Sunday, March 23, 2008

ongoing notes: Easter Sunday, 2008

Is it Easter where you are? It seems to be Easter here.

Have you been keeping track of the “12 or 20 questions” series? There are plenty more up over the past little while. Will I see you in April, when I launch my collection of essays (while talking about Sheila Watson + Elizabeth Smart) at the ottawa international writers festival (despite the fact that, I recently found out, it won’t be ready yet), & later, at Audrey’s Books? Did you see the John Newlove review that Paul Vermeersch did in the Globe, the interview in The Danforth Review with the editor of same, this review I did of a recent George Bowering chapbook, or the other reviews I did for Verse? Or this new poem of mine, & this other one? These photos of some recent Edmonton/Ottawa/Red Deer adventures?

Pearl said nice things about me recently (she told me not to link, but it was so sweet!); also check out links from John W. MacDonald and Charles Earl. Or what Billy Little said about John Newlove? Or this link referencing me Ottawa book?

St. Catharines ON: The new version of Brock University’s literary journal, The Harpweaver, renamed pRECIPICE, is perhaps the closest any Canadian journal has come to the goals and accomplishments of the late-lamented Queen Street Quarterly [see my note on same here], as far as form and content. It’s magnificent to see former Ottawa resident and Montreal scribe Wanda O’Connor [see my earlier note on her here] publishing again. And who is this Kate Eichorn, publishing odd mixes of poetry and prose that I would love to see in larger form. Is there a book coming? The issue also includes some quality work by Stephen Cain [see his 12 or 20 questions here], Jay MillAr [see his 12 or 20 questions here], Maureen Hynes, Aaron Giovannone, extremely interesting visuals by derek beaulieu [see his 12 or 20 questions here], Camille Martin, Stan Rogal [see his 12 or 20 questions here] and others. Editors Gregory Betts [see his 12 or 20 questions here] and Adam Dickinson [see his 12 or 20 questions here] are doing a fantastic job; I can’t wait to see more.

Barbed Wire and Wild Roses

I swore sex was a word
we were not allowed to say. Our parents

held it away from us
when we played hide’n’seek with homework due

while frogs sang late in the evening
and train whistles narrowed the distance of neighbourhoods.

One clear, spring day, Cole, Jessy and me
ducked over the fence of a dead end street,

crossed the tracks, and the farmer’s field,
to the old cow pond. Cole

had a magazine from his Dad’s dresser.
We sat behind a barbed wire fence of wild pink roses,

studied a landscape of mushrooms and flowers. But,
Jessy’s sister had followed again with her friend.

“Like allergies,” He said, wiping his nose on his sleeve.
We hid the book, sank stones in the murky water.

Until Donna screamed, “Look what they got.”
She went swimming. Cole followed.

In the noon sun, we played truth or dare
in the stubble wheat. (Keith Inman)
San Francisco CA: In the mail recently, I received the first issue of a very svelte and very gracefully-produced little journal from San Francisco called Mrs. Maybe, edited by Lauren Levin and Jared Stanley.


Who but us
could know wisdom’s cut,

the pain of pain’s
leaving, same as you?

Who would smooth us to
a circle? You would. You would.

You and your planet. You
and your flagrant blue room. (Graham Foust)
As the magazine itself states, “MRS. MAYBE, after whom this journal is named, is the medium who conducts the séance in Robert Duncan’s play Adam’s Way.”


Let’s stand together on the soft ground
I will give you these things which will protect you on the journey.
White bird has feathers as one thousand inverted ribs
he’ll stand lovingly on your head, there now
hold up this vase and its small swamp
like a lantern with a dirty glow.
Thin piece of foil trimmed into the shape of a sickle
and pasted to your chest.
At your side the thin deer with the asshole shriveling like a rose.
Opera glasses dripping with paint, and
birch cane hooked on the forearm.

You’re ready to gallop into the infinite stage
of a city garden. (Jessica Savitz)
A fine publication (with, unfortunately, no biographical information on any of the authors), the first issue, produced in a run of 100 copies, features the work of a number of writers both new and familiar, including Jessica Daniels, Stephanie Young, Aaron McCollough, Marisa Libbon, Catherine Theis and Avery Burns. One of the pieces that immediately jumps out is Aaron McCollough’s [see my review of his most recent book here; see his 12 or 20 questions] poem “FOURTEEN,” that includes

the pigeons on the wire
up in the canada wind
look headless
Malmö, Sweden: I just got two little publications from Lars Palm, Swedish poet [see what he wrote about me once here], including the seven poem riot and Death Is (Lake Country BC: by the skin of me teeth press, 2007). What really intrigued me, apart from the Canadian publication by our own Kevin McPherson Eckhoff, is the seven poem self-publication, made in an edition of 40 for a poetry festival in October last year. Not all of them work, playing with and twisting old standards, but when they do work, they do with such a lovely ease. What is it about these small pieces that compels?

(be or bee)

or not

(not arrows) at
the forces that

shake spears
only in lower
case of

or he
whispered for
poking fun
Toronto ON: If you are at all interested in concrete/visual poetry, you have to get a copy of Jenny Sampirisi’s other clutter: an and-thology (other clutter, 2007), featuring the work of Gary Barwin [see his 12 or 20 questions here], Nico Vassilakis, Chris Major, A. Rawlings, Jesse Patrick Ferguson, Darrell Etherington, Johnny Smoke, John Barlow, Aaron Tucker, Dan Waber, Derek Beaulieu, Michael Murphy, Jeremy Hight and Mike Freeman. Coming out of her other clutter website and produced in a numbered edition of sixty copies, this graceful little production has one of the finer selections of concrete/visual that I’ve seen in quite some time. You should definitely start paying attention.

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