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Here and There Poetry Tidbits

A beautiful short film from Australian revolving around Yeats is called Bat Eyes

My contribution to Poet Secrets is up at Canadian Poetries

Monty Reid is leading a workshop at Ottawa Public Library in March. It’s free and you can get your poems in ahead of time.

I’ve joined GoodReads and 49thShelf (Now what?) I like the idea of finding new reads but I’m not sure about this rating books 1-5 business. If I rate everything highly it’s meaningless. If I rate something low that I can’t get into it’s pissing in a very small plunge pool.

Further thinking on Making Poems Leave the House. (Cold Shoulder Not Working.) I made a long list of all promising poems in October. I divided that into clusters of similar, de facto chapbooks or parts of books. These I go thru most days top to bottom, editing as I go. From there I pull out series to send to magazines or chapbooks. (The old methods of word search thru monthly files was far inferior.)

At Tree Lesley shared a remark she gleaned: “the abstract is banal. Reduce it to the small”. It is what Patrick Lane advised in writing dangerous poems at the WintergreenStudios workshop weekend.

Erin Moure, reading from The Unmemntioable (House of Anansi) pointed out that the information that comes from the white tip of a blind person’s cane gets processed by the visual centre of the brain. The brain does not care which proxy brings it perception. She related that Dostoevsky said that perhaps the eye was not intended to see, but for tears.

I wondered if then there’s a region for grief so anything may be a proxy sublimating the expression? Grief is more complicated, distributed than vision, according to scans “nearly all brain regions showing brain activity decreases with acute grief”.

Speaking of which, Brick has posted a recording of John B Lee reading from Hired Hand about dogs dying and the mentally handicapped farm hand.

There was also a Schoedinger’s poet reading on Jack Gilbert at Tree. I’d hoped to rewatch that on youtube but unfortunately there was a technical glitch in recording. The poem from Refusing Heaven was striking.

Sue Sinclair at CWILA asks who does a critic serve? Only the readers or also the writer?

What does the critic do that other readers may not? […] she asks others to consider the work, to notice certain things about how it works, to see what kind(s) of stance it takes[…]

Does even a review that sees weaknesses in the writing extend this invitation? […]
quoting is so important: a chance for other readers to see if they hear what I hear in the quoted work

Gilbert Parker in the introduction to The Moccasin Maker didn’t pull punches saying, “she is always interesting, even when there is discursiveness, occasional weakness, and when the picture is not well pulled together.” In that case it seems untactful since it can’t be of use to the writer since it was published just after Pauline Johnson’s death.

The Bowery in NYC is due to reopen in March.

Grey Borders has announced its Winter/Spring lineup. [Incidentally, of the 13 readers, I haven’t heard 4 of them; I go to a lot of readings.]

If you’re on twitter, have you seen CanLit Cat? Very funny feed.

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