The Ontario Poetry Society
~ Roy Adams ~

About TOPS










Ted Plantos Dedication






A university drop-out at 18, Roy Adams, who grew up in Philadelphia, Pa, reconsidered his future and decided to become a writer. What could be simpler: just make stuff up? Taking as models Chekhov, De Maupassant, Lafcadio Hearn and Nathanael West he scribbled ersatz effigies of short stories resulting in a stack of rejection slips. By the time he was twenty, he was a total flop.

Just before being drafted, he joined the U.S. Army, became a paratrooper and acquired a black belt in Tae Kwan Do. After his discharge he went to Penn State where, with the help of his university educated wife and knowing he was in lastchanceville, he turned it around and finished first in his class.

After a brief stint in New York City, he did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin studying International and Comparative Industrial Relations. After completing his dissertation research in England and Sweden, he accepted a position at McMaster University where he stayed for 24 years reaching the level of full professor. During those years he lived for short periods in nine other countries and lectured in over 20. He took an early retirement package in 1997, but didn't retire, of course.

In subsequent years, he wrote columns for the Hamilton Spectator, rabble.ca, Straight Goods and International Union Rights and contributed articles to several other periodical publications such as Our Times, Canadian Dimension, the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail. He was also the NDP's candidate for MPP in 2003 from Hamilton West, and founded the Hamilton Civic Coalition, a group of community leaders working for the city's improvement. He continued to write professionally and in 2009/2010 was appointed Sallows Chair of Human Rights at the University of Saskatchewan. His work on labour rights as human rights was cited several times by the Supreme Court of Canada and he was awarded outstanding achievement awards from professional associations in both Canada and the United States.

After early retirement, he also signed on for various creative writing workshops, sat in on courses and consulted piles of self-help books. He made only halting progress towards becoming a man of letters until he took up poetry. His first poem worth mentioning - "Getting Through" - was published in Tower Poetry in 2014. Since then he has published in many lit mags including work in Vallum, Ascent Aspirations, Feathertale, Halcyon Days, Rats Ass Review, Canadian Stories, Eunoia Review, The Curious Element, Portside.org, The Fiddlehead and Hamilton Arts and Letters.

He has won awards in the William Henry Drummond Poetry Competition, the James McIntyre Poetry Competition, the annual poetry contest of the Niagara Branch of the Canadian Authors Association, and the Open Heart competition of The Ontario Poetry Society. He had the featured post poem for Raw Dog Press in March, 2017 and won Typishly Literary Journal's Creative Challenge #16 in 2018. He has attended poetry gatherings, readings and workshops in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico and is Tower Poetry Society's Newsletter Editor and Archivist and Manager of the TOPS Hamilton Branch. He figures that he has put in about half of the 10,000 hours necessary to get good at anything and so has another five years or so to go before reaching his level of literary incompetence.