amongst books

amongst books

Friday, November 02, 2007

ryan fitzpatrick, William Neil Scott and Natalie Zina Walschots

launched Max Middle’s new AB Series at the City of Ottawa Art Gallery last night.

all three are part of the Snaring the NeWest tour which started in Calgary at the end of October.

ryan fitzpatrick read from “FAKE MATH” (Snare Books, 2007), opening with an epigraph from Karl Marx: “Moments are the elements of profit.” The book according to the blurb on the back “explores the ways each of us lives, works, and plays within the structures of capitalism, drawing inspiration from diverse sources from Marx to Oprah to Snoop Doggy Dog.” I very much enjoyed his word play and sense of humour.

William Neil Scott read from his new novel “wonderful” (NeWest Press, 2007) about the doings in a town called Garfax, a village no longer listed on any official government document. Scott is one of the best fiction readers I’ve heard in a long time, so mesmerizing. He had the audience's full attention. When he finished, I wanted him to go on longer. The book opens with a voice over the radio, asking “Can you hear me?”, then moves into a story told by the son of a storyteller about a town called Garfax. I loved Scott’s language and his ability to write very strong opening lines, such as “Alexander Garfax, the namesake of our village and the most famous Scottish eccentric, took it upon himself to discover the New World in 1896." i want to be snowed in so i can read this novel without interruption.

Natalie Zina Walschots read from “Thumbscrews” (Snare Books, 2007) which is a “poetic engagement with the aesthetics of sadomasochism and consensual pain.” Walschots alternated between poems that begged to be read aloud for their adventurous sound play and various prose pieces describing emergency visits to the hospital caused by accidents which took place during s/m play. i loved the juxtapositions such as below, poem followed by prose:


there’s a carver in your cartridge
tears a cuttle in for clover
bears rebuttal for it suffrage
denser settle tit for salted
curse or nettle bit a mantra
cures a crater more lit contra
sources bait her skin flint cobra
loaded taint a grip rip

time of admission 11:36pm

adult female complains of numbness and tingling, sudden pain in
fingers “like they fell asleep and never woke up,” evidence of pressure injuries on both wrists – says she slept on them – laceration on back of right hand

(from panicked scissors bungee corded cut

i enjoyed all three readers approaches to their work and the actual work itself. what the three had in common was an ability to perform their writing to engage the audience. i’m looking forward to reading all three of the books. it was great to have a chance to chat with all three writers at the post-reading Mayflower booze up too. i wish them all a wonderful tour.

it was a promising opening to the AB Series, which Max didn’t call a reading series because he says there may be other things, including lectures. The next one on the schedule is November 14 with Brea Burton and Jill Hartman. Unfortunately the Kevin Thurston event on Saturday had to be postponed, but will be rescheduled later.

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