Sunday, May 06, 2007

Ongoing notes: early May, 2007

Why am I wasting so much of my time on my myspace page? Using it as a jukebox, predominantly (check out some of the Ottawa bands I've got on there; although I have been blogging there, too). And why did I let Jennifer build me a facebook page too? Did you see the article in City Journal misquoting myself and Nicholas Lea? Or this piece on Rachel Zolf that mentions my name? Or this fantastic article in The Ottawa Citizen? Or this interview that mentions my name (why do they keep upper casing me)? Amanda Earl on Ottawa's cultural capital? Did you see how Ron Silliman so kindly keeps mentioning my name on his magnificent blog? Did you see the piece I recently wrote on Sandra Ridley in the ottawa poetry newsletter? And I'm almost completely recovered from our little ottawa international writers festival (spring edition) that we keep insisting on doing over here, and gearing up now for the ottawa small press book fair on June 16th, with readings the night before by secret mystery out-of-towners; my new book and Nicholas Lea's new book seem to be doing pretty well, but could always be doing better; copies are now available in Ottawa at Collected Works, mother tongue books and Octopus Books (with more to follow…). Watch for a reading he and I might be doing with Ottawa poet Marcus McCann later in June at that Carleton Tavern

Will I see any of you at the next Factory Reading on May 10th, featuring Ottawa poet Rhonda Douglas [see my note on her here] and American poet Kate Greenstreet [see my review of her first book here]? They're both launching chapbooks from above/ground press… Will I see any of you when I read in Toronto on May 16th for the DRAFT reading series? Will I see any of you back here in Ottawa when we launch Decalogue 2: ten Ottawa fiction writers (Chaudiere Books) at The Mercury Lounge on May 18th? Did you see this communal blog I've started for my upcoming time in Edmonton? It'll be a few months before it gears up properly… I just found out that Marita Dachsel [see my review of her first book here] will even be there when I am, as her husband is going to be playwright-in-residence there; after publishing her eleven years ago, I'll finally get to meet her… Did you even notice our call for submissions for short short fiction? I need reviewers for the upcoming issue of ottawater; anyone interested?

Former Ottawa resident and current Vancouver writer Susannah M. Smith now has a blog.

Fredericton NB: Joe Blades recently sent me a copy of a small publication he edited and published, the collection UGLY: an instant spoken word chapbook anthology (Fredericton NB: Broken Jaw Press, 2007), produced out of a recent event in Banff. It's great that Blades is still making these small records of events he's participated in, and he's produced a number of them over the years; even to keep track of them is to be amazed in just what Blades has been involved in over the quarter-century he's been writing, producing, editing, publishing and just simply making. So much spoken word gets lost through a lack of permanent record, with readings becoming temporal events; if you weren’t there, you completely missed it, so any record of who did what and where becomes essential for the writing of any history (see also the book of Montreal spoken word produced by Conundrum Press a few years ago…). Collecting pieces by a number of participants to a spoken word conference/festival from across Canada (I'd heard rumours of it recently), including Fortner Anderson (Montreal), Joe Blades (Fredericton), Klyde Broox (Hamilton), T.L. Cowan (Edmonton), Ivan E. Coyote (Vancouver), Drek Daa (Winnipeg), Ian Ferrier (Montreal), cheryl l'hirondelle (Vancouver), D. Kimm (Montreal), Kevin Matthews (Ottawa), Sean McGarragle (Vancouver), Dwayne Morgan (Toronto), Billeh Nickerson (Vancouver), Hilary Peach (Gabriola Island), Andrea Thompson (Toronto), RC Weslowski (Vancouver) and Sheri-D Wilson (Calgary).

You who want nothing

recline your small head, you lovely
duckling. fuzzy fluff of darlingness.

kiting into a new reality, a healthy cigarette dangling,
a bottle of Glenmorangie, a cabin with a hot tub in the mountains.

strong enough to do fifty push-ups, but in that lithe,
limber way. no one wants to look like a Russian on steroids.

quack on over here, rub against my soft skin. glory
in the perfection of everything we have made together.

we are perfect. we are perfection. we are married under
the sunshine of our parents' unconditional love. we feel no cynicism,

not like we've betrayed anyone.

collect the downy comfort of this moment. snuggle into
a cup of cocoa made by our invisible Swiss nanny.

now that you are here, you will never shiver again.
your perfect temperature, body shape, sexual pleasure

is engraved on a tablet at that gate. there is no such thing as
a grouchy day, a bad party, sour grapes, a hangover, a rash.

television is always pleasing: handsome women doing
smart things, exchanging witty dialogue, a banter

you wrote yourself. your mind is a thesaurus, an encyclopedia.
nothing is mispronounced or misplaced. you have read everything.

you are Donna Karan. you are that jeweller from the south of France.
your feet are cushioned in custom-made boots of the softest leather.

rub against me, cluck-cluck-clucking contentedly. (T.L. Cowan)

Calgary AB: Some more No Press publications arrived in the mail recently, including Josh Smith's ALPHABETICA (No. 34), Jane Thompson's Special Occasions (No. 35), Sarah Cullen's Maps (No. 36) and ryan fitzpatrick's Lord, I'm Set to Cry (No. 37). It's hard to see any publication by ryan fitzpatrick without getting a little bit anxious, with his forthcoming trade collection with Montreal's Snare Books; chapbooks by him just aren’t doing it anymore (for me, anyway; I want more). When do we get the good stuff? When do we get to see what he can do with further pages? Still, the pieces in his No Press chapbook are a departure from the poems he's been publishing over the past few years, which recently were starting to move entirely in the same structural directions, so it's good to see him break out of that, and into something further. Where will he go next?

Where is there an escape route? Poison opens
the cheek and the mouth bleeds, linking two
tales. Forest roads open for glands wafting
pheromones. Cloak runs from hand to sleeve.
Cloaking, a game turns to anapest. Phone in to
work. White coat is too symbolic an image.
Compass pillages. (ryan fitzpatrick)

For further information, contact No Press via email at

Ottawa ON: I've always liked the fiction of Ottawa writer Ian Roy [he helps launch the anthology Decalogue 2: ten Ottawa fiction writers on May 18th at the Mercury Lounge], author of the short story collection People Leaving (Ottawa ON: Buschek Books, 2007) and the collaborative book The Longest Winter (Fredericton NB: Broken Jaw Press, 1999), featuring his fiction with photographs by musician Julie Doiron. Recently at the Manx Pub, he launched his first trade poetry collection Red Bird (Ottawa ON: Buschek Books, 2007), one of the more gracefully-produced publications John Buschek has made over the years. More a fiction writer than poet, his poems read like small stories, small fictions, writing their way through a narrative, and writing their way toward an inevitable series of ends. There is a certain kind of expectation that comes from the straightness of his lines, in particularly how straight they are, moving, sometimes, exactly where you expect them to move; his turns are slow, and deliberate, and move out across a slowly opening field.


The first thing you see is a door, seemingly suspended
as if by some illusion—but delicately balanced
against a wall at an awkward angle, teetering.

The scene is lit from an open window
but the light stops at the door, slicing
the room in two, leaving shadows, dark corners.

To the right, a vacant doorway, leading to another room,
more doorways. A pipe runs up the wall beside the first door:
plumbing, an afterthought maybe forty years later

in this building in Providence. The long hardwood
planks of the floor are rough, wax-less,
strewn with plaster from the falling-down walls.

The room is an array of lines and angles, light and shadow.
And of course, beyond the camera's view,
somewhere behind—right where you are looking from, in fact—

stood the photographer. After arranging the door against the wall,
after waiting for the ideal light: the shutter snapped.
There is no way of knowing what happened next.

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