Monday, August 09, 2004

Ongoing notes etc, August 2004

It’s summer, & I just got back from a week & a half spent on my parents’ farm with my lovely daughter, until we all got sick of each other. Here are a few things I was picking at before I left town.

Toronto, Ontario: An absolutely lovely thing I picked up last fall in Toronto (or was it this spring?) was a three dollar card with a bill bissett painting on the front (poemsnpaintingsbybillbissett2004). Mixed with coloured text on the front, as well as text inside, these cards are lovely and well worth the price. I wish I could have picked up more than one, so I could have even sent this to someone. For those who haven’t experienced bill, it’s really hard to explain. One of Canada’s earliest soundpoets, bill has been putting out a book every eighteen months with Vancouver’s Talonbooks longer than I’ve been alive, and his amazing and prolific writing exists through sound itself, as in this small fragment from the inside of the card:

laaaa avvvv all 2 touch yu agen our minds tasting
sharing is all claptyura should arms inside yu
inside me n letting b until jusqua nous parlons en

(from: ths is an in 2 print pome imprinting)

Everyone should go out and get one. Unfortunately, there’s no contact information on the card at all, & I haven’t been able to discern where else to get them, apart from (potentially) at the toronto small press book fair. If anyone out there knows, send me an email.

Madison, Wisconsin: I’ve been wanting to see more and more of American poet Lisa Samuels’ work since I first found some on-line, searching around for new material to read, which led directly to her issue of STANZAS published in November 2002, "The Museum of Perception" (#33 – long out of print). Still looking for copies of her two trade collections – Letters (1996) and The Seven Voices (1998) – I have been going through her more recent chapbook War Holdings (2003, Pavement Saw Press: Ohio), which co-won The Pavement Saw Press Chapbook Award (along with F.J. Bergmann’s Sauce Robert) for 2002-3. Check out the first part of the first poem, "Paper Airplanes" (np):

Paper Airplanes

Crash-landings are ideological
to tell us their unhappiness
like fireflies commit themselves
to destruction, lucifern-touching
heliotropes rise up like air balloons
to test the sky and other rough
immensities, your eyes
melting rapidly through time
to make a wash across this page–

I’m quite taken with how her poems move, a seamless movement of fragment after fragment that hold together beautifully.

Along with a brand-new baby, Samuels, who teaches Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, apparently has a couple of poetry manuscripts on the go, in various stages of completion (and looking for homes, perhaps?). With luck, perhaps I’ll be able to convince her over the next year or so that a chapbook with a Canadian press is a good idea?

Sackville, New Brunswick: Even though he gave it to me while still in Toronto, Arc co-editor Matthew Holmes has since returned to where he schooled, in Sackville, New Brunswick, taking his ‘zine Modomnoc and bad repoesy Mfg. Co. press with him. With threats of another issue of his zine forthcoming, he gave me this little sewn chapbook with a letterpress cover, his own science fiction, marked "poems." A series of five prose pieces, here is the opening to the fourth piece, "Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle."

When he graduated from making phony lost dog posters,
Werner didn’t even realize it had happened. He was walking
back with a coffee from Magnolia’s, stepping around a
couple looking at one of his flyers–how terrible; can you
imagine; a Christmas puppy; in this cold
–and thought to
himself with the white noise of a mild hangover trailing him
how he’d go about it if he found a bag stuffed with cash.
There’s not a lot of it moving around these days, especially if
it’s in large bills. And what are you supposed to do–really–
what is The Good Citizen supposed to do? Does the city’s
website have something about it?

He does absolutely lovely letterpress items, & can probably be convinced to part with some of it for money, or hell, even make a few more things, given the right incentive. Slowly publishing in literary magazines across Canada, you can bother him via email at


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