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Upcoming Events

Wed, May 2, 2015,
Authors for Indies Day, Ottawa

I’ll be on hand at Books on Beechwood, 35 Beechwood Avenue, Ottawa for Authors for Indies Day — over the course of the day from 10 a.m. onwards will be: Rachel Eugster, Allison Van Diepen, Susan Delacourt, Susan Atkinson, and Pearl Pirie.

Chat with some of your favourite authors, meet great new authors, and buy some fabulous books, but you’ll also get the opportunity to enter multiple draws for books, gifts and Books on Beechwood gift cards. Light refreshments and snacks will also be served.

I’ll be there 12:00-2pm and live tweeting it from

We will be kicking off this day-long celebration with a Story Time for
Children with local children’s authors Rachel Eugster, Susan
Atkinson and Elizabeth Todd Doyle. The day will continue with Author
Meet ‘n Greets from 12:00pm to 5:00pm. Be sure to stop by to meet
these wonderful authors, buy some great books, and celebrate
independent bookstores.

Here is our schedule for Authors for Indies Day:

10:00am: Story Time for Children with Rachel Eugster, Susan Atkinson & Elizabeth Todd Doyle.

12:00pm: Author Meet ‘n Greet with Allison Van Diepen, Max Turner, Pearl Pirie, and Sherrill Wark.

1:00pm: Author Meet ‘n Greet with Emily-Jane Hills Orford, Nicola Vulpe, Susan Taylor Meehan, and Sarah Jennings.

2:00pm: Author Meet ‘n Greet with Catina Noble, Benoit Chartier, and Jean Boisjoli.

3:00pm: Author Meet ‘n Greet with Susan Delacourt, Alex Binkley, Mike Young, and Barbara Fradkin.

Wed, May 14, 2015, 8:00pm, A B Series, Ottawa
Ottawa Art Gallery, 2 Daly Ave. Co-reader: Colin Browne of Vancouver. details.

Tues May 19, 2015, 7:30pm, Twigs & Leaves Reading Series
Café Twigs, 85 rue ste anne, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec

Mon, June 1, 2015, 7:30pm-10pm, Brick 40th Anniversary, Ottawa
40th anniversary celebration including several poets sharing favorite parts from The Grey Islands by John Steffler. Readers include: Susan Gillis, Pearl Pirie, Sandra Ridley, Deanna Young, Peter Richardson and Phil Hall. Upstairs the Carleton Tavern (223 Armtrong St) with music by Call Me Katie.

Tues June 23, 2015, 7-8:30pm
Word for Word welcomes Canadian Poets, NYC

Best Canadian Poetry launch as part of Word for Word featuring the Canadian Poets: George Elliott Clarke, Aaron Kreuter, Kateri Lanthier, Pearl Pirie, Wanda O’Connor, Medrie Purdham, Brent Raycroft, Carl Watts and Special Guest: Sonnet L’Abbe, 2014 Best Canadian Poetry Guest Editor. In case of rain, events are held under a tent at the Bryant Park Reading Room. In case of severe weather, please check for the indoor location.

See more at the author website and as always you can subscribe to my newsletter for a reminder of things every month or two here.

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

Sound Poetry Tonight

Platform Gallery
Platform Gallery, 51 A Young Street (around the corner from g101) will have abstract art by Dan Sharp, Ted Willis and Georgia Mathewson.

During the evening there will be a performance of The Quatuor-Gualuor a sound poetry group around 8pm tonight, April 30th. jw curry, Georgia Mathewson, Rachel Lindsey and Brian Pirie.

For She Was a Visitor and Glass on the Beach, a few extra voices will come in, Robert Rosen, Alistair Larwill, and Pearl Pirie.

beside Platform Gallery
That’s by the pedestrian bridge linking to Preston.

Platform Gallery owner
Here’s the gallery owner with the previous exhibit.

Platform Gallery
And Alistair looking at the previous exhibit.

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

Petrie Island rout/e installation

Friends of Petrie Island on Facebook has given an update on the poems put up at Petrie island as part of rout/e which I mentioned in October.

The poems are put on stakes behind plexiglass in a park/recreation area. The idea is ephemeralness, to plant poetry in the wild for the wild and world to do as it will. In other poetry installations, poems were stolen or graffitied over or eroded by sun and rain into less legible.

Of poems by Blaine Marchand, Roland Prevost, Sandra Ridley, myself and David Groulx: Sandra’s poem is “out to sea”, spring waters rising up its display post which is a appropriate since it is a water poem and we staked it close to the shore so that interaction with the environment might happen.

Blaine’s whole post and placard is gone. Roland’s and the David’s are intact and my post is there but the poem is snatched.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Authors for Indies Day

Authors for Indies Day is coming Saturday May 2. There are now 113 bookstores hosting 547 authors across Canada. Local stores, everywhere. Fiction writers, poets, non-fiction authors…

Here’s the Ontario’s list. If you’re by Almonte, try Mill Street Books, 52 Mill Street. It’s got a beautifully curated set of books so I always get a treasure or few. Jan Andrews, Susan Delacourt, and Lianne Shaw will be on hand.

The FB group and site are a big vague on particulars but what’s been conveyed to me is that over the day authors come in to a meet and greet.

Authors are on hand to speak to the reading public and the book stores have stocked titles that featured authors can recommend personally.

For Ottawa people, I’ll save you a first click.

I’ll be at Books on Beechwood with Rachel EugsterAllison Van Diepen, Susan Delacourt, Susan Atkinson, Sarah Jennings, and Elizabeth Todd Doyle.

Each person has a slot from morning to evening. I’ll be there noon to 2. That’s 35 Beechwood Avenue. If there’s someone you want to see, check with the store for when the author will be there.

Also in Ottawa, Kaleidoscope Kid’s Books, 1018 Bank St. (across from TD Place) with authors: Rachel EugsterCaroline PignatKate Jaimet Tim Wynne JonesAmanda West LewisFrances Itani, Kathy Clark, Don Cummer, and Eleanor Creasey.

Octopus Books, 116 Third Ave with authors: Monia MazighWaubgeshig Rice, and Peggy Blair.

Perfect Books, 258A Elgin Street with authors: Barbara FradkinStewart Dudley, and Nick Wilkshire.

Come out and rah rah the non-chain book store, get books signed, and see if there’s something new to pique your interest.

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

95Books 2015, List 2, books 18-30

I feel confident that I’ve missed some, what with too much time passing, my hard drive seizing up and my spread sheet having to be retrieved from an older back up however as books resurface I can add them.

  1. Eight Million Gods by Wen Spencer (Baen, 2013)
    I like every Wen Spencer novel and I think I only missed one. Hooked forward with a pantheon of gods and semi-earthly creatures, there’s a plot of young women with hyperglossia which her grandmother was institutionalized for. A need to write so strong that if there’s a bottling up with no outlet, she’ll write with her own blood. In all the chaos each female character has her own personality, personal history and in-road to solving the puzzle of wth is going on.
  2. puck bruise bloom black by Brea Burton (Jack Pine, 2014)
    A thick chapbook with vivid language. At first it seemed any given line was staccato but put all together it builds a picture in language of rough and tumble in action movement that fits the body check scene on the rink. Form a bit of one,

    Smitty says never apologize,
    never say sorry when you hit somone

    hard ice this dance
    romance of fists & love taps
    let’s hug it out bitch

    the steps—
    push me & I push

    Quick tussles of sound, non-serif font, hockey taped cover edges, rhythm and vocabulary, it all coheres perfectly to take you to place of being in hockey. Many sports books read as if for fans of remember when this occurred and most of it doesn’t make it to the page for a non-fan. This by picking language and the sounds in it, sentence structures, it all skates together.

  3. Yusef and the Lotus Flower by Doyali Farah Islam (Buschek, 2011)
    A lot of attention to beauty such as p. 64, “flute-hole that no longer knows its note to sing,/held by melodic bars within” or p 52, “longing constricts the vessel of self/until self becomes a seed”. Gentle care-built poems travelling the ZamZam well to Vishnu to yoga meditations.
    conceive of this:
  4. An Unexpurgated Translation of Book of Songs: translated, versified and annotated by Xu Yuanzhong (Panda Books, 1994)
    It must have been a lot of work. So many poems, all kept to some rhyme form. It reads like 1800s despite being contemporary because of word choice such as a poem in which torches are lit around the palace walls to call the princes and top men to crack of dawn council on the war, but what is lit in the clarification footnote to torch, are faggots. Some word order is convoluted for rhyme as if that era.

    The footnotes are wonderfully rich in detail but the tone control means that I have to check the notes to see if it was satire, or straight-up or a song of mourning or a drinking song, which is unfortunately. Still some things come through and you get a taste for the various eras represented. I can see the logic of various translators doing the poems so different voices and tones come across. After reading 6 or 8 pages I can see past the rhyme to the content each time. Although as rhyme goes, it doesn’t feel like predictable bad verse but reasonably good. Surprising number of poems of hunting and feasting. Also striking were the number of poems of waves of famine and waves of war. The first book was my favourite of songs of peasant life, navigating the seasons. This is from a later book,
    Book of Songs

  5. The Zurich Axions: The Rules of Risk and Reward used by generations of swiss bankers by Max Gunther (Harriman House, 2004)
    This was a fascinating read of principles that apply as well to life as to finances. The goal is to invest better, to take off the nonsense that putting money in a bank isn’t a gamble as any use of money. You have to know when to quit, have that point pre-decided. A strategy, say the investment went down 15%, you pull out. If you are putting money in, you will go to a pre-chosen limit, even if profit if still rising. You can reward yourself with something symbolic for feeling badly about pulling out too early. Yes, it might still double but it might crash any time and better to get out early. When the ship goes down, praying won’t help. Getting off will.
  6. For the Living and the Dead, by Tomas Transtromer trans by Don Coles (Buschek, 1996)
    It’s been a while since I re-read this one. They are dense poems, some dark. It is a pleasure to see the poems against the facing page of the original language even if I can’t pronounce it well let alone translate myself. Here’s a poem of his from there that I opened with at VERSeFest, thanks to Arc recording it.
  7. dog sleeps: irritated texts by Monty Reid, (NeWest, 1993)
    Although a while back it still sways like a Reid book, unexpected turns in a clear scene. On speaking of caves with ancient native paintings, observes that there’s “no habitable space in the rock, only outside it”. Even when you’re in the cave, you’re outside its skin even if inward skin of stone. Not pure surface anecdote, but some note of transcendent, and something pondering significance. Of a woman on the bus offering or requesting something unspoken on the bus, what to make of yourself or the other. “how would one represent an idea of oneself, a card with HANDICAPPED on it? [...] distance destroys plot”

    Three whole sections I had to read aloud to the hubby. One on a blizzard is scattered over the page like large flakes. Some are tight prose. Some are humourous such as memories of a dog as panty-eater.

  8. dark archive by Laura Mullen (University of California Press, 2011)
    I got Dark Archive when it came out and it got lost in the shelves from time to time. I made a burst at finishing it last fall, and it fell by the wayside again but the second half revs at a higher speed than the first. It meditates around agency. “lonely as a cloud” presents itself as lone poet in the world, made famous by a male poet but it was coined by his sister, who was there too, as they did a whole family walk through the scene but how did currency go to the brother in the end? she remixes the poem and its ideas, sifting it with their lives, her life, clouds, weather, the life of her aunt, grief and other less linear bits of the mind. It is diaphanous except in cloud breaks where we’re asked what we own of what becomes a public tragedy of a person murdered. In Message, p. 98 some interesting accumulation in language and ideas,

  9. Paper Radio by Damian Rogers (ecw, 2009)
    There’s a new book out that I’ve yet to get but this was a good read. Maybe I went too gulpetty fast. But it was a pleasure and the poems themselves move quickly. Some lovely pieces in there including Prayer Lesson that have a startling clarity “Open me like a hatchback./Empty me of all these rain-beaten scissors./Fill me with the light of your basement.”

    An antidote to all the poems written again as blandly as previous iterations, this fresh set of images, intercut and dissonant yet fitting. Here’s a favourite from it, p 98, In the Back of a Cab, a lovely moment of between that you want never to end.
    paper radio

  10. Uncle Tom’ Cabin by Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe (1852)
    You can get the translation in various places and forms but what a ride of a story. Or rather stories since it follows a few individuals. Quoting from news of the day, songs, Bible, sourcing stories, the people are vivid. It is a treatise on human rights and human potential for good and clearly wrong. Not content with thumbnails of outcome, there’s the motivation out personal histories of people. One with a virtuous mom picked up the kindness, not the religion. Another with a similar mom was driven to superstition, violence, weak-minded paranoia. The characters are complex. Even the Quakers are not depicted as one spirit, but a man who married in has some of the speech and cultural habits but moves differently and shoves a man off a cliff, then, in human kindness brings the broken body of the slave hunter to be mended, and at the end of the convalescence of week, turns to hunting for fur not people. There’s no typical hero’s journey as some die before success. Some get to Liberia. One thing pointed out in the text is marking out the bodies of the free vs. owned people, how some slaves were fair and some slave drivers had dark eyes and hair. The very arbitrariness was called out. The back story of one woman. An owner married a young woman in the north for love and had children then died and had never written out the freedom papers so upper class raised kids, now adults, fluent in piano and a few languages were on the block in New Orleans with anyone of any birth. “Sold down river” has had a peculiar journey to one criminal selling out another out for getting leniency of cooperation in court when it used to be from the slave trade.
  11. 300 Selected Poems of the Tang Dynasty by Chiang Yee/Jiang Yi
    Vivid tight translations of poems. They seem contemporary from poems of monks wandering to people in battle to social criticism of the concubine of the the leader to poems of longing and separation of couples, a fascinating read. The choice each translator makes for a set is remarkably different. Common are mulberry bushes, travelling o horses and pain of duty to state vs duty to home vs duty to family, but there’s a keen detail or a flattening out in some translations, perhaps some attending to songs of praise and court drinking songs that are more public, thus more general and exaggerated. Quiet private poems are more picked out in the this set. For example from Zhang Hu

    If one in the forbidden city

    When the moonlight, reaching a tree by the gate
    Shows her a quiet bird on its nest,
    She removes her jade hairpins and sits in the shadow
    And put out a flame where a moth was flying.

    Two more. One from Li Pin

    Crossing the Han River

    Away from home, I was longing for news
    Winter after winter, spring after spring.
    Now, nearing my village, meeting people,
    I dare not ask a single question.

    Du Mu
    Compare this translation with the one in Poems of the Late T’ang trans by AC Graham, (Penguin Classics, 1965):
    Tu Fu

  12. abecedarium by Dennis Cooley (University of Alberta press, 2014)
    Just a romp. A delight of disintegration. Taking w or
    ds apart, lines, split
    tingtingtingling. Such utter fun to read. Aloud is a whole other business. Surprised he found ones that could follow a stream aloud to read at VERSeFest. Sometimes words make sense and sometimes they make sound. The typographer/typesetter either loved putting this together or must have pulled out hair over spacing and font changing. Like John Barlow’s poetry, why, just why should we use one font? A word might look better and more itself in OKAY CORRAL. And why apostrophes? We can read id as well as I’d in context. There are point-note essays of history of type scattered through and why not. If poetry is about ideas, let ideas take a logical form. a log i calcu late later marks itself as whose timbermill.

    A Slip of the Pen flickflacks back at the unchallenged assumption of poetry as solemn-only zone.
    abcedarium of dennis cooley

    Through the poems he looks like he’s having an awful good time. If words or cliché phrases stick, let them loop until they fly off like muck in the tread of a spun tire making a glorious spatter. p. 28.

  13. Madness, Rack, and Honey by Mary Ruefle (WavePoetry, 2012)
    This was a daybook of quotes in part. Some earnest, some self-effacing, some comic. A lot of heavy marginalia dotting of this, that, that. I was glad to see her outrage against Billy Collins creepy book title of undressing Emily Dickinson. And pointing out that he is not even up to his virgin-ruining aspirations since he doesn’t know clothes button front not back.

    I liked 2nd half better. It’s quite a crash course in literature with heavy use quotes which don’t necessarily hold together towards a point, such as Borges picking up some sand in the Sahara and dropping it further along “modifying the Sahara”, or Milosz saying “the purpose of poetry is to remind us/how difficult it is to remain one person.”

    They are essays in the sense of journeys and trying on ideas. To stimulate more ideas. p 260

    Short Lecture on the Nature of Thing

    (Turn vase into a hat and wear it)

    You think the vase has become a hat; it has not.
    My body has become an upside-down flower.

    Glad I bought it. People who called it game changer, mind-blowing may state things in higher wattage terms than me but a worthwhile read and one I expect I’ll dip back to.

Categories: Currently reading.

Cabin Season is Open

A load of people were involved to write the poems, to pass the word, and do the work and share the event merry-making.

Brian was able to shoot the gorgeous pics that became the front and back covers and the posters, shoot photos of the event and generally be his sweet support. Keven at Allegra Downtown was wonderful and chipper to work with. Omar of A Thing for Chocolate hosted us, fed us and made room in the house so it felt more like a living room.

People on twitter spread the links Thanks: Allison, BookThug, Hazel Chaudiere, and Shery. And thanks to Susan who prompted me to plug the radish. And Kitchissippi Times for spreading the word in the newspaper, and the people who shared the event at FB and told friends and colleagues.

And thanks those who came. Sweet to see friendly faces. Lovely to see half a dozen unfamiliar faces in the crowd.

chocolate fans
Chocolate was had. (That death by chocolate brownie has impressed but not caused any mortalities.)

And given the crescendo of conversations, applause, and the queue for cocoa, people had a ball. It turned out to be every seat filled plus the ones from the back room, so about 30 people packed in there. A mic was hooked up. Air conditioning was turned on as the snow fell outside the window.

some of the crowd
Bri took this photo from the back. People kept drifting in so we started on “poet time”.

Grant reading
Grant started us off with some soundiness of Epicurus and Krishna.

Catina who read two poems, one in the chapbook and one on food, of ricotta pasta, “to comfort and please” just to whet the room’s hunger. Her blog reviews books and watch it for news of her upcoming art show. There’s Natalie:

Natalie reading
Natalie read the one from the chapbook on the risqué chocolatier, and one ode to alcohol. Maybe I’ll get a sample from the reading up on Literary Landscape next week.

Roland reading
Roland reading from a range of food-poems over the last decade, including ones from Arc and his book.

Pearl reading
Here I am gesturing wildly. I scraped back into the mid-90s for a range of food, one from Cocoa Cabin, one from the pet radish, shrunken, one from Filling Station, ending with the fly poem, because eating isn’t wholly human activity. (That got a good chuckle.)

This state of many-hatness seems to nod towards Seuss— what with doing the call, the editing, layout, design, publishing, posters, promoting, organizing the reading and then doing the report but writer, blogger and photographer hats are my regular things so I’m back on terra firma here.

Steven reading
Steven Artelle closed the night in high style. Hopped on chocolate, too bad I don’t have the footage to photoshop his diagonal mid-air.

If you missed him, he’s back at the AB Series April 30 with Cameron Anstee.

There are still some copies directly from me, from etsy, at A Thing for Chocolate.

They can be had at June’s small press fair, maybe at Writers Festival too where on the 26th there’ll be a BookThug Let’s Do Launch of a bunch of us. (Pssst, the radish swag of tattoos should be there.)

P.S. Chapbook includes more poems byMarie Andrée Auclair, Amanda Earl, Susan Glickman, Anna Mioduchowska, Brenda Schmidt, and Lisa Timpf.
P.P.S. Anyone try the chocolate recipe in it yet?

Categories: phafours press news.


49thShelf, Apt613, Maisonneuve, and now Quill & Quire reviews. Wow. Neat. Some I put at press.

The radish is understood as curiosity about ” the deeper meanings we ascribe to words, and by extension, the world”, yay. And other good stuff thanks to Safa JinJe who took the time to read and review it. It’s always neat when people you don’t know you read something you said.

Another set of eyes are always interesting in how meaning is stitched across gaps. There’s no wrong reading. One person sees a lot of food content where another sees a disproportional amount of car content. For some the humour is the stand-out. For others the density of language. It reminds that for every perception in life we are all blind finding the relevant interesting part of any elephant.It’s interesting to see what people see as salient.

I jump around and leave gaps. “Poetic disjuncture” seems an overly academic way of saying it.

In the case of seeing the “never read the comments” poem as critical of military interventions isn’t a reading I expected. Sure enough, I would prefer peace missions of aid, over more armed soldiers, tanks ad bombs. I can see it now that she says. What I was going for was narrower.

Along the adage of don’t bend over backwards where there’s no even slight lean forward was more advising to be skeptical and calm, not be suckered by news that is there to make money off of made-you-look. To look instead at a lake for a while is only a step, not the end goal of deny conflict by peek-a-boo of thinking of nice things instead.

After we are informed and out of the troll wars of misinformation, the one-on-one conflicts of comment streams, we can decide our position on global conflicts which start at home, since we are selling in the arms trade.

That would be with our “investment” in banks in some cases.

The problem is in part awareness at an individual level globally. It is not made or solved by petitions. Maybe talk to your government rep to say your priority but finances are apt to make wars and can break wars.

Here is a list of Canadian institutions listed in the “Hall of Shame” and the amounts they have invested in, or available for, nuclear weapons producers (all amounts in U.S. dollars):

Bank of Montreal, $209.70 million
Burgundy Asset Management, $44.09 million
Gryphon International Investment Corporation, $55.71 million
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, $54.80 million
Power Corporation of Canada, $888.54 million
Royal Bank of Canada, $941.25 million
Scotia Bond Co, $33.30 million
Scotiabank, $1,176.70 million
TD Bank, $928.34 million

Categories: Uncategorized.

Chocolating Poems

Tonight the launch of the chocolate poems as part of National Poetry Month with the food theme. Thanks to and the Canada Council for the Arts for funding as part of National Poetry Month.

Wed, April 8, 2015, 7:30pm
Launching the Chocolate chapbook, Ottawa
At A Thing for Chocolate, 1262 Wellington Ave W.

Readings by Steven Artelle, Pearl Pirie Roland Prevost, Grant Wilkins, Natalie Hanna and Catina Noble.

The chapbook of cocoa’s rhapsodic delights is called Cocoa Cabin with poems by Steven Artlle, Marie Andrée Auclair, Amanda Earl, Susan Glickman, Natalie Hanna, Anna Mioduchowska, Catina Noble, Pearl Pirie, Roland Prevost, Brenda Schmidt, Lisa Timpf and Grant Wilkins.

Free admission. Cocoa on site. FB Event Page

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

All roads lead to radish

Look what’s the header photo at the Kitchissippi Times twitter feed this week.

Now my book’s on Kindle. That’s a first for me. $10 from the evil empire, or $13 as ePub or ePdf from the publishers in superhero spandex. Or from them, $21 bundled with the paperbound radish.

And reviews are starting.

Categories: Link Dump.

Sound Poetry Alert

gallery 101
The Quatuor-Gualuor sound poetry group is having another gig as part of the April 30 vernissage of abstract art at Platform Gallery and Studios, 51 A Young Street (beside Gallery 101). Art by Dan Sharp, Ted Willis and Georgia Mathewson.

Categories: PSA, Poetry.