amongst books

amongst books

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

above/ground press broadsheet #309 by me

is now also on line on the above/ground press blog. it's an homage to the poetry of Phil Hall. thanks to rob mclennan for publishing my poem...

[photo by Charles Earl]

Spring Poetry Releases continued

The Smooth Yarrow - Susan Glickman, Vehicule Press

Wolsak and Winn Publishers:

We, Beasts - Oana Avasilichioaei

Floating Life - Moez Surani

& a new edition of John Terpstra's Naked Trees illustrated with the stunning woodcuts of Wesley Bates.

plus a scoop on their upcoming W&W fall poetry titles:
Einstein's Cat by Zoë Landale
and Jeanette Lynes' new collection, which is tentatively titled "Archive of the Undressed."

Coteau Books

Anne Szumigalski- A Woman Clothed in Words (fiction, playscripts, essays & poetry)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Poetry (& more!) for the End of the World

Arts Court, 2 Daly Ave, 7pm – late: cover $8 DOORS OPEN AT 6:30pm

this is a jam packed event, folks & it's a fund raiser for the delicious VERSeFest, a week-long extravaganza of poetry that takes place from February 28 to March 4, 2012.

at some point you will find me at the mic doing a few apocalyptic riffs. i love the lypse. that is to say it provokes & inspires...

Sweet resonant voice. Cello, Guitar. Bass. possibly mandolin. Apocalyptic Poetry. Weather Balloon. VERSeFest tees. O'Meara, Matthews, Douglas, de Pape. libations. incrEdibles, electro geetar. irreverent absurd comedic lyrics. we have to pack all this in before the world ends…

you can take a gander at the event line up on the V-fest site.

I leave you with my Singing the Apocalypse play list.

"One day you're waiting for the sky to fall/and then you're dazzled by the beauty of it all." (Thank you, Bruce Cockburn)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Air Out/In Air: Poets for the Guatemalan Stove Project

Thursday, January 19, 2012-7pm; Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeeshop, 1242 Wellington W.

i shall be reading along with Allison Armstrong, Mike Montreuil, rob mclennan & Luminita Suse.

Dear Ottawans, i hope to see you.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bywords Warms the Night IX

Our ninth annual fundraiser for the Cornerstone Women's Shelter Sunday, January 15, 2012
2:00 to 3:00 pm
Collected Works Bookstore & Coffee Bar,
1242 Wellington St. W
with music by
Andrea Simms-Karp
& poetry by
Jamie Bradley, Abby Paige & Luminita Suse
[cover photo by Lee Mousseau]

For every donation to the hat, we will give you a copy of the winter issue of the Bywords Quarterly Journal & our thanks.

Cornerstone provides emergency shelter and supportive housing for a diversity of women.

• $21 will feed one woman for a week
• $84 will feed her for a month
• $840 will feed 10 women for a month
• $100 will provide one month of addiction or mental health counseling services for a woman in recovery from the effects of trauma and abuse
• $200 will sponsor a woman in our iSisters computer training course
• $75 will provide a homeless woman with the support of our Housing Worker in her search for safe and affordable housing that she can sustain when she leaves the shelter.

Contact: Amanda Earl - amanda at bywords dot ca; Twitter: @bywordsdotca

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quill and Quire's Spring Preview

includes forthcoming poetry by M&S, Mansfield Press, ECW Press & more. plus a whole bunch of other exciting stuff, including a new novel by Daniel Allen Cox & a new short story collection by Steven Heighton. huzzah!

click here

Friday, January 06, 2012

forthcoming poetry titles - Insomniac Press

here are the poetry titles coming out this spring with Insomniac Press. very excited about these.

Marcus McCann, the Hard Return

Natalie Zina Walschots - DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillians

a partial list of 2012 forthcoming poetry titles

this is what i've been able to gleen so far from publisher sites & e-mails, & online articles. i shall add more as i hear of more. the forthcoming poetry collections range from autobiography, illness, travelogue, superheroe skullduggery, selected collections, experimental whimsy & so forth...looks like another creative & inspiring year for poetry. hurray! please help me fill in what's missing, publishers, authors & author stalkers/groupies.

DC Books
In the Vision of Birds - Steve Luxton
The Lower Provinces - Daniel O’Leary

Véhicule Press
Sumptuary Laws - NYLA MATUK

Brick Books
Omens in the Year of the Ox - Steven Price
Monkey Ranch - Julie Bruck
Between Dusk and Night - Emily McGiffin
I see my love more clearly from a distance - Nora Gould

Coach House Books
Divide and Rule - Walid Bitar
New Theatre - Susan Steudel

ECW Press
Echo Gods and Silent Mountains - Patrick Wood

House of Anansi Press
Erín Moure - The Unmemntioable

Guernica Editions
Rooms the Wind Makes - James Deahl
Foreignbody - Catherine Lalonde, translated by Nora Allyn
The Bones of His Being - Sue Chenette
For the Maintenance of Landscape, Selected Poems - Mia Lecomte, translated by Johanna Bishop and Brenda Porster

Insomniac Press
Doom - Natalie Zina Walshots
The Hard Return - Marcus McCann

Palimpsest Press
Hummingbird - John Wall Barger
Origins - Darryl Whetter

Porcupine's Quill
Wayworn Wooden Floors - Mark Lavorato
The Essential Robert Gibbs - selected by Brian Bartlett
Words for Elephant Man - Kenneth Sherman

Turnstone Press
sonar - Kristian Enright
Monstrance - Sarah Klassen

Arsenal Pulp Press
Impact - Billeh Nickerson

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Recent Reads: Fiction

Shag Carpet Action. Matthew Firth. Anvil Press, 2011

Firth is known for his gritty tales of average joes, working class drudges, thugs & bullies, the jerks we knew in high school, voyeurs, masturbators & bus riders. This collection composed of a few stories plus the novella "Dog Fucker Blues" continues along this vein. I particularly enjoyed the novella & hope Firth continues to try longer forms. I'd like to see a novel. "Dog Fucker Blues" is an intense & compelling work about the tension of a city trade union. There are drugs involved, biker gangs, murder, drudgery of the working day & politics. Firth is a skilled storyteller. He's great at dialog & his descriptions make me wonder if he shouldn't be writing screen plays & turning this good shit into movies. There are some surprising turns in his stories. In "Action" a woman fucks herself with a Spider Man action figure while a voyeur watches. In "the Rookie and the Whore" a guy watches his Lacrosse buddies take turns fucking a local groupie. There's lots of violence in Shag Carpet Action. Characters are always trying to deal with seething resentment, their disenchantment with their lots in lives. Sometimes these resentments explode. That's when the fun begins. Firth doesn't mince words, he minces them up.

JEW. D.O. Dodd. Exile Editions, 2010

I read this book in one day. It's a compelling & terrifying book about a man who wakes up buried alive in a pile of dead bodies & manages to get out only to discover he's in the middle of a war. It's a disorienting book because the protagonist doesn't know anything about himself & we learn as he does. He finds a man who looks like himself, shoots him & takes his uniform, his gun & his vehicle, drives into a horrible town where soldiers are in charge. This is a fast-paced, horrifying story that has an allegorical feel. There is a war. It is a religious war. Certain terms are used like "Jew" & "Jihad.".Dodd is an excellent writer who thrilled me with this tale & made me shudder in disgust. I will read more of Dodd's work.

the Cube People. Christian McPherson. Nightwood Editions. 2010

Another book I read in a day, the Cube People is about the life of an Ottawa civil servant who is also a writer. He & his wife are going thru fertility treatment. McPherson describes the embarrassments & frustrations & joys of that process. These are the sorts of things people don't talk about in public & it's frustrating how private people can be about such. Good on McPherson for dealing with this in his novel with humour & pathos. The story centres around the drudge & absurdity of working as a civil servant while trying to start a family, have a good marriage. The characters McPherson describes are versions of civil servants Ottawans encounter on a regular basis. The book also talks about the protagonist's struggle as a writer. The rejection letters the protagonist receives are funny; publishers are peculiar eccentrics & we also see the appearance of the famous & prolific Canadian icon Maggie Woodlawn. McPherson's protagonist writes a novel called the Hungry Hole, so that we get to read a story within the story. It's a fabulous technique & creates amusing situations, such as when , the main character's mother in law arrives & she's a hideous bitch, he writes a chapter in which the main character's mother in law is swallowed up by the hole. It's a fun book, but it is also a touching account of a couple's struggle with wanting a family, with their marriage, with trying to balance work & home, pot addled side-kicks, having to find a way to photocopy forms to fill out forms to get permission to use the photocopier, those icky cheese nachos at the 7-11 & the insatiable void that drag us into its blackness.

The Mountie at Niagara Falls and other brief stories. salvatore difalco. Anvil Press. 2010

I'm not quite finished this yet, but might as well add it into the mix. these are short shorts from a paragraph to a couple of pages. difalco takes a microscope to life & gives us eccentric portraits of people, places, things. he's very articulate with a fine sense of language. also love the illustrations by Francesco Gallé. I noticed the back of the book blurbs focussing on the whimsy of this book & that's true, but I wouldn't want the fanciful stuff to overshadow difalco's keen observation skills & his gift for the understated.

Front & Centre Issue 26. Black Bile Press, 2011

If you don't have a subscription to Front&Centre (2 issues for $10/4 issues for $18), go here & get one. I'm not finished reading the issue yet, but I'm already blown away by the first story, "A Gathering of the Clan," by Raymond Soltysek, about a man who's attending a funeral, the taboos & transgressions that have taken place within that fucked up family. It's a powerful story & will have me searching out Soltysek, a writer from Glasgow, Scotland. Where in hell would I have ever encountered such a writer if not for Front & Centre? What I like about this magazine is that it presents excellent stories that deal with the hard stuff nobody talks about & by writers you don't see in the standard Canadian literary journals. For the past couple of issues, there have also been great interviews at the start of the issue. It's where I learned about difalco's book above. This issue features an interview with the publishers of Siren Song, a small press out of Montreal. It's inspiring to see how small press publishers are so driven to publish. It's rewarding for me as a reader to discover great writing. Black Bile Press run by Matthew Firth & Bill Brown is doing a great job at this. There are also interesting reviews of books that go unnoticed by the Globular Mail & the National Pissed.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

100 blessings to start 2012

1 Charles
2 dear friends
3 shelter: our lovely light-filled aerie
4 food: especially Charles' baked goods
5 good health
(esp the success of my surgery in January & end to appointments at the Ottawa General & Billings Bridge We care)
6 integrity
7 hot & cold running water; being able to take a hot bath/shower
8 a comfortable king sized bed with a colourful & cozy duvet
9 being able to spend my weekdays writing; especially thankful to grant agencies; in 2011 OAC Writers Reserve
10 being able to publish talented artists & writers via Bywords & AngelHousePress; thank you contributors
11 being able to attend readings, such as the wonderful festivals: Writers Festival & Versefest, the A B Series, the Factory Reading Series, Plan 99…
12 being able to attend small press fairs: ottawa small press book fair & the Meet the Presses fair in Toronto.
13 Charles' photography on line & in the Draught gallery
14 small press publishers both on line & in print who publish my work
15 bloggers who write about my work or comment on my blog posts & creations
16 poetry & visual poetry
17 novels
18 non fiction
19 real books & bookstores
20 music-especially local musicians
21 art-especially the National Gallery, local galleries & great photography by so many
22 film & good tv shows
23 the radio, especially the CBC, CKCU & CHUO & most especially Podcasts, Penn's Poetry Radio
24 tea
25 Charles' strong coffee
26 the red moleskine journals Charles buys me, starting in the hospital
27 the internet, especially great blogs such as rob mclennan's, Pearl Pirie's & Jamie Bradley's.
28 tomatoes
29 sushi
30 dim sum
31 living downtown
32 being able to walk or take the bus most places
33 being debt free
34 having no mortgage, no house maintenance & repair bills, no heat & hydro bills, no property taxes
35 having no car (no car repairs, no car repair bills)
36 memories of dear friends who are no longer with us, their music, their art, their writing
37 not having to shovel snow or mow a lawn or scrape a windshield or dig up the ground or weed a lawn
38 not having to travel via airplane
39 being able to play my guitar, & a coupla new songs in 2011
40 coming back to pottery after a seven year break
41 whimsy
42 three ply tissues & good toilet paper
43 a variable temperature tea kettle
44 magic bag
45 the office I share with Charles
46 my plaid waterproof winter boots
47 my 30 year old or so red plaid flannel shirt (hole in elbow means it's headed for its demise)
48 playing games with Charles: Scrabble (Lexulous on FB) & Cribbage
49 knitting
50 eavesdropping in cafes & the fodder it yields for poetry
51 honey crisp apples
52 trips to Montreal & lovely time at friends' wedding
53 the Ottawa photowalk in the fog & rain
54 no pets, no plants, just full on human nurturing & being nurtured by same
55 graffitti
56 Ron Sexsmith's concert at the First Baptist Church & in store the next day
57 being able to eat popcorn again
58 hallways & stairs I can climb to keep healthy
59 chip truck fries in a paper bag (in the foggy misty autumn)
60 colds & flus are now just colds & flus
61 my IPOD
62 catching snow flakes on red mittens
63 Raw Sugar Café
64 my fountain pen
65 So Good
66 nuts, any kind of nut: cashews, almonds, macadamia, brazil, peacan, walnut
67 honey
68 harmony
69 Neko Case, Bronson Centre
70 baked goods of dear friends
71 leisurely chats over Thai food with dear friends
72 English songs covered in other languages
73 Photoshop, which is fun to make vispo with
74 shelves & shelves full of books
75 the Ottawa Public Library
76 the University of Ottawa Library - Morissett
77 the gerbera daisies given to me by a dear friend
78 long walks listening to Lightnin Hopkins, Howlin' Wolf, Townes Van Zandt, ballads & blues
79 Bob Dylan
80 Tom Waits
81 the train
82 the #4 bus, which now runs from my place to the Rideau Centre & back
83 crazy buttons & bling for my bag
84 my label maker
85 Jian Ghomeshi - CBC RADIO - Q
86 Kate Bush 50 Words for Snow
87 peanut sauce
88 Thai sticky rice
89 coloured magic markers with which to doodle
90 noodles of any kind
91 Charles' homemade pizza
92 grateful for those who are not gender biased
93 Ottawa Start's weekly round up of events
94 the crows in a line at 4 o'clock pm
95 the lack of pigeons on the balcony
96 the new bike path on Laurier & Bixi bike rentals
97 seafood udon soup & ramen noodle soup
98 frozen vanilla yogurt
99 Funk Yer Junk
100 living in the now

[much thanks to Pearl Pirie for the inspiration to count my blessings]