Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ongoing notes: mid-September, 2011

I can't believe the move is nearly done. A third-floor walk-up (with a lovely back deck) on McLeod Street, in the middle of Ottawa's Centretown. 

The major part of my move was four + a half days with a group of folk (MASSIVE thanks to Marilyn Irwin, jwcurry, Stephen Brockwell, Gwendolyn Guth, Monty Reid, Roland Prevost, Rod Pederson, Brandon McNally, and Brian + Daleigh for their time, energy and enthusiasm) and my father's truck. Then, Christine's movers came, and another day of move happened. We're still unpacking, but I love our new house. Windows! Can you imagine? I now have windows...

Currently working on a number of things, including the date for the fall ottawa small press book fair (check here for info on that and other fairs around Canada). Don't forget the reading I'm doing on the 17th as the League of Canadian Poets fundraiser, and the Factory Reading Series event on Sept. 23 at the Carleton Tavern.

And keep an eye on the above/ground press blog. There are some interesting titles coming up over the next little bit, some online reprints of recent and not-so-recent “poem” broadsides, and information on 2012 subscription rates. And the Chaudiere Books Decalogue sale is still happening, until the end of the month. Whatta deal.

It's not easy to move 10,000 books and 6,000 comic books. Sigh.

You wouldn't believe the stuff I've discovered I own (predominantly books), some of which I'd forgotten entirely. I own some very, very cool things.

Ottawa ON: Among his recent Apt. 9 Press items, writer and publisher Cameron Anstee also handed over a copy of his self-published The Turning of Pages Should Not Be Audible (Ottawa ON: St. Andrew Books, 2011), a small chapbook produced “in an unnumbered edition of 20 copies for a reading in the In/Words Reading Series at the Clocktower Brew Pub Ottawa ON 27 July 2011.” I've lost track of the small chapbooks Anstee has published over the past few years, but notice that with each one he produces, the poems have quietly deepened, and matured.
the known world ordered into file folders
catalogued and possessed until you arrive with your questions

account for ruining paper, the implicated bibliography,
the love of a thing without tangible application

solemnly, I sign a paper promising best behaviour
while I live, briefly, in the archive
Most of what I've seen of Anstee's poetry has focused on the meditative sequence, poems that accumulate into larger purpose. With its title “drawn from a pamphlet distributed at the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library (University of Toronto) regarding the correct handling of manuscript collections,” Anstee's The Turning of Pages Should Not Be Audible is a thirteen-part sequence written as a poem directly to his partner, Jenn, with some sections composed as letters, and even straight apology, it seems, for the time spent in the office producing books. How does one balance life, love and production?
dear Jenn,

here the final sites for ruin when the weather turns dry

hostas, you say
because this place is mostly shade

if the street cats stay out of the plot
they should be fine next summer

new grass steeps in the dirt
Melbourne, AUS: I'm intrigued by the narrative collisions in Australian poet Michael Farrell's chapbook thempark (Toronto ON: BookThug, 2010). This is something Phil Hall mailed me a few months back, but now, finally moved, I have a chance to start going through it.
brown bookmarks arent an excuse, nor are art jots.
we drive the attendant away with pens. you were at the market.
how often i have thought of you showering,
picking on people, on weekends –
& your partner? is she finally over your moodswings?

there is no homosexual milieu that i know of,
so im a parasite, like in line of beauty.
fitzroy has called at last.
we had to disobey all the signs,
as patriotic as stopping for commonwealthy drunks,
& teenage creeps that touch their blurry others.
so i thought youd like to guess,
from beneath your chemical peel, safe.
the others someone you dont know,
i hate questions except about the country. (“news from the erstwhile”)
According to his bio at the back of the collection, Farrell is the author of the trade collections ode ode (Salt), a raiders guide (Giramondo) and BREAK ME OUCH (3 Deep). The poems in this small collection slip through and against culture, politics and the world, and back into language. After reading through this small collection of poems, I wonder what Farrell might think of the work of Vancouver poet Jeff Derksen?
to be less out there than this,
muppets who dont get to kiss, loaded, racking up timeshares
the metre running for joy.
plenty people broke their necks back then, & doctors werent just

000 away, ernie pockets one of berts
objets dart wishing his pockets bigger, better.
an ipod world, everyones got old favourites even if
they werent born when recorded, & cable golddigger
films structure all ernies thought,

he cant take his grin off. (“tit for tat”)

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