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“Please enjoy this excerpt from my new book “Waterfalls of Words.” It is essentially my welcoming you into engagement with my much-beloved world of creative expression, joy, and humour.”



Nancy Frankel is a modern day Renaissance woman and visionary.

Nancy continually reinvents and reasserts herself, with her heart as her compass, spiritual intuition as her personal coach, her mind as her steadfast anchor, and humour as her cherished cohort.

Viewing each day as a precious gift to graciously and gratefully unwrap, she has defied the odds more times than can be counted.  Born with a profound vision impairment that required multiple surgeries from the time she was eighteen months old, Nancy had early preparation for dealing with life’s knocks. Remarkably, she can speak in depth about that experience, as her memory stems back to that formative and profoundly life-changing time.

Nancy refuses to allow the tumultuous waters of these current times to deny her the joy and hopefulness that define her modus vivendi.  A self-proclaimed optimist, she will often unabashedly assert: “As it turns out, wearing rose-coloured glasses really is a good idea!”

Her embracing of wonderment in no way hinders the seriousness and deliberateness of her pursuits. Feeling intensely called to action on behalf of our world, her current written and visual work speak to the plight and rights of children, women, and men worldwide, the ravages of climate change, the scourge of cyber bullying, and beyond.

It is virtually impossible to pigeon hole or categorize Nancy, but if you ask her what she does best, she will likely tell you that she is an highly experienced and steadfast inhaler of life and love.  As far as specifics, her myriad entrepreneurial, academic, and creative work is as varied as it is vast.

She is an author, speaker, poet, visual artist, designer, philosopher of ethics, spiritual sensitive, feminist, and more. Nancy moves easily from involvement in the world of high fashion to the hallowed halls of academia.  Too, whether canoeing on a serene lake in Ontario, climbing during an archeological trek through the ruins of the Southwest U.S., acting in Canadian films, doing a stint in a TV pilot, or exhibiting in a solo art show, two things are always evident—Nancy’s passion and zest for life and her unequivocal integrity.

“My ongoing love affair with and respect for words flowed forth and revealed itself unabashedly in the form of my poem “Flowing Friend”. As we live, so too, words live with and within us. Yes, words live!!! Because of their extreme power and vitality, words must be treated with the utmost care and wisdom. If we teach our children to speak and write and express respectfully and creatively, they will enrich our world and imbue it with beauty and wonderment. If, as adults, we use words for vehicles of goodness—for loving, caring, thoughtful, expansive purposes, we will feed our spirits healthfully and benefit all of existence beyond measure.”

Flowing Friend

I am moved
and awed
through me
wet with time
they deftly dodge
my ribcage
and my moods

they are my
persistent river
flowing meaning
and from inside
this midlife shell
my heart climbs
kneels down
so low
wake up woman
wake up lady
you have
so much left
my mate
to hidden
that rarely bares
its cheek

songs I sing
in whispers

all with words
I think
it lays
the hot-rock
of the earth

and come the words
and come the words
come signals
light snaps
so many words
free to speak
to hear
to weep
to seek with flowers

words to seek the sun

About the Book

“Waterfalls of Words” is an unabashed honouring of words, specifically poetry, and a passionate love note to life itself. Nancy’s poetry, short stories, philosophical ponderings, spiritual sharing, and visual offerings of her paintings and objects and images of meaning, present the reader with a fluid, cohesive experience that is both spirit-building and intellectually provocative.

“Waterfalls of Words” is intended to warm our hearts, enliven our minds, and soothe our spirits, as we attempt to navigate the tumultuous waves of this unprecedented period in human history. Ultimately, “Waterfalls of Words” bears raw and uncensored testimony to the power and triumph of the human spirit—a spirit determinedly guided by compassion, humility, gratitude, and love.

A pathway was cleared for the creation of this book, when Nancy became acquainted with Pulitzer Prize winner Carol Shields in the late nineties. Carol’s support was profoundly important to her as she formally embarked on her poetry career.  Shields fully applauded her writing and while deeming it wonderful, stated that she could not help but hear lines of what she called Nancy’s important work repeatedly running through her mind.

Having had the good fortune of meeting and taking a workshop with another one of her most beloved authors, Governor General and multiple award-winning Canadian writer Jane Urquhart, Nancy was told that her poetry’s “to the core” authenticity and accessible yet profound beauty, reminded Jane of the work of Emily Dickenson, one of the greatest poets of all time.

“One of the most pressing and worthwhile enterprises of my life has been my ongoing effort to shine powerful and reflective light upon the invaluable attributes and offerings of females. We must never allow our sisters of this earth to be relegated to positions of subservience, debasement, disenfranchisement, and disrespect.  We much each work determinedly to allow female voices of wisdom, joy, compassion, purposefulness, gratitude, and love, to echo unbridled from every corner of our precious world.

Please enjoy the following excerpt from my poem “Sisterhood” in “Waterfalls of Words”.

If we have been fortunate enough to live a long life peppered with joyful times, we may reflect upon and reminisce about moments when our hearts were set aflutter. I well remember the excitement I felt upon awakening each day when I was a young girl. I was particularly enthused when it was summertime and I could spend countless hours outdoors, simply playing and literally frolicking within my daily moments.

“Sweet Milk Dreams” is indeed an unguarded reminiscence of the sweetness of youth. It is also a gentle reminder that we must never abandon our sense of wonder, but rather we must encourage our spirits to continue to rejoice in the freshness of being that each new day so freely provides. Yes, the blessing of a new day offers myriad possibilities, and within the newly birthed moments of the early dawn, we may uncover our deepest desires, reveal our dearest hopes, and set our most heartfelt dreams ablaze with purpose.

Sweet Milk Dreams

Some time
in the morning
when the grass
is still
wet with sleep
and salt-shaker
sprinkled with

I will wake again

my soul
breathing in that
when days were
sweet milk dreams

just for that
when morning light
winked coyly
at me
then grinned

just for that moment
my heart
toward today

I will wake

just for that moment
of sweet milk dreams

Modern day philosopher

As a modern day philosopher, Nancy navigates the world with sincerity and wisdom as her partners, taking purposeful action whenever and wherever she sees the need.

Nancy can be consulted on a wide range of topics as she continuously seeks to learn, investigate, and provide plausible solutions to what ails our human race. Instead of wearing a long white robe and wandering in the Agora like her pre-Socratic and early Greek “mentors” Parmenides, Heraclitus, Plato, and Aristotle, the philosophers of yore, Nancy dons high fashion apparel and a wide smile.

As far as her intellectual career, Nancy’s lifelong fascination and involvement with philosophy intensely began in high school when she studied Plato. Upon reading the “Allegory of the Cave”, Nancy knew that she had found her intellectual home, by virtue of the open-ended, all-encompassing scope of the discipline of “philosophia”.

Her academic pursuit of philosophy was furthered and solidified when she taught her first philosophy class in “Existentialism and Phenomenology” at the age of 18.  Her then professor and now longtime friend, Dr. Graeme Nicholson, asked her to take over his class when he was called away during one of his lectures.  Laying claim to his blackboard while summoning lioness courage, Nancy’s passion for teaching and sharing her deepest ponderings, entwined themselves within her very being.

After having completed a specialist degree in Philosophy, in 2001 Nancy was invited to engage in graduate studies at the Center for the Study of Religion, U of T.  Spiritual Transformation became her focus and her published work is currently in the Robarts Library.  Nancy has lectured on a variety of fascinating topics ranging from environmental concerns to personal and religious identity, parapsychology, feminism, and beyond.  She has participated in symposia at both the University of Toronto and academic institutions in the U.S.

Throughout her involvement in academics, Nancy studied and shared thought exchange with some of the finest philosophers and most influential scholars of the 20th and 21st Century—Dr’s. James Wheatley, George Edison, Graeme Nicholson, Emile Fackenheim, David Novak, Peter Richardson, Brian Pronger, and Brian Stock. Many of these thinkers have been both her academic champions and treasured teachers.  Some have become beloved friends.

While at University of Toronto, Nancy fought tirelessly to have a document drafted in her department intended to protect students from sexual harassment.  Not surprisingly she considers this one of her most important contributions to academia.

“Although I have had the honour of engaging in philosophical investigation that covers everything from pre-Socratic thought to early Christian thought, Rationalism and Empiricism, 19th Century German Thought, Modern Jewish Thought, and Postmodernism, the mainstay of my work for the good part of the last 20 years has been the interface between technological advancement and the human condition. We modern humans of the 21st. Century have failed to keep pace spiritually with our technological advancements. Through years of thoughtful and scrupulous investigation I have come to the unshakeable conclusion that a worldwide spiritual malaise cries out from near and far. We must re-calibrate our intentions, hopes, dreams, and desires, in an effort to enhance our individual lives and the lives of others.  Focus upon what is ultimately of true human value and non-negotiable necessity for our very sustenance and inner peacefulness, can only enhance life for all. Simple pleasures and a gentle way of being are in the final analysis the only road to a fulfilling and joyful existence.

Please enjoy and reflect upon this excerpt from my poem “The Loon and Commercial Crap Shots”. It is a stark rendering of our current preoccupation with technology and the manner in which it detaches us from our essential selves and often blinds us to the persistent and resplendent beauty of our healing, soul-enriching natural kingdom.”

“My poem featured below, “Horse Sense”, is my terse rendering of the importance of authenticity with respect to all human endeavour and development. Whether we are attempting to expand and grow our spirits, our interpersonal relationships, or our businesses, we must be authentically who we are.  Simply put, we must discard the veiling of our true selves. Only then can we freely offer the remarkable gifts that we each possess.

Why, I often ask rhetorically, can we not simply “BE” who we truly are—human beings who are both fallible and magnificent creatures? All other animals who are blessed with life upon this glorious earth, behave in a natural fashion indigenous to themselves. Only we humans get tangled in our own being—ness!

I have always adored horses and I have had the privilege of riding through breathtaking landscapes while on horseback. One day when I was riding, I could not help but marvel at both the majesty and the seamless way of being of the horse whose back I rode upon. He moved with a gracefulness that was nothing short of awe-inspiring. When he stopped to relieve himself, he showed no hesitation and did so with complete ease. He certainly did not care a whit about what I thought about his sudden need to empty himself!  He then resumed trotting along with his head held high with dignity. My horse had no need to prove anything as he simply accepted himself as the divine creature that he was.

We can each learn invaluable lessons by simply observing the unclouded, unselfconscious behaviours of the creatures with whom we share our precious planet. I can only imagine the possibilities for all, if we did not get bogged down in petty matters, attempt to hide our all too common frailties, and instead chose to navigate our lives with decided purpose yet lack of embarrassment about the weaknesses and sensitivities that truly unite us all.

A chuckle about our human foibles is a fine antidote for the useless preoccupation with seeking perfection. Perfection is the antithesis to humanness. Let us simply do our very best!”

Horse Sense

Splendid clients of
capable of
we humans can’t
head flung
there paused
an ethereal
who relieved himself

Area of the arts

Nancy’s involvement in the area of the arts looms as large as her academic pursuits.

From the time she was a young child, Nancy delighted in creating artistic offerings. Artists of renown and excellent repute welcomingly appreciated her work and encouraged her to continue to hone her gifts.

When Nancy was 15 she studied at Brody School of Music, where she was considered a young protégé to be groomed for the opera world.  At 16 she was asked to illustrate for Toronto Life magazine.  She then went on to study at innovative and avant-garde Three Schools of Art, and at 17 she was chosen to study and create a piece of art with well-known Canadian artist Anthony Thorn.  Nancy appreciatively credits Thorn with teaching her the remarkable chiaroscuro, or light within technique of Rembrandt.

From 1980-1984, Nancy worked as the primary designer of jewellery and accessories for Holt Renfrew, supplying them wares for stores nationwide.  Her work has been featured in Flare magazine, the Globe and Mail newspaper, and Toronto Life publications.  She also created work for Eaton’s across Canada, Harridges (a top retailer in the eighties), Hazelton lanes boutiques, and more.  Her private clientele have enjoyed her one-of-a-kind creations for 30 plus years.

While working as a fashion-oriented designer, Nancy engaged painstakingly with Canada Customs with respect to the importing of specific raw materials.  She fought to institute a new law that allowed Canadian jewellery designers to import lucite and other previously restricted materials to Canada.  This swung open the door to greater creativity and productivity for Canadian talent for the last 35 years.

Nancy also studied dance with renowned New York City Ballet dance teacher and choreographer Shula Saltzman and esteemed vocal coach Gloria Ferrer.  In truth, Nancy has studied everything from Chinese Brush-Painting to quilting, pottery-making, dressmaking, and beyond.

Just this year, Nancy completed the design of her husband’s new office.  With the notion of it being a “soul space” of business, she adorned its walls with paintings of her own creation, and ensured that there was the free flow of energy and joy from room to room by virtue of glass walls that let allow light to filter in from all vantage points.  This office serves as a reminder of the importance of dwelling in soul-enriching spaces, whether they are for home or business use.

“It is commonly assumed that being an artist is easier than being, for example,
a doctor, a lawyer, a technology expert, a teacher, a dentist, a cashier, a nanny, or a scientist. Yes, being a creator of various sorts is indeed thrilling. Yet, despite its obvious plusses, being an artist—a painter, sculptor, writer, dancer, designer, musician, and the like, does not pave the way for smooth and continuous roads of fluid expression and unimpeded joy.

We who are moved to create on a continuous basis, must accept that our journey will meet elation and exasperation, excitement and disappointment, hopefulness and despair, joyfulness and frustration, satisfaction and regret. Most notable is the fact that those of us who are artists in our souls, are moved to create almost as strongly as we are moved to breathe and eat. The very survival of our spirits necessitates this. In many ways, being an artist is non-negotiable.

The solitariness, therefore, that often accompanies artistic creation, must be supported by self-confidence, perseverance, and self-motivation. As well, the open-endedness of artistic possibilities must be met with both patience and profound focus. Would I choose to be anything other than an artistic creator? No. I adore being an artist. Creating feeds my soul, lifts and soothes my spirit, and allows me to offer our world the fruits of the talents with which I have been graced. Gratitude and love are indeed the joint motivators and sustainers of my creative life.

“Larva Urges” featured below, speaks candidly about my creative experience as an artist.”


It’s exhausting
being an artist
and I suspect
that being
a pure
isn’t all that

thrilling it is
to greet
with a profound
and relief

the emergence of
a newly created

acrylic slashes
must do
but oh,
that larva stage
so trying
so enclosed

then rawly
is the

this power
which urges a
as determinedly
as the need to

Holocaust study

One of Nancy’s most personal and pressing interests is Holocaust study. As a part-time educator at the AGO and other educational institutions, she worked with students and enlightened them regarding the art created during the infamous Holocaust period of World War II.

“Given the recent, blatant revealing of rampant anti-semitism and racism in the United States, Canada, and worldwide, I am experiencing an intense imperative to expose the ugliness and unfounded hatred that fuels such ideologies.”

“This poem is a reckoning of sorts with the disturbing and ever-uncomfortable topic of romantic love hijacked by abuse. When we are in love, we do in fact operate in a zone that only lovers seem to comprehend. At the height of a romantic love period, we seem to inhabit a realm of existence that is more intense, yet more playful and exciting than usual. All experience is heightened.

When such times take a treacherous turn for the worse due to abuse being mixed into the equation, we enter into a personal space akin to a war zone. Initially hypnotized by the spell of love, we cannot easily come to terms with the experience of abuse. We will, in fact, often attempt to convince ourselves that things are not nearly as bad as they truly are, and that everything will get better if we are simply patient, understanding, and loving. This is never the case with abuse. It is as unrepentant, unmanageable, and as devastating as war.

When I was growing up, I was acutely aware of my father having been a soldier battling the Nazi regime in World War II. This razor-sharp knowledge made me desperately vigilant about what I would openly share about the reality of my living in a Jewish, albeit modern, household. I held an intense fear of being harmed by those who were capable of releasing unbridled ugliness.

This did not make me at all timid, but rather brought my inner courage and a robust sense of determination to the forefront of my existence. Yes, I learned to be street smart and protect myself, very early in life. By the time I was five years old, I felt that I could fight for what was fair and right, and by the time I was eight, I could navigate the bus and subway systems in my city with what I now view as surprising aplomb. What I did not anticipate was being blindsided by unhealthy love experiences, that threatened my well-being in insidious, ultimately dangerous ways. I truly experienced an inner warring with my emotions unlike anything I had ever known.

When I fell in love for the second time (the first time was with my husband of 42 years!), my naïve and tender heart unwittingly reached out for a young man who did not possess qualities that would enhance my life and honour my gentle way of being. He thoughtlessly snatched my innocence away from me and bound it in confusion and self-doubt. When I was somewhat older, yet still young, I had another relationship where abuse unexpectedly and ferociously reared its head. Armed with my feistiness and a resilience that I am certain was buoyed by heavenly support, I moved on to the beauty-filled life I now experience.

Throughout my life I have often wondered how and why I made some of the choices I did. Living happily now in my current life, I shudder at some of what befell me in my earlier days. I am so very thankful for what I have been able to overcome.

We must always be thoughtful and aware with respect to our well-being. We must honour our spirits, our bodies, and our lives, by seeing the inherent value we hold as human beings. We must never allow ourselves to be torn asunder in the manner that human beings are helplessly and unwillingly ripped apart during times of full-blown war.

My poem “War Spoils” is a revealing of the complex emotions that wrap themselves around our tender hearts and weave themselves unrestrainedly within the very sinews of our being when we experience abuse. Is there hope beyond the devastation of human abuse?
Yes indeed. There is always hope.

War Spoils

Barbed wire
has scared me
to death
ever since
I discovered
a gun
named Max
in my father’s

it belonged to the
who tried to blow
his teenage head

and then it lived with us

the Holocaust was
onto me
somewhere amidst
the final
one restless sperm
and one
daring egg

so it does not
surprise me
that I have
too many Heathcliffs
in this life

the first
stained my
an inappropriate
a shade
devoid of the
innocence and
inner light
I refused to

the other
stroked my
with such exquisite
I walked
as if
and slept
as if

within his toxic
I could not
the shredding of

a cotton puppy
in a barbed wire

not even a gun named Max
could soothe me


Spiritual transformation has been a persistent and beloved theme in Nancy’s life, revealing and manifesting itself with passion and purpose in both her artistic creations and her intellectual offerings.

“I have often said that I have one foot in this world and the other in the spiritual realm beyond. Those who know me best can easily attest to this. It is simply the way I am. I live contentedly in congruity with this way of being. Being acutely conscious of my spirit and a world unseen by our typically noted human senses, has continued to offer me a richness of experience that renders me robustly thankful and intensely cognizant of the profound importance of humility. With every fiber of my being I believe that we must pay careful heed to the spiritual aspect of our humanness.

When I returned to University to pursue my Master’s and Ph.D degrees in the
Philosophy of Religion, I could not have predicted that I would end up writing my thesis on Spiritual Transformation. In educational situations I have repeatedly been asked to put my head to basic topics and refrain from bursting outside of existing parameters of learning. The time period of my graduate studies was no different.

When I was invited to study in my department at my university, I was being specifically groomed to be a scholar in Modern Jewish Thought. Instead, and for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that my supposed supervisors were on Sabbatical, I became somewhat of an unexpected expert on St. Augustine. My final thesis centered upon his remarkable and notorious “Confessions”, and it focused upon the nature of spiritual transformation. This was quite a chunk to chew on for an ardent feminist like me.

As I have openly noted, the development of my spirit and the human spirit in general, has always been a primary and integral part of my life. It is imperative that we feed and nourish our spirits as devotedly as we feed our minds and our bodies. Saying that we are spiritual beings living an earthly life is not a fanciful notion for me. I live this experience, as said, in broad daylight each and every day. This way of being helps place and keep me in alignment with the better aspects of myself. It also directs me toward living each moment humbly, gratefully, with my heart open and full of love for life itself.”

“There are trying times when life seems too burdensome, when our lives feel too weighty in woe and worry to balance upon our shoulders and bear within our hearts.  The concept of protective beings hovering near, and existing simply to serve a higher power and to soothe us, the creations of that power, is a wondrous thing.  Such beings are characteristically called angels and their existence is spoken of in virtually all religions and apart from any formal religious association.

I truly believe that spiritual appearances and happenings carry angel love and angel power.  The universe hears our call and if we accept its offerings of love and support, we will encounter angels in our midst.  Will we graciously welcome and accept such offerings? May we choose to do so as we traverse the pathways of our individual lives.  Yes, angels dwell among us.  I feel their presence daily.”

— Excerpt from “Waterfalls of Words”.

This poem is a tribute to the spiritual world that so freely offers its beauty to all who are willing to embrace its unencumbered, loving offerings.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author of The Stone Diaries wrote the following upon reading a portion of Nancy’s poetry manuscript:

“These are wonderful poems! I love the nice edge you put on your work, an irony that delights. I keep wanting to smile reading about Mrs. Mother dreaming about being buttered sleek. Very nice.  And Uncle M whose “success sent sirens”. Lovely. Sisterhood moved me greatly and touched a spring of recognition.  Of course I also appreciate the accessibility of your work. The experience of women as wives and mothers is (still) close to being a taboo subject, or has been until recently.  That’s why I think the ironic glance you send is so important.”

Carol Shields

“…Nancy Frankel’s poetry and accompanying stories are brilliant works of art. Nancy has a gift for expressing wisdom in a way unlike any other that touches your heart and soul.  Too, she is an incredibly talented painter and creator. Her offerings are rare and beautiful.  I highly recommend everything Nancy produces, as you will be thrilled as her treasures enrich your life. I truly love how she makes magic with her gifts.”

Peggy McColl, New York Times Best Selling Author

“With this work of unwavering honesty, Nancy Frankel offers a gift both deeply intimate and profoundly universal. Dovetailing candid personal stories with poems that brilliantly hone her heart’s truth, she speaks directly to the core humanity in us all. Gently and incisively, Nancy cuts through the pervasive social media and internet buzz that numbs our power of human response. Ultimately, this is a book about the power of love unbound, of love given bravely and joyfully in the face of life’s challenges and setbacks. This book stirs the heart and opens the mind with every new reading. May it go out and do its precious work as widely as possible.”

Jim Bartley, Globe & Mail Reviewer and Author of Drina Bridge and Makarska

Contact Nancy

With all of her interests and projects in mind and in hand, Nancy is a loving mother, wife, and grandmother. She lives happily with her dear family as she continues to embrace life with her arms, heart, and mind wide open to possibility.