amongst books

amongst books

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Congratulations Marcus!

Marcus McCann is the winner of the Rubicon Press Chapbook Award for his collection "The tech/tonic suite." The chapbook will come out in the fall of 2008. Go to for further information.

I first encountered Marcus through Bywords when we published one of his poems, “Hit the paydirt playground running,” in 2006. Since then we’ve become friends and he’s now a member of the Bywords Selection Committee.

I've had the opportunity to discover Marcus’ poetry and watch it develop starting with Bywords, then through a workshop we took together with rob mclennan and now an informal workshop we’re in together with Pearl Pirie, Nicholas Lea and Roland Prevost. Marcus is a master word player, an innovative experimenter whose poetry was recently published in Matrix: The New Underground. He has a great chapbook out with above/ground press called "heteroskeptical" and his collaborative work can be found in the chapbook "The Basement Tapes" with Nicholas Lea and Andrew Faulkner. There are still copies of the Basement Tapes available through the Bywords online store. I look forward to seeing what more he can achieve.

And speaking of poetry workshops, one good way to mark National Poetry Month is by taking one. They are an invaluable opportunity not only because they help you to improve your poetry, but also because they can help you discover fellow writers.

I like to say I’m a workshop slut. because I’ve been spreading my poetic fumblings all over Ottawa, taking workshops from the University Of Ottawa with Seymour Mayne (ENG 3264 & ENG 4398); Carleton University with Armand Ruffo (ENGL 2901 A); at Collected Works with both rob mclennan and Stephen Brockwell, even took part in a poetry bootcamp in my living room with Stuart Ross and once many years ago, a workshop with Colin Morton, so long ago I can’t even remember where it was.

It’s because of these workshops that I’ve found fellow writers who help me as editors of my work and vice versa, that I got involved with Bywords and that I got chapbooks published, using the opportunity to work on manuscript drafts and get feedback from instructors and students.

Finding the right group of people who you can share your work with is not easy, almost as difficult as finding a compatible lover, but there are so many poetry and other types of writing workshops available, why not give it a try.

There are spoken word poetry workshops in the valley, script writing workshops, a writers retreat in France with Kingston writer Leo Brent Robillard and local spring and summer fiction and poetry workshops with local writer and surfer dude Richard Taylor. i’m sure rob will offer more of his amazing workshops when he returns from Edmonton, too.

Check out under News / Workshops for information about upcoming workshops near you!

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