amongst books

amongst books

Friday, November 30, 2007

Anglo Quebec Poetry Featured in Jacket Magazine

if you've never checked out the amazing Jacket Magazine, you really should now; this issue includes an excerpt from the book of essays Canadian Poetry: Language Acts: Anglo-Québec Poetry, 1976 to the 21st Century -- Editors: Jason Camlot & Todd Swift
(Vehicule Press, 2007) and a survey of the work of 27 Quebec poets: Robert Allen, Oana Avasilichioaei, Stephanie Bolster, Asa Boxer, Jason Camlot, Angela Carr, Leonard Cohen, Mary di Michele, Endre Farkas, Raymond Filip, Jon Paul Fiorentino, artie gold, Michael Harris, D.G. Jones, Steve Luxton, David McGimpsey, Donald McGrath, Stephen Morrissey, Erín Moure, Robyn Sarah, David Solway, Carmine Starnino, Andrew Steinmetz, Nathalie Stephens, Todd Swift, Ruth Taylor and Peter Van Toorn.

over the past ten years years, Jacket Magazine, which is out of Australia, has been featuring compelling and information-laden articles about poetry and prose, reviews, interviews, poems, and all kinds of rich material on its site. and it does this quarterly. for free. I'm so thankful for people like Jacket's creator and editor, John Tranter, who explains why he decided to make Jacket available for free on the Internet here.

his explanation includes the quote below and i have to raise a toast in whole hearted agreement about why some of us do stuff for free and provide it for free on the Internet:

"It [Jacket Magazine] has also enlarged my circle of friends by a factor of about ten. And I feel I’ve enabled a lot of writers to find a wider international audience for their work, especially younger poets. I received a lot of generous support and assistance when I was a young writer, and it’s good to be able to give something back.To me, that’s what the Internet’s all about. "

thank you, Mr. Tranter for all you do.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Nick Thran

read at Tree last night. the evening started with an open mic full of excellent prose, spoken word and poetry by Emily Falvey, Anita Lahey, Sean Dowd, Rhonda Douglas, Michelle Desbarats, Matthew Peak, Paul Tyler, and a few more people whose names escape me today.

Nick read from his first poetry collection “Every Inadequate Name” (Insomniac Press, 2006) and also some new poems. What pleased me most about what I heard was the very unusual imagery and stuff from everyday life, including expressions used by the young folk, such as “seriously” in the poem “Seriously, It Was the Biggest Cricket.” Yep, his titles are like that, kind of long and fun and unexpectedly playful. Here’s one of my favourite poems that he read, other than the one that had my name in it.

Bloor Street

Bloor Street at sunset, easily
the most romantic street in the world.
Bloor is the colour of the sky, blue
but with the hard “r” of a fire
raging from the tail end of a day that drags
the work world back home to the boroughs.
I hope it’s Friday, steak night, the family
gathered around Bloor flesh, sinews of strained
muscle, and wine like the blood they have spent
all week to meet and laugh and eat
and drink themselves back in.
I hope there is Scrabble, and the child, bleary-eyed
from an afternoon playing Halo (bodies
Bloored to bits, the level completed) hits “grateful”
on a triple-word-score, and Bloors his parents
with what they thought he never knew.
Once in a Bloor moon, the joke goes, and mother
rubs his hair. Then she and her husband head
to bed and make love. That’s “B” for the bed,
“l” for the love, and the “o!” and the “o!”
a string upon which they wish
they could balance forever,
but they know it is temporal
like sunrise over the most romantic
street in the world. The conductor
saying, Bloor Street, Bloor Street, Bloor.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Governor General Award for Poetry

goes to Don Domanski, Halifax, for All Our Wonder Unavenged(Brick Books). i haven't read the book yet, nor any of Domanski's work.

i'm sad that Rob Winger didn't win for Muybridge's Horse (Nightwood Editions). I've raved about that book already and will again in an upcoming issue of, so I won't say more. there will be more awards and this book has already received a lot of acclaim, including being on the list of GG finalists, which is pretty cool.

the main thing is that i hope these awards cause more people to hear about all the nominees and to buy more poetry.

for full results:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wonderfull by William Neil Scott

You know when you finish a book and immediately mourn it because it’s over? That’s what has just happened to me with William Neil Scott’s novel, Wonderfull (NeWest Press, 2007).

When I heard Neil read as part of the Snare the NeWest tour at Max Middle’s A B Series a while back, I knew I had to get the book. He read the opening chapter and I could tell the man had a gift for telling a story, and boy was I right.

In Wonderfull, we hear about the town Garfax, which can be found on no map, and its eccentric inhabitants. There are stories and stories within stories. The book is full of wonder, yes wonder, and magic and light and twists.

The characters are compelling. There is Emma Brodie, the mother of Oz or Oswald, our main character, and the story of when Emma went to water. There is Oswald’s brother Maddox who wants to be fireworks and Quill Lake, and Lizzie the one armed taxi driver and there is the return of the town’s prodigal son. There is the Anson Mansion split into five pieces. There are the forefathers and that interesting twist, which you have to get the book to find out about.
Wonderfull simmers with stories and compassion and surprises that are sustained throughout the whole novel. All of this in rich and beautiful, lyrical language.

Neil told me at the Mayflower Pub after the reading that he couldn't get into poetry, that poetry was not something he could write. But I have the temerity to say that he is wrong. He does write poetry. It’s all the way through his novel.

On this really bleak November day, I urge you to get yourself a copy of this book. If I gave out xmas gifts, I’d be buying it as a gift for friends. I might just do that anyway. It’s the best book I’ve read in 2007 and right up there with my favourite books ever.

William Neil Scott...remember that name. He is wonderfull with two Ls.

Monday, November 19, 2007

7 random things meme

thanks Pearl

Random Meme Rules
1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. Don’t drink anything over the keyboard while reading this meme on other pages.
4. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
5. Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
6. Stretch.
7. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

so far i’ve followed rules 1-2 but not 3 and i can’t follow 5 or 7 because last time i tried to ask others to do a meme i got rejected full scale and i hate rejection. do the meme if it inspires you; if you have a blog, post and let me know; if you don’t, you can post in the comments.

what don’t people know about me yet...

a. i am a professional sunflower seed eater;
b. i’m listening to Chris Isaaks right now;
c. i know how to use the semi-colon;
d. i loathe dangling participles;
e. i was switched at six weeks of age with a gypsy child;
f. i lie;
g. i am sleepy now.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

upcoming readings where i'm reading

Thursday, November 22, 7:30pm, i open with Clare Latremouille for Anne Le Dressay; i plan to read a bit of my chapbook Eleanor and some new work on Kiki of Montparnasse.

Sunday, November 25, 2pm at Sasquatch, Royal Oak II; Roland Prevost and I are co-features. it starts with an open mic. i plan to read the whole of Eleanor and that will likely be it.

at both locales i'll have copies of Eleanor (above/ground press) and my AngelHousePress chapbooks available for sale.

hope to see you there! see rob mclennan's 12 or 20 questions interview of me here

Monday, November 12, 2007

Toronto Small Press Fair, fall 2007

was fun. i had the chance to chat with a few of my favourite Toronto people like Nick Power, Jay MillAr, Maria Erskine, Stuart Ross, Gordon Phinn, Andrew Falkner and Nathaniel G. Moore (i'm adding Andrew & Nathaniel to my updated sexiest Canadian male poets list soon). I also got a chance to speak briefly with Hugh Thomas and Joey Comeau and met new (to me) interesting folks David Livingstone Clink, Alex Boyd, Karen Justl, Luciano Iacobelli, Paul Vermeersch and Paul Dutton.

it was great sitting at the pooka press table and helping to sell the wonderful photobooth broadsides, poetry postcards and chapbooks alongside Warren Dean Fulton (who will definitely be added to my sexiest Canadian male poets list at the tippy top).

here’s the booty i got at the fair....

“Poems for Another Poetry Reading,” Michael Dennis (LyricalMyrical, 36 of a 75 copy limited edition). I love LyricalMyrical’s publications and i was very happy to meet and talk to Luciano Iacobelli of LM and compliment him on his book making skills. He says the press started about five years ago when he started making books for friends and then others showed an interest. As a collector of Michael Dennis’ poetry, I was extremely pleased at this find.

“The Angel Notebook,” Luciano Iacobelli, Seraphim Editions, 2007. I’d checked this book out on line at the Seraphim site. I was very excited to get a copy and to have it inscribed and illustrated with an angel on a skateboard by the author. He’s coming to Ottawa this Thursday as part of the Colin Morton & More reading at the National Library, 7:30 pm. Be there!

“Brick and Bone,” Alex Boyd (believe your own press, 2004), in an edition of 125 copies (mine inscribed, yay!). I wish I’d found his new book of poems, Making Bones Walk (Luna Publications, 2007) but hopefully he’ll come to Ottawa to read. I’ll have to add him to my sexiest Canadian male poets list.

“Shapeshifter” by David Livingstone Clink (believe your own press, 2004), the 37th copy in an edition of 125 (and inscribed too!)

“Moosecall # 4: Premium Cut, Flash Fiction” from the Moosemeat Writers Group. I enjoy flash fiction quite a bit. A few names I recognized here, like one of the TSPBF organizers and believe your own presser Myna Wallin. I received “Moosecall # 2: 10 Pounds in the Freezer” for free.

I received my Bookthug subscription, which includes poetry by Shannon Bramer, Jed Rasula, Phil Hall x 2, Cara Benson, and Bafter C-Volume 3, Nos 1 and 1.1. As usual all the books were beautifully designed and put together by Jay MillAr, most of them in 100 copy editions.

finally, for a toonie i bought “The Boogie Nights Instant Anthology” made during the fair. This is a tradition that started in 1987 and has apparently occurred sporadically throughout the fair’s twenty year history, although i have to say i have never seen it before and have been to the fair maybe three or four times since 2003. some great poems here, particularly one by Warren Dean Fulton:

lines to a depressed friend
(title from a Frank O’Hara poem:)

as the chandelier swings
for what it’s worth
temperamental unworthiness
stay w/ me

poetic soirées
lampshaded antics
dismantling self through tenderness
stay w/ me

memory can’t be trusted
an end here
a beginning there
stay w/ me

and then we went to the Green Room. Warren is now en route back home to Vancouver. it was a wonderful visit full of readings and long talks about poetry into the night. i enjoyed being on the road with my good friend and hope he lights up Ottawa’s literary scene again sometime.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

footloose and fancy free in toronto this w/e

stop by and see me at the toronto small press fair. i'll be hanging out at the pooka press table with good pal, Warren Dean Fulton. lots of readings going on during the fair, including

Alex Boyd, Andrew Daley, Stacey May Fowles, Luciano Iacobelli, Sandra Kasturi, Jacob Scheier,
Emily Shultz, David Silverberg, Steve Venright, Paul Vermeersch, Jeff Round, Priscila Uppal
and more.
presses include Shebytches, Fooliar Press, maybe Bookthug, Eastbound Books, Pedlar Press, Fathom Productions, Learn/yeats & Co., Aeolus House, Quattro Books, Talking Pictures, Underwhich Editions, New Life Press, Sprouts Press, Burning Effigy Press, ESR Media, Lyrical Myrical Press, The Porcupines Quill, Nick Maandag Comics, Breller Books, Moosemeat and Presson!, Public, Proper Tales Press, Peter Kalyniuk Press, EAB Pub, The Gig, Imago Press
Wayward Armadillo Press/ dig, Tales of the Scarf Lady, Life Rattle, Gesture Press, David S. Cross, Lannie Brockstein, Great Worm Express Distro, Pilles Press, Iron Rabbit Bindery,
McGilligan Books, Rhinskin/Ineggma, Simmie Marketing Group, Midnight Media, Carousel,
Repeating Pig Press, Moon in Joon, Allan Weiss, The Royal Sarcophagus Society, Willow Dawson Illustration, Harrington Park Press, Sherwood Press, Buzz Killer Press, Radio Free School,
Misunderstandings Magazine, pooka press, Descant, Believe Your Own Press, Tightrope,
Kiss Machine, Taddle Creek, Ninas Creations/Anyi Productions, Kelp Queen Press, CJS Publishing.

looking forward to the serendipity of it all, chatting and and hanging out with toronto friends saturday and sunday. (pssst....good pub recommendations may merit my buying you a beer :)

Friday, November 02, 2007

ryan fitzpatrick, William Neil Scott and Natalie Zina Walschots

launched Max Middle’s new AB Series at the City of Ottawa Art Gallery last night.

all three are part of the Snaring the NeWest tour which started in Calgary at the end of October.

ryan fitzpatrick read from “FAKE MATH” (Snare Books, 2007), opening with an epigraph from Karl Marx: “Moments are the elements of profit.” The book according to the blurb on the back “explores the ways each of us lives, works, and plays within the structures of capitalism, drawing inspiration from diverse sources from Marx to Oprah to Snoop Doggy Dog.” I very much enjoyed his word play and sense of humour.

William Neil Scott read from his new novel “wonderful” (NeWest Press, 2007) about the doings in a town called Garfax, a village no longer listed on any official government document. Scott is one of the best fiction readers I’ve heard in a long time, so mesmerizing. He had the audience's full attention. When he finished, I wanted him to go on longer. The book opens with a voice over the radio, asking “Can you hear me?”, then moves into a story told by the son of a storyteller about a town called Garfax. I loved Scott’s language and his ability to write very strong opening lines, such as “Alexander Garfax, the namesake of our village and the most famous Scottish eccentric, took it upon himself to discover the New World in 1896." i want to be snowed in so i can read this novel without interruption.

Natalie Zina Walschots read from “Thumbscrews” (Snare Books, 2007) which is a “poetic engagement with the aesthetics of sadomasochism and consensual pain.” Walschots alternated between poems that begged to be read aloud for their adventurous sound play and various prose pieces describing emergency visits to the hospital caused by accidents which took place during s/m play. i loved the juxtapositions such as below, poem followed by prose:


there’s a carver in your cartridge
tears a cuttle in for clover
bears rebuttal for it suffrage
denser settle tit for salted
curse or nettle bit a mantra
cures a crater more lit contra
sources bait her skin flint cobra
loaded taint a grip rip

time of admission 11:36pm

adult female complains of numbness and tingling, sudden pain in
fingers “like they fell asleep and never woke up,” evidence of pressure injuries on both wrists – says she slept on them – laceration on back of right hand

(from panicked scissors bungee corded cut

i enjoyed all three readers approaches to their work and the actual work itself. what the three had in common was an ability to perform their writing to engage the audience. i’m looking forward to reading all three of the books. it was great to have a chance to chat with all three writers at the post-reading Mayflower booze up too. i wish them all a wonderful tour.

it was a promising opening to the AB Series, which Max didn’t call a reading series because he says there may be other things, including lectures. The next one on the schedule is November 14 with Brea Burton and Jill Hartman. Unfortunately the Kevin Thurston event on Saturday had to be postponed, but will be rescheduled later.