amongst books

amongst books

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Two new erotic tales in the May/June ERWA Gallery

Beating the Gothic Out of Her is a response to 50 Shades of Grey in which the main character is subjected to gentle punishment for her love of men like Heathcliff.

Mercy and the Man in the Dark Suit concerns our main character's interlude with a delightful stranger.

Thank you to readers and editors at the Erotica Readers and Writers Association who helped get the kinks out of these stories. Not the sexy ones though.

And as always, thanks to the head honcho of ERWA, Adrienne Benedicks, who steers the ship & who chose my tales once more this time round.

I am honoured once more to be in delightfully smutty company. Visit the site for more stories, recommendations for books, films & sex toys.

Read these for your amusement and titillation in private or share them with a bedmate or two...

An Invitation to Layton Reloaded

Readings inspired by the life and work of Irving Layton and featuring Amanda Earl, Amatoritsero Ede, Phil Hall,Seymour Mayne, Sandra Ridley, and David Solway.
Doors -8pm; Readings-8:30pm; no cover
Saturday, May 4, 2013
the Mercury Lounge, 56 Byward, DOWNSTAIRS

my poems will be adaptions, remixes & regenderings of some of Irving Layton's poems.

i responded to a call last year  to engage with the work of Irving Layton by means of "homage, parody, retort, homolinguistic translation, or any other dialectical form (glossa, travesty, echo poem, etc."

I always enjoy this process. In this case, I went through A Wild Peculiar Joy, the Selected Poems (McClelland & Stewart, 2004). I ended up with a number of poems and I also ended up with a keener insight into Layton's poetry, how he used animals in his work, his colour palette, his use of inanimate objects. I recommend this sort of active study to all poets. It's a great way to engage with another poet's work and to learn about technique.

Thanks to Rob Stacey and Cameron Anstee for the call and for inviting me to participate in the reading. I'm honoured to be in fine company.

I hope to see you there.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Oh Get A Grip - the subject is fantasy

i rabbit on about magic realism, the paranormal, speculative fiction, fairy tales, comic books etc in my latest post on Oh Get A Grip: A Little Chocolate in My Peanut Butter.

my next post is on May 11 & will be about the green eyed monster herself.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Ottawa Public Library's Poets-a-Twitter / La poésie gazouille à Ottawa

the Ottawa Public Library has been very active for National Poetry Month this year, which is heartening to see. along with various readings & workshops held at their branches, the Library held a poetry contest on Twitter in both languages. the judges were Christine McNair & rob mclennan. the contest was bilingual. i wrote in both French & English,but as far as I know, was the only one to send work in French, so I won the French.

the English winners were Pearl Pirie, Adam Thomlinson & JC Sulzenko. congratulations to all of them. & thanks to rob & Christine.

you can read the poems here.

the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library is giving the winners goodies. huzzah!

on Saturday, there's an NPM reading at the Sunnyside Branch featuring Heather Cadsby, Mary Ellen Csamer & Deanna Young.


David O'Meara's sold out poetry workshop takes place on Saturday at the Carlingwood Branch & there have been several other poetry workshops by well-known Ottawa poets throughout April. all sold out.

& on Wednesday, April 24, there's a joint OPL/A B Series NPM reading featuring Stephen Brockwell, Christine McNair, David O'Meara, Peter Richardson, & Sandra Ridley.

this is the first year I've seen the Library put so much effort & attention into National Poetry Month. i hope they continue.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Gremlin or the Imp of the Perverse-a few thoughts on procrastination

my latest blog entry on Oh Get A Grip is now live. our topic was procrastination. i talk about famous writers' procrastination, the reasons for it & my own demons. i know you have a bunch of stuff to do, but you can put it off just for a while & read this ;)

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Spring Writers Fest Picks


Another  month, another festival. We are spoiled wee beasties in Ottawa, are we not?

Last month VERSeFest provided a full & invigorating week of poetry in its various forms & styles. This month, the Ottawa International Writers Festival gives us five days of fiction, non fiction & poetry. Here are a few of the events I'm excited about so far. Doubtless there will be wonderful discoveries during the festival as well.

Prefestival event (one of three!):

Saturday, April 20, 2012, 8:30pm
Suddenly, A Knock on the Door - Etgar Keret in Conversation with Jonathan Goldstein

I've never read any of Keret's work. I just have a feeling about this one. He came to town before for the fest & everyone was talking about how interesting he was.

Also there's this:
What Do We Have In Our Pockets, an adaptation of one of his stories by Goran Dukic

& this: 

Ira Glass reading the cover story from Keret's latest book, "Suddenly A Knock on the Door"

& his films & his articles. the man seems to have many creative outlets. I'd like to experience for myself. I am always looking for the latest Cocteau.

Thursday, April 25, 2013, 8:30pm
the All in a Day Songwriter's Circle with Alan Neal

I always love these. I'm a big fan of Mr. Neal's. I listen to CBC All in A Day frequently. last fall's Lynn Miles event blew my cotton socks off. this year he's taken ten songs at random from his IPOD & taken on the mission of finding everything about them. he'll get musicians to perform them. there will be interviews & video clips as well. the man has a sense of whimsy. i enjoy that. & besides, i'm a music nerd. i do look up the histories of songs & read lyrics carefully. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Essentials of the Short Story: A conversation on craft with Nancy Jo Cullen and Tamas Dobozy, hosted by John Metcalf, 12pm

I try to write short stories, so any conversations on craft I can be part of, I want to be.  & Metcalf has strong opinions on the short story. I enjoy being provoked or disturbed, as the case may be. I know nothing of the two authors' work. I will listen & learn.

Writing your Life with Amber Dawn, Iain Reid and Miriam Katin, 6:30pm

I loved "Sub Rosa," absolutely loved it. It was fast-paced, dark, a fairy tale, a cautionary tale, an imaginative journey that I still miss being on. & Now Ms. Dawn is back with another book, an autobiography entitled "How Poetry Saved My Life," which apparently involves her life on the streets as a sex worker.

Every Happy Family with Cathy Marie Buchanan, Saleema Nawaz and Shyam Selvadurai, 8:30pm

Buchanan is the author of a book I'm looking forward to reading, the Painted Girls, set in the late 1800s in Paris, an era & locale I am fascinated by. I'm also intrigued by the other two novels by former Ottawa resident, Saleema Nawaz whose book Bone and Bread seems to deal with the juxtapositions of Montreal's Hassidic & Sikh communities. & Shyam Selvadurai, whose previous novel, Funny Boy I enjoyed immensely. I admit to being fascinated with South Asian culture &  history. I've said before, I think we could easily have a whole week devoted to South Asian / South Asian Canadian literature.

Sunday, April 27, 2013

House of Anansi Poetry Bash: Adam Dickinson, Sara Peters and Michael Crummey

I'm a big fan of Crummey's fiction & shall look forward to hearing him & the others read from their poetry collections.

There are many other poetry, fiction & nonfiction events during the festival. These are a few of the events that are currently on my mind as I begin to look at my calendar. Get your tickets & passes today. 

Friday, April 05, 2013

Last Min Gig at V of V next Wednesday


I will be the featured reader at Voices of Venus on Wednesday, April 10 at Venus Envy, 320 Lisgar, 7:30pm, $5 or free for those participating in the all-women's open mic.

I'm planning a set of explicit fast-paced erotic poetry & fiction. it'll be silly, sexy, dark & gritty, full of whimsy, a little bit frilly, a little bit rock n roll, all inclusive gender fluid smut, featuring Lilith, the prince of whimsy, Queen Disturbo, Mercy and the Man in the Dark Suit, Master John, mandy, a 21st Century whore of Babylon, a leather daddy, a cowboi, bubble wrap, dildos, the Smiths, Humphrey Bogart, nipple clamps, nuns, secret admirers, lilies, stilettos & patchouli.

I realize graphically explicit  writing centered around sex isn't everyone's cup of tea, so no pressure, but I hope you'll come, if you want to come.. my goal is to entertain you & have a little fun. 

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Spring Poetry I'm Excited About


White Piano poetry by Nicole Brossard translated by Robert Majzels and Erin Moure (Coach House Books)
(Piano blanc, 2011)
Brossard's boundary blurs are one of the reasons I like her work, but I also find it so lyrical & unusual. I relate to the sensuality of her work, its emotion, her use of colour & texture. Her portraits of desire.  i am also fascinated by translations & this book, along with many of Brossard's other works, is translated by the excellent translator duo Robert Majzels and Erín Moure.

In an interview in Ms. Magazine, she talks about the role of poetry & we are so sympatico, I feel encouraged…
"The French poet René Daumal wrote that: “Prose tells you something, poetry does something to you.” I write with “the emotion of the thought and the thought of emotion.” Both of them need each other to propel language into a new dimension. Poetry is a language that brings you somewhere else. You cannot negotiate or argue with a poem, it takes you or not. If you like it then it will bring you as far as your imagining dreaming being can go or will allow itself to go. Poetry is definitely a place where you have to let go of “straight” meaning. It dismisses the usual, the obvious and the norm. Poetry is made of intuitive certitudes shattering language before reentering in it with the subliminal consequence that meaning is being renewed on the side of life, for short or long term."

The Small Nouns Crying Faith by Phil Hall (Book Thug)
I haven't read all of Phil Hall's books & chapbooks but every time I do, I engage with his work. my favourite book of his is The Little Seamstress (Pedlar Press, 2010) for the unique & powerful wordplay "Her tongue could butter lust with regret"
Hall's poems often make you think about something in a different way "skepticism inefficient as a rose". the poems are often very visual & painterly. in some ways I see his work as becoming quieter, more meditative, more personal than before. I enjoy watching the evolution of his work & am glad that there will be another book of his to accompany me in my urban rambles this spring, to drown out the cacophony of traffic & construction noise.

Fur(l) Parachute by Shannon Maguire (BookThug)
I've read all three of her chapbooks & enjoyed them. there's amusing language play, crazy big piles of juxtapositions, a frenetic pace to her writing that is refreshing. when she reads, she's so alive & full of joy. I suspect fur(l) parachute will be an effervescent collection.

When This World Comes to an End By Kate Cayley (Brick Books)
I'm intrigued by the premise of this book described over at the BB site:

"Kate Cayley’s is a mind both studious and curious, deeply attuned to the question “what if?” What if Nick Drake and Emily Dickinson met in the afterlife? What if a respected physician suddenly shrank to the size of a pea? What if the blind twins in a Victorian photograph could speak to us? What if we found another Earth orbiting another sun?// Cayley draws on her experience as a playwright to create vividly engaging voices and characters ranging from the famous to the infamous to the all-but-anonymous. With exquisite pacing and striking imagery she draws us into the gaps in history, invites us to survey its wonders, both real and imaginary."

I am an imagination junkie, always looking for work that captivates my thirsty imagination. this sounds like it might do so. from googling around & reading the bio, I've learned that a) Cayley is a playwright, which intrigues me. To me theatre & poetry suit one another, could easily be one genre. the work that I see from the book seems very visual, very sensual. 

also in an interview with Open Book Toronto, we learn that Cayley is a fairy tale person. this pleases me too. as I love & always did love fairy tales.

"Thinking about Snow White again while reading it to her — it brings home all over again how dark and terrible that story really is. When the wicked Queen is made to dance in red-hot shoes until she falls down dead, that’s a world without forgiveness or redemption, pre-Christian in a sense, in a way that the beautiful fairytales of Anderson or Oscar Wilde aren’t. Anderson and Wilde have a complicated relationship to the “Christian virtues,” tempered so much by their humour and wonderful irony, but in the real old stuff it just isn’t there. Nothing but wickedness and vengeance and just desserts all the way down. So that has always fascinated me. That darkness."

sounds like a kindred spirit to me.

there are likely other spring poetry collections of note, but these are the three that spring to mind (groan!) at the moment. if you are excited about a new poetry collection coming out this spring, let me know. I'll add it to my list.