amongst books

amongst books

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2011 Best of Lists: Music

Kate Bush - 50 Words for Snow

This is a lush & beautiful album. Each song is at least six minutes long. It's a great combo of whimsy & depth with such songs as the title track, 50 Words for Snow, in which Stephen Fry lists words for snow in various languages. This is a contemplative album, perfect for the dark private spaces we all enter at this time of year. I have been a modest fan of Kate Bush, but this album shall make me return to her music. In her recent interview with Jian Ghomeshi on CBC's Q, I was pleased by how humble & unbothered she seemed by her fame, also I was fascinated to learn how much film & dance have been part of her videos. Did you know that Donald Sutherland was in one of her videos?

Sarah Slean - Land and Sea (Pheromone Records)

A double album with 18 songs, the first half "Land" was produced by Joel Plaskett. Another example of lush pop with beautiful string arrangements & Slean's incredible voice. I like Slean's intensity & sense of theatre in these songs.

My Morning Jacket - Circuital

Once again Jim James' sexy voice combined with the band's mellow accompaniment suits me. I have very little MMJ music, but love all that I own. It's a bit reminiscent of the prog rock of the 70s. I don't have my turntable, red curtains & rec room anymore, but this music sends me right back there. Apparently one of the tracks, "Wonderful the Way I Feel" was supposed to be on the Muppets soundtrack but didn't make it. duh.

Matthew Barber - Matthew Barber

I love this man's gorgeous low voice & he is sure easy on the eyes. I saw him live for the first time at the Ottawa International Writers Festival Fall Edition song writers' circle & i was blown away. (On a sidenote, the man is tall, oooh, so very tall.) Middle of a Dream is my favourite song on this album. Barber is extremely talented; he made this album by himself, including playing all the parts. Some lovely acoustic guitar here. I had heard Jill Barber a few times & loved her voice. Her brother is equally talented. Good genes obviously. I'd love to hear them sing together

Ron Sexsmith - Long Player Late Bloomer

Another beautiful album from Ron Sexsmith with memorable melodies that hark back to Motown Soul, in the case of No Help At All. What I always wish for any Sexsmith album is that producers would have a lighter hand. I have always liked Sexsmith live better than the album versions; however, that being said, I think Bob Rock did a good job on this album; it helped to be able to see what went on behind the scenes via the wonderful documentary Love Shines. Rock definitely contributed good ideas for the arrangements, particularly for the song "Love Shines." See also Ron's terrific short sleeve notes for this & earlier albums. I am still yearning for a live album some day. I also recommend the Massey Hall tribute as part of the Luminato 2011 festival, particularly the song "Wastin' Time," performed by his partner Colleen Hixenbaugh of By Divine Right. What a gorgeous voice she has. She & Ron should absolutely do some duets. I got to see Mr. Sexsmith twice this year when he played the First Baptist Church & made an in-store appearance at the CD Warehouse. my sweet, old-fashioned crush on this man remains in tact.

Andrea Simms-Karp - Hibernation Nation

(already said stuff about this great album & this great singer here)

Feist - Metals

I think this is a richer, deeper album than what I've heard from Feist so far. Apparently the album was inspired by the book " 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus" by Charles C. Mann about the Pre-Columbian Americas, & was recorded partially in Big Surr. There's something of a soundtrack quality to the album. Feist plays in Ottawa on December 5 at the NAC.

Okkervil River - Golden Opportunities II

Hey, the 2nd of OR's xmas freebie mixtapes of covers from their live albums & it's amazing. You can get it here. & You can get the first one by clicking on the Pitchfork link on the Wiki page.

Okkervil River - I am very far

This band has been prolific indeed. I didn't love this album at first, but it's growing on me. I guess I find the strong rhythm very different from the band's normal slow pace, at least in my recollection. It is growing on me though. It does feel like a very highly produced record compared to previous. & I don't feel like it highlights Will Shef's sexy low voice enough, damn it.

An album I don't have, but I'd like to get is Tom Waits Bad As Me. Have listened to a few of the tracks & enjoyed very much. He seems to be playing a bit of a cowboy with some lovely bright guitar & the goofy bad ass in this one. Not unusual for Mr. Waits, I suppose. Nice that his site has not just a few sample tracks but also the lyrics. I love this man for his song writing, pure poetry.

Speaking of good song writing, I'm also looking forward to Leonard Cohen's new CD, Old Ideas to be released in 2012.

I'm excited about by the Black Keys-El Camino soon to be released. You can hear some of the songs already on the band's site. I love Dan Auerbach's voice, the strong drum & sexy electric guitar. Hey is that a bit of surf guitar I hear on Lonely Boy? Groovy. They could use this album for Pulp Fiction 2.

What are your favs of 2011 & which forthcoming new releases are you looking forward to?

Monday, November 28, 2011

a shortish note on priorities

at the end of the year, like many, i tend to pause & reflect on my priorities, goals etc. what has changed, i suppose, since my brush with the rim greeper is my intensity & my focus. i am able to easily brush off what doesn't matter & i have an inflamed sense of justice, not arrogant or acting as if i know all, i hope, but just intense, loyal, caring & stubborn as hell. not quite but almost fearless. i've had a very good year, am grateful for my health, for my dear & loving husband, for friends, for the ability to purse a non-conformist life of contemplation, exuberance, love, & whimsy. i am a misbehaving fish, that is to say unschooled...


all things devoted to our physical, sexual, emotional & financial well-being, including our divine aerie perched high above downtown Ottawa within walking distance to everything good; Charles' strong coffee, amazing meals & baked goods, his photography, my guitars, myriad charmingly uneven clay pots of my own hand, books upon books, a powerful computer, the internet, the radio, an old tv with basic cable & a king-sized bed, & thankfully not including a mortgage, house repairs, debt, a car, car maintenance, jet-setting holidays, wall paper, an ensuite bathroom, fancy ceramic tiles or matching dishes.


for a long time i have cherished kindred spirits & those who had time to spend with me & attention to give, but my health crisis two years ago showed me how giving & caring friends can actually be, whether they were sitting at my bedside in the hospital, buying groceries for Charles or driving him to the hospital, sending me cards, letters, books & assorted gifts to cheer me, these darlings have been exceptional. i care about them very much, shower them with attention, love & praise, small limited edition copies of chapbooks, music mixes, post cards & visits. these lovely people, & you know who you are, are my family. what i value most in a friend: loyalty, integrity, the ability to teach me something.


i spend much time listening & observing what goes on around me; i read, watch films & tv, listen to music, follow the weather obsessively, visit pubs & cafes, knit, conduct in depth research on a subject, go to concerts on occasion, visit galleries & gardens--all this to stimulate the senses & keep the neurons firing. not as an afterthought, but more as a kind of organic & natural consequence, is the publication of said writing. i do want readers but it is more important for me to write & explore. when i do share my work with readers, i want them to be affected by it. i have a long way to go before this can happen. so far, i haven't really written any agenda-based work, & i'm pretty sure i won't do so. i despise it. i have been fortunate to receive the occasional support from the City of Ottawa & the Ontario Arts Council for which I am grateful, very grateful. such support helps with priority #1.


Thru Bywords it is my mission to promote, bolster & support Ottawa's literary community, both its writers & readers, & ensure that out-of-town writers wish to come to the city by giving them a very warm welcome & lots of promotion. Bywords is just one of a plethora of great initiatives started by caring Ottawa residents that debunk the tired old myth that we are a boring gov't town that rolls up its sidewalks at night.

Thru AngelHousePress, i publish, feature & highlight works of great merit that might go otherwise unnoticed. after i got sick, my priorities for AngelHousePress changed a wee bit, or rather they have slowed down. i am not interested in publishing a slew of chapbooks just because or conforming to some regular schedule, but rather the occasional work that thrills or compels or affects in some way. & while i love the tactile beauty & streak of independence the chapbook has to offer, i am also quite enamoured with the possibilities of the Internet for spreading good stuff around to those who want to experience it, & also for presenting said stuff in beautiful ways. & also for connecting kindreds. thanks to the talented & supportive Charles, i am able to do so.


i am so fortunate, i want to give back. if i had a bunch of money, i'd probably donate it all to the Ottawa General Hospital for saving my life as if their own life depended on it. also i am heart-broken & concerned for the homeless, for those who must go without food, for the war torn, for those who suffer domestic abuse, for the grieving. i look for ways i can offer something, sometimes alas it's just a poem.

Sunday, November 27, 2011 issue four now on line

AngelHousePress is pleased to announce the publication of the fourth issue of, an annual pdf magazine that celebrates the art of risk.

this year's issue features poetry and visual poetry by Cameron Anstee, Caleb JW Brasset, Stephen Brockwell, Marco Giovenale, Mark Goldstein, Phil Hall, Marton Koppany, Ben Ladouceur, Joel Lipman & Francis Raven.

thank you to our first guest curator, Jamie Bradley & our designer & site guru, Charles Earl.

thank you to the contributors & thank you in advance for reading

Amanda Earl
the angel is in the house

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cover Songs: what are your faves?

On Monday, November 28, on Between Thought and Expression on CKCUFM (11am-12:30pm), there will be a show devoted to cover songs. Ok. i love covers, love them. i find it interesting to hear a different interpretation of a song. it help me to understand the song better and the writer's original intention.

there's always some discussion about whether a cover is better than the original. for the most part i just enjoy that they are different. and think of Bob Dylan, who has constantly sang different versions of his own songs. is different better? different is just different & can reveal more about a song's architecture. On a recent interview on CBC Radio 3, Sondre Lerche said that if someone is just going to cover a song as it is originally, what's the point? i agree with that. i like to hear the difference to understand why the composer made certain choices in his/her arrangements, rhythm etc.

i have a big collection of covers. here are a few of my favs. what are yours?

Jeff Buckley: Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) {i like other covers ok for this, but Buckley's version has packs a heavier emotional punch for me; the k.d. lang version is beautiful but too smooth for my liking}

Jeff Buckley/Nina Simone: Lilac Wine (James Shelton)

Nina Simone/David Bowie: Wild is the wind (Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington)

the soundtrack of Bob Dylan's Masked and Anonymous especially Come Una Pietra Scalciata (Like A Rolling Stone) - Articolo 31 (Bob Dylan)

Ron Sexsmith: Heart with no companion (Leonard Cohen);
Ron Sexsmith: Good Old Desk & I Guess the Lord Must Be In New York City (Harry Nilson)

Ron Sexsmith: Everyday I Write The Book (Elvis Costello)

Ron Sexsmith: Drifter (Gordon Lightfoot)

Emmylou Harris: The Magdalene Laundries (Joni Mitchell) & the whole A Tribute to Joni Mitchell album)

Ramblin' Jack Elliott: Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (Bob Dylan) & the whole I'm Not There soundtrack

Lucy Kaplansky: It Ain't Me Babe (Bob Dylan) & the whole A Nod to Bob album

Cake: Ruby don't take your love to town & the whole b-sides and rarities album

Beth Gibbons and Rustin' Man: Candy Says (Lou Reed)

Beth Orton: Sisters of Mercy (Leonard Cohen) & the whole LC: I'm Your Man album

Ana Egge: Wastin' Time (Ron Sexsmith)

Arlo Guthrie: Can't Help Falling In Love With You (Elvis Presley)

Dream Syndicate: Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young)

Annie Lennox: Thin Line Between Love and Hate (the Persuaders)

Annie Lennox: A Whiter Shade of Pale (Procal Harum)

Annie Lennox & also the Talking Heads: Take Me To the River (Al Green)

Big Star: Femme Fatale (The Velvet Underground)

the Bare Naked Ladies: Lovers in a dangerous time (Bruce Cockburn)

Tom Waits: Sea of Love (John Phillip Baptiste)

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: Love is all around (the Mary Tyler Moore show opening song)

Clayhill: Please please please let me get what I want (the Smiths)

the Cowboy Junkies: Blue Moon (Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart)

Crosby, Stills and Nash: Everybody's Talkin' (Fred Neil)

Indigo Girls: Romeo and Juliet (Dire Straits)

Jimi Hendrix: All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan)

Bleecker Street: Greenwich Village In The 60's

Scala & Kolacny Brothers: Bittersweet Symphony (the Verve)

Luke Doucet, Lovecats (Robert Smith)

Adam Sandler, Werewolves of London & the whole Eat Every Sandwhich album (Warren Zevon)

Maggie Gyllenhaal: Just the way you are (Bruno Mars)

the Langley Schools Project: In my room (Brian Wilson and Gary Usher)

Susanna and the Magical Orchestra: Love will tear us apart (Joy Division)

Siouxie and the Banshees: Strange Fruit (Abel Meeropol)

Minnie Riperton and José Feliciano: Light my fire (the Doors)

Billy Brag: Walk Away Renée (Michael Brown)

Mott the Hoople: All the Young Dudes (David Bowie)

Joaquin Phoenix: Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash)

Harry Manx and Kevin Brett: I'm On Fire (Bruce Springsteen)

My Morning Jacket: Rocket Man (Elton John)

{& i am looking forward to Muppets: the Green Album coming out in August 2011 with a whole slew of covers by folks like Sondre Lerche, Andrew Bird etc}

Late Editions

Pearl Jam, All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan)

Stubbs the Zombie soundtrack with songs like If I Only Had A Brain from the Wizard of Oz by the Flaming Lips

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ottawans: where to spend money this xmas

the Ottawa Food Bank is always looking for non perishable food items and money.

the Christmas Exchange makes it possible for low-income families to celebrate the holidays.

Cornerstone Housing for Women provides emergency shelter and support to Ottawa's downtown homeless women.

the Ottawa Mission is looking for donations of $2.97 to provide homeless persons with a meal at xmas.

the Snowsuit Fund needs money and knitted articles as well as gently used winter outerwear, hats, mits and boots of all sizes to keep children warm this winter.

these are just a few of the local charities that do good work all year round and should be supported all year round. winter and the holidays are particularly difficult times for many people, so a little extra care can't hurt.

the holidays are also difficult on those who have lost someone close and those who are alone. remember them. include them somehow in your festivities.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2011 Canadian Blog Awards

some kind person (s) has (have) nominated this here blog for best culture & literature blog. i think there are finer ones, rob mclennan's, Pearl Pirie's Pesbo...but if you feel like exercising your right to vote and wish to vote for this here blog, that would be very cool. to my knowledge, it hasn't been nominated for any bests so far.

here's the link.

thanks in advance & sending virtual roses & bubbly yr way...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Andrea Simms-Karp Hibernation Nation CD Release

On Saturday night, Charles and I had the pleasure of attending the Ottawa CD release night 2 of Hibernation Nation by Andrea Simms-Karp at the Gallery, Eclessiax Church in the Glebe.

If you don't have Hibernation Nation yet, you should pick up a copy pronto. The CD, as you can likely guess from the title, takes its inspiration from winter. It makes a nice compliment to Adam Gopnik's CBC Massey Lectures on Winter. Andrea's lyrics on the CD dwell on themes such as the isolation from living in a winter climate, winter as an external severe force we need to shelter from, melancholy resulting from a lack of light. There's something cheering about contemplating the severity of winter from inside one's warm abode whilst listening to this beautiful CD.

I love Andrea's music and have been a fan for a number of years. I can't remember if we first heard her somehow at Cafe Nostalgica or later, but i think it was in the early aughts that we first heard her and if not at the cafe, then thru a connection to someone who was a regular performer there. i was enchanted from the get by her clear high tones and lyrics and a kind of sassy don't take no bullshit attitude. ("You know me, I'm gonna work it" One Lane Highway)

As a side note, i want to say again how much I adore the fact that we have such a good music scene here in Ottawa. thank you Ottawa & area musical wonders for being so damn good. to work creatively in this town, i need to be surrounded by your good vibes & talent.

For some reason i didn't realize that Andrea has a band. I've only ever heard her perform alone. I had heard of her cousin Brian Simms before, but never had a chance to hear him perform live. He opened on Saturday night and I enjoyed his songs very much. I have one already from the fabulous Ottawa for Haiti CD, Old Tree, which he performed on Saturday night. Accompanying Brian was Adam Fogo, hella talented on an instrument that looked a bit like a cross between a bass & a cello. or a bass that he played with a bow. {research has identified the instrument as a viola da gamba, hurray!}

Andrea and her band, most excellent band, i might add (Brian Simms, Jeff Gleeson & Jack MacGregor), began with a knock-yer-socks-off rendition of the Bill Withers classic, Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone. The band was joined by Jerusha and Christine, two vocalists who go by the handle Double Edged Soul, and Andrea Harden, a violinist.

They were amazing and complemented Andrea's dulcet tones nicely (sorry about the dulcet tones, i'm running out words for great sounding. mellifluous isn't right, because Andrea's voice isn't full of honey or overly sweet, it's clear and high and warm, not brash sounding, but soft and light. damn my inarticulate tongue). Later the vocalists joined Andrea for Timoneer, such a heart-rending song. hard to pick favourites with such a fantastic CD, but i must say that i keep coming back to this song, its intensity, the grief. Andrea Harden also played on more songs. The violin was a perfect addition, adding a harmonic counterpoint to Andrea's voice.

The venue where the concert took place was quite nice, small but with excellent acoustics, hard wood floors, the added touch of xmas lights, and a homey feel. There were also baked goods and Italian soda. I should also say that Andrea looked sexy and resplendent in a yellow dress. The whole evening was resplendent and sexy (that drummer with the blue shirt and intense eyes, swoon, swoon...)

The evening ended with a standing ovation (of course), and an encore from Andrea's last CD, Sleeper with the song Silvering. "There's something about this neighbourhood..." Was lovely to hear that song live. And then we walked out into the imaginary snow.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Call & Response # 3: Monty Reid at SPAO

So Is The Madness of Humans by Monty Reid in response to THE FARM FAMILY PROJECT by Rob Macinnis

Vernissage: Friday, November 18th, 2011, 18:00pm - 21:00pm
On View: November 18th, 2011 - December 17th, 2011

Read the poems here or at the gallery whilst ogling the pics.

Third in the C&R series curated by rob mclennan & co-ordinated by Khalia Scott of SPAO. responses so far by Pearl Pirie and YT (yours truly)

In 2012 responses forthcoming by Sandra Ridley, Christine McNair...

Collaborations between writers & artists are the bomb. wish there were more.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Rants: 1. Ogre Transpo 2. Day of Shame

1. Ogre Transpo strikes again

i have called OC Transpo Ogre Transpo for years. the management never treats riders like customers, blames us for every problem associated with the bus, treats their drivers horribly and the latest in their nonsensical draconian antics is forbidding driver Yves Roy to sing on his bus.

apparently they received 12 complaints this year, and this after the man has been singing on his bus for 11 years. even our Mayor has weighed in, explaining that if we allowed Roy to sing, all mayhem would break loose on the bus. why even riders might bring on karaoke machines and break into song. goodness me. imagine the horror.

meanwhile buses are constantly late, missing and overcrowded, we have a ridiculous line of buses during evening commutes along Slater that you could walk across faster than you could ride. and guess what? we're even getting a fare increase. i think Ogre Transpo and Mayor Whatzit have their priorities screwed up. meanwhile we're supposed to be thinking of the environment, we're supposed to be saving money on gas, etc. ottawa is car city and this attitude isn't helping.

2. remembering war. yes, remember it and feel shame, shame that humans have ever had to involve themselves in the horrible task of killing and maiming and destroying. show graphic photos of legs cut off, hold funerals and wakes for the dead. grieve for your lost loved ones who fought and those who are still fighting. don't march, don't wear uniforms and don't show photos of your grandma in her wwii uniform smiling away. the fact that people are still dying from war today makes me feel guilty and ashamed for being human. there's nothing to be proud of. i hate living in a city where people wear red on fridays to support the troops. is war sometimes necessary? i hate to say it but sometimes it has been necessary. this is not something to celebrate or to glorify. this should be a day where we all hang our heads in sorrow.

"Perhaps, when we remember wars, we should take off our clothes and paint ourselves blue and go on all fours all day long and grunt like pigs. That would surely be more appropriate than noble oratory and shows of flags and well-oiled guns."
Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut

2011 Erasure Poetry Contest Short List Announced

After months of careful consideration and many late nights spent reading (and re-reading) more than 250 submissions, Geist is pleased to announce the short list for the 2011 Erasure Poetry Contest. Congratulations to the short-listed entrants!

•Janet Baker, "A week passed--"
•Maxianne Berger, Wabi-Sabi
•Amanda Earl, "Carly grew fried..."
•Joy Hamilton, Daydreaming
•Sam Helmer, A Family Gathering
•Renae Keep, ape
•Patty Milligan, Uncouth
•Kathryn Mockler, Companion
•Raymond Nakamura, Had Me At
•Karen Press, My Word

The three winners will be announced in Geist 83, our winter issue, out in January 2012.

Honourable mentions and the remaining short-listed poems will be available to read at in January 2012.

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.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

notes from a cartywheel now available from AngelHousePress

a commonplace book is essentially a scrapbook "filled with items of every kind: medical recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces were used by readers, writers, students, and humanists as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they had learned. Each commonplace book was unique to its creator's particular interests."

the Italian variety, Zibaldone, an astonishing variety of poetic and prose texts."[3] Devotional, technical, documentary and literary texts appear side-by-side in no discernible order." commonplacers included Dante Alighieri, John Milton, Mark Twain, Francis Bacon... [cadged from Wikipedia]

Christine McNair's notes from a cartywheel is full of poems, fragments, incantatory delights with a dark edge, piceous pit shadows, turquoise ballerinas, unlaced violins, bad dreams & lost maps. the chapbook is printed on distressed & glossy paper in a limited edition of 50 copies. my policy is that i do not do reprints, so once the 50 are gone, they're gone.

i am very pleased to publish notes from a cartywheel & hope that readers will enjoy it as much as i do. thanks to Christine McNair for her brilliant and resonant writing. thanks to Charles Earl for his brilliant and resonant design.

you can pick up a copy of the chapbook today, along with other AngelHousePress titles at the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair or on the AngelHousePress site via paypal or if you don't have access to paypal, we can make other arrangements. e-mail me at amanda at angelhousepress dot com

Friday, November 04, 2011

Air Out / In Air: 21 Poets for the Guatemala Stove Project

is a new chapbook in which a hybrid vis-po/po of mine appears along with work by Allison Armstrong, Shai Ben-Shalom, Jeremy Colangelo, Dawn Corrigan, Czandra, James DeMers,Phil Hall, Rick Kempa, Adrienne Mercer, rob mclennan, Rhonda Melanson, Mike Montreuil, My Name Is Scot, Monty Reid, Nedjo Rogers, Jade Scapillato, Kevin Spenst, Luminita Suse, Danielle Susi, and Robert Swereda. Edited by Pearl Pirie. Cover art by James DeMers.

the chapbook was published by phafours, the small press of Pearl Pirie. all proceeds go to the Guatemala Stove Project.

Pearl will have copies available at the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair this Saturday and they are also available here, while supplies last.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

this small, new intangible something

is a wee chapbook i made for my 48th birthday on October 15, 2011. here are a few kind words on such by rob mclennan as part of his early november notes, in which he talks about chapbooks he has received of late.

i have a few copies of "this small, new intangible thing" left. i made 48. if you find yourself at the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair on November 5, stop by the AngelHousePress/ table and i'll gift you with one. still celebrating my birthday(s)...