Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Ongoing notes, early December 2006

Okay, so I'm home again, and glad for it. It's nice to be home, you know? Here's a Heidi Greco post I'm mentioned in (we missed each other in that west); good old John W. MacDonald wrote a nice post on David Cation artwork; Ariel Gordon was apparently nervous for our Winnipeg reading; she managed not only to figure herself out, but did a fine fine job (see her post-reading note here). And did you know my Perth Flowers chapbook from Nomados is now in the University of Alberta library? Be sure to take a copy out for your own reading enjoyment! And did you see this poem Rob Budde wrote for me, after Brockwell and I visited? Did you see the nice thing that Sharon Harris said about me (with attached photo), after my Toronto visit? And have you heard that John Steffler is apparently our new (and third) Parliamentary Poet Laureate?

Note that I'm doing another run of poetry workshops in January... spaces are still available... (so far)... also doing a reading in January at Capital Slam, on January 11th... Watch for those two Chaudiere Books readings over the next week & a half (Max wants you to know about them too); watch for Monty Reid & Meghan Jackson reading in Toronto at the Art Bar in March of next year; watch for the third issue launch of ottawater to happen at The Mercury Lounge sometime in January, or the next reading of the Factory Reading Series…

Or that mother tongue books (the bookstore not the press) now has a website? But enough about that...

Edmonton AB: I've been thinking for years that those kids at the Olive Reading Series (now in their new location; check out Sharon Thesen reading for them on December 12 at Hulbert's Cafe, 7601-115 Street) should offer subscriptions or something. Now in their seventh year, the Olive Reading Series runs (during the school year) a monthly reading series, publishing a chapbook by the featured reader in a handout edition of 100 copies. While I was there (reading from my own new chapbook, October), I got a small stack of recent Olive titles, including Alice Major's Mazama Ash (September 13, 2005), Shawna Lemay's Forest of Disappearances (October 11, 2005) and Jason Christie's Like Wolves (April 11, 2006). How else can those of us on the outside get copies?

Cub Babble

River and smoke, crisp mist floats from our mouths, and
then hangs suspended in mid-air, an emblem of what we
said; the edges are necessarily foggy. Our eyes pierce any
cloud or darkness. Our call reveals any distance. We grow
into our warmth. We shed the river and run through smoke
the same colour as our fur. We disappear in the fall. Our
eyes loll periphery into a uniform blankness. We've become
wolves. Our words have become like wolves. (Jason Christie)

To find out more about the Olive Reading and/or chapbook series, email T.L. Cowan at

Winnipeg MB: While in Winnipeg, Karen Clavelle gave me a copy of three days in Spain (Winnipeg MB: Atelier 78, 2005), a small chapbook she produced. As the colophon reads, "A Collectors Edition of one hundred books created to commemorate celebratory meetings of surrounding Canadays at the University of Lleida, Catalunya, Spain, 26, 27, 28 May, 2005."

Myth : true and false

the prairies are flat
the prairies are agricultural lands best
suited to the growing of cereal grains
the prairies are a vast drylands that form a landbridge between the
Canadian Shield on the East and the Rockies on the West
there are no trees on the prairies
it is always windy on the prairies
the prairies are somehow younger than the rest of the world
(Karen Clavelle)

Those Winnipeg folk seem very adept at making connections in various parts of Europe, as Dennis Cooley, Robert Kroetsch and others have been spending various summers teaching Canadian literature in Germany for years. A lovely little chapbook, it includes writing various participants of the weekend, such as Nela Bureu Ramos, Karen Clavelle, Dennis Cooley, Dolors Collellmir, Gordon Collier, Allison Funk, Gene Walz, Dawne McCance, Robert Kroetsch and Mertxe Lasierra.


That night a stranger walking down the road
would take her for a woman weeding late—
that's all, she thought, all, all the time
I'm breaking, can't anyone hear my heart?
At that, she snapped a plant off stem and bud
to fling away. Another. Pepper, stalks
of corn. Raked spinach out in handfuls. Crushed
it underfoot. What when the sun rose would
he say to the ruin? Couldn’t know—alone—
far from here by morning—she could only
imagine the look she'd carry like a cameo
inside. Opening to his face long after
this night. She'd leave her lover a keepsake, too,
a tale to tell to bookish friends of his.
A version, they'll think, of one they've known
all along. This garden he'd remember her by
. (Allison Funk)

To inquire about this or any further Atelier 78 publications, email Karen Clavelle at

Tokyo, Japan: On arriving home, I found a contributor copy of NOON: Journal of the Short Poem, issue 4 in my mailbox, with poems by a whole pile of people, including Andrea Strudensky and Geoffrey Hlibchuk, Hirahata Seito, Marlene Mountain, Elizabeth Robinson, Sheila E. Murphy, Christophe Casamassima, Shin Yu Pai, Patrick So, John Parsons and piles of others. A lovely small edition, the poems included exist without names attached (a list with table of contents exists at the end), so each small moment, small gesture can be experienced without the baggage of names. Wrecking that, here are two poems from the collections I'll credit:


We blow the ball
up, sheer,

the breathing
and the rounding
curve, held up.

What would we
preserve, beside
this hidden gust.

To keep in secrecy
and lighter

than the gesture
that lofts it. (Elizabeth Robinson)



Backhand, seersucker, under noon light, reminiscence before
present tense

Locution mimes what is already in the head, or the invasive
sunshine deems a minute of your time to loosen
preconception. If hurting is for fully formed intolerance, then
the elements are fixed as minds can be resistant. Outer edges
once embraced turn thoughtful, or the defining surfaces return
to point of something. High then low as if a flicker of the candle
later on, some gorgeous roan to mean more things are possible. (Sheila E. Murphy)

To find out more about NOON (submissions will be considered between April and July 2007 for issue 5), write Minami Motomachi 4-49-506, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0012, Japan or email

Providence RI: The only thing good about Janet Inksetter closing her Annex Books store was the fact that I was able to get a whole stack of books I wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise, including two from Burning Deck: one from David Miller (who co-hosted my reading in London England) and Marjorie Welish's The Windows Flew Open (1991). I know very little about either publisher or author (I think the only other Burning Deck title I have is a Cole Swensen), but I am enjoying this very much. Here's a poem from the collection; hopefully I can get more titles from Burning Deck, and perhaps even see, somehow somewhere, just what else Welish has been up to…


Denied flirting boisterously beyond the window,
here is a page of the abolished view,

figures moving
as if installed in a literary light,

the warm air deceptive,
superimposed on the imperceptibly villainous street

which caused you to accelerate
and skid into a snow bank.

"I dream I see you superimposed"
as quoted space, the lace abolishing the scene

like falsehood seen through frost.
As quoted above

the curtain at flood tide, through which
the idea of the Pyrénées. We see figures moving,

in principle to grasp
an entire range of paraphrases,

a page,
floating over writing.

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