Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"A Momentary Dislocation" up at Town Crier

Outside the Lit Live Reading Series
Town Crier, the "bloggy appendage" of The Puritan, has just published an article that finds me straddling two Southern Ontario poetry scenes and their respective reading series'. Glancing back at Saint Catharines and then forward to Hamilton, I discuss Grey Borders Reading Series, Lit Live Reading Series and LitChat, plus a handful of the poets and writers that have enlightened each initiative. Feel free to read "A Momentary Dislocation" here and thanks to those of you who've shared it so far! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Curious links for February 2014 (& beyond)...

1) Virtual friend Phoebe Wang will be holding a micropress workshop in partnership with Artscape Youngplace this March. Running every Monday for eight weeks, the course will help writers tackle both the content and design of your chapbook-to-be, plus offer networking opportunities through a series of guest writers, editors and publishers. Details and registration can be found by following this link to Phoebe's website. I really wish I didn't have to work on Mondays.

2) Motivated by her stint contributing to OGG, poet and publisher Amanda Earl is investing a lot of fresh energy into her blog so far in 2014. Critically she has been discussing a lot of poetry, both in book as well as online magazine formats. And with a plan to cover more readings, Earl might offer some behind-the-scene thoughts on events that'll surround her, like the release of her first trade collection (through Chaudiere Books) and her reading as a featured poet in Versefest.

3) Not even Canlit can escape the clutches of internet trolling. A National Post article (by Michael Lista) that seemed poised to promise insightful debate instead led, in at least one corner, to name-calling and clique-y divisions. Cooler heads are prevailing, thankfully, with E. Martin Nolan's Town Crier article "Poets, Hug it Out" being perhaps the finest response so far.

4) The Chinese New Year recently introduced the year of the horse. Writer Gillian Sze celebrated by tweeting an evocative prose poem, "East Is the Sun Behind a Tree", which she has since collected on her website. Keep an eye out for her book Peeling Rambutan this spring on Gaspereau Press

5) Toronto-based comic/writer Shane Murphy and I instead commemorated the outgoing year of the snake, during which we both sought out changes in scenery and "shed our skin", by creating a new mix of songs that explore the nature of home. It's the third entry in a mix series that has been fun to compile and share with friends. Feel free to download the results here.

6) Last week I reviewed Hailey Higdon's The State In Which over at Ottawa Poetry Newsletter. It's a sometimes difficult chapbook to look in the eye, particularly because Higdon does such a convincing job of transmitting the helpless and doubt-ridden traces we instinctively try to cover up. 

7) Lastly, Huffington Post's Bryan Berghoef wrote a resonating albeit light article The World Needs More Poetry that treats the reading of poetry as a spiritual practice. Sounds about right!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Upcoming: two poems in Quiddity 7.2

Beneath the migration; Smyth Ave & St Laurent Blvd
"Vulture Bay" and "The Smyth Ave Nightly Migration" have been selected for the fall issue of Quiddity International Literary Journal. Based out of Benedictine University in Illinois, Quiddity is an ambitious multimedia venue that includes a print edition, a public radio program (partnered with NPR-affiliated WUIS) and an online version which can be streamed.

Both poems are from the Impermanence, Ontario manuscript, which after some tinkering (on and off the page), is shaping up the way I hoped it would back in my Ottawa daze. More details to come!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Rogue Poem: "&"


I was given things I couldn’t take care of.
Trifles – withstanding death’s gate
as heirlooms, becoming.
A freckle between breasts.

We forged our histories.
Blackened the handle inscribed
to our wash tags as though
we hadn’t shared a short drive
through a snow-globe’s stooped tree-limbs,
the aging bungalows
crouched to scale,
and let its sick breeze curl our sleeves.

Years we obeyed the chiseling
for dysmorphic hollows and fasted
for slight hands capable
of cupping within, knuckles
like anniversary knots, and
carving an ampersand
when a heart was nearly as easy
as our names.

No heirlooms follow
but the torrent
we lie proofless beside.
A pane once shaken
that’ll silence the half of me.

Zouch Magazine published "&" in December 2011 with a strange gap isolating the last stanza from the whole. Not a huge mistake, but certainly distracting. I contacted them, asking for the space to be removed, and they said they'd try. Over two years later, I decided to do the grunt work myself (hitting backspace twice) and thus feature the poem in its proper, insofar unseen, form. Welcome home, old boy.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

“Last of the Gypsies” in East Jasmine Review

California-based online magazine East Jasmine Review has included my poem “Last of the Gypsies” in its spring edition. Including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, articles and reviews, the issue weighs in at nearly a hundred pages, which is great when most of these authors are from the Southern States and therefore new to me. 

You can buy a copy on their website or call me up and ask me to recite the poem over the line. It won't be weird at all.