Sunday, May 08, 2011

Ongoing notes: early May, 2011;

Do you remember when I used to post these things regularly? I'm trying to get back into such, despite all these distractions happening, currently in the mist of a house-sit in Old Ottawa South [alongside pirate dinosaurs, pictured]. Patrick Carroll recently posted an article online from my recent Pivot Reading in Toronto; in case you weren't able to make it, apparently I'm reading in Toronto again on May 17 as part of the Avant-Garden series (with the following night featuring as part of Margaret Christakos' Influency Workshops). With the first reading focusing predominantly on the new poetry collection, Glengarry (Talon), I'm thinking this next should focus more on recent/unpublished works. Make sense? Later on, in Niagara Falls the first weekend in June reading alongside Monty Reid, as well as participating in a book fair; the following weekend, reading alongside Jon Paul Fiorentino at WESTFEST.

And don't forget The Factory Reading Series on May 20th, featuring readings and new publications by Stan Rogal (Insomniac Press), Bruce Taylor (Cormorant Books) and Ben Ladouceur (above/ground press). With a month later, the ottawa small press book fair!

Oh Mother's Day. The first one post-mother sucks. I sent my sister a card.

Ottawa ON: Ottawa poet Cameron Anstee, known for thoughtfully-produced limited edition chapbooks is also known for thoughtfully-produced poems, including a chapbook produced by above/ground press, Frank St. (2010). For the sake of a recent reading he gave at the blUe mOndays Reading Series on April 18, 2011, at the University of Ottawa's Cafe Nostalgica, he distributed a small self-published work in an edition of thirty copies, She May Be Weary (St. Andrew Books, 2011). The nine page/nine part exists in the shade of Monty Reid's meditative lines, and the ghazals of John Thompson, writing:

is it appropriate to speak of invention?
is it adequate to speak of source?

Beginning with a quote/poem by Richard Brautigan (“At last our bodies collide. / I bet you thought this / would never happen. [...]”), I'm intrigued by the referencing here, from Thompson to Brautigan to Artie Gold, poets you wouldn't expect to be in too many repertoires, let alone all three at once (impressive, I say), but sometimes I wonder if the references distract; or perhaps this is the entire point? The worthy moments that exist here are many, between the slats of the poem, between the lines of further lines; a poem for his partner willed with all the heart and consideration one might expect in such a poem. There are some very worthy moments inside this piece, and the poem as a whole holds together but barely; still, this is very much a poet worth watching over the next couple of years. He will possibly end up doing some things that might just surprise us all.

there is work to be done. the head aches
close the lights, close the sound, hold the cat

I fear John Thompson ruined it
for the rest of us

the few of us

I spread out glasses, water, vinegar
sugar, dish soap; kill fruit flies

I believed one thing once,
and still, and another yet

the attentions of the poem are divided
the dock always feels as though it looks north

Fukushima, Japan: I find it pretty entertaining that, after years of being out of publishing, Canadian expat Lary Bremner, formerly of Vancouver's Tsunami Editions, has started Obvious Epiphanies Press by publishing, apart from himself, poets living in Ottawa, Canada's glorious capital. So far, he's produced two chapbooks of his own, a book by myself, and chapbooks by Monty Reid (part of his ongoing “Garden” series) and Pearl Pirie, publishing her Between Stations (2011). What Ottawa poets might he publish next?

After years of small chapbooks, Pirie is the author of the trade collection been shed bore (Chaudiere Books, 2010), and recently won the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Writing for her manuscript “Thirsts,” which will appear this fall with Montreal's Snare Books as part of the prize. Pirie's Between Stations exists as a series of train poems, travel poems, floating through the Windsor-Quebec corridor, exploring visual poems, short lyrics, and language poems almost as documentary, with slicing commentary and observation along the way. I wonder, too, were any of these composed around or after her Ottawa-Toronto round-trip hopping freight with jwcurry? Pirie is best when she lets the flow of the language propel her, when she lets herself go, floating down that river, not entirely sure where she might end up.
across railway bridges, Quebec I'm

zooming your x-ings, wigwags

valleys under tongues
silver rails' quick prayers, our needs mild

landscapes karabinered
joined: invisible hovels, gentrified families

emptied dioramas
churches behind alleys
When she launched this collection recently at the ottawa international writers festival, one of the highlights of her reading was the poem “once we arrive we can find something tangible,” beginning with a quote by Cornelius Van Horne, General Manager of the CPR, 1885: “If we cannot export the scenery, we shall have to import the tourists!” The repetition and twists of some of her lines nearly echoing the repetitive clack-clack of the train down the tracks, through a mode of travel originally used as luxury, decades of working-class, and now, nearly existing as luxury again.
have you been peddled a piece of this
yet? the dull camouflage polished off
the common mollusks, a cartooned loon
painted on mother of pearl?

tourists are rhetorical. time is place.

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