Friday, August 04, 2006

Ongoing notes: early August, 2006

Here's a photo-collage done by Phil Hall for the cover of my Nomados chapbook Perth Flowers. I've been pretty lucky over the years to be able to use such good visuals for various of my books, including the Tom Fowler illustration on the cover of bagne, or Criteria for Heaven, the Danny Hussey artwork on the cover of Paper Hotel, the David Cation paintings on aubade (& subsequent "author shot" by Dave Cooper; especially exciting since aubade is already in my hands! back from the printer's far earlier than I would have expected…), or E.G. Blundell artwork on stone: book one. I've already selected a piece by Ottawa artist Eric Walker for the cover of my collection of essays, a piece in his living room that I had in mind when I was constructing the collection; he's already said yes. I can't wait to see the thing (finally) in print…

After taking that "one book meme" thing I found on Kate Sutherland's blog, I realized: why couldn’t I think of a funny answer while I was doing it? What book I would most like to be with on a desert island: how to build a boat & get off a desert island. Why are the funniest lines always in hindsight? & various folk have responded to mine, & even further, including Mark Trustcott, Wanda O'Connor, Pearl Pirie, Amanda Earl, Jessica Smith, Marcas McCann, Jennifer LoveGrove, Stuart Ross, Zoe Whittall, Kathryn Hunt & Jennifer Mulligan (just watch for more). & I know you're excited & can't wait for this above/ground press thirteenth anniversary party on August 18th

I'm at the Glengarry Highland Games this weekend, & my parents farm for almost a week with my lovely daughter, hanging out with my sister's 2 1/2 year old (to help against her new baby); updates for at least a week could be even more random than before…

Kingston ON: After going through the manuscript myself a few months ago, its good to see Kingston curator/poet Jan Allen's first poetry collection finally appear in book form as Personal Peripherals (Ottawa ON: Buschek Books, 2006). With the first thirty pieces originally appearing as a STANZAS issue a while back (thanks to the recommendation of poet/critic Gil McElroy) [see Amanda Earl's review of such here], the fifty poem sequence of poems works as a collusion of science fragments through broken language, writing a poem that resonates and compounds in short unyielding bursts. Where has she been all this time? Why do these curators/artists who turn poets (or vise-versa; McElroy, McCabe) always hiding out from the rest of us?


that third glass of wine
spills fascist illusions of victory
across endless nights
the yawning cries of trains
rattling through
level crossings
unsnap the blister packs
of unspent intuition
hydrogen bubbles
rise glorious
and luminous fractals
release the white barking
elegance of thought (p 36)

Jan Allen reads next in Ottawa for The TREE Reading Series on Tuesday, August 12 at 8pm; Royal Oak II, Laurier Avenue East. I am very much looking forward to how the poems resonate during her reading.

Grey County ON: Through searching out information on the Toronto poet Phil Hall on the internet, I recently discovered Judy Lowry's poetry collection Exile No More (Owen Sound ON: The Ginger Press, 2006), through the fact that Hall was not only editor of the collection, but has a quote on the back cover. As the press release states, "Exile No More was selected from dozens of submissions by an independent advisory board looking for 'emerging regional poets who are ready for publication,' according to jurist Liz Zetlin. Although technology and other glitches delayed the publication date, a high degree of author participation and collaboration has ensured that the poet's work is now available to readers." There are some interesting moments here and there, but not always (unfortunately) enough to capture my attention. Here's a piece from the middle of the collection:


thought I found one in my bed

in late deep night
among that quiet cool envelope

a strong straight stick
poked at me

in one move
entered searing energy

fusing tremours of instant heat

languid joy stretched
tickled my skeleton

set in motion
such a jangling
time did a tap dance

morning light swept hoof shadows over my feet
thighs rashed from bristled rub

pipes echoed in my ears

Washington DC: Thanks to a note from Jessica Smith, I was able to find out about Big Game Books, producer of chapbooks, broadsides, "and other poetic embodiments handcrafted with loving taste and underwhelming sense in Das Kapital." "We make our own fun," their bookmark tells me (from capital to capital), and some of their fun include a lovely little series of small chapbooks that arrived in the mail recently, including The Archivist's Log of Interpersonal Experiments by Stephanie Anderson, Acheron Census by Mark Lamoureux, butterflies by jessica smith, deeply rooted by Dustin Williamson and Not Nothing Never No by jordan davis. Part of a series called "tinysides," each of these are small, beautifully crafted, hand-sewn and produced in editions of fifty copies.

I love the serial sense of some of these, whether the small fragments of Mark Lamoureux's chapbook:

Tolland, CT

In the dewy sac
the killcrop
huddles, reads

the sign on the door
of the diner.

Goldstone, CA

I will wait for you here,
by the river.

or the serial same of Stephanie Anderson:

Missing the Painter

You left your linseed and raw umber;
a smear of ultramarine on the skin's drain.
Each morning I frame the scene and prep
the canvas. But your brush is gone for good.

Lying to the Yodeler

Yes, the ski-lift enhances
your polished hollers.
Again, please,
crescendo again.

Retiring with the Zookeeper

Back-to-back, his bear-musk lulls
and knits together sleep. Cradles
my mind's circus. Tent me here
awhile, in the shadow of his shoulder.

Or then of course jordan davis, writing:

Neither here nor there. This
Peculiar unpleasant space called poetry,
For sooth, no worse than a nightclub
And no better than a house on fire.
Ah, said the American, that cannot be helped.
Ah, said the American, we must be ruled
By the wealthy inept. It is our heritage
And birthright — all citizens
Are entitled to feel contempt
For their leaders, and by extension,
For themselves. You too, sexy.

To find out more about them, either write them c/o 1012 E. Capital Street, Washington DC 20003, check their website or send them an email at reenhead-AT-gmail-DOT-com

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