Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ongoing notes, late late October

Finally, now that the George Bowering feature I've been editing in Jacket is all finished, I can focus on putting them final touches on the book of the same for Guernica Editions, George Bowering: Essays on His Works (I'm also doing similar on the works of Andrew Suknaski and John Newlove, but I'm sure you already knew that). Did you see the nice note that Sina Queyras wrote on what I had so far? Did you see these new poems of mine in Shampoo, or that I'm in the new fhole? Watch for me as the November feature in the UK journal Sentinel. Did you see this new magazine that Vancouver writer Aaron Peck is doing, or the minimalist poems online by Toronto poet/photographer Sharon Harris? Did you see all the attention Jay MillAr is getting for that new poetry collection, including a review by Ron Silliman (and resulting commentary by Daniel f. Bradley)? Did you see that my counter made 10,000 hits (since Jennifer Mulligan put the counter in on May 1, 2005) sometime last Thursday night (while I was out drinking with poets Nicholas Lea and Jesse Ferguson)? Did you see that Sylvia Adams (she ran the TREE Reading Series before I did) just won the Diana Brebner Prize (named after our late lamented Ottawa poet, who was loved by all)? What do you know about this? What is it with all the questions?

Note, too, that there will be a Peter F. Yacht Club reading / regatta on Thursday, November 3rd, 8pm at the Carleton Tavern (hosted by span-o) in Ottawa (Parkdale @ Armstrong). A list of readers, with links + bios here.

Toronto ON: Years after the original, comes a rewrite Phil Hall did of his first collection, also titled Eighteen Poems (Beautiful Outlaw, 2005), right on the heels of his collection, An Oak Hunch (Brick Books, 2005). I am wishing I had a copy of the original Eighteen Poems, Hall's first collection, published in Mexico City by Cyanamid in 1973, to compare the differences between the texts, and to see where he originated, but (so far) I don't. Twenty-three years after the original, his new version of Eighteen Poems (I have copy "R") is published much further north, in Cabbagetown, Toronto, in a lettered edition of twenty-six copies. There is something about the mix of more language-centred writing to the emotionally raw lyric that I admire about a Phil Hall poem, writing about as far away from any other Brick Books author as possible, even while writing right alongside them. He uses all the same tools but twists, knows both how to use them and not use them, doing marvelous things inside the space of a few lines, such as the beginning of the piece "Suicide Day -- after much whining -- was quiet / & had to be renamed Chicken-Out Day," that writes:

Dear Lorna Crozier

perhaps you will remember that we first met in Saskatoon in 1980
I was 27 -- wet -- green -- my thoughts already sludging to grey

I had just hitched -- pie-eyed on potato champagne -- from BC
You were still (or almost still) a Uher -- swung high off the dance floor

then bowing to your corner -- I met Patrick then also
I was wearing a Brewer's Retail shirt with someone else's name on it

& white painter's pants -- I must have looked like an employee of the hotel
When Pat handed me a bucket & sent me for ice -- I just went

Ice has never been delivered with more respect
This year I turned 50 & got a 10-year medallion -- dry grey

For years I've been tinkering with an essay about Pat's The Weight
trying to grow down through this bitter swirling thirst for -- what?

Each copy, too, has a found photograph slipped inside, as Hall a collector of all things possible, including found photographs, found playing cards (he has nearly four complete sets), and just about everything else you can imagine (in the shed by their cabin in Perth, he has a drawer full of doorknobs). It is this collecting spirit that Hall brings to his poems, dropping in important pieces and moments here and there almost like a collage-work through his version of Ontario pastoral, haibun and small, essential discoveries hidden between the bushes, or on a Cabbagetown sidewalk.

No one remembered it was Balcony Day

In this pity-blizzard of old photo-corners
& their leached-beak shadows

arrowhead-hats & their bleached shadows
aimed into & out of memory every lost once

the trick is to build no lean-to in a tiny corner
wear no point's shadow but risk chemical drift

As you curve an Ur- out of phonemes & squelches
turn into no curator but the hobo of recall

For more information on Beautiful Outlaw (even though this is probably already out of print), email them at

Ottawa ON: You might not have been there, but every year the University of Ottawa does a conference during the month of May. This past year was a conference (roughly) around the works of Margaret Atwood, titled "The animals in her Country," and next year is around the works of the late poet Al Purdy. Always a couple of years behind (them accydemics can take forever, sometimes), the University of Ottawa Press publishes the papers from each conference in a single volume, and this year is no different, with the publication of The Canadian Modernists Meet, edited by Dean Irvine, from the Modernist conference of May 2003. Irvine, one of the founders of Calgary's filling Station magazine, has long been working to establish himself as a young modernist, editing both the collections Archive for Our Times: Previously Uncollected and Unpublished Poems of Dorothy Livesay (Arsenal Pulp Press, 1998) and Heresies: The Complete Poems of Anne Wilkinson, 1924-1961 (Vehicule Press / Signal Editions, 2003), as well as working on a book about Canadian women modernist poets and little-magazine editors, a scholarly edition of the complete poems and translations of F.R. Scott, and a study of scholarly editing and editions in Canada. It's interesting work, and strangely, most of what Irvine has been doing should have been done decades ago, so it's good that he is slowly filling up the gap in scholarship, including the work he's been doing on so many overlooked Canadian women modernist writers and editors.

With pieces on Anne Mariott (Marilyn Rose), Sinclair Ross (Colin Hill), James Joyce (Tim Conley), Ezra Pound, Marshall McLuhan and Louis Dudek (Tony Tremblay) and Sheila Watson (Glenn Willmott), the piece that most interested me was Toronto writer Stephen Cain's "Mapping Raymond Souster's Toronto," that writes:

"For much of the modernist period, this city appears absent from Canadian poetry, and it is not until the rise of postmodernism, post-colonialism, and feminism that sustained and concrete examinations of Toronto and its districts begin to appear: Joe Rosenblatt's Kensington Market, the Annex environs of bpNichol's The Martyrology Book 5, the punk bars and Queen Street watering holes of Lynn Crosbie's "Alphabet City," and the city centre of Dennis Lee's Civil Elegies.

Yet, long before Lee was officially made the poet laureate of Toronto, Raymond Souster was the acknowledged poetic chronicler of Toronto. Indeed, Souster has been represented, in both the popular media and in academic criticism, as the poet of Toronto for much of the twentieth century. While certain other modernist writers have occasionally used Toronto as a subject for their poetry--such as Miriam Waddington, and Dorothy Livesay in her "Queen City" suite--it is only Souster who has consistently returned to Toronto as subject and inspiration for his verse over a lengthy poetic career of nearly half a century. In doing so, Souster has created a significant body of work that explores the site of urban modernism, and an investigation of his work raises questions about aesthetic representations of the city and its functions in the context of Canadian literary modernism."

Montreal QC: Even as his collection of short fiction, Asthmatica (Insomniac Press), moves into a second printing, Winnipeg born / Montreal based author Jon Paul Fiorentino has two new poetry chapbooks out in the world: the limited edition Loss Leaders (No Press, August 2005; 26 lettered copies) and Selected Losses (BookThug, August 2005; 100 copies). A writer who has always written his own way through failure (see my piece "Jon Paul Fiorentino’s Transcona, Winnipeg & the Poetics of Failure" in Open Letter), the movement has shifted slightly from failure into loss, from both titles, obviously, and the first poem in Selected Losses, establishing the mood, writing "I'm not suggesting we're all losers. / I'm insisting upon it."


Nelson refused to bathe.
Romance refused to waver.

Nomadic dementia set in.
Minneapolis drove a dark star north.

The quiet and the restless
afternoon Salversan anti-syphilis raid.

All quiet at the boarding house,
switch off the whipcord evening.

Personation -- hypercognate depersonalization:
when love results in its own undoing, or whatever.

The constable's revolver was drawn at dawn or whenever
and gallows used sometime after.

Earle Nelson's cervical dislocation
was slow, as he bathed in recognition.

Is this Fiorentino moving past his failures while still focusing on them? I'm getting quite fond of these little publications by No Press, and am starting to amass quite a collection (although I'm still missing a few). Publishing anonymously in Calgary, each chapbook is published in a handout edition of twenty-six copies, with lovely little collections by many of the new Calgary crew, including derek beaulieu, Jason Christie, Jordan Scott and ryan fitzpatrick, while also publishing the work of a select group of outsiders, such as nathalie stephens and Fiorentino himself. I have a theory or two as to who the publisher is, but I'm not telling.

The small collection, Loss Leaders, moves through territory much smaller than the poems in Selected Losses. Not that I would put everything Fiorentino does into working the narrative lyric (he would call it post-lyric), the post-Winnipeg poet puts far less of that into these two collections (Selected Losses includes not only "Sonnet of R2-D2" (which I have to hear him read some day) made up of sounds, but a sonnet written in binary code), working further away from lyric in his Loss Leaders, writing more a series of poems of collusion, such as in the poem "THEODORIANS," that includes "adorned features veblenite / hypostatic progress inbuilt / culture short shrift / trifle just capitalist / period means nothing / just flow just fad just" (np).


There's no proper way close up shop.
Don't forget to water the cash registers.

Loss leaders sprawl out on the bathroom floor.
Everyone's so funny now.

My persecution complex is emblem-based.
Say it with a used telecaster.

Find epiphanic ways out.
Clean it. Jerk it.

I do think any new poetry collection by Jon Paul Fiorentino, post-poet (perhaps), is an event (his Hello Serotonin!, published by Coach House Books is already a minor classic), so I am looking forward to see what he comes out with next. With prairie (legend) poet Robert Kroetsch, Fiorentino recently edited the poetry anthology Post-Prairie: An Anthology of New Poetry, also newly out with Vancouver's Talonbooks. If you haven't seen it yet, find it.

Toronto ON: There are an awful lot of poets in Toronto. Yet another one is Suzanne Hancock (who recently got an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan, and was shortlisted for the Bronwen Wallace Award in 2004), with her debut trade collection, Another Name for Bridge (The Mansfield Press, 2005). Produced out of Toronto's Little Italy by publisher Denis De Klerck (one of the nicest fellas around), The Mansfield Press has been around for a little more than half a decade, and publishing lovely looking books by authors such as Margaret Christakos, Matt Santateresa, Pier Giorgio Di Cicco and Ann Shin.

In Hancock's Another Name for Bridge, I appreciate that her poems know how to use physical space, and aren't built the same old ways on the page. Hancock knows about space, and she knows about slowness, even something as simple as a section of poems on the right margin, at the bottom of the page. Writing about slowness and small moments, Hancock also works to explore the final days of Rene Descartes, stepping from an apple orchard to a Dutch slaughterhouse, and up to that moment of diving from a train bridge, as she writes in the poem "DESCARTES AND REMBRANDT AT A DUTCH SLAUGHTERHOUSE IN NINE BRUSHSTROKES":

Descartes comes to the slaughterhouse to drag away bags of bones.
It is late in the day (he never rises from bed before noon) and he will
use the bones to study the body's form. The map beneath skin.
He gets used to the sour smell as his mind warms with the idea of
death. Light strikes his forehead from a high window, the carcasses
glow with a warm orange sheen:
all these bodies severed from the brain.

Hancock's poems are all about the details. Life, they say, as written in the details, from the open form line of some poems (reminiscent of Andrew Suknaski's loping coyote lines, especially when she references, in her own poem, "On Lion's Gate Bridge"; see also, his poem "On First Looking Down from Lion's Gate Bridge"), to the tight lyric of the section of snapshots. It makes the book more interesting that she moves her structures around, not keeping to any single shape on the page. And then she works another favourite, the blank poem under the single title, as in her piece "The Poem As Open Door Facing South," leaving the reader to ponder the page. Is it a cheap ploy? Is it simply a page being filled with nothing? I don't think so. There are some pieces in which there is nothing left to be said.


after Shane Rhodes

because the sky seems to say: my pretty, my hollow one

because a garden in full bloom can be so vulgar in its obviousness

because language can be whittled down to stop and watch

because you have never seen a moose

because light above those wispy pines is bent into a bow

because all we've been listening to since the Manitoba border is
Glenn Gould

because we hurt here and here and here

because next summer in Montréal when the air conditioning refuses
to work we will need a memory that recalls air as cold as this wind

because there must be more to this scene than lonely

because Great stars of white frost / come with the fish of darkness /
that opens the road of dawn

because the sound of soles across frozen ground is as lovely as
polished rosewood

because the sky seems to say: my hollow one

Berkeley CA: Thanks to Ron Silliman's recent birthday note for the poet David Bromige (born in England, educated in Canada and in the US teaching for decades since), it's got me reading Bromige's fine poetry again. I only own three of his collections, and from completely different periods, it seems, so at some point I'm going to have to get something more recent, left to rereading my copies of The Ends Of The Earth (Black Sparrow Press, 1968), Birds of the West (Coach House Press, 1973), and Tiny Courts in a world without scales (Brick Books, 1991) (I've looked for more, but American small press books don't easily cross borders into Canadian second-hand shops). Easily my favourite of the three has to be Birds of the West. Working a very Creeley-esque line and line break, Bromige, in this collection at least, wrote lovely little and long domestics, such as in the piece, "Eternal Image," writing:

The spider's legs
scrabbling on the glass
inside the jar

& the ticking of the kitchen clock

I can't show you the spider
except to say
it's bigger than I knew
spiders grew to be this way

& when I thought it'd escaped
the hair rose
over all of me
it was at least that huge

After I first picked up the collection (at Janet Inksetter's Annex Books a few years ago in Toronto), I wrote this piece, in response:

keats, at 206, is very old
(after bromige

out into that,
wingless view

over annex, &
janets store

of books

true, this only comes
w/ that

or is it time

& then to keep time,
w/ any age

an appreciation
of fact

& this autumn part
of bloor

one loves life
for all the living

Monday, October 24, 2005

Victor Coleman's Letter Drop

It is disappointing that Toronto writer Victor Coleman (the original editor for the Coach House Press; see his "The Coach House Press: The First Decade. An Emotional Memoir" in Open Letter, the "Coach House Press, 1965-1996" issue, Ninth Series, Number 8: Spring 1997; also the original editor of the nenewed Coach House Books), in so many ways, has claimed to have abandoned trade publications and moved more into smaller publications; seemingly, abandoning larger publishing the same way that earlier poets such as Maxine Gadd and David Phillips have, with almost nothing since the publication of their own volumes of selected poems, Lost Language (Coach House Press, 1977) and The Kiss (Coach House Press,1978). The pieces of Coleman's that have appeared since his selected poems, LAPSED W.A.S.P.: Poems 1978-89 (ECW Press, 1994), are few and far between, and have included (in my opinion) some of the finest writing of his career. They include Eulogistics (published as STANZAS #20, and reprinted in Groundswell: best of above/ground press, 1993-2003, published by Broken Jaw Press / cauldron books in 2003), LETTER DROP (Coach House Books, 1999; online at, and the most recent MI SING: LETTER DROP 2 (BookThug, 2005). Coleman's work hasn’t had the attention it deserves for quite some time, partly through a lack of proper attention (welcome to Canadian literature, everybody) and his own stepping back, which seems strange, given the amount of his publishing activity from the 1960s through to the 1980s, from not only his work as a writer but as a substantially active editor and promoter. Subsequently, Victor Coleman is the only poet removed from Gary Geddes' 15 Canadian Poets anthology series (replaced in subsequent editions by Robyn Sarah and Geddes himself), and it would be pretty easy to theorize a whole slew of reasons why, without really having a clue. As well, the Coach House Books website still boasts another lost Coleman title, the perpetually forthcoming Honeymoon Suite (forthcoming in 2001, it says) that was to include the 1990 edition of Honeymoon Suite (published originally by Underwhich Editions; reprinted without the illustrations in his selected poems), "an erotically charged serial poem by Victor Coleman and a series of drawings by painter David Bolduc" as well as the first LETTER DROP. (There's another piece, too, the emotionally-charged piece "The Day they Killed the Coach House Press" that I know Coleman has published a few times, in a few different places, but for some reason I can't find it.)

Written as an abecedarian, Coleman's MI SING: LETTER DROP 2 continues the work of the first LETTER DROP, originally published by Coach House Books in an edition of 52 copies in 1999 (with images by David Bolduc). Fortunately, the whole piece is available online on the Coach House Books website. As Coleman writes in his introduction to the first LETTER DROP:

"LETTER DROP is an Oulipan exercise in the making of 'an alphabet of lipograms'.

"Lipogrammatics is the art of writing in prose or in verse, imposing on oneself the rule of excluding a letter of the alphabet."
- G. Peignot, Poétique curieuse, 1825

In LETTER DROP the A poem has no As in it; the B poem has no Bs; etc. Each poem was constructed through the use of a limited vocabulary of approximately sixty words. Often the source of the words was a found text, such as Tom Swift and His House on Wheels ('F'), The Book of Minor Maladies ('G'), The Manual of Radio Production Directing ('H'), Bread ('I'), The Hydriotaphia ('J'), The 1921 Victor Records Catalogue ('K'), The New Art >(General Electric Exposition Catalogue 1936-37) ('L'), Writers in Boots ('S'), The History & Geography of B.C. (C. 1936) ('T'), Crazy Weather ('U'), Stendhal's Rome, Naples and Florence ('V'), Lady Chatterley's Lover ('X'), and Joseph McElroy's Plus ('Y')."

Working much more through movements of sound and texture than the second collection, the first LETTER DROP flows more like water after the dam has burst, writing:

I bleed the sober frond of effluence,
mounting the crowns of the flushed hope of roses.
Crossed ochre dildos index eyes' fleet grind.
Simple window posses torn from their jingoism
into nothing short of mother.
Crushed vitreous crown brings hope.
Stop loop dildo effluence empties the bequest.
Fleshpot wishes into pointless omnipotence.
Retired poses stun sober eyes.
Justice into jingoism won't go.
Ochre crow belies the quiz.
Lemon pillow owl kilometer wrecking-crew.
Justice index uses exit resolve.
Nothing torn sonic from Mother's simple room.
Fleshpot nowhere furthers knots in jingoism.
Empty stopover, quiz bequest, oppressor loop
rose further in the norm.
Bring wishes into bleeding fronds
to cross the plenitude.
Lemon hopes kilometer the rule of the hour.
Sell posies, fit posses, retire tolls.
Pointless omnipotent wrecking-crew.
Use knot to stun Emu.
Never very nowhere, nothing ochre ever bothered you.
Beyond the Xerox window is the mix.
Lemon rooms simpler this century.
No Exit.
Oppressive mounts begin to die.
You, Boy! Zen denizen of Oz.
Bequest sober blend of sonic loops with knotted roses.

Eulogistics, on the other hand (some of which appeared in an issue of Queen Street Quarterly), also responds to texts the way LETTER DROP does, but without the constraint of missing letters. A sequence of eleven poems, the pieces in Eulogisitics respond to the work and lives of two people each -- the living and the dead. The poems are written as a series of homages to late friends (and mentors), from Greg Curnoe, bpNichol, Gwendolyn MacEwen, Roy Kiyooka and Daniel Jones (even throwing in Frank Zappa as well). "A WAKE FOR GREG," for example, references the late London, Ontario painter Greg Curnoe, addressing the subtitle to Curnoe's widow, "dear Sheila," while "A WAKE FOR MILTON," references the late Toronto Island poet Milton Acorn, and addressing "dear Mom," as Coleman's mother was an important figure for many years in the lives of residents of Toronto Island. I have always been partial to the idea of the response poem, and alternately, the transelation (see my post on Erin Moure), two sides of a similar coin. Responding, as a speaking. All literature, as Robert Kroetsch once called it, a conversation. These are simply the poems that exist from already having listened, instead of speaking first.


dear Sheila

Why does that smile contain a hairline?
And what about this odd obsession with the frame?

He played a good game of golf
without irony. Oka notwithstanding.

He painted his birth hospital, inspired schoolboys
and drove fiercely in the path of fate.

His "No!" was always upside-down
in times of renown or obscurity.

Committed to Region, he stood his ground
and thumbed his nose at creation.

His blood is all over the highway
of Heaven's biathalon.

Written in couplets, with much the same feeling as the poems in Eulogistics, the second MI SING: LETTER DROP 2 continues the Oulipan exercise of alphabetical exclusion in another abecedarian of twenty-six poems. Through the work in Eulogistics and LETTER DROP 2 as couplets, there is a kind of severe clarity in these poems that cuts to the heart of writing, and bleeds across each successive page. After first reading a couple of these poems in the now-defunct Queen Street Quarterly (the best little magazine in Canada), I was struck. I knew I had to read more.


Mostly we were Bimbos, often never growing wings,
translucent in a stunning limpid old bankers brilliance.

Your letter, quite recently, was absent.
But I continued … graduated actually,

acquired by many kindnesses. Just getting
blasted and belonging, Officer.

I never once liked imitation income,
but I studied success -- like a pleasant jockey,

a bankrupt Batman, no clouds were stripped,
very relaxed on meaning, and no cup appears.

Many liked our kindness, a fit experience to glow,
and it didn't quite colour vitality.

The good thing, at least, is that these three pieces are all still available. Eulogistics is published as a whole in Groundswell: the best of above/ground press, 1993-2003, LETTER DROP is available on the Coach House Books site, and the new poems, MI SING: LETTER DROP 2, is available from Jay MillAr's BookThug. The two LETTER DROP pieces, as well as Eulogistics, (and subsequent Honeymoon Suite) would, all together, make a fine collection. Is there anyone out there brave enough to publish a trade edition of Victor Coleman? Would MillAr himself be willing? Is there anyone out there even brave enough to try?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

from weightless

Gertrude Stein wrote, a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. its not
the flower but the language we seek. the name
at the naming core.

if we could nip this in the bud. I mean, would we?

I am willful telephone; I am willful days & nights. I am
Carnegie, the last man standing.

at the end of our senses I am waiting. if I
am pressed for meaning.

means overruns me, outweighs. a meaning. he thinks it is this way in this
way in this. is this. this pearl of wisdom. what?

strange & delusional, I am marking my territory w/ weeds &
w/ thistles. do you remember that summer we spent? or by the
house in Toronto the owner decorated w/ toys & bells & whistles
& figurines. like living in Susan Musgrave's car.

I have not been able to find it since. your red red scarf. the tang
of you fresh grapefruit sweet.

I am neither passive nor pigment.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Erin Moure's Little Theatres

In little theatres, there are but faces. Boots are faces, a table is a face,
the grass stem has an expression that is facial. When Lévinas said
"the face is not of the order of the seen" he was making the right
connection, but backward. All of what is seen are faces.

-- Elisa Sampendrín, 1991

I'm sure there's a whole slew of book-enthusiasts across the country that think that any title by Erin Mouré (or Eirin Moure or Erín Moure) should be on the shortlist for any award going, so it is good to see her (as Erín Moure) up for the Governor Generals Award shortlist for her thirteenth (call it lucky thirteen) poetry collection Little Theatres (teatrinos) (Anansi, 2005). Built as a collaboration of sorts with Elisa Sampendrín (a likely story, says the reviewer; who is this Sampendrín?), the collection works through words from Galacian as well as her own reinventions of English, working through as many questions as she does answers. Mouré's writing has been more and more active in Galacian the past few years (where her family name originated, apparently), even moving from translating from French to English or the other way, into translating whole books of fiction and poetry from Galacian into English and French. Mouré has worked poetry as translation, as the transelation, before, in her version of Alberto Caeiro / Fernando Pessoa's O Guardador de Rebanhos in the collection Sheep's Vigil by a Fervent Person (Anansi, 2001, as Eirin Moure). It seems interesting that Moure wouldn't take credit as author for her Sheep's Vigil by a Fervent Person, instead insisting as overwriting her own poem over Pessoa as a translation, whereas George Bowering, for example, is very much the author of Kerrisdale Elegies (Coach House Press, 1986), which transelated Bowering's Vancouver neighbourhood over Rilke's Duino Elegies. Where does the author end and the author begin? What exactly does it mean, this translation (transelation)?

When I translate an experience into a poem or a short story, am I no longer the author of that text?

What else is a little theatre but a little stage to stand on?

As she writes in Little Theatres: "Some have said little theatres is minimalist. But this is not / strictly so. Whatever else is stripped away in minimalism, and / so much, I guess, is indeed 'stripped away,' a rhetorical / convention remains. But rhetoric takes time, and it is time that / has been stripped away from little theatres, as it has been / from life." (p 41).

XX The Humber is pretty fabulous, really

The Humber is more fabulous than the creek under my avenue.
And the Humber is no more fab than the creek under my avenue.
You can't mix up the two when on my avenue;
For that matter neither of them are very big…

The Humber is too small for ships
Yet on its waters they still ply
For those who see the "not there" in all things:
The memory of canoes.

The Humber descends from up north
And the Humber enters Lake Ontario.
You always hear people say this on buses in the afternoon.
But few know the creek that races under Winnett
And where it heads
And where it came from.
And, as such, because fewer people claim it,
The creek of my avenue is more grand and free.

You can take the Humber out almost to Niagara Falls;
Beyond the Humber is America
Where fortunes are made.
No one ever thinks about what's beyond
the creek under Winnett Avenue.

The creek under my avenue makes no one think of anything.
Whoever goes to the edge of it has only reached the curb.
-- Sheep's Vigil by a Fervent Person

Her Galacian interest has continued, translating the work of Galacian writer Manuel Rivas (her piece "The Year the Animals Were Speaking," produced after the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival in Montreal, April 2002, celebrated the work of Rivas, was published in Brick 70, Winter 2002), and, according to the poet Phil Hall, she is even sitting on a translation she has done of a collection of poetry by a Galacian author. It's easy enough to see how this fits into her other works, translating Nicole Brossard from French with Robert Majzels (Installations, Muses' Company, 2000 and Museum of bone and Water, Anansi, 2003), Andrés Ajens from Spanish (Quasi Flanders, Quasi Extremadura, CCCP, Cambridge, UK, 2001, chapbook), or selections from Chus Pato from Galacian (from m-Talá, Nomados, 2003, chapbook), but where does her translation from Kat into French fit in, from the unpublished work of Emma M. (À Adan: poèmes d'Emma M., housepress, 2002, chapbook)?

The question of language, says Rivas, is always an ecological question. "Biodiversity is not a problem. The problem is the destruction of biodiversity. This is an ecological question because every day we have the problem of pollution, of contamination, of toxic waste, that also affects the language, the words. They lose their meaning, their sensuality, their sense. Becoming so void that someone like Bush can say 'Enough is enough' without realizing meaning has left him. (Brick 70, p 65)

Working sections where the Galacian sits beside the English translation, transelation, Mouré's Little Theatres works through territories of stage, language, dogs, sleep, Latin and water. Who was it that said, the history of water recedes?* Who was it that said that sleep and the theatre can be like drowning?


All my life I've had a tough time
I get scared and feel alone,
me and the earth.

Which me is it talking in the first person?
Should I get up? But I want to lie down.

all I have is water gulped with air
and cut into every membrane.

I try not to let it make me sad. I just say
(which me is it talking in the first person?)
that as long as a carrot can be orange,

I'm going to be orange too.
I'm not going to live with sadnesses.
But free myself, céibome das tristuras da vida mesma,
and touch my face to the soil,

and breathe with the breathing of the earth.
-- Little Theatres

Given that some of her more recent collections have been larger, have her projects become smaller, or is this something larger, and ongoing? Is this a smaller project before the next big thing comes along? Sheep's Vigil by a Fervent Person, for example, was written while she was living a year in Toronto, as a writer-in-residence, before she went back home to Montreal. The Frame of a Book (or A Frame of the Book) (Anansi, 1999; Sun & Moon, 1999) was part of something much larger. Where do Little Theatres fit in? Ongoing, perhaps, in her explorations of what identity means, through the language itself, and through not just multiple readings/meanings of a single language, but through the mechanics of other speech (French, Spanish, Kat, Galacian). What do all the meanings mean when they are put together?

This isn't the first time a book of Mouré's has been up for the Governor General's Award for Poetry; her fourth trade collection, Furious (Anansi, 1988) even won the award, and she has been up for it at least two other times since. Given that she's already won the award, I can imagine that there wouldn't be the same kinds of frustration in waiting (or perhaps the level of frustration is heightened). Both David W. McFadden and Christopher Dewdney were up for the award three times, and somehow didn't manage to win; they shouldn't have bothered putting Robin Blaser's collection poems A Holy Forest (1995) on the shortlist if they weren't going to give it to him (I mean, really). Still, a poem in Furious borrowed a line from John Newlove's collection Lies (McClelland & Stewart, 1972), which also won the award that year. Is that the secret? I have a collection coming out next year that includes a poem that borrows a line from that poem in Furious, that borrowed the line from Lies. I mean, it worked for her, didn't it? Am I somehow missing the entire thing?

Theatre of the Hope of a Cebola (Santiso)

On the hill there is no hay
but rain

no hay for a hayrick but
small rivulets singing the grass down

An onion has toppled off a high cart
the chest of the high cart has gone on past the hill

if pressed with a shoe an onion toppled
may take root

Will a shoe ever find it
how can we know

will the onion find a mouth to eat it
how can we ever know

In the channels of water :
small blue rivulets of blue
-- Little Theatres

* It was Jennifer Arcuni, from “A Short History of Water” published in Xantippe. Don't you remember anything?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

bowling, brawls, book fairs

We had each of them in Ottawa on October 15th, after the most recent ottawa small press book fair. To celebrate the fact that Nathaniel G. Moore's Bowlbrawl(Conundrum Press; check out Moore's version of events here) isn't out yet, a small group of us broke off from the regular eating / drinking / yelling we usually do at the James Street Feed Company directly after each fair (and Fiorentino wanted to watch the Habs game; good luck in a Senators town on game night) and went to the Kent Bowling Lanes for a game of glow-in-the-dark five pin. A group of five, we were myself, Jon Paul Fiorentino, Kristy McKay, Nathaniel G. Moore and Jennifer Mulligan. I've rarely bowled, and I think the last two times I did were at the same place with my daughter two years ago (we had a coupon), and in 1998 at the West Edmonton Mall with David McGimpsey, during the Great Canadian Via Rail Tour (check out all the photos; I almost look young in some of them), sponsored by the ottawa international writers festival (afterwards we went to a Hooters, and ate chicken wings with our bottles of Budweiser. Who can refuse a stereotype?).

The same night at the James Street Feed Company, after Fiorentino lost his Habs game to the locals (but does it matter? his team lost anyway), he heckled all the Ottawa Senators fans, and Mulligan (she's even related to the guy who gave "Mulligan" the "do-over in golf" meaning; an American descended from her Mulligans in the Pontiac region of Quebec) reminded him that they were (at the time and still) unbeaten in the season. They now have $10 riding on it; Jennifer says they'll take the Stanley Cup. Jon Paul says they're a bunch of hacks (you heard it here first). Anyone else?

Doesn't it make you wish you made it to the small press fair? Or at least came out afterwards?
companions & horizons: An Anthology of Simon Fraser University Poetry; edited by Stephen Collis

New from West Coast Line Books (I didn't even know there was such a thing, an imprint from the Vancouver journal West Coast Line) comes the anthology companions & horizons: An Anthology of Simon Fraser University Poetry (2005), edited by Stephen Collis. Much the way the anthology 32 Degrees (Montreal: DC Books, 1994) was put together to highlight the graduates of the creative writing department at Concordia University, Collis' companions & horizons was compiled to showcase both the highlights and cross-section of those poets who either started at or came through (student, faculty and other) the university over its past forty years. The fact that it is even published through a journal that lives on-campus and edited by Collis, who teaches as an assistant professor at the university, reads as a bonus. An attractive and rather large collection (it sits at nearly 300 pages), the contributor list reads: Robin Blaser, Michael Boughn, George Bowering, Kate Braid, Colin Browne, Ted Byrne, Hannah Calder, Susan Clark, Stephen Collis, Wayde Compton, Dennis Denisoff, Jeff Derksen, Phinder Dulai, Roger Farr, Brian Fawcett, Reg Johanson, Lionel Kearns, Paul Kelley, Ryan Knighton, Glen Lowry, Tom McGauley, Kathryn MacLeod, Daphne Marlatt, Roy Miki, Catherine Owen, Lisa Robertson, Jordan Scott, Nancy Shaw, Sandy Shreve, Karl Siegler, Catriona Strang, Sharon Thesen, Chris Turnbull, Jacqueline Turner, Karina Vernon, Aaron Vidaver, Stephen Ward, Betsy Warland, Charles Watts, Rita Wong and Jerry Zaslove.


Personally, said the professor,
I'm not altogether opposed
to security checks on campus.
In fact, he went on,
with my office bugged I feel
that I'm participating directly
in the Electronic Age.
Besides, without RCMP agents
and CIA spies and those
informants for the administration,
I wouldn't have anyone at all
showing up at my lectures.

Lionel Kearns

Collis, himself the author of two trade collections of poetry, Mine (2001) and Anarchive (2005) as well as numerous chapbooks, including the new Blackberries (BookThug, 2005), has compiled a worthy collection crossing numerous lines, but still leaning toward the more avant. As he writes in his introductory essay (well worth reading in full):

For well over 40 years now Vancouver has formed an important poetic nexus--a key point in the map of twentieth century avant-garde poetics--a node in the network of linkages that include New York, Montreal, San Francisco, and Buffalo. Poetry's genealogies are complex and contradictory, rarely linear or unitary, always eccentric and multiple. Nevertheless, the rough outlines of the stories of Vancouver's poetry can be told. One such story traces a migration north, a transnational exchange that marks Vancouver poetry in particular ways, prompted in part by Warren Tallman's presence at the University of British Columbia and his promotion, at the outset of the 1960s, of the "New American Poetry." This in turn was a key inspiration for a 'new Canadian poetry'--more intellectually and politically challenging, culturally ambitious, and formally experimental than what had been seen in the country up to that point--which found early expression amongst Tallman's students in the "Tish" movement and like-minded poets such as Phyllis Webb (then teaching at UBC). By the early 1960s, Tallman was regularly bringing prominent American avant-gardists such as Robert Duncan and Robert Creeley to the city, culminating in the landmark Vancouver Poetry Conference (1963).
[ …]
A good example of the permeable boundaries and cultural overlap of the university and avant-garde poetry is the ongoing exchange between SFU and that very uninstitutional-institution, the Kootenay School of Writing, Vancouver's now 20 year old independent writing collective. In their introduction to the KSW anthology, Writing Class, Barnholden and Klobucar note that "Throughout its existence, KSW's relationship with other writing institutions, especially those of high cultural repute and academic authority, has been one of mutual suspicion." I have no doubt that there is some truth to this, but it is in part belied by the fact that so many of the poets in Companions and Horizons (at least 14 of them, by my count) have themselves, at various points, been involved in KSW--before, after, or during their tenure at SFU. The point I am trying to make is that there is not a mutually exclusive--nor a proprietary--relationship between institutions of "higher learning" and "academic authority," and a radical, avant-garde poetry. But the two can on occasion converge, and SFU seems to have been host to just such a convergence, whatever the exact historical reasons. (pp 11-14)

I like very much the idea of anthologies such as these, to highlight a community (however loosely based) through a university; it is these that should be presented to students before they make their final choices, and not just samplings of course packets (not that I went to school myself, or anything). It reminds me of something that George Bowering himself did as professor at SFU for decades, teaching a course on British Columbia writing, and altering the course every year depending on what new books were appearing (Compton's 49th Parallel Psalm was apparently, and rightly so, quickly added to the course list when it appeared). Shouldn't every university in the country have a version of the same course? Robert Hogg used to teach a course at Carleton University on Canadian poetry, teaching texts such as Bowering's Kerrisdale Elegies (part of which Collis includes in the anthology), and Christopher Dewdney, but wouldn't it have been interesting for someone, at the same time, to teach the work of William Hawkins, jwcurry or John Newlove? (Or is it simply that British Columbia has a more impressive pool to choose from than we do? Perhaps.)

Potency is everywhere.
When a boy is told, when a man turns and says

"expansionist" or "insatiable," an endless
performance. The world endures

authority and apparatus. Simple
and straightforward, teach and lead;

each time it is reproven.
An erection. Make a statement.

You hear me? Tumid, as language.
I don't have the heart to tell him.

Shame--organic. Our own search
never began or ended. Seeded--

sucked into experience, rampant
in the need for. My male playfulness.

You have given your life
as required. Took a stab
at it.

Kathryn MacLeod, "1. Laced," Physick

One of the most interesting bits in the anthology was seeing one of my own publishers, Karl H. Siegler (publisher of Talonbooks, with his wife Christy), with a selection of his translation of Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus. According to his author biography, Siegler "was a charter student at SFU, completing his B.A. (honours) in 1970, and his M.A. for his translation of Part One of Rainer Maria Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus (supervisor Jerry Zaslove) in 1974, the same year he joined Talonbooks, where he is today President & Publisher. His translation of Rilke's compete Sonnets to Orpheus (Parts One and Two) was published to critical acclaim in 1977 [Talon]. He received the first SFU Alumni Association Outstanding Alumni Award in the category of Arts and Cultural Achievement in 1993." I mean, did you know that? I think that's pretty cool. (We so often forget that so many publishers in Canada started out working in writing, whether Tim Inkster, Mike O'Connor, John Flood or Howard White.) Another highlight has to be the ongoing collaborative work of Nancy Shaw and Catriona Strang, excerpts from their Arcades Intarsai that appeared in the Kootenay School of Writing online journal W 8 in Summer 2004. Even when they publish books, they seem so quiet.

And of course, who can resist new work (it so rarely seems to come) by Chris Turnbull, Vancouver writer but Ottawa-area resident, from her series "Continua" (a fragment also appears in the first issue of ottawater; watch for the interview with her in the second issue in January). Such activity in Vancouver makes me jealous, from a town where neither university participates in any of the conversation that poetry is, or writing at all (it seems), and even Turnbull and I have had conversations of the same, that this notion of writing community is a western beast, not one that is easily found around here. But still we try. It's almost too bad a book such as this prevents (almost) a list of who they didn't include: didn't Stanley Cooperman teach there in the early 1970s? And what about Stan Rogal?

Monday, October 17, 2005

jwcurry's "Messagio Galore"

On Saturday, September 24th, a group of nearly two dozen of us were treated to a rare and important reading by Ottawa poet and publisher jwcurry, the first in his Hit'N'Run Lecture Series, called "MESSAGIO GALORE take II," framed as "a performance by jwcurry of sound & related textu(r)al materials with additional vocal aid by Max Middle," and held in the vacated bookstore space underneath his Chinatown apartment on Somerset Street West (see also post-reading reactions by John MacDonald, Wanda O'Connor and jealousies by Daniel f. Bradley, who couldn't make it). The second version of a performance "in an extremely different configuration with the vocal assistance of Maria Erskine (call it Take I)" at Gallery 101's Factory Reading Series (sponsored by span-o) on February 26, 2004, this is an extended variant on the reading he decides to do every year or two, depending on his mood, moving back into the public sphere for a moment, only to return to his desk and his work for another quiet period of months (a year or two he announced he wanted to remove himself from the world, and stop allowing his work out of his apartment for other publications). Called "the best concrete and visual poet in Canada," curry is also one of the few who has been regularly working in the realm of sound poetry, working, producing and collecting for two decades (working his bookstore, Room 302 Books, curry has also been called the third largest collector of small press in the country, after Nelson Ball and Nicky Drumbolis (through his Letters Bookshop), and has for years been compiling the bpNichol bibliography, over 20,000 items large).


part 1

(2) Frank Zappa, "How The Pigs' Music Works"
(1) bill bissett, what fuckan theory (scattered throughout part 1)
(2) jwcurry/Qaani Lore, getting there rapid
(3) jwcurry, Againful Deployment
(1) jwcurry, notes from an imaginary journal
(2) Wharton Hood, " ant "
(1) jwcurry, Copro*Lite
(1) bpNichol, Generations
(2) jwcurry, " 7 unravelled KNOTS "
(2) jwcurry, IN VOCATION
(2) Toronto Research Group, Collaboration No. 2
(2) jwcurry/Peggy Lefler, SHIFT 3
(3) Herbert Stencil, "Forcible dislocation of personality"
(2) Richard Truhlar, BERLIN ABSTRACT
(2) jwcurry, LAND IS DOWN

part 2

(3) Four Horsemen, Another Motive
(1) jwcurry, TRACT
(2) Steve McCaffery/bpNichol, 16 Part Suite
(1) Mike Patton, Ma Meeshka Mow Squoz
(2) jwcurry, OPIUM MARBLE
(3) Four Horsemen, Hare Pronounced Hair
(2) jwcurry, THE CONCRETE TELL
(1) Toronto Research Group, OF GRAMMATOLOGY

(1) solo performed by jwcurry
(2) duo performances assisted by Max Middle
(3) trio performances assisted by Jennifer Books

Framed as an essay on non-verbal, non-syntactical and non-linear poetics, the first half of the piece was even interspersed with bill bissett's "what fuckan theory," an essay he wrote on the subject (I believe, in the 1970s). Before the reading had started, curry took the text as a roll out into the audience and held it to his chest, asking random people to cut him (no one actually did, to his disappointment; see the photo of poet Wanda O'Connor cutting on John W. MacDonald's blog). The resulting cuts made the fragments of the essay curry would read between each of the pieces in the first part of the evening (after the cuts, curry used the scissors to cut a slice of his own hand, since no one else had).

curry and Max Middle even performed a couple of pieces as one-offs, in the late night hospitality suite of the ottawa international writers festival, including a performance of the Four Horseman piece "Hare Pronounced Hair" with the assistance of Carmel Purkis, seasonal staff of the festival bookstore, Nicholas Hoare, taking place of the third voice at the original event, Jennifer Books. In many ways, Purkis worked the piece better than Books, without the exhalation of extra breath after each new inhalation, working the "8-9, 8-9, 8-9" metronomic as such, instead of the "hate-9, 8-9, 8-9" that came out at the original (working the Steve McCaffery part of the piece). It has been interesting watching Max Middle evolve through his association with jwcurry over the past year, from his own performances in sound through his own Max Middle Sound Project, or his own print work, such as in his chapbooks A Creation Song (above/ground press, 2004; out of print, but reprinted with an interview in the first issue of ottawater) and smthg (above/ground press, 2005), or his inclusion in the new Canadian poetry anthology Shift & Switch (The Mercury Press, 2005).

And now MacDonald is saying that curry is planning another event, with another secret special guest? Will any of us know in time? If I do hear anything, I'll be sure to email the information out to anyone interested.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

a series of one-liners: an interview with William Hawkins
This interview was conducted over email from November 2004 to January 2005

In the 1960s and 70s in Ottawa, poet and musician William Hawkins was the central figure to a lively writing and music scene, publishing work in Raymond Souster’s seminal anthology New Wave Canada (1966) and in Oxford’s Modern Canadian Verse, and producing and playing music with Bruce Cockburn, David Wiffen, Colleen Peterson, Amos Garrett, Darius Brubeck and Sneezy Waters. His collections of poems include Shoot Low, Sheriff, They’re Riding Shetland Ponies (with Roy MacSkimming, Ottawa: 1964), Two longer poems: The Seasons of Miss Nicky, by Harry Howith; and Louis Riel, by William Hawkins (Toronto: Patrician Press, 1965), Hawkins (Ottawa: Nil Press, 1966), Ottawa Poems (Kitchener: weed/flower press, 1966), The Gift of Space (Toronto: New Press, 1970) and The Madman’s War (Ottawa: S.A.W. Publications, 1974). A resident of Ottawa for most of his life (with side trips to the Val Tetreau Correctional Institution, Vancouver, Toronto, Tallahassee and Mexico), he is a veteran driver of the Blue Line taxi corps. In spring 2005, Fredericton’s Broken Jaw Press released Hawkins’ second volume of selected poems (after The Gift of Space), the collection Dancing Alone: Selected Poems 1960-1990, with a preface by Bruce Cockburn and an introduction by Roy MacSkimming. The collection was launched in Ottawa at the Canada Europa Festival (organized by the ottawa international writers festival) on Wednesday, April 20th at 7pm, and called the largest poetry launch the National Library has held (hosted by MacSkimming, the event had an audience of nearly three hundred, including Cockburn, who came to read from his preface). This interview was commissioned by Steve Artelle's National Capital Letters, but he hasn't put an issue out in months.

rob mclennan: From the introduction Roy MacSkimming wrote for Dancing Alone: Selected Poems 1960-1990, it sounds as though you’ve lived a pretty wild life. How did you first get into writing and publishing poems?

William Hawkins: I started writing to impress the ladies. I continue to do so. As the ladies get older they are harder to impress. Or I’m losing my touch. Publishing? Well it was Poster Poems with my friend and fellow artist Andries Hamann. We cranked them out for beer money.

rm: Have any of the poems from the posters appeared in your trade collections? And you said you wouldn’t let any of them appear in the selected. Why?

WH: The first two and the one you have are the only ones not in the book. The only reason I know of is that Noel didn’t put them in.

rm: After making the posters for beer money, where did it go from there?

WH: It started going fast. I thought I had something when I wrote “King Kong Goes To Rotterdam.” Then Roy MacSkimming and I published Shoot Low, went to the Poets thing at UBC [the Vancouver Poetry Conference of 1963]. What I heard there affected me greatly. Not just from the poets teaching, but from the young guys and girls there. [George] Bowering, Bob Hogg, Ms. Webb and Lionel Kearns were some of the people I remember. Red Lane, Pat’s brother. The teachers? Well, [Allen] Ginsberg and [Robert] Creeley for sure. But Charles Olson. I’d never encountered an intelligence like that.

rm: What was it about Olson that struck?

WH: It was really the man that struck me, wide ranging intellect. Yet ready to party. The poets at that UBC course that influenced me were Creeley and Ginsberg. I don’t really have to re-read them as their poems stuck in my head. Although if Santa wants to stick something in my stocking Creeley’s collected works would be nice. I have Ginsberg’s.

rm: Michael Ondaatje has a poem “King Kong meets Wallace Stevens” in the collection Rat Jelly (1973). Since your poem came first, do you think he got the idea from you?

WH: I don’t know, didn’t know he’d written such a poem.

rm: Ottawa has certainly had more than its share of literary history, going back to the 1850s, but never really a history of small publishing in the same ways as Vancouver, Montreal or Toronto did in the decades up to the point you were starting out. How difficult was it to be a writer in Ottawa in the 1960s and 70s?

WH: I have never thought of myself as a writer. I am a poet.

rm: What do you consider the difference?

WH: Drudgery. Poetry is a happening, immediate thing. Writing is gluing yr ass to chair. Too much like a job. I must admit I envy MacSkimming’s ability to do it and Pat Lane. I suppose I’m lazy.

rm: When you were starting out, what else was happening in Ottawa?

WH: That was forty years ago! How the fuck should I know! I’m a brain damaged old man. Actually it was bleak, furtive and I was looked upon as insane. I was insane. Still am.

rm: That might be true, but I think your energy also sparked a lot of activity. I found the Northern Comfort anthology, of the day long reading from the early 70s you participated in, and you seemed to be highly thought of by the other readers, going as far as dedicating the book to you. How did Le Hibou come to be?

WH: I refuse to be held responsible for the delusional thinking of those seventies crazies. Energy? Crazy fuckers unleashed Disco on us! I’m lucky they didn’t lynch me.

Denis Faulkner and George Gordon-Lennox started Le Hibou. They attended Ottawa U as did I, briefly, until I discovered it was run by the Oblate Brothers and therefore part of a papal plot to enslave unsuspecting protestant princes, like meself.

rm: I know you hung around with Roy MacSkimming around the time you were starting to publish; what other writers were around Ottawa or beyond were you interacting with?

WH: Harry Howith, George Johnston & Nicholas Montserrat (The Cruel Sea).

rm: What led up to your “Louis Riel” poem, that made up your half of the book with Howith? What’s a boy from Ottawa doing writing about Louis Riel anyway?

WH: Louis was a mystical experience. You got to love a guy that wanted to move the holy see from Rome to Montreal.

rm: How did you get involved with Le Hibou? Bob Hogg tells a story of hanging out with you there with Joni Mitchell, when he had come up from Buffalo to meet with Carleton University, before he got his job there. Was it a performance space for poets as well as musicians?

WH: Sure it was. Read MacSkim’s intro [posted on #5].

rm: After all of your activity in the 60s and 70s with poetry and music, what made you stop?

WH: I figured I’d seen it all. Knows all, sees all. Does fuck all. Roy MacSkimming’s way of putting it was good: other obsessions. I wandered off.

rm: After all that time away, what started you writing your recent poems?

WH: Curiosity. I suppose I wanted to see if I could do it. Getting the computer helped. I kept writing after I “wandered off into other obsessions.” But only in me head. Snips of lines, pompous titles: a speciality of mine. But rarely writing anything down and losing it when I did.

rm: Has the time changed anything in your writing? Or the way you see it?

WH: Time has changed everything. The angles, perspective and immediacy. At first this was confusing. Now I have decided it is refreshing. But as Maggie Muggins used to say: I don’t know what will happen tomorrow.

rm: With the new work you’re doing, does it feel any different than writing three or four decades ago? Does your old work stand up?

WH: I really don’t know. Absolutely everything is different. As well, I’m not a good critic, of my own work or others for that matter. Didn’t somebody say comparisons are odious? I don’t know about odious. Irrelevant may be closer. To me a poem is evocative or not.

rm: What sorts of things are you reading now?

WH: P.K. Page, Heaney, Nelson Ball, Bowering, Pat Lane, Auden and have finished off mclennan and Zach Wells. I rotate things, as you may have gathered.

rm: Noel Evans was the one who originally did the compiling of the selected back in 1996. How long have you known Noel?

WH: It would have to be at the Studio Club in the early Sixties. The Studio Club, Ottawa’s first coffee shop, was located in a building that was, strangely enough, occupied by artists, on Queen St. The Delta Hotel stands there now.

rm: How did the process of the selected poems get started?

WH: I don’t remember. You’d have to ask Noel.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

a brief note, in that space between the end of the ottawa international writers festival and the beginning of that long festival hangover:

span-o (the small press action network - ottawa) presents --

October 14, 7:30pm: a small press book fair teaser, with readings by Jay MillAr, Kristy McKay and Nathaniel G. Moore at mother tongue books, 1067 Bank Street (at Sunnyside). lovingly hosted by rob mclennan.

Jay MillAr is a writer, editor, publisher, bookseller and environmental research assistant. He is the author of The Ghosts of Jay MillAr (Coach House, 2000), and Mycological Studies (Coach House, 2002), which was shortlisted for the ReLit Poetry Prize, and False Maps for Other Creatures (Nightwood Editions / blewointment, 2005). He publishes chapbooks under the imprint BookThug and distributes these titles through Apollinaires Bookshoppe, his imaginary bookstore specializing in publications that no one wants to buy. He lives in Toronto with his wife, Hazel, and their sons, Reid and Cole.

K.L. McKay, Ottawa ex-pat via Northern Ontario, currently based in Edmonton, where she helps run the Olive reading and chapbook series. Editor of Spire Poetry Poster, a monthly poetry broadside series ( Her first chapbook of poetry, published jointly through the Univeristy of Ottawa Friday Circle Press and Spire Poetry Publications, will be celebrating its release at the Fall Ottawa Small Press Fair.

Nathaniel G. Moore is a Toronto writer and performance artist. His first solo trade book is the sports biography Bowlbrawl (Conundrum). His first book of poetry will be released with Pedlar Press in 2007. He is represented online courtesy of Notho Entertainment

October 15, noon to 5pm: the ottawa small press book fair, fall 2005 edition. founded in 1994 by myself & James Spyker, I've been running the fair twice a year since, from the National Library and Archives on Wellington Street, the Glebe Community Centre to its current home at the Jack Purcell Community Centre on Elgin Street, right beside the Gilmour Public School (on Jack Purcell Lane). free to the public ($15/table for exhibitors), the next fair will be happening Saturday, October 15th from noon to 5pm (starting at 11am for exhibitors). various exhibitors past & present include above/ground press, BookThug, Broken Jaw Press, Bywords, Dusty Owl Press, The Grunge Papers, ImPress, Matrix magazine, The Ottawa Literary Heritage Society, ottawater, The Peter F. Yacht Club, Proper Tales Press, room 302 books, Spire, the poetry poster, The TREE Reading Series, and University of Ottawa Press .

you know you want to. why do you keep on lying to yourself? for more info, bother me at 613 239 0337 or email