Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ongoing notes: September, 2006

Did you see my new poem up at Intercapillary Space (UK)? The same place that reviewed my British book even before I saw copies. Or my poems up at melancholia's tremulous dreadlocks 4? Or that editor Sina Queyras' Drunken Boat stuff is finally up, with poems of mine & that interview I did with Rachel Zolf? Why is the front of my apartment building on a blog? Did you see new blogs up by Toronto writer/filmmaker RM Vaughan, or this one by Chicago resident & Canadian poet nathalie stephens? [see my note on her here if you haven't already] Did you see that the schedule for the ottawa international writers festival is up? Will I see you at said festival? & I've been getting a lot of publications from British Columbia lately (not that I'm complaining…); is there anyone else doing anything else anywhere? Did you notice I'm still looking for new subscribers for 2007, so I can afford to make more chapbooks now (the story of my life, really)? & I'm walking again—my bicycle is out of commission again; someone has kicked in the back wheel, bending it all to hell. Am I doomed to go through a bicycle a year?

Vancouver BC: The author of nearly a dozen trade poetry collections, Vancouver writer Patrick Friesen's most recent publications are the chapbook Bordello Poems (Vancouver BC: Vancouver Film School, no date), and Interim: Essays & Mediations (Regina SK: Hagios Press, 2006), a collection of non-fiction pieces written over a period of some twenty years [watch for my review in an upcoming issue of The Antigonish Review]. In a structure reminiscent of Leonard Cohen's Songs From a Room or Monty Reid's cuba A book (above/ground press), Bordello Poems works three sections of fragments of a single piece written from a single room. For the longest time, my favourite of Friesen's many books has been St. Mary at Main (Winnipeg MB: The Muses' Company, 1998), working longer lines and longer thoughts in what has essentially become his (so far) last Winnipeg collection, so it's interesting to see him move back into the shorter line, working the page itself as the single line, or the chapbook as a whole as the extended idea.


there is enough


a world

the mystics

I don’t
know that

just enough
for knowing

Almost a book of koans, the title Bordello Poems works a different direction than the deliberateness & deliberations of the poems that exist within the collection, writing out a contemplativeness from a small room, with only a bed and the company of the woman he loves.


you see me

a nakedness
I haven’t worn

and lost
in this kneeling

a fish nibbles
at the window

a room of

a room
of rivers

Produced in a numbered run of only 200 copies, Bordello Poems is available for a limited time through Friesen's website.

Edmonton AB: I got the chapbook anthology tempus (Edmonton AB: Rubicon Press, 2006) in my mailbox recently, edited by Jenna Butler and Yvonne Blomer. I'm not sure if this was made for any particular event, or if this is the first issue of anything, but I do wonder why their press has the same name as the former journal (in Montreal; 1983-89)? The brownish publication includes works by a number of knowns and unknowns, including Edmonton poets with larger reputations, those names I only know thanks to K.L. McKay's Spire Poetry Poster (formerly of Ottawa), and various in-between, including Pamela Porter, Wendy McGrath, Andrea Porter, Rosie Livingstone, Christine Altieri, Grace Cockburn, Karen Shklanka, Alice Major, Ian Marriott, Kimmy Beach, K.L. McKay, Jeff Carpenter, Sheila E. Murphy, Cynthia Woodman Kerkham, Wendy Morton, Andrea McKenzie, Barbara Pelman & Douglas Barbour [see my review of his collaborative book with Sheila E. Murphy here].

last night our niece fit perfectly into her new
husband's arms on the dance floor, her veil tossed back
the night an unspoken remembrance
of her sister's death eight years earlier
she'd have been tall and wise in the bridesmaid's dress
of autumn rust
I waltz with my husband and our hands fit
as perfectly as they did at our wedding twenty years ago
these same nieces young and bored
picking at cookies and loose threads while we danced (Kimmy Beach, "Saskatchewan Testing Ground")

Existing predominantly in the expected lyric, there are moments in which parts of the chapbook/journal transcend, as in the poems of Murphy & Barbour, & some very nice moments in Beach & McKay. But I wonder: why is the expected lyric so prevalent?

Reverse Haibun


Tilt of the earth pronouncing routine warmth

Each sunlight occupies the lip of pool inviting limits of
the body. One pauses prior to becoming fluent
daylight. Water in the hair pre-dusk, the silver calm
reveals metonymy for which a clock…One breathes.
Dried apparel, horizontal lines spawn informal tenure
made to seem an intersection. Turmoil of the soil
enriched long reeds swell to a sample size of seeds
repeating. (Sheila E. Murphy)

You can find out more about tempus & Rubicon Press by writing c/o suite 304, 10750-78 Avenue, Edmonton AB, T6E 1P7, or through their website.

Prince George, BC: Ken Belford sent me his two most recent chapbooks lately, his till (series 9) & convergences (series 10), both produced through his off-set house. In an interview I did recently with poet Rob Budde, he talked a lot about being influenced by Ken Belford's poetics. As he says at the end of the interview:
RB: Finding Ft. George will actually be the first book of mine that will reflect a "Prince George aesthetic." It is made up of poems I've written since coming to
Prince George and you will see the influences of Ken Belford, George Stanley,
and Barry McKinnon in it. It is my discovery of Prince George (and regions
around) and also reflects my new-found Green politics. I am co-chair of the
provincial Green Party constituency association here. Really think that poetry
could delve more into the reason we are trashing the planet. It is nice
Harbour/Nightwood is doing the book because it will create an interesting
conversation with Belford's Ecologue, which came out last year.

rm: Why do you think it important to establish such a dialogue with Belford's

RB: I am just really into what he is doing now. He is my current mentor and so a lot of the poems come out of conversations and poems we share. I respect him immensely for his politics/poetics and hope to learn a lot more from him as we go on.

I saw that place in the water
where rainbow would naturally be,
and in the spray of sunlit drops,
glory off the float plane's bow.
But I had doubts about the answers-
not all the arcs are rainbows
and light consists of streams.
The pastel bands in the roily water
are invisible, but I can see
the shadows of the moving bows. (convergences)

There's a lot happening up north. Belford's partner, the poet & editor Si Transken, even edited an anthology recently called This Ain't Your Patriarchs' Poetry Book: Connections, Candles, Comrades… (Prince George BC: Transformative Collective Press, 2003), including the work of various northern British Columbia writers including Jacqueline Hoekstra, Dani Pigeau, Ellen Winofsky, Maria Walther, Transken herself, Lynn Box, Theresa Healy, Yolanda Coppolino, Clayton Boehler, Rob Budde, Will Morin & Chuck Fraser.

Another poet local to the Prince George aesthetic, Donna Kane, reads in Ottawa at the next TREE Reading at the Royal Oak on Laurier; will I see you there?

On a whole other note: I've been reading The Essential Avengers Volume Four lately (reprinting a series of issues from 1969-1972), including the infamous Kree-Skrull War that I've been wanting to read now for years. With the storylines happening in Young Avengers, a new series only about a year old (& so very well written), it's interesting to get into the background of some of this material. Most of the stories were written & scripted by Rascally Roy Thomas (& even a two issue story written by Harlan Ellison) seems particularly dated, & even somewhat sexist (especially when he tries to move in the other direction, which is too bad, & somewhat even laughable), but otherwise the stories are magnificent. I'm currently waiting on the appearance of further volumes (to step into some of the stories I started reading in the mid/late 1970s, & get the "whole story" as opposed to the individual issues I read, scattered through the years…), as well as the volume of The Essential Amazing Spider-Man that will include the third Green Goblin (I've looking for my missing issue or two of that story for twenty years). Patience, I suppose, as in all things…

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