Sunday, September 28, 2008

ongoing notes: late September, 2008

[Wedding cake, etcetera, from the wedding I was at yesterday; more pictures here] By now, you've probably see that magnificent piece that Margaret Atwood published in the Globe & Mail, the same day as my own blog write-up on same, responding to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Sigh. If it ain't one thing, it's something else. In happier news, plenty of upcoming events in Ottawa and even in Edmonton on the sidebar (look slightly to the right to check them out), including two small press book fairs happening in the capital this fall, including the ottawa international writers festival, starting October 18th with a mini-small press book fair. What the?

Armstrong BC: It's always good to see new things by kevin mcpherson eckhoff's bytheskinofmeteeth, producing short hand-bound runs of poetry chapbooks, most recently Calgary writer Helen Hajnoczky's tea cosy (2008). She's been publishing in journals for some time, so it's about time something larger, albeit only slightly, appears in print. Will there be something further down that there road?

A Portrait of Gertrude Stein

I find her incredibly irritating.
I've read her before in other
classes and I just find her so
annoying, and I think that if I
understood better what she was
trying to do or why she writes
this way that maybe I would find
her less annoying, but she is so
irritating because I really just
don't understand what she is
doing, and if I just understood
her intentionality then I think I
would like her more, but I find
her really irritating because I
don’t understand what she's
doing and so it's just really
annoying, which I think I would
not feel as much if I knew what
she was doing, but it's just so

St. Catharine's ON: For some time, poet Gregory Betts has been on about plunderverse [see his essay on such here, at], and written a number of projects based on the idea of using only the words of someone else's work, and only in the order in which the original author has used. A project of selection, his most recent example of such is the chapbook The Others Raisd in Me (St John's NL: Trainwreck Press, 2008), produced by the same enterprise that also produces the online Ditch Poetry.


what power this we
in my art.

make me sigh
swear that
grace is of things.

in my mind -
how to make and see

the others
raised in me.

In this project, Betts has taken only from one piece, writing that "All of the poems in this book were uncovered by crossing out words or letters in William Shakespeare's Sonnet 150." How many pieces can you get out of a single text?


For Bök

to how to
do north of
to stroll to

how to
hold worth

to loot

Madison WI: The third issue of Cannot Exist came into my mailbox, edited by Andy Gricevich, with poems by Alex Burford, Mark Cunningham, Carrie Etter, Lawrence Giffin, William Gillespie, Kevin Killian, Mark Lamoureux, Bonnie Jean Michalski, Sheila E. Murphy, Andy Nicholson and Dirk Stratton. I've always been a fan of what Sheila E. Murphy has done, but what really jumped out at me from this issue are the pieces by Kevin Killian, a healthy section of his poems that seems to be titled "Cannot Exist." How can I get to see more?

Five Years In

to a war that never ends,
I heard telephones, opera house, favorite melodies

US 30 million dollars an acre they say
of liberating a solid gold mine,
and the sold trinkets of the astor ray
Slither up from the eagle's nest, sold

Nemo, with your wet leather suit tugged,
I kiss you, I want you to walk
there are two great factors that you can see,


For further information, write c/o Andy Gricevich, 3417 Stevens Street, Madison WI 53705, or check out

Antigonish NS: It's not that often that a poem in a journal really jumps out at me and refuses to let go, but there was just something about Helen Guri's poem "Self-Portrait of my Brain as Five Raccoons" from The Antigonish Review #154. Just who is this Helen Guri? According to her contributor bio at the end of the issue, she's working on a novel-in-verse, lives in Toronto, and has published in a series of other journals, including Arc, Grain and Room of One's Own. Who is this Helen Guri?


In each
blown hollow

of the skull
an idea

preens. Turns,
sinks, unravels

as cornsilk,
damp corrugate.

Scrap-weary, licked
inky, belly heavy

in the ivy.
Even a raccoon

must sleep
must sleep.

1 comment:

Helen Guri said...

Well, apparently Helen Guri is the sort of vain creature that occasionally Googles herself, only to have her vanity further inflated by very kind poetry bloggers.

Thanks for the shout-out, rob. It certainly is a pleasant surprise to be "discovered" in the Antigonish review of all places.

All best,