Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Don't miss this month's "Recent Reads" column!

Before it's really old news...

At the beginning of this month I reviewed Ground Rules: the best of above/ground press' second decade, 2003-2013, the equal parts weighty and irresistible anthology that simultaneously signals the relaunch of Chaudiere Books. It's available to buy here.

The book arrived in early December and kept me company during the final pushes of our Niagara exodus. As you might tell from the above photo, Ground Rules was virtually the last thing to leave that apartment, along with coats, shoes, patience, etc. Some folks have been kind enough to retweet and link up the review, which appears on Ottawa Poetry Newsletter, but I thought I should make mention of it here, in case anyone who stumbles upon this blog hasn't checked it out yet. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Curious links for January 2014 (& onward)...

1) Party alert: BookThug will be throwing down for their tenth anniversary on February 11th. Check out their Facebook Event page for the finer details but the skinny includes special guests, mystery guests and lots of prizes. You know, if books are your thing...

2) January just wouldn’t be the same without ottawater, which went live today and celebrates its tenth anniversary. Follow the link to see this year’s edition, packed with lots of new poetry and artwork from the Ottawa region. The annual PDF was designed by Tanya Sprowl, while the poems were chosen by rob mclennan, who is no stranger to anniversaries of late

3) Two weeks ago I attended my first Lit Live Reading and I’m already excited for the next one, hosted by Laura Lukasik on February 2nd at Homegrown Hamilton. The evening’s itinerary will feature fiction from Janet Turpin Myers, Shane Neilson, Natalee Caple and Patricia Westerhof as well as poetry from Paul Sutherland and Gordon Johnston. If you need another incentive, Homegrown Hamilton makes a mean chai tea latte!

Also, you can look well beyond February's plans on Lit Live's blog, where the whole season of planned readings is listed. It's a doozy.

4) There’s no shortage of prestigious 2014 literary awards up for grabs but several deadlines are coming up quick. Prism International has a poetry competition closing on the 23rd, submissions for Matrix Magazine's Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry have to be in January 31st, and entries for Arc Poetry Magazine’s Poem of the Year Contest are due February 1st. Find links for all of these competitions (and a lot more) at

As it happens, Arc is also looking for their next Poet in Residence. Having experienced the benefits of that program from previous PiR Rob Winger, I’m looking forward to reading the results of that search.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Upcoming: "London Exiles" chapbook

Revisiting London; December 2011
Sometimes you don’t choose what you write; a memory seeps into your present consciousness and you feel obliged to see it through. With much of 2013 spent organizing two chapbook manuscripts, I noticed just recently that a handful of poems cut during the process were left out in shared solidarity for London, Ontario. Ideas gleaned from the five years I lived in that fine city and pursued, to whatever end! A few of these poems settled in journals and online magazines during 2011 and 2012. Others sit unattended or search on.

Poetry month is still a long way off but I plan on celebrating it by publishing the odds-n-ends collection London Exiles through my humble Dead Letter Birds imprint. The run will be small and the costs, minor, but it'll be rewarding to turn the geographic roots that initially marginalized these poems into an inclusive exploration. More to come!

April 30 update: This plan is no longer on the table for two reasons: 1) I've been preoccupied with new material and 2) I haven't set myself up with a new printer. Kind of important. So until I complete one and remedy the other, London Exiles will remain on the shelf, so to speak. I'm keeping my figurative furniture in check. Stay tuned...