amongst books

amongst books

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Spring Ottawa Writers Festival Picks

I am an Ottawa International Writers Festival groupie, an ardent fan. Why? Because I love books & welcome the opportunity to discover new books, to meet authors of books I've read, & most importantly I attend because the OIWF is really a festival of ideas, as it says in its promo material. As a writer, these ideas are my playthings. Not only is it important for me to read work by others in my craft, but also to read about what's going on in the world today, what went on yesterday & what might occur tomorrow. This may not necessarily be how all writers work, I'm not suggesting that it's the only way, but it's my way. With that in mind, here, below this extraordinarily long paragraph are the writers & topics I'm particularly looking forward to hearing at the spring edition of the OIWF, which takes place from April 26 to April 30, 2012. Of course there are lots more events crammed in to five days that I either can't attend because of my own scheduling conflicts, or am having to miss so I can pace myself, but do take a look at the schedule & choose your own or just wander over to the Knox Church at Lisgar & Elgin & take a chance. You can pick up your tickets and passes on the Writes Festival site.

Thursday, April 26 CBC: Inside the CBC with Richard Stursberg, 6:30pm

I'm a huge fan of CBC Radio. Not really too much into CBC TV, except I still enjoy listening to Mansbridge read the news on the National. Thanks to the evil Harpy & his gang of ignorant thugs, CBC is the victim of serious budget cuts. I think this is a good time to hear about the CBC from an insider. Apparently Stursberg was the head of English services when the network was going thru a bunch of controversy, & when isn't it, really? It will be interesting to hear what he has to say.

Linden MacIntyre: Not As I Do with Yejide Kilkano, Lauren B. Davis and Linden MacIntyre, 8:30pm

I've heard MacIntyre read from his memoir & enjoyed his reading & candour. I've also watched him on the Fifth Estate on occasion, so to me, MacIntyre is a Canadian celebrity. I haven't heard of the other authors, so have a night of discovery ahead.

Friday, April 27 Ian Keteku: From the Horse's Mouth: A Masterclass on Slam Poetry and Spoken Word, noon.

I heard Ian perform during at the inaugural year of VERSeFest & he blew me away. He has a way with words, is very well-read, is musical, provocative & funny, not to mention charming. This is going to be a fun event.

Charles Foran: Cultural Icons with Carol Bishop-Gwyn and Charles Foran, 6:30pm

Foran will talk about his book, Mordecai: the Life & Times. I have come very close to buying this book a few times now. This reading may put me over the edge. I never liked Richler's books when I had to study them in high school. To be honest, sin of sins, I mixed him up with Morley Callaghan, whose More Joy In Heaven is one of the reasons why I stopped reading Canadian literature until my late 30s. But they are not the same, not at all. Richler wooed me back with Solomon Gursky Was Here & then I saw the film version of Duddy Kravitz with Richard Dreyfuss (we used to call him Richard Dryface) & then reread the book & enjoyed. Richler is another one of those bombastic Canucks who seem to grow here in the frozen north for some reason. & one of the reasons I love living here. I am also looking forward to Carol's talk on Celia Franca, mainly because I know absolutely nothing about ballet; it's not my thing at all & therefore, I'm interested.

Ami McKay: The Weight of History: Peter Hobbs, Ami McKay and Vincent Lam, 8:30pm

I loved both of McKay's novels: The Birth House, which I heard her read from at the festival, and the Virgin Cure. She has a way of combining history with personal experience that makes her characters & books very engaging. I'm somewhat intrigued by Vincent Lam's latest novel, the Headmaster's Wager & Peter Hobbs' book too. I think the combo of these three writers on stage will be potent.

Saturday, April 28 Marianne Apostolides: Truthfulness or Dare (Do the facts matter?) with Guy Gavriel Kay & Marianne Apostolides

I have Apostolodies' book, Swim; & although I can't say I read the whole thing, I liked the way she put sentences together in the bits I read, & her new book, Voluptuous Pleasure, The Truth About The Writing Life sounds juicy & I'm hoping, somewhat tongue in cheek. Guy Gavriel Kay is someone I have never read, but heard of, so hearing him read will be a discovery. The topic itself is interesting to me. The responsibilities of art that matter to me are to explore, to challenge the status quo & to beguile. Facts are there to serve the work. I think we live in a time of extreme pedantry, where the literal-minded are running the show. I'm also happy to hear that the host will be the Globe and Mail's Martin Levin, who I must admit, I have a bit of a crush on.

Sunday, April 29 Cocktales with Tamara Faith Berger, Daniel Allen Cox, Megan Butcher, Nerys Parry and Jasmine Aziz, 8:30pm Venus Envy

Well, I'm biased here for a number of reasons (& this is my blog, so I'm biased anyway all the time & what fun it is.):
I'm hosting this event;
I love transgressive literature. I see this reading as the descendant of Transgress, so lovingly hosted for several years, by Marcus McCann & put on in conjunction with Capital Xtra;
I am sweet on Daniel Allen Cox & Megan Butcher.

I'm reading the books & really enjoying them. Looking forward to hearing the authors read in a room full of corporal punishment implements & dildos.

Monday, April 30 Phil Jenkins: Poetic Documentary, a Masterclass, noon

I read Phil's column about walking Ottawa's history every Monday in the Ottawa Citizen & this has made me a fan of his writing. I haven't read but have been intrigued by his book about the history of Lebreton Flats.

Kim Thúy: Running in the Family with Brian Fawcett, Kim Thuy and Deni Y. Béchard, 6:30pm

I heard Kim read & be interviewed on Susan Johnston's Friday Special Blend on CKCU FM a while back & was intrigued by her book Ru & charmed by her humble nature. Also, based on the description of Deni Y. Béchard's book, Cures for Hunger, I am intrigued.

Snailhouse, The All In A Day Songwriting Circle: the Stage Name Summit with Joe Keithley (the artist formerly known as S***head), Masia One, Oh Susanna, Snailhouse, Socalled, 8:30pm.

Snailhouse, aka Mike Feuerstack, is a wonderful singer/songwriter/musician. I am a fan. I play Sentimental Gentleman a lot & have downloaded all the freebies from his site, but have heard him play live only once during an Arc reading many moons ago. I have to admit I have no clue about the others, except Oh Susanna, whose music I have heard around abouts. This songwriters' circle will probably be a bit more eclectic than the last, since last time it was a beautiful blend of folk & pop.

This season's version reminds me a bit of the old CBC Radio live show Fuse, which invited performers of very distinct types of music to play together. Charles & I often attended these shows & discovered new music that way. Alan Neal is hosting once again. I like him quite a bit & listen to his All in A Day radio show as often as I can. One day I'd love to see Jian Ghomeshi hosting this show or perhaps another festival event. I'm glad that the festival is having so many CBC personalities as the hosts of the festival.

I hope to see you at the festival. If you see me, come by, say hi, peel me a grape.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Poetry Talk With Amanda Earl: Go wider

Our inspirations this week are

1) Caine Monroy, a 9-year-old-boy who built a cardboard arcade. First, please watch this video.

Thanks to Luna Allison for sharing this on good ole' FaceBook. (before it went viral)

& 2) painter & filmmaker Julian Schnabel

here's an interview with him by Jian Ghomeshi on Q Uncut from 2011

Yes, we're talking about thinking outside of the box, of having fun, letting your imagination take over & not being constrained by rules or perhaps playing with the rules themselves.

In his interview, Schnabel talks about the state he is in when he paints; he is the child playing in the sandbox; he's not in his late 50s, he's 6 years old.

I have noticed that one of the ways this freewheeling imaginative activity manifests itself in artists & writers is their fluid movement between various artistic practices.

As Bill DiMichele says over at Tip of the Knife 9, "If a painter came to me for advice, I would tell them to be a writer. If a dancer came to me, I would tell them to be an architect."

Here are some folks who embody this free spirit in their work:

Satu Kaikkonen is a prolific & imaginative visual poet, who also writes poetry & has made abstract visual comics.

Gary Barwin writes poetry, fiction, children's fiction, creates visual poetry, sound poetry & probably many other things I don't know about.

Christian Bök has recently been translating poetry into DNA.

a. rawlings is an interdisciplinary artist who has merged poetry with sound poetry with dance. Her book "Wide Slumber for Lepidopterists" has been performed on stage. Rawlings performed in & co-produced the show. She's collaborated with musicians as well.

in her role as an editor over at Joyland Poetry, she has introduced the Icelandic visual artist & poet & also a new work by another versatile poet, Erín Moure.

Take a look also at Pearl Pirie's blog entry on joy in poetry.

Over at, the emphasis is on fluidity, moving from a body of work by one person to that of another thru connection & engagement. In the first issue, they quote Phil Hall who said "go wider,"

This is good advice, I think, for artists of all kinds. At least, I believe it is good advice for me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


In the last PTWAE (were you listening?), I mentioned that I would write about inspirations for poetry. & here is one…the true & not so true lives of the real & imagined…

The subject came up because of a feature in Jacket 2 in which Pam Brown writes about Mina Loy. I first encountered Loy in a friend's loaned copy of the Lost Lunar Baedecker & was fascinated by the imaginative work. I continue to be interested in the lives of the artists, writers, musicians, playwrights, dancers, etc who lived in Paris between the wars. Brown interviews Carolyn Burke, who penned a biography of Loy. Loy had a very rich life. She painted, cavorted with Italian Futurists, designed lamps, wrote poems.

Biographies have been sources of inspiration for many poets. Basing poetry on biographical elements of people's lives offers rich possibilities for play & exploration, to explore the tensions between what can be invented or extrapolated & what must be kept, between the authority of public information & the arbitrariness of fact. Here are a few Canadian poets who have worked with real & imagined characters:

In Hooked (Brick Books, 2009) Carolyn Smart writes in the voices of seven notorious & famous women, including Elizabeth Smart, Zelda Fitzgerald & Unity Mitford. I had never heard of Mitford & was struck by her adulation to Adolph Hitler. Nor had I heard of many of the women. Smart is versatile & skillful, switching from voice to voice. One of the characters portrayed is the murderess Myra Hindley, who, thanks to Smart's imaginative portrayal speaks from beyond the grave. To hear Smart read in these voices is also a lovely experience as she becomes these characters. . In fact, the book has been staged as a play.

In Glenn Piano by Gladys Priddis (Book Thug, 2010), Jason Dickson creates a story within a story, even including flowery romantic & pensive poems by said Gladys.

in the bentleys (University of Alberta Press, 2006), Dennis Cooley writes in the voices of characters from Sinclair Ross's As for Me and My House & recreates the Prairie landscape of the book.

Earlier his Bloody Jack (Turnstone Press, 1984 & new edition published by University of Alberta Press, 2002) takes on the character of Manitoba outlaw and wrestler John Krafchencko. This is a haunting book that contains poems in Krafchenko's voice & the voices of others, newspaper articles, interviews, letters from Jack's "jipsylady, Jamaica" & even tongue-in-cheek(cheeky) reviews of the book. "In this book Cooley is toying with us, if he is not, in fact, merely playing with himself." (L.A. Wynne-Smith, "Subversive Only in a Hyphenated Sense" Times Literary Supplement (July 12, 1984).

an excerpt from "fit to be tied"

look the guy can really dangle I grant him that he comes chargin
in here hot to trot like the hairy arm of Satan chugs in like a
armoured dildo in broad daylight he comes lopin in here the
tongue hangin out caught up in those pecker dildoes of his hes
the song & dance to get on their good side he sure can put up
a good front." p. 71 of the Turnstone Press edition

In Types of Canadian Women And Of Women Who Have Been Connected With Canada Volume II (Gaspereau Press, MMVI), K.I. Press responds to a previous volume, an illustrated biography from 1903, which contained photographs & dull biographies:

"The pictures grabbed me first, but the biographies drew me in. They were so boring, yet there were phrases that suggested what wasn’t being told. Some of these women had been to war zones or lived through rebellions or performed heroic feats that were alluded to in a single phrase. What if, I thought, their biographies told just the good parts? I looked for the book’s promised Volume II to no avail, instead finding a librarian’s note in the catalogue: ‘Volume II never published?’ I knew I had to write it.” K.I. Press

here's a wee excerpt from one of the poems, DAUGHTER OF WITCHES:

"We might as well be witches. We came from Scottish burnings, rituals in Irish bogs, being sent onto the sea alone from England, sucking cock in Normandy. We came to where the men are tied to trees, tied down with animal sinew and smothered in furs, tied on a tether so long sometimes we hang them kitelike in the black skies, waiting." p.81.

In Seeing Lessons (Wolsak & Wynn, 2010), Catherine Owen inhabits the voice of British Columbia photographer Mattie Gunterman, not only thru poems but also thru letters and journals. The book also depicts the BC landscape & society as it was in Gunterman's time & in ours, "the chandelier bones of the owl found/mummified in a BC Packers plant" ..."Even in sleep I could not touch it/this inhabitant of our past when our minds/grew forest thick, concealing things long enough//for them to nest deeply, fossilize in silence[...]"from Dislodging Socrates in Coastlines, the first section of the book. Owen was inspired to write about Gunterman after reading that Gunterman's large body of work was destroyed by fire. This aroused her curiosity & imagination.

here's an excerpt from "Bull's Eye: the Letters & Journals of Mattie Gunterman":

"March 4, 1908

Well my Hat, it appears as though you and Harry cleared out to Revelstoke just in time, our once bustling lovely Beaton is just a husk."

The end of the book contains a note (real or not?) from Henry Gunterman Jr. Here's a wee excerpt:
"In Catherine Owen's Seeing Lessons, it feels like I have laid out the photographs again. I am looking at them over Catherine's shoulder, through her eyes, and learning things I did not know."

Another who has been inspired by the real is Rob Winger in Muybridge's Horse, a poem in three phrases (Nightwood Editions, 2007). Winger takes on the true story of photographer Edward Muybridge. [I've written at length about this book in issue four.]

Others have also taken on fictional characters, such as Alice from Alice in Wonderland, which was the subject of Stephanie Bolster's White Stone, the Alice Poems (Signal Editions, 1998). Alice is transported out of Wonderland to a beach, to Memphis & to the underground mythical world of Persephone. Alice Lidell, the person upon whom the Alice tales were based, is also explored.



it is the going underground that preserves the body,
so though Persephone is ancient
and Alice long ago became antique
each could pass for sixteen.

Speaking of Greek myths, I am excited about the upcoming book by Anne Carson, Antigonik (New Directions, 2012, which shall retell / translate Sophokles' Antigone. & I consider translations, a form of retelling, even if fidelity to the original is attempted. I enjoy Carson's sensibilities, knowledge & poetic ear. Her translation An Oresteia (Faber and Faber, 2009)
offers three different versions of the tragedy of the house of Atreus: Aiskyhlos' Agamemnon, Sophokles' Elektra and Euripides' Orestes.

here's an excerpt from Elektra in Elektra's voice:

That day tore out the nerves of my life.
That night:
far too silent the feasting,
much too sudden
the silence.
My father looked up and saw
death coming out of their hands.
Those hands took my life hostage.
Those hands murdered me. [page 97]

& while we're on the subject of the Greeks, a local example comes to mind, not of the Greeks, but of a work that takes on a real or imagined character, in this case Odysseus' dog, Argos, from the Odyssey, beautifully rendered by Ben Ladouceur in The Argossey (Apt. 9 Press, 2009). these poems are touching, funny, daring & speak of grief.

book iii.

the bees sit on my nose
in mustard columns

attracted by its sweetness
or darkness of heat

they don't sting, wise
to how I am not

pollinated, also
not alive

or how that aliveness
is negligible

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Poetry Talk with Amanda Earl - Easter edition

[photo by Charles Earl]

Greetings readers. i have spared you a photo of me in a bunny costume in favour of this vintage pic from a few years back.

here are a few gleanings from the end of March-ish to early April-ish...

Congratulations to Sandra Ridley for winning IFOA/Now Magazine's Battle of the Bards with her reading from Post-Apothecary (Pedlar Press, 2011). I'm pleased as punch to see the great skill of an excellent poet recognized. As winner, she will be a feature at the International Festival of Authors this fall & have an ad for Post-Apothecary in NOW Magazine, which is cool, very cool. i once saw my name in NOW numerous years ago (no, it was not in the escorts section) for an event in Toronto & i was thrilled, i tell you...

Speaking of Ms. Ridley, here's John Degen's in-depth interview with said Ridley over at Book Room.

If you haven't yet listened to Degen's interviews, you should. as of this issue of PTWAE, he's done five of them. they take place in his home library, witnessed by Mordecai, the wild puma. they are lively, casual & very Dick Cavettesque, for those of us who remember the Dick Cavette show: literate, intelligent, funny with a good range of guests.

Gaspereau has a lovely new site & also go over to the blog & see some of the gorgeous letterpressness that went into making Peter Sanger's new poetry collection.

Stuart Ross, who hates open mics, interviews Bruce Kauffman, who likes them. Stuart will be coming to Ottawa with a posse of poets from Mansfield Press on April 18.

Open Book Toronto has an interview with Natalie Zina Walschots about her new book Doom: Love Poems for Supervillans (Insomniac Press, 2012) with illustrations by the very talented Evan Munday. Supervillains, as Natalie says, are much more fun than superheroes.

OBT has a new column called The Gutter & launches it with an interview with poet Jenn Currin. Ms. Currin's The Sleep of Four Cities (Anvil Press, 2005) is nestled on my shelf lovingly between ee cummings' i. six nonlectures (Harvard University Press, 1953)
"Let me cordially warn you, at the opening of these socalled lectures, that I haven't the remotest intention of posing as a lecturer. Lecturing is presumably a form of teaching; and presumable a teacher is somebody who knows. I never did, and still don't know." hear, hear, Mr. Cummings.
& jwcurry's Objectionable Perspectives. (Outlands four : The Hellebore Press, MCMXCVIII) & may i say, never have i enjoyed stinkwort more...

the series is also on Open Book Ontario & features an interview with Carolyn Smart, who will be in Ottawa as part of the A B Series along with Sachiko Murakami in June.

Speaking of the A B Series, singers & non-singers alike, register for Phil Minton's Feral Choir Workshop & perform in May.

the Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist comes out April 10. one of the judges this year was Ottawa's own David O'Meara. exciting!

for National Poetry Month over at Canada Writes, David McGimpsey debunks myths about poets

another National Poetry Month initiative comes from Found Poetry. they mailed found poetry kits to a bunch of different places & are now publishing the results. you can make a kit yourself to send out during the month of April. & take a look at the poems coming in

& for a bit of shameless not really self promotion, have you visited the AngelHousePress site it's an attempt to respond to the idea of "*national" & "poetry" in a bit of a different way…you'll find poems by 30 different contributors from 5 different countries & engaging with the notion of what makes a poem.

Christian Bök's back with something new & whimsical, Bibliomechanics, a Rubiks cube like writing generator. brings to mind Gregory Betts' Haikube made from "one of Matt Donovan and Hallie Siegal’s History Machines"

NOŌ Weekly is an American journal. every issue has a different guest editor & the April 4th issue's guest editor (not gust editor, silly fingers) is Joseph Massey. I am very fond of the tender couplets of Andrew Hughes in "(from Northern Lights) the Fire Sermon" "As an emblem of absence /the poem is a desire of /utopia. What I hide with language//my body utters." Canadian Mark Truscott gives us "two poems from Branches" & they are quite lovely, brimming with sound & image whilst remaining very minimal as is his way. brushstrokes. Also floating my boat was Magdalena Zurawaski's "[If the Water's Cold a Person Finds Something Else To Do Besides Swim] & not just because of the title, which admittedly is great. reflections & miss(ed)/directions.

it occurs to me that another way i can do these poetry talks is to share ongoing stuff of which poetry is made, so for a while until i lose interest or perhaps until you do, dear reader, i shall report on books, art, music, film etc that crops up & tickles my poetry bone. (no, i did not say boner...stop giggling & nudging one another...)

happy candy egg & chocolate bunny weekend to all who celebrate such….

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


thinking today about what inspires me. like many, I used to believe inspiration came from perfection, something pristine & masterfully made. but while I can admire such, I don't often find I have a reaction to it that goes beyond awe. inspiration for me seems to be primarily the result of my response to something & not always a positive response. sometimes it's all in the flinch…

unevenness, bumps in the road, graffiti, construction zones, the fracture lines on porcelain, the shattered, the shattering, broken bits of pottery, a dark unknown blotch on a painting, even a poorly rendered image or line in a poem can foster some kind of reaction.

what can set me writing or creating in some way is often being told "DON'T!" as soon as I hear that, I rebel. I hate hearing that word. on the other hand it inspires me to create…

thinking also about the idea, possibly from Rilke, possibly much before, of a terrible beauty. how terror & horror have resulted in human reaction through the creation of art (by art I'm including music & literature as well as visual art). art is the triumph over this terror, over death itself perhaps as what one person has created is responded to by someone else & so on, the passing of the baton throughout the ages.

how many discoveries have been made thru accidents, thru not having the perfect conditions in which to create? the main thing that fosters creativity, I believe, is interest, not being indifferent. indifference causes numbness of the heart & body & mind.

my inspiration for these thoughts today was the CBC Ideas program "Solar Wind" in which Paul Kennedy speaks to historian Modris Eksteins about among other things the aestheticism that was created thru Nazism, art forgery & the dangers of false certainty.

& also some tweets exchanged with Pearl Pirie @pesbo about refrigerator poems. thanks, Pearl!

I resolve to look for inspiration in the broken, the imperfect & the flawed.

tell me/ or show me...what inspires you?

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Support Ottawa's indie bookstores

Mother Tongue Books & Collected Works during National Poetry Month (April 1 - 30) by purchasing a book & receive a free above/ground press chapbook by Lisa Robertson or George Elliott Clarke...deets here.

derek beaulieu in Ottawa

Calgary writer, concrete poet & publisher derek beaulieu came to Ottawa for a double header yesterday via the A B Series. here are a few sketchy, misrepresentative & incomplete notes for those who weren't there...

In the afternoon a small group of us (in the very cramped, dark upstairs gallery of the Daily Grind instead of the sunny, open & roomy café for some reason) were treated to excerpts from "How to Write" & "Scene of the Crime: Essays On Conceptual Writing." My favourite bit was his essay on Steven Zultanksi's Pad, "a litany of every single thing in and constituting his apartment, and whether or not his dick can lift it."

This idea reminded me of Daniel Cameron Jones "Things That I have Put Into My Asshole" (thanks for the correction, Mark McCawley) or various porn films/erotic novels & stories where women shove various objects into their cunts. Conceptual writing fodder is everywhere.

I also enjoyed his pieces on catalogues of imaginary & real bookstores & libraries, reminding me somewhat of Stephen Brockwell's Impossible Books poems.some of which were recently published in an above/ground press chapbook...

I picked up a gorgeous wee book of derek's from Redfox Press as part of the "C'Est mon Dada" collection called "Silence," [pictured above] a bunch of derek's Letraset concrete poems. & some free publications via derek's NO PRESS.

The evening event took place at Gallery 101, a venue with lots of space & rickety chairs & snacks. derek began with a stop motion animation of his installation at Pages Kensington, a book store in Calgary. this was a collaboration with him & a 15 year old animation prodigy, Emma Rouleau. You can see it here. Sadly when his massive "Prose of the Trans-Canada Highway" was projected on the Calgary Tower, it received no notice. This buys into what he said throughout the events, that no one cares about poetry…

He talked about the idea of poets using dead media, things like Letraset, mimeographs, typewriters, fax machines, that are no longer in use by the business community.

derek teaches creative writing to beginner university students who come to him all bright eyed & expectant to produce the next great work of poetry. He quells this hope early on in his lectures to these students with rudimentary statistics comparing the population of Canada, approximately 34 million, to the number of poetry books published in an average print run by a Canadian publisher: between 300 & 600 copies.

He repeated a few times that if someone had a message to get across, poetry would not be the way to do it because of this small print run, a number which is so tiny that it is seen as insignificant, merely the margin of error by statisticians.

He mentioned a philosophy of creation based not on what one was drawn to but on what one was disgusted by, a poetics of distaste or disgust. I'm sorry that I can't remember the name of the woman derek mentioned as one of the proponents of such a philosophy.

He talked about the relationship between concrete poetry & graphic design/slogans. What if concrete poetry created slogans for impossible entities, such as the Tower of Babel?

When you played with Lego as a kid, did you stick to the prerequisite castle or did you use the pieces to create an object of your own choice? derek used this analogy to talk about what he was exploring & what others were exploring with concrete poetry.

[as a side note, i immediately flashed back to a No Press publication, Lego 50-15 which invited people to collaborate on a response to Lego's original American patent. it was very fun!]

As a kid, I had Lego, but I wasn't interested in building anything with the pieces. I divided my pieces up into families & invented stories about their various relationships.

derek said that poets are always building the castle, never trying to create something new or come up with their own rules, language. you can read more from his essay in Scene of the Crime.

Whether you agree with any of this or not, it is interesting to see where derek's coming from & what troubles him/drives him creatively. thru his own work & his publishing house, No Press, derek motivates further exploration & creativity.

For me, I have never cared about this concept of message in poetry. Poetry, to me, can communicate what is not necessarily possible to say easily or directly. Things such as grief, for example. I'm not interested or excited in any way about reaching an audience of 34 million people, or the kind of bland pablum that would have to be created to satisfy such a teeming mass; I'm interested though in reaching one person, who reads or sees something of mine & finds it rewarding in some way, to instill in them some kind of a way of seeing that leads to further thinking, further exploration on their part.

& derek does that with his polemic & often absolute seeming perspective on poetry. while it's easy to take some of these attitudes as another attempt at gospel, i prefer to see them as a ticket to exploration, to trying new things & to not be satisfied with existing patterns & ways of thinking.

& afterward libations & chats in the pub...

thanks to Max Middle of the A B Series for another excellent adventure…visit the site for upcoming events.

AngelHousePress presents

Published by the 5-year-old upstart Canadian micropress
AngelHousePress, is now in its third year&
celebrates the diversity of poetic voices& styles from around the
world with 30 contributors from Belgium, Britain, Canada, Finland,
Hungary, and the USA. Every day in April, starting at midnight EST, readers will be able to experience a new poem.

April 1 begins the experience with "A Melancholy Ode to the Degraded Neo-Dadaist
12 linear feet of poetry, Net weight: 114 gr," a collaborative work from Quebec& Ontario, Canada by Michèle Provost and Grant Wilkins.

Happy National Poetry Month from AngelHousePress.

Amanda Earl

the angel is in the house