[Jeannie Hoag and Brian Mihok, Sunnyoutside] The nineteenth anniversary edition of the ottawa small press book fair has come andgone, and a couple of reports have already been posted, including those by Amanda Earl, Pearl Pirie and Jessica Bebenek. Might we see you at the spring event? Give me another month or three, and I’ll most likely book it for May (possibly, depending on venue availability). There are a few other book fairs coming up, including Expozine in Montreal, Toronto's Meet the Presses, and another in Toronto (keep an eye on the small press book fair blog for information).
Buffalo NY: From Buffalo, came the Sunnyoutside table, hosted by two of their editors – Brian Mihok and Jeannie Hoag. Hoag had a small chapbook that she read from at the pre-fair event, her New Age of Ferociousness (Agnes Fox Press, 2010).
There is much left to do.
People from New York
have increased chances of success.
I am not from New York.
I would consider this day
abnormally cold. How cold
it is today. How difficult
it is to leave home and
The poems here are quirky, surreal, oddly funny and even confusing at times, and have the most wonderful titles, from “Touchless Car Wash” and “For So Long There Has Been a Monster” to “The Last Travel Plaza in Ohio” and “I Never Loved You, Connecticut.” Using straightforward lines, Hoag manages a series of accumulative twists and turns that are impossible to anticipate, and absolutely delightful to watch unfold. There are moments reminiscent of another Agnes Fox author, Hailey Higdon, for her own straightforward lines working quirky surrealism, and I could easily see Canadian poets such as Stuart Ross and Gary Barwin immediately connecting with some of these pieces. Given that this chapbook is a couple of years old, as is the collaborative work she did with Kyle McCord, Informal Invitation To A Traveler: Letters Between J.R. and Miss Kim (Gold Wake Press, 2011), I am very hoping that Hoag is working on something new.
Natalie Portman Is Smarter Than I
She has a mole on her left cheek
I have a mole on my left cheek
They are called beauty marks
and we both have them
She is in movies. I saw
Mel Gibson getting into a car
across from the Post Office
She doesn’t love my cat
the way I love my cat and
she doesn’t know my middle name
I don’t know hers but I could easily find it
Natalie Portman speaks five languages
That’s not me
I don’t know how she feels about Starbucks
but when I’m out of town
sometimes I patronize Starbucks.
Toronto ON: When Toronto writer Jessica Bebenek was here, she read from the pseudononymous duo she collaborated on with her partner, the writer Mark Jordan Manner. On Manner’s part was the prose-work “Novella: A Short Story by Kaz Adam Mason,” and Bebenek’s, the poetry chapbook “Until The Morning, by Novella Ebony Danger,” both self-published in 2013 under the “No One Gives A Fuck About Publishing” banner. The structure comes from the author of the poetry chapbook a character in the work of fiction. Paired together, the two halves of the fiction work quite well, and one of the best parts of the reading had to come from a haiku composed on their cat, from “Augustus Haikus”:
signaling your sphincter’s quake
bombs drop in the sand