more than a little bit of wild that strengthened my rapport with a Canadian land.  And finally, all’s well that ends well, the satisfaction that my Raku sculpture “Pietà, ” has found a permanent outdoor home with Main & Station.