amongst books

amongst books

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Fairest of the fair: bounty from the fall Ottawa Small Press Book Fair

disclaimer: not reviews or anything of the kind, just wee ramblings about what i obtained at the fair. why bother writing up such? because i like to remember & because i want those of you who opted not to come to the fair get a taste of what you missed. so you'll come next time. because it's fun & profitable (if books are profits & small press publishers are prophets, i am a prophet ear)

above/ground press

Ken Norris - Looking In To It (part of my subscription; you should get one too)

Lesley Trites - echo mimic (Snare Books, 2011)

gifted by rob mclennan during pre-fair reading. excited to read Snare Books titles but what gremlins bedevilled their design & layout this year? tiny font, poems in the crack. egad.

Christian McPherson, the Cube People (Nightwood Editions, Gibson, BC, 2010)

at the Writers Festival this fall, Chris read an ejaculation scene from the above book. sometimes that's all it takes for me to purchase a title.

Coach House Books, Toronto, Ontario

with great deals: fiction -$15 and for some reason $13 for poetry. apparently poetry costs less to print. harumph as a poetry writer and huzzah as a reader.

Cordelia Strube - Lemon (2009)

have been meaning to pick this up for ages. the CHB table had credit card option for purchase. once again, huzzah.

Jones - the Brave Never Write Poetry (first edition 1985, second edition 2011)
a poet i've been meaning to read for ages. the rerelease gives me (& you) the opportunity.

the Emergency Response Unit, Toronto, Ontario

Nicholas Lea - Actual Girl

picked up at the pre-fair reading after hearing Nick read from it and Everything is Movies (Chaudiere Books, 2007)

long an admirer of Lea's spare poetry, am very glad to see new work from him once more.

also an admirer of TERU (if that's how they go by); Andrew Faulkner & Leigh Nash were both selectors for Bywords for a bit. yep, small world, ain't it.

In/Words & the Moose and Pussy joint things

broadsides from the freebie table:

Bardia Sinaee - Clearing Up the Question of It's Doing By Us

having never read any of Sinaee's poetry before, i was interested to read this poem. on the surface a very logical and straight-forward accumulation piece that begins with a quote from the world of the law. lots going on beneath the surface. the tension of sexual politics, the tension of sex. a slow burn. an intense poem. i look forward to more.

Jeremy Behreandt - A Poem About Shauna

i like the way this poem builds. another accumulation juxtaposing unlike objects & concepts. satisfying moments of lyricism & imagery. particularly enjoyed the close.

Odourless Press

3 chapbooks (one pagers) for a dollar-poems tucked away in envelopes & match holders

Bardia Sinaee - Royal Jelly

more logic play, exceptional lyricism & imagery, a fine imagination, some killer openings & closings. more, please.

Jeff Blackman - Back to My Old Self

understated comedic moments. articulate phrasing.

Ben Ladouceur - Five Poems

always a joy to read Ladouceur. young, fresh, sexual, thoughtful & often refreshingly inappropriate. something the In/Words gang does well. once more huzzah...

by the way, Cameron Anstee writes more intelligently about these new chapbooks over at the Ottawa Poetry Newsletter blog here.

& Bardia Sinaee is the perpetrator of the press, quiet for years to us outsiders, as far as i know, he now is a Literary Landscaper, hosting the CKCU show every 4th Thursday & has started this press. what next?


In Air/ Air Out: 21 Poets for the Guatemala Stove Project, edited by Pearl Pirie
an example of a beautiful & well-thought-out design. this is my contributor copy. lots of folk in here i've never heard of. great to discover writers previously unknown to me. that's what the small fair's all about. pleased to see some favourites, such as Monty Reid, whose first line from 11. Denver - Mexico City "All air is hard air." & the rest of the poem. short & to the point. love Reid's matter-of-fact style that leads somehow to big beauty & majesty. moments of lyricism in rob mclennan's Air: a ( ) value & a damn fine epigraph by Paul Celan too. love that this anthology is all about air & the breath, something i've struggled with & still do, not just in the poetic line, but in my now healthy lungs. the poems in their various styles and voices all seem to flow well together. the sign of a good editor.

Pearl Pirie, Thirsts (Snare Books, 2011)

see note earlier about design gremlins. i always enjoy Pirie's work. she disrupts, disturbs, plays & brings together quiet moments. i shall trot out the magnifying glass & try to read this one. eeek. & by the way, can't get these Snare Book titles in any local bookstore. like much of what is on offer at these fairs.

Pearl Pirie, Mammals of Hoarfrost (Corrupt Press, France, 2011)

love the cover of hands in the shape of a flower, reaching out. in my soon to read pile.

Room 302 Books / 1 cent

& speaking of jwcurry, have you seen this flickr photostream of found photos, graffitti & other renegade miscellany?

Cellular Pain, In Tents # 3, Industrial Sabotage #19: Lorris Essary, Randall Brock, jwcurry/Mark Laba (& CURVD H&Z 87 of 100, 25'oct'1983)

Judith Copithorne - Brackets & Boundaries {Concrete & Other Accretions} (Returning Press, Vancouver, BC, 2011) - why i don't have everything Copithorne has ever done, i don't know. i collect it when i see it, & can afford. some of the pieces are reminiscent of those that appeared recently in 17 seconds. intricate tangled and twirled shapes and letters plus lingual comments. the multitude of As might be a demonstration of "the love of beginnings, mornings, the unexpected, a possibility of somewhat unencumbered perceptions &/or actions."

Gustave Morin - A Penny Dreadful (Insomniac Press, 2003)

pulped by Insomniac Press. ! glad to get my hands on this copy. book is thick with renegade works of a genius. when Morin came to Ottawa recently for the A B Series, he gave a talk on his concrete poetry that was one of the most interesting happenings to occur in Ottawa since jwcurry's marathon reading of bpNichol's the Martyrology at the Gazebo on the Hill. glorious sunsets & fireworks going off. Morin's works are works of art that question conformity & piss off conformists.

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