Open Heart Farming poetry – Have a look!

Open Heart Farming ’16 and call for submissions for Open Heart Farming 2017!

So this is what an issue of Open Heart Farming looks like. A legal-size sheet of paper with about 20 poems. Tiny but mighty! This is the little note on the front of Open Heart Farming 2016.

Farming is a profession of hope.
~ Brian Brett

I am delighted to share these poems by Nova Scotia poets who share food and farm affection, recollections and reflections, humour, and calls to action. Open Heart Farming poetry is dedicated to our food providers and all who love to get dirt under their nails.

OHFarming 2016 Team: Georgia Atkin, Lois Brison Brown, Paul Brown, and Mary Ellen Sullivan.

Dedicated to those who dream of the day when there will be food for all.

Mary Ellen Sullivan
Open Heart Farming Poetry Harvester

Get a taste of OHFarm’16 here:

Open Heart Farming 2016

Open Heart Farming poet Jane Marshall at launch of Open Heart Farming 2016, Halifax Central Library.

Open Heart Farming 2017 – Call for submissions!

Mary Ellen Sullivan holding painting by Open Heart Farming poet Scot Jamieson
Fall in love with the poetry of the land! ~ Mary Ellen Sullivan

I’d like to invite you to participate in my little poetry project, Open Heart Farming  – food and farming themed poetry by residents of Nova Scotia. This year we’ll be publishing the sixth annual issue of Open Heart Farming. I’ll be sharing tales about Open Heart Farming in future posts.

Open Heart Farming Poetry 2017: Call For Submissions.

Fall in love with the poetry of the land! Residents of Nova Scotia are invited to submit original poems, verses, or rhymes about farming or food for the sixth annual issue of Open Heart Farming.

Guidelines: We ask that poems not exceed 28 lines long (not including title and your byline) and 43 letters wide. This is due to the formatting of the issue and allows us to publish approximately 20 poems. We can sometimes include slightly larger poems and love little ones like haiku.  Visit  to see previous issues and learn more about Open Heart Farming poetry.

Please include one or two paragraphs about yourself, your relationship to farming and/or food, what inspired your poem, and where you live in Nova Scotia.  Submit up to three poems to

Visit  to see previous issues and learn more about Open Heart Farming poetry.

Deadline for submissionsApril 30, 2017.


Literary treats at Atlantic News, Halifax, NS







Triple sweet treat spotted at Atlantic News. Treat your sweetie this Valentine’s Day to a free copy of Open Heart Forgery and Open Heart Farming poetry, or a creatively-priced copy of my My Farm Whispers poetry chapbooks. Three publications and a store with heart ❤️ !

You can savour issues of Open Heart Forgery and Open Heart Farming at and







Check out Atlantic News at

PS This is a little promo of these three publications that are dear to my heart. Stay tuned for more tales!

Inspiration before the storm!





View from Halifax Central Library, NS.                 A cathedral of a library! 


Feb 9/17

At Halifax Central Library, hoping to find inspiration to write a poem… and look what I found!







Wander up to the 4th floor Reference Section and check out Poet’s Market 2017, hot off the press. Found some classic books, too. Canadian Writer’s Market 2013 with lots of info on markets for your writing (check out the publications’ current issues and website so you have the latest info on what they’re looking for. They may even pay.) The Canadian Writer’s Guide 13th Edition is a little geriatric, having been published in ‘03, but it contains “Inspiration”, and “Poetry & Lyrics” chapters and that makes me happy. See, I did find inspiration!

Think I’ll wander down the road and buy a literary journal at Atlantic News. Found out about it in Poet’s Market 2017. It sort of sounded up my alley and I may even submit some poems to it.

Then I think I’ll take the big step up Spring Garden Rd. to the lovely independent, Bookmark Bookstore, and order a copy of Poet’s Market 2017. A bit pricey, but hay, may make my investment back.

Better sign off, they just announced that the Library will close at 5 due to a storm rolling in. The good news is that shoveling snow is often when a great line comes to mind.

Happy inspirations and exertions.

Dawn Poems – Janet Parker Vaughan on publishing a collection of poetry

I have an interest in independently publishing collections of poetry. It has been a great adventure putting together my poetry chapbook, My Farm Whispers, and working with my daughter Evelyn Stewart who designed by. When it wasn’t picked up by a press that I had submitted it to I thought, heck, I’ve done all this work so I’ll publish it myself! I’ve been happy with the sales, and have copies on consignment in several independent bookstores in Nova Scotia. It’s allowed me to raise money to support the education of my young friends at Himalayan Hope in West Bengal, India.

It’s been particularly rewarding to give copies to family members who share my memories of growing up on our farm.

I have lots of tales to tell you about My Farm Whispers and my friends in India, but today I want to tell you about my friend Janet Parker Vaughan’s writing practice and her poetry collections, Dawn Poems.

Janet shared her experience:

“I have in the past year or so published three small volumes of Dawn Poems.  

 A few years ago I started getting up early in the morning with the idea of dedicating the first hour of the day to writing a poem. I took the first image or line that came to me as a starting point.  When I looked back, I found I had over three hundred poems, prayers and poetic statements, most of which I had forgotten I’d written. With the wonderful Sandra Barry’s evaluation and encouragement, I thematically arranged them into four volumes. I self-published them and over time have given them away to family and friends. 

 Our childhood farms forever haunt us.  The outer landscape through which we moved and had our being became over time Inner Landscape, a place of infinite reflection. Weren’t we lucky!”

Yes, I feel lucky and very blessed to have had the experience of growing up on a farm with all its inspirations. Hope you’ll be inspired to put together your own collection of poems.

Thanks, Janet, for sharing this.

(Quote used with permission.)

“Hairy Melon?”


Home on the Sullivan farm. From left – Dad with Bill, Pat, Tim, Mom holding Irene, Mary Ellen* and Anne.

*Otherwise known as ME, Mel, and Hairy Melon.

Hi there!

My name is Mary Ellen Sullivan, but when I was a kid on our farm my brother Tim gave me the nickname  Hairy Melon.

I like that nickname, Hairy Melon. It elicits fond childhood memories. It suggests playfulness, which I like to practice when I write poetry and prose, and post on my blog. And it suggests something very dear to me – food!

I must warn you that I get pretty serious at times. I have even been know to be political. But overall, I hope you’re up for a fun journey through my blog posts.

Welcome to my writing life!

Mary Ellen

*Otherwise known as ME, Mel, and Hairy Melon.


About Me

Hi I’m Mary Ellen Sullivan and I am excited to set up my first Word Press blog. Hope you’ll enjoy traveling with me as I figure this out.

I’ve been writing poetry since I was a pip-squeak. I write a lot about growing up on my childhood farm, food and farming issues, and just about everything. Lately I’ve been writing more prose and a couple of articles. I plan to share them to you in later posts.

I’ll be telling you about a little poetry project I started called Open Heart Farming. For the past 5 years I’ve put together an annual issue of Open Heart Farming poetry. The poems are by Nova Scotian poets on the themes of food and farming. And fun! Visit the issues and explore Open Heart Farming at

I’ve also independently published a collection of my poems, My Farm Whispers, designed by my daughter Evelyn Stewart.

Now to get a little serious, here’s a more formal literary bio:

Mary Ellen Sullivan grew up on a farm outside Guelph, Ontario and now lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Much of her writing is inspired by her love for her childhood farm.  Her poetry and prose has been published in the Ecology Action Centre’s newsletter Ecology and Action, Understorey Magazine, Rural Delivery Magazine, Rhubarb, the anthology In the Company of Animals: Stories of Extraordinary Encounters, Canadian Jesuits International Mission News and a poetry chapbook, My Farm Whispers. She won the 2012 Elora Writers Festival for poetry and the 2014 Atlantic Writers Competition for poetry.

Mary Ellen is the proud poetry harvester for Open Heart Farming Poetry, an annual collection of farm and food-centric poems by Nova Scotia poets, and writes the Open Heart Farming blog.  

My short story, “Raising Nellie”, was published in In the Company of Animals.

Looking forward to chatting with you.