Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ongoing notes: late July, 2007

An online memorial has been created for the late Ottawa poet Maureen Glaude, who died recently.

Why have I been so quiet lately? There's far too much to get done; deadlines, and such. The Glengarry Highland Games are coming up; will you be there? I'll be at my sister's wedding, so probably missing it myself (although I'll be but a few miles away). Did you see the notice I put up for the upcoming above/ground press Factory special? Did you see this brand-new website by John C. Goodman on experimental Canadian poetry? Did you see that Eric Barstad's Poetry Reviews website is in need of reviewers? And don't forget to check regular updates at the ottawa poetry newsletter, the Chaudiere Books blog and, soon, the Alberta writing blog.

Lake Country BC: I don’t know why Kevin McPherson Eckhoff has left Calgary to return to British Columbia (it will be harder for me to visit with him there), but he has; at least he's started producing chapbooks to keep himself in the game. The first two chapbooks in his bytheskinofmeteeth are ryan fitzpatrick's BAD SHIT! and derek beaulieu's FLATLAND 25-35. Produced in lovely editions of 52 copies, both have books forthcoming, including fitzpatrick's first trade collection this fall with Montreal's Snare Books (after all of these chapbooks of his, I am very looking forward to seeing what he can do within the boundaries of "book"), and beaulieu's third trade collection of visuals, FLATLAND, out with a press in the UK. Although, really, if you go through my blog over the years, haven’t I talked about the two of them quite enough?

My Trigger Has All The Answers!

Rough with rifle, I key me to my spine
The fascial adaptor for radar with safe side intensed,
But then irked a period in my decline
To stir a digit when digit's twin evidenced;
For then my infection, from far where I sighed,
State a built-in inflection to thee,
And purchase my twining mind open wide,
Counting on results from hypnotherapy;
Save that my officer's cornerstone audio
Presents thy sound to my basement apartment,
Which like an orgasm intensed in trigger-point Fabio,
Proved patient brain deviant and my own instinct spent.
Lo, thus, by flat my mouth, by flint my sun,
For thee, and for load, no firing done. (ryan fitzpatrick)

beaulieu's recent works in conceptual visuals have been extremely interesting lately, and this work relates somewhat to a recent series of paintings he was working after the text of a particular newspaper, replacing texts with colours (I know he's shown parts of the series in more than a couple shows around Calgary). As beaulieu writes at the back of his small chap:

Flatland is a page-by-page response to E.A. Abbott's Flatland, a satirical Victorian science-fiction novel that posits a two-dimensional universe inhabited entirely by polygons.

For each page of Abbott's novel, I trace, by hand, a representation of each letter's occurrence across every page of text. The generated text is a series of superimposed seismographic images that reduce the text in question into a two-dimensional schematic reminiscent of EKG results or stock reports.

This manuscript builds upon my previous work in concrete poetry, and a theorizing of a briefly non-signifying poetic, where the graphic mark of text becomes fore-grounded both as a rhizomatic map of possibility and as a record of authorial movement.

Much as the Victorian novel, A Human Document, gave rise to Tom Phillips's ongoing graphic interpretation, A Humument, Flatland yields a book-length interpretation of the graphic possibilities of a text without text.

Derrida, on Blanchot, asked, "How can one text, assuming its unity, give or present another to be read, without touching it, without saying anything about it, practically without referring to it?" Each page of my graphically-realized Flatland is a completely unique, diagrammatic representation of the occurrences of letters. By reducing, reading and language into a paragrammatical statistical analysis, content is subsumed into graphical representation of how language covers a page.

Flatland attempts - much like Simon Morris's Re-writing Freud (2006), Vito Acconci's "Transference" (1969) and other texts of conceptual literature - to flatten the plane of text.

For more information on these and hopefully further publications, check out the blog he's built for such at

Lantzville BC: Anyone involved in poetry publishing in Canada remembers Lantzville, British Columbia as where Oolichan Books came out of, how many years ago, publishing John Newlove and Robert Kroetsch books, among others. These days, it's also the home of Leaf Press, known for doing their "Monday Poems," and even a series of chapbooks along the way. The most recent chapbooks to hit my mailbox are And Roll from Me like Water, The Erotic Tanka Suite by Rhonda Batchelor (2006), Halo of Morning by Glen Sorestad (2006) and Travelogue by Tom Reynolds (2006).

The First Yellow Leaf

I was not ready for it. Before me the elm leaf,
unwanted harbinger, lay on the cement walk.

I glared up as if to chastise the offending tree
and that's when I noticed there were more,

many more, an abundant gliding of what was
so lately green. Precursor, this lone leaf,

as much as I am unprepared; as much as I
may huff and get my back up against the fact;

as much as I may decry the sudden way I was
blind-sided, oblivious to the obvious; without

my recognition and as surely whether I
appeal or not, the seasons fly, the seasons fly. (Glen Sorestad)

Small, classy productions, my favourite of the three has to be the third, from Windsor, Ontario writer Reynolds, writing a travel poem that echoes some of what has already been worked by such writers as Joe Blades and Andrew Suknaski, but still manages a clean line and a clear thread to work through.

In this country
the roads
are temperamental
varying suddenly
from super-efficient
super highways
country tracks
more like dried-up
creek beds
than roads

service stations
can be few and far between

might be murderers

are dead animals everywhere

maybe you should
have stayed where you were.

Apparently they're looking for book manuscripts these days too. Check them out either through their website, or drop them a line at Leaf Press, pobox 416, Lantzville BC, V0R 2H0

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