Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Ongoing notes: early February, 2007

I've spent the past few weeks tearing apart my little apartment for two Dennis Cooley titles I couldn’t find, & even considered getting replacement copies until I realized they were on Stephen Brockwell's shelves (dammit). Once my Phil Hall essay is finished, I'm thinking of entering more fully into the works of said Mister Cooley [see my previous note, or my review of his Country Music here], from the selected poems Sunfall on… Still, I might just have to bite the bullet & get better shelving (for all the books I can't find), something Stuart Ross apparently has been doing lately… & have you seen the new issue of ottawater yet (& Amanda Earl's note on our glorious launch, or Wanda O'Connor's little note…)? The issue went missing for a little bit, but it's back now. Or the new issue of Rob Budde's stonestone? My review of the new Jay MillAr chapbook from Nomados? Apparently poet & Winnipeg resident K.I. Press is excited about her interview in the new issue of ottawater; & have you heard this interview with American poet Alice Notley? Or this new Vehicule Poets website former Montrealer and still-Vehicule poet Ken Norris recently told me about, or this new Ottawa fiction mag launching soon, or this other one looking for submissions? Apparently Ottawa writer Matthew Firth has a place where info on him can be found, in case you are in a serious need for a Firth-fix… Did you see that poet Mari-Lou Rowley has a blog now, as does b. stephen harding? & what the hell is Nath G. Moore doing on YouTube? & where the hell is former McGill rare books librarian David McKnight? I've been looking for him…

& THIS IS NOT ME. god damn.

Will we see you at the Factory Reading coming up with Jennifer Mulligan launching her above/ground press chapbook & Una McDonnell? (Jennifer was originally supposed to read with Toronto poet Sharon Harris [see my review of her book here], but Sharon hasn’t been feeling well lately…) Upcoming readings in the same series over the next few months include a Snare Books special, a Brick launch, Kate Greenstreet & a first chapbook by Tree co-ordinator Rhonda Douglas

& I'm the "old poet" making comments for the League of Canadian Poets' young poets site this month. Catch me if you can…

Vancouver BC: I finally read Vancouver writer Ryan Knighton's memoir Cockeyed (Penguin, 2006), on learning he was going blind, diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa when he was eighteen, and the years of learning and living with such a condition. Sometimes just a bit too self aware and clever, Cockeyed is an extremely strong and moving book, and moves very personally not only through Knighton's blindness, but through his life generally, and how it has shifted, whether through being blind, or simply existing at all. Knighton is also the author of the poetry collection Swing in the Hollow (Vancouver BC: Anvil Press, 2001) and co-author of the short fiction collection (with George Bowering) Cars (Toronto ON: Coach House Books, 2002), as well as a former editor of The Capilano Review and contributor to side/lines: a new Canadian poetics (Toronto ON: Insomniac Press, 2002). A remarkably charming and funny memoir, a number of selections from the book also appeared previously in Saturday Night magazine and on Dooney's Café.

"Hi, you've reached the answering machine for Ryan and Jane. We're probably home right now, but Jane didn’t hear the phone again, and I can't find it. Please leave a message. Or just come over and help." (p 48)
Ottawa ON: The other night, making music until all hours with jwcurry, Anita Dolman and Stephen Brockwell in his brand-new basement, curry gave us copies of his 1cent #373 (January 16, 2006), a magnificent little poem by Laurie Fuhr that he found in a stack of stencils left over from 2002; basically, a poem that, for whatever reason, never made it into the ottawa international writers festival publication he made that year, Guessed Book (2002, A Oniom Primtshop, Ottawa), built out of pieces anyone wandering through the festival's hospitality suite wanted to include by altering their own stencil (worth getting a copy of, if he still has any). Ottawa has been much different since poet Laurie Fuhr wandered west and eventually found Calgary and her part in filling Station magazine; will we ever see a full-length poetry collection from her? After a chapbook from above/ground press and inclusion in evergreen: six new poets (Windsor ON: Black Moss Press, 2002), I've barely seen anything else. When do we get to see something else? She did edit an issue of The Peter F. Yacht Club that is due out soon (check here over the next few weeks), but I have seen very little; I miss her little publications. Here is but a fragment of said poem, worth getting properly to see in full, and with all the proper indentations.

the stray free radical

applies its properties
(without charge) to

your next spoken intention.
stephen walks away from the stimulus,
finds a shiny metal distraction
a two-part harmony in clack
key crunches operettas
adjoining room and the handfuls
of crispy snacks. punching out words

To find out about copies, write jwcurry c/o #302-880 Somerset Street West, Ottawa Ontario K1R 6R7. As he says, subscriptions and submissions: ask. Also, he claims he has another newsnotes publication ready for distribution, but hasn’t passed it along yet. Worth getting a copy if you can…

Toronto ON: After much waiting, Toronto poets Jay MillAr and Stephen Cain have finally released their collaborative work Double Helix (Toronto ON: The Mercury Press, 2006), after various sections and pieces have appeared as chapbooks from housepress (Calgary), BookThug (Toronto) and above/ground press (Ottawa), among other venues. Working two strains against strains like a DNA strand, each write alphabetical poems that twist in on each other, working to create a singular third voice between the collaborations of their singular two. The authors of three trade poetry collections each [see my review of MillAr's most recent poetry chapbook here, or the review of his third trade book here], the resonance of the "singular third" works well in much of the collections, even the pieces where it appears more obvious which of the two has authored (with the Cain pieces slightly stronger, I would argue).


Now that space has been lost, it's only a matter of finding time.

Or perhaps it's only that not enough has changed to make the
trauma of transformation total.

Where is here? The first question a Canadian asks in settling down
and beginning to write, at least in the Frygian experience. And
once again I realize that Norry was right, and once again I am sur-

Here is nowhere for the time being. The time being 12:13,
Thursday night, and the experience being the first attempt to
write in my new life. To right, and to make things write.

Everything's in disarray, and there's not enough to drink in the
house — but so what? I welcome the move to sobriety with lit-
tle regret. This small stumble between "little" and "no."

Remarkable coincidences have let me to believe the right deci-
sions have been made. Either that or I have somehow slipped into
your worldview where ghosts are corporeal and magic is manifest.

Especially now that I have discovered that nowhere does not mean
no-where — but now-here.

There have been a number of interesting collaborative works over the past few years, including Edmonton poet Douglas Barbour and Phoenix, Arizona poet Sheila E. Murphy's Continuations (Edmonton AB: University of Alberta Press, 2006) and Toronto poets Bill Kennedy and Darren Wershler-Henry's apostrophe (Toronto ON: ECW Press, 2006) [see my review of them here], as well as a forthcoming issue of The Capilano Review on collaborations currently in the works [see the collaborations I did with American poet Lea Graham last year here]. Cain himself has also been working a series of shorter collaborative texts for a number of years, working on his usual compositional ten (check his own solo collections, specifically American Standard / Canada Dry to see what I mean) before he collects them as a trade unit (some have also already appeared in small chapbook editions). With Double Helix finally out, when will his next series of collaborations see the light of day?

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