Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Ongoing notes: Meet the Presses (part one,

[Invisible Publishing, on point (so to speak) (being invisible]

Cobourg ON: Stuart Ross (who will be at the ottawa small press book fair this weekend) furthers his way to forty years of continuous chapbook production through Proper Tales Press with Kingston poet Dale Tracy’s chapbook Celebration Machine (2018), a chapbook produced in an edition of 125 copies. The author of a scholarly title, With the Witness: Poetry, Compassion, and Claimed Experience (McGill-Queen’s, 2017), this small chapbook appears to be her poetry debut, a collection of short, first-person lyrics both composed directly and slant, writing in the most lovely indirect way. I like the quick movement of her lyric, and the casualness of her line, as she writes to end the short poem “Serious Living”: “If a violin sounds sad, is it?”

Don’t Look for Eunice de Souza’s Life
in These Poems

I won’t look for your life
in your poems,
but can I look for mine?
I’m asking because
I accidentally already
saw something familiar
about knowing, so not
only did I look and see
and know, but then I knew
about knowing too.

I hope you don’t mind I’ve put
your poem in my poem.
I’ve been careful
to leave out your life,
except in the exergue
of my address.

Calgary AB: From Kyle Flemmer’s The Blasted Tree comes the chapbook (another debut, I would think, given the author biography doesn’t specify any other titles) The Landscape We Left on Each Other (2018) by Lauren Elle DeGaine, produced in an edition of 40 copies. There is such a musicality to DeGaine’s work, moving from the lyric to prose poems, one with an energy that sparkles, and even crackles. Her poems manage to write uncomplicatedly on complicated things, something that could be mistaken for simplicity but is anything but. Much like Dale Tracy, this is another poet I would very much like to see further work from.

We Went to the Forest to Fire a Gun

I flick the lighter and picture your footsteps, treading snow and carpet pathways. The music I’m listening to brings memories of green and yellow days and I think about showing you this— I sing and blow smoke. We walked on a damn trail and smelled the earth: decomposition and the ache of things freshly growing. Back home, there were blood stains on your sheets, but you didn’t seem to mind. These are the gory moments of my life, paternal words flung like shards, my own voice a monstrous blade, now a ribbon of grass, but I turn monsters into you. I colour my new memories with you and they taste like fresh water and sweat and blue light and spliffs. Bright sky and bullet shells hitting ground and you holding my hand. These gorgeous spring days threaten us to be careful of summer.

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