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Poets Laureates Come to Ottawa: Dec 1-2, Free

Laureate poster

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

Personal Top 21

So far I’ve completely read 95 books and chapbooks this year. These are the ones that impressed me most, in no particular order:

poetry:

Thirty-seven Small Songs & Thirteen Silences by Jan Zwicky (Gaspereau Press, 2005)
Thirty-Three by Geoffrey Young (above/ground, 2017)
the lithium body by Sarah MacDonnell (in/words, 2017)
Class Proof by Deonte Osayande (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2017)
She Don’t Mean a Thing if She Ain’t Got that Swing by Guy Simser (Catkin Press, 2016) [read twice]
Silence by Nora Parker Cox, illus., Anna Bongiovanni (Hucklenut Press, 2016)
In that Old City by the Sea by David Blaikie (Éditions des petits nuages, 2017) [read twice]
Forge by Jan Zwicky (Gaspereau, 2011)
Listen, Partisan! And other Stumbling Haibun by Chris Johnson (Frog Hollow Press, 2016) [read twice]
Metaphysical Dictionary by Svetlana Lilova, ill by Graham Falk (Dumagrad Books, 2016) [read three times]
Certain Details: The Poetry of Nelson Ball (WLU, 2017)
The Unworn Necklace by Roberta Beary (Snapshot Press, 2007)
She’s Having a Doris Day by Jeff Kirby (k | f | b, 2017)
Rhinoceros by Yoko’s Dogs (Devil’s Whim press, 2016)
Acquired Community by Jane Byers (Caitlin, 2016)

Non-fiction

Portraits of Canadian Writers by Bruce Meyer (Porcupine’s Quill, 2017)
Deep breath: a book of haiku evolutions, ed by Terry Ann Carter (Leaf Press, 2017)
The Hidden Life of Trees: What Feel, How They Communicate by Peter Wohlleben, trans by Jane Billinghurst (Greystone books, 2015)
What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux (2016)
Trail & Landscape, vol 51, #4 (2017)

Fiction:
Catch the Lightning: The new novel of the saga of the Skolian empire by Catherine Asaro (TOR, 1996)

Categories: Currently reading.

bpNichol Award

Each year $4000 gets given to one Canadian chapbook.

The finalists for the 2017 bpNichol Chapbook Award are:

The winner will be announced at 2 p.m. on November 18, 2017, at the annual Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market, open from 12 noon to 5 p.m. at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street West, in Toronto.

The Market introduces the public to independent literary publishers of books, chapbooks, magazines, ephemera, and recordings generally not available in bookstores. The free event is curated by Meet the Presses, a volunteer literary collective devoted to showcasing the work of independent publishers of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. It’s a great place to find new reading stuff and to chat with all the makers and shakers.

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

Reflections on publicity

I used to use this space for rumination, poetry drafts, signal boost to other blogs, and it gradually unconsciously became a PSA hub and advertorial for organizations I’m involved with.

I went silent for a while for taking on too much, including house-construction and moving to another province. Probably no one is left reading but that’s fine. It’s how it began. One earnest voice using the internet to see if there was another mind to listen out there. Nothing to do with selling, only signalling.

Last night I went to Tree and forgot my camera. I know the phone is useless in such lighting so didn’t even try. The password for the venue changed so I couldn’t livetweet. It was relaxing.

How much of the last 20 years have I been present with events without part of my mind watching for The Moment for a photo that catches a characteristic energetic facial expression and gesture, without listening for a tweet-length quotable to promote what I’m at, whether it is an architectural lecture, conference, festival, street fair, birthday, wedding, family reunion, concert, reading, or even reading a book, looking for isolated paragraphs that can stand along as essential.

Add to the automatic publicity role I take on whether I’m involved with the organization or not, and I have to ask, what is that?

I’ve been on school newspapers and yearbooks since I was 15. Some of my original university plans were journalism here or there.

But why? It is overextension of the adage that if you learn something you have an obligation to reteach it, thus a teaching career and thus poetry?

Is it a method from good place to counter my nervous nature by focussing in some way, or by controlling in some way? Is it a protestant work ethic to never be idle? Or is is resistance by default to resist and filter stringently whatever I perceive so nothing slips in unannounced?

Letting things wash over me rather than trying to take it all in, taking notes at a music concert, or while reading, trying to hold it all, is that not cling? A variation of hoarding? And does that not come from insecurity, a fear of loss?

I thought I converted my ideology to a system of ampleness and capacity to deal but this suggests the pressure I put on myself still runs. Is it a desire to please and assure others that their acts and words don’t fall into a vacuum. It is a paying attention, a kind of honouring expended effort.

My bent as an archivist of stuff all try to preserve, which is a looking backward and expecting the future will want to look backward?

What if we want to move, and trust there is a forward that descended from that route but the route has no need to preserved? Each path forward creates a new past. Pasts are infinite. They aren’t in opposition to allowing a future but how relevant are they?

All photo albums become books of the dead. Especially as someone with no biological heirs, who are photos kept for? Is this the best use of posterity? Or is action more of use? There’s an opportunity cost to saving the past. It hits my own reward centres, which is a fine and useful thing chemically speaking. It has some use. But what costs are incurred?

Being what I call “civilian” (rather than camera-twitter cyborg) I could hear more complexity of tone of voice. I could let things unfold rather than anticipate and be disgruntled at predicting. I could perceive people without causing flinch at trying to capture souls.

I could frame photos in my mind as by habit, but let them pass and float around mentally untethered. I could listen without planning to speak. I could be silent the entire night. I dodn’t need to write up an event report, or encapsulate what I’d convey to someone else.

That brain that’s not seeking to frame is a rare state. I’m always scanning for lines of poems, for metaphors, for something to convey to the page, which cares as little as a wall does for my words, and has as little use for them.

I suppose a few things add together, a book we read where the pov seemed forced into an effective plot frame, but all seem caricatured and contrived, still funny, but false. It begged the question of real sight vs. seeing what you expect. We all risk doing the latter.

A tenet of my life is that I fly towards that which scares me because otherwise I am crushed by fears which amplify like the bullies they are. Avoidance makes it worse. Self-imposed exposure therapy makes it easier. Thus my aunt saying for a lifetime she eats no ice cream because as a little girl she found glass in it so she gets fear, 60+ years later when anyone eats ice cream…it makes me angry at her loss. It says that I will not do that. If she is susceptible to it, I need to defend more against the walls falling on myself. What if all my force of opposing my energies or not opposing the energy would have ended up with me in the same place either way? It is ego that says ones choices cause change but there is visible pattern of cause and effect.

When I got PTSD flashbacks after a car accident, even flashes of light reflecting reneacted the accident in my body. Walking past a car bumper. Any sudden acceleration or deceleration to turn or respond to traffic lights made me flashback and go rigid and call out. For years. This meant I had to keep getting in cars, not hide in my room. Accept when stress made me twitchy and shut off. Once I recovered, I had to at least walk sidewalks, be a passenger, drive and deal because it’s a non-starter that I could let this rule.

As a corollary, crowds overwhelm me. They are loud, in my personal space, are full of scents that can trigger migraines, scents that can spur panic attacks, among too many unknowns of people who may act erratically, and with poets may talk from any trigger while we all applaud politely. So naturally, I had to go until my system’s reactions calmed the heck down. But I needed a crutch to cope and screening out people is helped by a camera and a purpose. An excuse, a reason. And to be validated for “your good photos” kept me engaged and countering the risk of pushing my own boundaries. It lined up with my historian’s ideology that selective bits of history should be kept, and my publicist, journalist instinct for a story to sell.

But I said a few things came together to persuade me that posting about events was a good thing.

Pragmatically I published and to publish to sell, people need to know these good ideas packaged on paper exist.

And Garry while I sorted the garage said, why not bonfire it all? I said, but look, I found a photo of my mom in the 80s I didn’t know I had. He replied, but you already know what she looks like, and after you’re gone, it won’t matter to anyone else. That boosted energy to be more selective and less clingy on what I kept.

More recently, we listened to the podcast Accidental Creative, episode on Selective attention how we need downtime to process and convert to new patterns, transformation, and wisdom, not just take in more noise and information.

A Tree workshop exercise last night was with Rachel McCrum. A eureka of understanding more my own motivations, strengths and interest in communications. And why.

I am introverted. People take a lot of energy. To put myself in front of people drains not energizes. Face-to-face can wear me out, which is worth the cost in getting to know people, but I have to pace myself, and actually get to know people, instead of just being exposed to people.

But the exercise: We were to read and look away from the partner, then look into the eyes of the partner. What effect does performance vs. performance to one person have on the weights of words, the critique, the intimacy.

What do we need to share? Why do we need to share?

What else could I hold space for? Downtime, processing time, space to see what comes and where I might like to go if I wasn’t pushing myself towards certain places of habit.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Upcoming Events

Emily Izsak’s podcast features the Radish in New Recruits Episode 22: Serena Posner Reads Pearl Pirie

On Wed May 17, 2017, 1pm-4pm, Studio Nouveau presents Catherine Owen Title: Eavesdropping on Mars. Cost: $60 (including a book, is 3 hours and all about fun experimentations). Due to a couple conflicts of schedule, 2 spots are open.

3 hour workshop description: Writing is serious work but the core should be always be pleasure. Join Catherine Owen in exploring techniques of narration and anaphora, sound, repetition and song, drawing from a range of pieces, including those in her two most recent books: The Day of the Dead: short stories, sliver fiction and an homage (Caitlin Press 2016) and Dear Ghost, (poems from Buckrider Books/W & W, 2017). Cost: 60 includes a copy of one of the books. 8 max. Where: 202 Hinton Ave N more info: here

 

May 18, 2017, 7pm at knifeforkbook , Toronto, Location: Rick’s Cafe | 281 Augusta Avenue |

ensington Market knifeforkbook just before words(on)pages have their event.

 

May 19-21, 2017, Haiku Canada Weekend

UTM (University of Toronto, Mississauga campus), Book launch of Erotic Anthology, Black Moss Press (editors: George Swede and Terry Ann Carter) and chapbooks from phafours press.

 

May 30, 2017, 7pm, Michael Dennis launch for Bad Engine

Avant-Garde Bar at 135½ Besserer St., Ottawa. Michael’s biggest and most exciting book to date in 40 years of publishing — Bad Engine: New and Selected Poems, edited and introduced by Stuart Ross, hot off the Anvil Press! Several special guests from the Ottawa poetry community — including Sandra Ridley, Stephen Brockwell, Marilyn Irwin, rob mclennan, and Pearl Pirie — will be reading Michael’s poems before Michael himself takes the floor. The evening will be hosted by Michael’s long-time friend and collaborator Stuart Ross. Books will be for sale. Astonishing conversation will occur. There will be laughs and maybe even tears. And all in the beautifully eccentric coziness of the Avant Garde Bar, whose food and drink menu is an event in itself. (Fb Event)

Categories: Link Dump, PSA, Poetry.

PSA: Tasks of a board and reading series organizers

Tasks of a board or reading series organizer:

Find list of potential readers
– Read literary magazines bio notes for who has a forthcoming book
– Browse bookstores to find what excites
– Ask regulars of series and board who they want to see
– Check whose book is coming in the season ahead at 49thshelf
– Brainstorm local writers
– Go to open mics and see who is new-to-you
– Seek out native writers, people of colour, queer writers
– Watch award lists and twitter for buzz
– Compensate for white midlife pitching more regularly and getting more media buzz
– Put out feelers for who is doing a tour
– Ask publishers for their list of upcoming readers on tour
– See who is coming through other series across Canada
– Search indexes of poets.ca or http://qwf.org, TWUC, https://writersunion.ca
– Tie-ins with any special occasions, banned book month, poetry month, anniversary of series, cross-series events
– Share readers; co-ordinate with other series to make cost of travel for writers more profitable, arrange workshops to make it more cost effective for writers

Readers
– Compile list of contact emails for publishers and authors
– Ask people you know to introduce you
– Search people on linkedIn and Facebook
– List all dates the series will run
– Back and forth of finding dates for people
– Confirm readers and send info and reminders
– See also PSA: Reading Series Communication: What and When
– Recommend places to eat
– Assisting with local billeting or hotels
– Assisting with setting transportation to and from train or plane
– Tell readers what to expect for timing, ask for preferred reading order
– See if they need any screens or extra equipment
– Follow up email asking them if all went well and thanking them for coming

Communicating within board
– Spearhead finding dates in common to meet
– Arrange a secretary for minutes and to update
– Bouncing ideas off one another, pooling sources of knowledge
– Annual general meeting to keep everyone in the loop on finances and develop plans
– Scout to replace board members and volunteers
– Delegate aspects of organizing events to particular volunteers
– Mind to mandate, refresh policies for vulnerable persons
– Committees for special events, workshops, volunteers, drivers, media

Media
– Publicity person to do press releases
– Twitter updates
– Facebook page events
– Newsletter to people who sign up
– Update website or blog of series
– Tumblr of highlights, photos
– Photo taking, get permission
– Videoing, get permission from readers
– Relationships with media to set up radio, blog, newspaper and tv interviews for readers in advance of their reading

Advertising in print
– Passing bios and photos to someone to make posters
– Someone to print and distribute posters

Venue
– Find a venue that is accessible by transit and for chairs, including bathrooms
– Liaison regularly with venue to ensure all is smooth for venue and series
– Ensure there’s enough lighting to read by
– Accessibility ramps (stopgap.ca)

Event
– Touch base to ensure volunteers can come
– Set up space for chairs, screen, book table, sign up sheet, microphone, tape down cords
– Someone to greet readers and know who they are
– Someone to prep introductions and MC
– Someone to hand payment or gift to readers
– Someone to pass the hat and deposit donations
– Paper trail of receipts of any hospitality to readers
– Buy the writer’s book if you can afford it
– Chat with people who come, host and introduce people who may not know each other, because this is all for community.

Listening and Recording
– Sound system and someone who knows how to use it
– Videos
– Passwords for youtube or vimeo

Finance
– Accountant for taxes
– Treasurer for keeper of records of grants, donations, costs
– People to to sign cheques who are signatories at bank
– Bank account
– Paying the venue rep

Paperwork
– Someone to investigate what programs one is eligible for
– Ontario Arts Council, City, Trillium, Canada Council
– Counting the number of attendees for reports later
– Default term is 1-year and max 4-years but can be reelected for non-profits
– Keep a history of all the organizational files and know where they are
– Passwords, keep track of
– Keep mailing list up to date
– For legal non-profits, non-profits have to provide by-laws and minutes on on request.
– Insurance
– Reports to funders
– Files of publicity received for funding
– Promotional information, press releases for publicity

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

Toronto

Toronto Launch - You Were Here (1)

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

Winter KaDo

Hard to chair a meeting, host, record minutes and take snapshots. But totally doable. Pics from the meeting today of Winter KaDo here.

Categories: Poetry reading write-up.

Book in Context

Kilby Smith-McGregor‘s Kids in Triage happened to be in my bag to read, just in case whatever delay, when mom ended up getting reassessed at the e/r. 4 hours waiting and for her to get antibiotic i.v.

(Among it all, I got as far as p.10 in the first visit of 4)

Apocrypha

First do no harm.

Listen,
I only just wanted so awfully to see.

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from “Anomalies of Water, from p. 61

High-spirited, hard-living. High heat of sublimation. Water forgets water. Water refuses water. Water wants wine, transubstantiation. Highlight, high life, high-flying entropy of, heat of vapourization. The eventaul condensation of, repatriation of rain.

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from page 64, [2] Tricks with Eggs,

the difference between hard-boiled and raw one spins better

Categories: Currently reading.

Toronto Readings

Toronto Launch - You Were Here

Categories: Uncategorized.