Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Ongoing notes: early March, 2012

A photo of me in New Orleans, during recent adventures. Stephen Brockwell and I spent two days in New Orleans before driving up to Lafayette to read at the University, hosted lovingly by Marthe Reed (to whom we are both very grateful). Here I am on the last proper steamboat on the Mississippi River, February 23, 2012 (photo by Stephen Brockwell), enjoying my very first mint julep. I declare…

And don’t forget that the spring edition of the ottawa small press book fair is June 30, with tables still available. The pre-reading occurs the night before at the Carleton Tavern, with readers tba. Watch for upcoming information on The Factory Reading Series’ events, including a reading and chapbook launch by former Ottawa and current Vancouver poet Rob Manery at the end of May or beginning of June. You won’t be able to help it. For this and any other upcoming Ottawa literary event, be sure to check out the calendar of events at Watch, too, for forthcoming above/ground press titles by Phil Hall and Andrew Burke, Kathryn MacLeod and so many others.

Will we see you at my birthday party at The Carleton Tavern on Saturday, March 17? I’ll be celebrating forty-two years and two days (so far) on the planet. Another ten years before I hit the fifty percent mark (you heard me…).

Ottawa ON: Twenty-fourth in Gaspereau Press’ Devil’s Whim chapbook series is Ottawa poet Monty Reid’s Contributor Notes (2012), a sequence of exactly what you might think it is. The first of the nineteen-piece sequence reads:
Monty Reid always reads the contributor’s notes first. Before he even looks at the rest of the magazine. He has become interested in how people imagine themselves. Perhaps he has come to believe that these notes are more dynamic, more provocative, more disturbing even, than the poems.
Through the movement of the sequence of short pieces, Reid turns, twists and even contradicts the consideration of the author “Monty Reid,” turning expectations of self around, while at the same time, working a thread of narrative line throughout the poem. As part eleven reads:
Monty Reid wasn’t always this way. He used to browse through each new issue, reading what caught his eye, going back to re-read pieces, often reading through the entire contents. Now, sadly, sometimes he never gets past the contributors’ notes.
Of the twenty-four in the series so far, this is only the second of their chapbooks I’ve seen, after the Jason Dewinetz title I reviewed a while back. An added bonus of Reid’s small publication (which was distributed for free at the recent VERSeFest), completely beautiful in the way that Gaspereau Press’ publications are, is this paragraph in the colophon:
This chapbook was edited and typeset by Andrew Steeves (who lived in Ottawa for a number of years while he played in a band, wrote poems and cut just few enough classes to graduate from university with a couple of arts degrees) and printed & bound under the direction of Gary Dunfield (whose brother lives in Ottawa) at Gaspereau Press as a number in the Devil’s Whim Occasional Chapbook Series.
Birch Trail, New York: American poet Deborah Poe handmade the small chapbook KEEP (2012) as a small give-away, a second edition distributed as gifts (for which I am apparently to respond in kind). A member of the fourth iteration of the Dusie Kollektiv (as was I), I’ve been very taken with Deborah Poe’s small handmade chapbooks, and the poems inside this small publication exist in “conversation” (as the colophon tells) with poems, pieces and quotes by Brenda Iijima, Kate Greenstreet, Kate Schapira, DH Lawrence and Eihei Dogen, as well as her own work. Her cover photograph, she writes, was discovered in an antique store, date and place unknown, of a group of people possibly residents and/or patients of a hospital or sanatorium. Her colophon also includes a quote from Eihei Dogen’s “Body-and-Mind Study of the Way” from Moon in a Dewdrop (North Point press,1985), that writes: “To study in this manner—understanding that home is no-home, abandoning home, and entering the homeless life—this is not measurable as large or small, near or far. It is beyond beginning or end, beyond ascending or descending. Broaching the subject, it is seven or eight feet. Responding immediately, it benefits the self and others. all this is nothing but the study of the way.”

someone is born in a room above a street
a border along dried out river between two states
from seize and hold and observe
a dorsolateral frontal cortex arches to air and light
retrieval mediated on right, encoding on left
lace glove, Easter Sunday, a girl
words related to looks
maintain—part history, part roots

the fact of being kept, the act of keeping
cortex cholingeric fibers ascend into frontal lobe
activation along with serotonergic fibers from midbrain
scattered thunderstorms, circuits along sky mind

to take in, receive, contain, hold
to receive with eyes, ears, and mind
to guard, defend, protect, preserve

Reading to Fly to Purchase
(verb and noun coexist)
learning’s persistence revealed at later dates

how to place (what we) keep.
I like the directions her lines move in, while allowing enormous space for what is unspoken to exist between. Just what is kept, or do we keep? “Pay attention.” she writes. “Mind the divide.”

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