Cobourg ON: I’m not sure what happened to his previous chapbook journals Syd & Shirley (named after his late parents) or Peter O’Toole: a magazine of one-line poems, but November 2009 saw the first issue of Stuart Ross’ Hardscrabble: a little magazine of poetry, produced through his ongoing Proper Tales Press.
in the air
the strong wind
there (Nelson Ball)
Featuring work by Nelson Ball, Alice Burdick, Loren Goodman, Susan Kernohan, David W. McFadden and Hugh Thomas, most of whom Ross has been publishing and encouraging for years through various of his editorial/publishing ventures, and becomes the first little journal produced from his new home in his recently-relocated home in Cobourg, Ontario. But still, why is Ross still one of the main homes for most of the writers featured here? Has small publishing pulled back that much, that we don’t really see writing by many of these but for appearances through one of Ross’ editorial movements through This magazine, Mansfield Press or The Mercury Press (especially now that David W. McFadden has been up for the Griffin Poetry Prize)? For further information on this little venture of his, email email@example.com
When I arrive
the party is already in orbit.
Someone hands me a glass of wine
which hangs in mid-air,
as do the poems
when they are released from the book.
They shimmer like soap bubbles.
How lucky we are
to be a part of this experiment.
You drift back from the forward porthole.
We touch our foreheads together
so we can hear ourselves think.
“I think we just passed David McFadden
in a lawn chair,
held up by a hundred helium balloons.” (Hugh Thomas)
Toronto ON: In Ottawa poet Cameron Anstee’s new chapbook, Water Upsets Stone (Toronto ON: The Emergency Response Unit, 2009), he seems to be working a poetry of increasingly sequential gestures, akin to the poetry of Monty Reid or Barry McKinnon, gesturing a sequence of moments that accumulate into something other. This is a poetry that carves and works to carve out its own essence, as his writing slowly begins to mature, and achieve, with each subsequent publication.
we have been standing this whole time
branches refuse leaves
carry less weight in to winter
but lengthen in ground to upset foundations
poured for brick, how water upsets stone
I am not sure where to locate the tree
In this poem carved out of three parts—First Law, Second Law and Third Law—just what is it about stone? Is this stone in the Reid or Don McKay sense, or in the McKinnon sense? Is this ecology or human history or something else entirely?
in the beginning there is
Einstein’s equation makes it possible
to calculate the huge amounts of energy
that would be released
if the whole of an available mass
could be converted into
in the beginning there is
it can move, & it may