Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ongoing notes: Meet the Presses (part five,

[I’ve run out of the photos I took at this year’s Meet the Presses, so here’s what Lady Aoife looked like last Wednesday, during an outing to the Rideau Centre]

Geez, I really did pick up a bunch of stuff at the fair this time around (and yet, never did get to the Baseline Press table). See parts one here and two here and three and four here. And, also, my ongoing notes on the fall edition of the ottawa small press book fair.

Toronto ON: Toronto poet Vincent Pagé’s second chapbook, following Veinte (Montreal QC: Vallum Chapbook Series, 2016), is IN A BURNING BUILDING THE AIR INSIDE IS HEATED BY FIRE AND SO BECOMES LIGHTER (Toronto ON: Desert Pets Press, 2016). The poems that make up this new title seem to be pushing their way towards a kind of halting, slow and exacting precision. I like what these poems are doing, as rough-edged as some of them are; and I like what future poems these pieces suggest. I think Vincent Pagé might be worth paying attention to, to see what he might do next.



The man upstairs starts to vacuum
at the first note of any moan

Let’s make sure his place
is spotless


Do we really need drapes?
A metal bed frame?

I’ve gone by whole life
without a juicer

But they come to my home
are strange in our home


Laptop camera
focused on the bed

Little green go light—
look at you/look at me

Beyond the frame dust still being
what we used to be


A street lamp dies out above us
It’s the same dark we brought

in our pockets
The same dark in our

mouths and throats
we brought from home


You forget things
Leave the stove on twice a week

We don’t talk about smoke
Just open windows

Let air inside out

Hamilton ON: From Gary Barwin’s serif of nottingham comes the chapbook SONNETS (2016), a collaboration between Cobourg, Ontario poet, editor and publisher Stuart Ross and American poet (recently relocated to Albuquerque from Chicago) Richard Huttel.


A bird winged by with a cat in its beak
Away to St. Peter & the heavens
Shivered, tugging a mothy sweater
Or so he hath many times told me so
I wouldn’t think otherwise. Newspapers
Go on crutches till love has all its rites
lined up like duct tape. A bird
barks at a dog through many a windy
underground parking lot, the echoes
echo: tis a far, far better thing we
wind around our canoe-bound ankles
than we have ever held within our hearts’
creepy & cobwebbed chambers.
At peace with uncertainty as a bird.

SONNETS is made up of twenty-eight numbered poems, and, given such, I would have been curious to know how they composed these collaboratively; I suspect each did a poem in “response” to the prior, as opposed to each composing a couplet in turn (akin to the ongoing collaborations Douglas Barbour and Sheila E. Murphy have been doing with their Continuations). What was their process? And might there be more?


Me & Max Jacob & Maxine Chernoff
celebrated every leap year with a plastic
fantasticl lover explosive prose poem.
The paddy wagon parked out front
always on the lookout for paddy cake
or religious icons suddenly appearing in
burritos, donuts, or elevated

opinions of Wallace Stevens.
The Emperor of Slurpees, sez Jacob.
I was born in a basket of drumsticks,
a rhythm-method baby in a world gone
mad, & now I stalk the wild asparagus
& cast aspersions conspicuously.
I do my best, but we come in threes.

While the poems do read as a linked suite of poems, the best I can find as far as compositional notes is on Ross’ own blog, where he writes that the “collaborative project Richard Huttel and I undertook over the past year […]contains 28 sonnets Richard and I wrote, exchanging lines over the Internet.” Given that these are twenty-eight sonnets in conversation, their collaboration is reminiscent of Peter Norman and Stephen Brockwell’s legendary chapbook-length sonnet-collaboration Wild Clover Honey and the Beehive: 28 Sonnets on the Sonnet (Ottawa ON: The Rideau Review Press, 2004), a title I wish would return to print at some point. Will they ever say yes?

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