Tree Renews

January 3, 2019

Last year Tree Reading Series put out a call for help, and you answered. Thanks to your support and belief in Tree's contribution to Ottawa's literary community, Tree continued – and will continue in 2019 – to bring incredibly talented poets to Ottawa audiences.


GoFundMe Campaign Update

To each of you who contributed to Tree’s GoFundMe campaign in spring 2018, thank you from all of us at Tree. At a moment when Tree’s future was in doubt, your gift to Tree helped us ensure our readers continued to receive honoraria and allowed us to begin planning the 2018-2019 season. We're now trying to wrap up the campaign by fulfilling the rewards we promised to contributors of 50$ or more. On December 30, 2018, Tree sent an email to campaign contributors with information about how to claim your reward. If you did not receive this email or have questions, please let us know at


New Leaves

Recent cuts to cultural funding at the provincial level have introduced uncertainty about the future of this significant source of funding. As well, changes to Canada Council’s programs mean that Tree is operating in a space where there is significantly increased competition for grants that have traditionally been a major source of Tree’s funding. Tree needs to adapt and innovate to ensure its applications for funding stand out.


Tree’s board of directors – Ben Ladouceur (Artistic Director), Elanor Boyle-Stanley, Natalie Leduc, and Scott Lemoine – wants to continue the Tree tradition of bringing great poetry to Ottawa, while ensuring the careful use of Tree’s resources and strengthening the impact and reach of every Tree event.


To help achieve these goals, starting in January 2019, Tree will become a monthly event, occurring on the fourth Tuesday of every month. This will allow Tree’s board and volunteers to dedicate more time to the promotion of each reading, so that we draw as many people as possible to each event and show each of our featured readers the real vibrancy of Ottawa’s literary scene. It is also financially necessary, to ensure Tree can continue as long as possible in an uncertain funding environment. Effective immediately, Tree will reintroduce its pre-reading workshops, facilitated whenever possible by one of the night’s featured readers. The board believes that these workshops, suspended last year while Tree was fundraising and reorganizing, are a crucial part of Tree’s contribution to community-building and an exciting way for Tree audiences to get to know and learn from some of Tree distinguished readers.


Other familiar aspects of Tree readings will continue. The open mic will continue to give audience members the chance to share their work. Two featured authors, often one local reader and one from out of town, will continue to receive honoraria for performing on the Tree stage. And the hat will continue to be passed, allowing the Tree audience to continue to give generously in support of Tree’s mission to bring the best of Canadian poetry to Ottawa.? ?In addition to the regular monthly readings, Tree’s board is working on a couple of special events aimed at providing new opportunities for creative exchange to our audience and increasing awareness of Tree. Stay tuned for more information on these events!


Tree in 2019

We’re still confirming a few of the details and will continue to update the website and our social media channels with the latest information about what's coming up on the Tree stage, but we're excited to announce that the first half of 2019 at Tree will feature the incredible talents of Gary Geddes, Shannon Webb-Campbell, Cameron Anstee, Chuqiao Yang, Rachael Simpson, Rachel McCrum, John Barton, and many more. For full details on the lineup, see our Upcoming Readings page.


Once again, on behalf of the entire board of directors, thank you very much for your continued support of Tree Reading Series. We look forward to seeing you in 2019!


As always, if you have any questions or comments, we’re happy to hear from you at or through social media.



May 24, 2018

When Tree's board of directors launched Tree's GoFundMe campaign just over a month ago, the board knew that the goal of raising $5000 was ambitious, but was confident that Ottawa's passionate and close-knit literary community would give generously to help Tree continue presenting great poetry in Ottawa (and beyond, via our YouTube channel). Nevertheless, the response was overwhelming, both from Ottawans and from many individuals across Canada who contributed to the campaign.

As the campaign ends, the board is proud to announce that, thanks to the generosity of many donors, Tree raised $4545. The campaign met its goal of raising at least $2500 in donations of more than $25. As a result, an anonymous Tree benefactor has matched these donations, bringing the total raised to $7045.

This money allows Tree to complete the 2017-2018 season, to begin planning the 2018-2019 season, and to ensure Tree can maintain a small contingency fund for the future.

Tree's board wants to note its immense appreciation to Ottawa-based artists - Jennifer Pederson, Conyer Clayton, Nathanaël Larochette, Shery Alexander Heinis, and rob mclennan - who have donated their appearances at Tree this season to help Tree continue through spring 2018; to Tree's 2018 chapbook contest winner Adele Graf and readers from beyond the city limits for their patience and understanding as the board implemented measures to limit Tree's expenses; to the workshop coordinators who graciously agreed to postpone their contributions until a later date; and to the Tree audience, who has followed the readings to their new home at the Happy Goat Coffee Company in Hintonburg.

Last, but certainly not least, Tree's board wants to extend public and sincere thanks to each donor to the GoFundMe campaign. Your kindness and generosity has allowed Tree to continue to grow, and will ensure that Tree continues to do so in the future.

For the many donors whose contributions qualified for one of the rewards offered as a token of the board's appreciation, please note that the board is working hard to coordinate the rewards and will be in contact with you in the next few weeks to make any necessary arrangements.

If you have questions for or feedback to share with the board, or if you'd like to know more about how you can contribute to or get involved with Tree, please send Tree a message at and a board member will be in touch.

Again, thank you to each of you. Your commitment to #HelpTreeGrow has further strengthened the board's resolve to continue the Tree tradition, creating a space for sharing great Canadian writing in Ottawa.

April 15, 2018

In just six days, with the help of many supportive donors, Tree Reading Series has surpassed 50% of its fundraising goal to #HelpTreeGrow. What’s more, thanks to those donors, Tree has raised $2500 in donations of at least $25. This means that at the end of Tree’s GoFundMe campaign, an anonymous supporter will make an additional $2500 donation to Tree (matching the first $2500 in donations of at least $25).

Tree’s board of directors wants to thank you: for taking the time to share the link to the campaign on social media over the past few days; for sharing information about Tree and the campaign with your friends and family; and for your donations.

The direct result of your generosity is that Tree Reading Series will be able to continue its programming through June and to begin planning for the 2018-2019 season. That said, the board of directors has had to make some difficult decisions to make this possible.

At least for the remainder of the current season, Tree has had to limit the honoraria it offers to out-of-town readers to $125 (the League of Canadian Poets’ recommended amount for a joint reading), whereas Tree has tried in the past to offer larger honoraria when funding permitted. Noting that out-of-town readers typically incur additional expenses for travel and accommodation, the board was determined to ensure that those readers were remunerated for their appearance at Tree. Local poets scheduled for the rest of the current season have kindly agreed to donate their reading honoraria to Tree or to postpone their readings until a later date when Tree has secured adequate funding for their honoraria. The board recognizes the importance of compensating all artists for their work, and our goal is to plan a 2018-2019 season that allows Tree to meet that commitment.

Effective the beginning of April through June 2018, Tree suspended its popular pre-reading Seed Workshops. In the short-term, Tree could not continue to offer a $100 honorarium to facilitators, who typically spend several hours preparing for their workshops. These workshops – a sort of open university for poets, especially those who are newer to the craft – are a key part of Tree’s contribution to the development of poetry in Ottawa, and the board is working hard to bring them back in fall 2018.

While Tree’s board of directors are not compensated in any way for their work, Tree has traditionally offered an honorarium of $125 per quarter to the two volunteers who help manage Tree’s social media and coordinate Tree’s workshops. Those volunteers have agreed to waive the honoraria while Tree strengthens its finances. Similarly, Tree’s website designer/technician has donated his services to maintain Tree's website (typically several hundred dollars for a calendar year) for 2018.

Tree’s board is also reviewing venue costs and Tree’s funding model, to identify opportunities in the coming season to ensure Tree’s ongoing stability.

In sum, while Tree’s board has been working hard over the past few weeks to keep Tree going, there remains much work to do. As the board begins planning the 2018-2019 season, we are continuing the GoFundMe campaign to reinforce Tree’s finances and meet the overall campaign goal of $5000. Please continue to spread the word – on social media, by email, or any means, with your friends, family, and fellow poets – and help us #HelpTreeGrow.

April 11, 2018

On April 10, 2018, Tree Reading Series launched a GoFundMe campaign to strengthen Tree’s finances, while continuing operations and planning for Tree’s 2018-2019 season.

Tree’s annual general meeting on March 18, 2018, appointed a new eight-person volunteer board of directors. The new board took stock of Tree’s financial situation and concluded that, due to issues including increased costs, the timing of grant receipts, and the importance of replenishing Tree’s contingency fund, there was a need for immediate action.

While work on developing Tree's new strategic plan is ongoing, the board has already made several adjustments to the current season to reduce short-term costs, including cancelling all spring 2018 pre-reading workshops. The board will continue to provide updates on this plan as the details are confirmed.

With its GoFundMe campaign, Tree's board is appealing directly to the Ottawa and Canadian literary communities for their support to allow Tree to continue its programming over the next three months and to begin planning for the 2018-2019 season, while helping Tree prepare for the future.

Please consider sharing the link to Tree’s GoFundMe campaign on social media or by other means with anyone who might be interested in contributing. If you would prefer to make a donation offline or help in some other way, please email Tree at and a board member will be in touch.

Tree—one of Canada’s longest-running literary events

April 4, 2018

TREE’s 2018 annual general meeting on March 18 appointed a new 8-person board of directors — Dorian Bell and Jean Van Loon (co-Artistic Directors), Elanor Boyle-Stanley (Treasurer), Claire Farley (Grants Coordinator), Chris Johnson (TREE Chapbook Coordinator), Natalie Leduc, Scott Lemoine (Secretary), and Jamie MacPherson.

The new board took stock of TREE’s financial situation and concluded that, due to issues including increased costs, the timing of grant receipts, and the importance of replenishing TREE’s contingency fund, there was a need for immediate action to strengthen TREE’s finances while continuing operations and planning for TREE’s 2018-2019 season. These actions will include an Indiegogo fundraising campaign and adjustments to TREE’s near-term programming. Further information about the Indiegogo campaign will be released April 10.

TREE’s annual expenses for eighteen readings are more than $23,000, of which 60% to 75% goes directly to poets for readings and contests. Another 10% goes toward workshops. Other expenses include venue costs, insurance, creating a video library of readings on YouTube, and maintaining TREE’s website.

Most of TREE’s revenues come from city, provincial and federal grants. Only 6% comes from donations by our audience at readings.

The Board intends to continue its review of fundraising and program options, consistent with fulfilling TREE’s mandate to support the diversity of poets and poetry in Ottawa through readings, development opportunities, and a supportive poetry community. Bring your suggestions to any board member or to TREE’s email box (, and stay tuned for announcements in the coming weeks and months.

TREE—one of Canada’s longest-running literary events