In celebration of our tenth anniversary, contributors were invited to share recollections of Open Heart Forgery. We hope you enjoy their stories. To add your story, please use the submission form on the home page.
Aloha, I first discovered OHF when I first moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia over six years ago. Right away I fell in love with the publication, and it took me five years of enjoying OHF before finally submitting my first poem, which was a love letter to a secret love, and after successfully having my poem accepted by OHF, I decided to join the group for their once-a-month reading of poems. I was so nervous, but after reading my first poem in front of the group, I fell in love and became more aware of the romance of a secret language called poetry, and even though I haven’t submitted all my poems, I have been dedicated to writing more and creating my own collection, and on the occasion of course plan to submit more. As soon as possible I look forward to the next gathering to be able to read another poem. Thank you/Mahalo Open Heart Forgery for opening up more avenues and possibilities into the magical world of poetry, and giving opportunities for the creative mind to be heard.
I love Open Heart Forgery. Its name and acronym, OHF, are cool and as honest as the work it publishes. I had the good fortune to be involved in the writing scene back in the days of its first editor, Donal Power. His work blew me away, and anyone who takes on a publication to help out other writers is one of the world’s best people. Georgia Atkin, its current editor, is equally inspiring and hard-working in support of the arts. I’m sure I speak for all Open Heart Forgery writers in thanking them and everyone who makes this publication possible and puts us on the map/web, so to speak!
I first encountered OHF at my public library, and I thought it was amazing to see poetry that was local and brand new. I sent in a piece of poetry, and when I was accepted I felt so accepted. I finally found a poetry community that is thriving.
My name is Jasmine Chater, and I am a junior high English teacher living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I first started attending Open Heart Forgery launches in 2015, and began submitting poems that I wrote in my university creative writing class. I volunteered doing outreach with OHF for a year, and continued submitting poems and attending launches when I could. OHF is important because it allows us to share our voices and creative thinking out there with other Nova Scotians, and it helps foster our love of writing. It gave me the confidence to submit my work to other publications and allowed me to reflect on the uniqueness of my voice as a Lebanese Nova Scotian woman.
I came across OHF quite by accident – a fortuitous accident. And, it was perfect timing. I was in dire need of community, like-minds, and dare I say it, support in my creative pursuits. It seemed the Universe listened. The creators exhibited such benevolence and attention for those of us who came forward to contribute and in that made such a difference for so many voices who longed to be heard.
Being an active participant fostered a confidence I didn’t even know I possessed. I learned how to trust my gut, my artist, the work I was doing, and come stand beside other writers instead of straying off to the sidelines as a lonely stage-scared observer.
A little kindness and faith go a long way. That, to me, was and is a powerful thing. It is what OHF gave me and continues to all these years later. It saved me.
In 2015, I was studying at NSCC. Ms Margarita (a guest speaker) came to NSCC to tell her story. In her speech, for the first time I heard about Open Heart Forgery. Two days later, she sent me an email, and told me that the last Thursday of every month, OHF had an open-mic poetry event. She encouraged me to come and join one of these events, so in August 2015, I joined OHF.
Since then OHF has impacted my life. I enjoy having a good time with OHF. There I read my poems and listen to others’ poems joyfully.
As I understand, OHF is open to all people who live in Nova Scotia and write poems with heart, copying our lives in poetic words. OHF selected my poem “Life Needs More Poetry” to put into the new anthology celebrating its 10 year anniversary. I hope I will be part of OHF forever.
I first joined in 7th grade. It’s been an amazing experience, the people involved seem really cool, and it’s epic to see my work published!
Harry Wayne Mah
What was this Local Joe I kept hearing about in connection with poetry? A downtown pub? No. Local Jo Café & Market on Oxford St. The Left Bank Reading and the Open Heart Forgery journal. I thought I was too late to “get in on the ground floor,” but I submitted work to the journal, and was published in it. “…energize local writers from the grass roots up.” (Written on the front of every issue.) Meaning a perpetual ground floor for everyone. My favourite fact about this time is that we outgrew the venue because the number of our attendees was breaking fire regulations!
Open Heart Forgery is a forum for poets to express themselves. I’d like to think I’m part of making a positive contribution to our readers, that they find our poetry moving, entertaining, and amusing.