Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Notes without notes: Lea Graham + Nicholas Lea

Ottawa interviewer Nigel Beale, blogger + literary starlet John W. MacDonald, Dusty Owlers Steve Zydfeld + his lovely wife Cathy MacDonald-Zydfeld, French theatre-lad Inouk Touzin + writers Clare Latremouille, John Lavery, Monty Reid, Jennifer Mulligan, Stephen Brockwell, Max Middle, Kate Bryden, Anita Dolman + James Moran & piles of others were all at my birthday party on March 18th; why weren’t you? There were a number of things from that night I can't tell you about; there is photographic evidence, but I won't tell you who has it, or where to find it. I got to bed well after 5am (alone, thank you very much), once the "after party" at Mike's house died down, where various of us including Brockwell & Reid played various musical instruments well into the wee hours.

No matter what you thought Ottawa's own Tom Green might have accomplished earlier, you can't deny he's immortal now for being a reference on a new episode of The Simpsons that aired March 19, 2006; we're proud of you, lad (did I ever tell you I was a guest on his show in March 1995, when he was still on Rogers Cable 22?). Did you know that American poet Lisa Samuels (teaching at the University of Milwaukee-Michigan) is moving to New Zealand? I just found out, & was pointed to this; it led me, too, to this, the neatest thing by Canadian ex-pat (teaching in New York) poet Sina Queyras, writing on Lisa Robertson's The Weather (New Star Books). One thing leads to another thing leads to another thing. Be aware that the League of Canadian poets AGM is happening in Ottawa the second weekend of June (same weekend as Westfest, unfortunately); it will include a lecture by Ottawa-born Margaret Atwood, which should be interesting (I've actually been finding her critical/non-fiction work over the past few years to be her most interesting). & did I tell you that Lea Graham is arriving tomorrow, to do a reading? I've been cleaning my apartment for weeks (& finding the neatest things). She'll be here until Sunday (even hosting a party for her on Saturday night, a "Lea Graham Appreciation Party," much like the "Monty Reid Appreciation Party" we held last year; shouldn't folk be appreciated every so often?); hoping to get some collaborative writing in while she's here.

I just published a first chapbook by Moose Creek, Ontario poet (currently living in Ottawa) Nicholas Lea (no, not that Nicholas Lea), his light years. He came out of a creative writing class at the University of Ottawa (but don't hold that against him) & is one of the irregular contributors to the ottawa poetry newsletter. You know the drill: send me $5 (CDN; outside Canada, $5 US) c/o 858 Somerset Street West, main floor, Ottawa Ontario Canada K1R 6R7 to get a copy; same if you want anything (mostly) in the backlist…). Here's a piece from it:

after Don McKay

Smooth light falters
after one solemn thought
you’re ready for the trees’
natural flattery to take
from your own internal yearning:
the process of seeing and processing
scene things. Once, we were a model
for filled-out, full-form dualistic dawning

on ideas, or more-than-foreign thoughts; a
fox in the distant field; a sworn-in
spec mystery of mythical, fable-found
meaning. It looked (sexless), tried
to sniff the airs’ potentials, but failed and
I think, sighed (maybe not).

Foster the cause that saddens our shadow
—we’ve just the time too.
But what (kind) weight put us in our place
the day you said you’d donate your soul to
this signed space? I’ve (still) sat and traced
every possible log-wrought thought, found that.

Remember, we're launching Nick's first chapbook Thursday night at The Mercury Lounge, 56 Byward Street. Also launching Lea Graham's Calendar Girls (above/ground press), with an opening by local poet Stephen Brockwell. You should come too. 8pm. free. (& Steve Evans just told me Vancouver poet Fred Wah reading at the University of Maine this week; makes me very jealous. Why can't Wah read here too?) Meeting with Fredericton NB poet & publisher Joe Blades later on today to talk about my fall poetry collection, aubade. What is he doing in town again?

No comments: