Tribute to Blossom Thom (1967-2024)

May comfort and joy be y(our) cradle
—Blossom Thom

Blossom Thom, at Montréal Serai’s 32nd anniversary event in 2019 (screenshot from Serai’s YouTube video)

We are very saddened to lose Blossom Thom, a beloved poet, colleague and friend, who died on April 16 from a fast-moving form of cancer. Blossom was very dear to us at Montréal Serai, and she contributed many of her own iridescent poems reflecting on history, love and resilience, as well as a sensitive review of Lisa Bird-Wilson’s poems about the unnamed children in residential schools (“What We Remember: Poetry that Reframes History”). 

Blossom was always there to help us celebrate, open our minds and hearts, and deepen our ties of solidarity. 

Blossom Thom, Montréal Serai’s 32nd-anniversary event, Montréal, June 21, 2019

Blossom’s poems “offer a lesson in unravelling history.” (Rana Bose, editorial, April 2021)

Auntie Ida’s Thanksgiving Blessing

My people are a beautiful
people. We are still here despite

your best efforts. Hear the echo
of our experience.

Our truth grounds us. Our roots
dig deep, searching for magma to

fuel our warmth or to burn those
who expect us to accept their

outdated stance of ignorance.
Guardians of amber, our

ability to accept what
is while creating what will be

proof of our integrity.
My people are a beautiful

people and we know our place
is where we choose it to be.

From “Echo of Experience,” April 10, 2021, Montréal Serai

Echoes of History

Dark skies offer favorable omens. Earth grows
Moist to green as luck hopes to live. Sorrows melt in-
To slush, coffee-coloured tinctures to harden your
Response to pain. In time your armour becomes too
Heavy. Not a sign of weakness, but one of faith.
Echoes of history stain our days. We wait,
Gold dust coats our throats, water’s wasted in wine.

From “The Garden of Dutiful Women,” March 31, 2020, Montréal Serai

Blossom was close to other dear ones whom we lost in the past year, including our beloved editor Rana Bose and our friend Ian Ferrier, a fellow poet and musician. In personal email correspondence back in September 2022, Rana wrote to Blossom and Ian and Serai editors about the following encounter.

Rana: Today as I was stepping away from the Cedars cancer centre, something happened… I heard a firm voice calling me from behind. I was trudging along on my cane and turned around toute suite. And it was Ian in a wheelchair. I felt miserable that I had not made it to him at the Villa Medica. But to me it was… a connection. I love him… a large brain op… and there he was… He had not yet started reading my book… but someone next to him said she was enjoying it… He was smiling… We must survive these times and the battle against all “Empires.”

Ian: Such a fine moment with you Rana! In those many afternoons on Monkland Avenue, we appear to have found the best in each other.

Blossom:  Oh, it’s so good to hear from you all! May comfort and joy be (y)our cradle this weekend. 
Warm wishes,

We carry them in our hearts. It seems only fitting to let Blossom have the last word and share her thoughts on love.

Stardust and Moonlight: A Love Poem

Beaches built of melted
Sun. Iridescent air
Lavender thoughts sprinkle
Yearning on sun-whipped skin
Oceans shout to the shore,
“I will sing to you of love.”
Waves recede with a kiss.

From “The Garden of Dutiful Women,” March 31, 2020, Montréal Serai

Our heartfelt condolences to Blossom’s family, friends and colleagues – all who love her and whose lives have been touched by her.

The team at Montréal Serai

Jody Freeman is senior editor at Montréal Serai.

Blossom Thom was a poet, an educator, an editor (most recently Fiction Editor at Baraka Books), and co-host of Lectures Logos Readings, and she served from 2018 to 2020 on the QWF Board of Directors.

Blossom’s book #HashtagRelief was published by Gaspereau Press in 2017, and her poetry has appeared in The Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry; Writings: The Anthology of Montreal Writers; the Ampersand & la Perluète (2012), and online in BareBack Magazine (2012). A translation of one of her poems (into Spanish, by Dr. Martha Ruben) appeared in Generación Abierta.

Blossom started life in Guyana. She immigrated with her family to Waterloo, Ontario, where she spent her childhood. Blossom earned an Honours B.A. in Religious Studies from McMaster University (1991) before returning to Waterloo to work with developmentally delayed adults. Her heart led her to Montréal, Québec, where she earned a Certificate in Journalism from Concordia University’s Centre for Continuing Education (1999). She completed a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at the National University in San Diego, CA (2017). Website • Facebook • Twitter • LinkedIn