Thursday, October 30, 2014

Time and Place launch | Issue #4 launch

This spread of chapbooks greeted me upon entering Homegrown Hamilton last night, where Ninth Floor Press was launching their latest issue. It was fun to see Issue #1 again and reminisce, for a moment, about finding it at Mixed Media that first December morning as a Hamiltonian. Almost a year in town, now. It was great to meet Ed Shaw and Nancy Benoy, the friendly couple responsible for gathering, binding, shipping to the printers and showcasing their city’s local artisans. The evening’s mood reflected that labour of love, with friends of the press and contributors sharing in stories, songs and visual art that often touched on Hamilton as muse.

This is virtually where my photos of the evening end, with Shaw discussing the chapbook’s focus, although some better shots are popping up on Ninth Floor Press' Twitter.

I didn’t necessarily expect to see familiar faces, as the list of contributors hadn’t been shared in advance, but spotting Hamilton Spectator’s Jeff Mahoney and jack-of-all-trades artist Tor Lukasik-Foss gave me high hopes – and neither disappointed. Mahoney led the way with a casual but perceptive story from his boyhood days in Montreal while Lukasik-Foss’ “Banana Bread” recipe was hands-down the comedic highlight of the evening. (Note: we were all pretty fortunate to have a professional like Mahoney start things off, as he didn’t hesitate to comment on two patrons who had continued to chat loudly in spite of the fact that everyone else there was trying to listen. The couple soon moved on.)

Strangers became familiar in no time, too. I met photographer Dave Pijuan-Nomura who, in a nut-shell I’m sure, shared the three-year “upheaval” that ended with his family moving from Toronto. His photo published in Time and Place contains two major reasons for their move: his son and Hamilton’s vast green-space. Amanda Dudnik and Sonya de Laat also spoke eloquently about the personal motivations behind their visual work, enhancing my appreciation for craft in different mediums.

I read the featured poem "A homecoming," and also "The Smyth Ave Nightly Migration", which is due to appear in Quiddity. It was my first time reading in a year!

Aided by the chapbook’s meaty concept of when and where, the launch welcomed artists to bond over their creative impulses. It was a rare reading to walk out of, feeling as though I now knew these contributors as everyday people beyond the guise of their art. 

The new issue of Time and Place is for sale at bookstores and lit-friendly shoppes around Hamilton. For more details, check out this previous post.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New poems coming from In/Words Magazine

I’m pleased to mention the forthcoming issue of In/Words Magazine, which will not only be the first sold in stores (online and otherwise), but also mark the first release from the magazine’s new team of co-editors. On top of that, In/Words Vol. 14.1 will feature “Near misses” and “Heathen Canadian”, both low pressure death poems pulled from the manuscript-in-progress "A green horseshoe,". 

The launch is set for Friday, November 14th at Black Squirrel Books (7pm). Until then, why not get caught up with Vol. 13.2?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Time and Place launch issue, reading

Photo courtesy of Ninth Floor Press

Time and Place, the gorgeously hand-bound cultural quarterly put out by Ninth Floor Press, will celebrate the launch of a new issue on Wednesday October 29th. The poster, with full details, is below. Founders Ed Shaw and Nancy Benoy manage a low-key presence online but their journals are a regular fixture in several downtown Hamilton shops, including Mixed Media, J. H. Gordon Books, James Street Bookseller, The Hamilton Store, the James North General Store, etc. Here’s a great article on the origins of Time and Place, courtesy of Hamilton Spectator’s lit-minded Amy Kenny.

The new issue will contain a poem of mine – which one, I’m still unsure Updated 10/21/14: "A homecoming," – and some requisite chatter about when and where it formed. I’ll be reading at the launch and taking in the other contributions from local writers, songwriters and visual artists. It should be a great evening; why not come out? 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Upcoming: I'm reading at Lit Live

On Sunday, November 2nd, I’ll be sharing some recent work at Hamilton's long-running Lit Live Reading Series. As one of two “Emerging Writers”, I get to read alongside Katerina Fretwell, dee Hobsbawn-Smith, Donato Mancini, angela rawlings, Stan Rogal, and the also-emerging Laura Clarke. Wanna come? Homegrown Hamilton, 7:30pm. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Curious links for October 2014...

1) bpNichol would’ve celebrated his 70th birthday on September 30th and a number of artists and journals have marked the occasion. Coach House Books gathered a number of insights and anecdotes from colleagues, Lemon Hound created a slideshow of his Steve McCaffery assisted visual poetry and many gave tributes over social media (including Gregory Betts and Gary Barwin). Personally, the day served as a reminder that I still need to pick up bp: beginnings by bpnichol.

2) Through her bookgaga website, Vicki Ziegler has taken on the task of compiling a current list of online, Canadian publications that seek new poetry. Such a task may seem redundant, given how many literary indexes exist on the web, but most of them are littered with outdated information and dead links. If you’ve ever read about a promising journal only to discover that their homepage reverts to a page, you’ll know to bookmark Vicki’s growing list (and maybe offer a tip to help her expand it).

3) I don’t often talk about the wilderness that is American poetry because I have so few bearings, but Joseph Massey is one of my rare trail markers. Ever since picking up Exit North (BookThug, 2010), I’ve been keeping an eye out for the Massachusetts-via-California poet's next release. Well, that’s To Keep Time, which will be out October 15th with Omnidawn Publishing, and they've conducted an interview with Massey about the book’s themes and design. What that means for my overwhelmingly Canadian readership – Russian bots notwithstanding – is, if you enjoy Nelson Ball, check out Joseph Massey.

4) The Hamilton Public Library is preparing The New Writing Workshop, a sign-up group for writers of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and experimental forms. Running from October 9th through early January, the workshops will be led by Chris Pannell with the goal of developing individuals’ works-in-progress. For details and contact information, click on the below poster.