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chocolate poems
Just a few more signing off on proofs and a dozen chocolate poems will come to roost on a page near you.

Categories: phafours press news.

95Books, 2015, List 1

So, I dive in again. The first focus was to concentrate and complete, not skim and browse restlessly. To completely read and completely rest to prevent cognitive exhaustion. Next to up the percentage of people read who are not just contemporary middle class white. To focus on Canada’s classics, but not exclusively. To consider the reading and the take aways. Consider how to read a book, not just Elementary, or Inspectional, but analytical or syntopical where it seems worthwhile.

Consider what Mark Goldstein said on translation at Jacket2,

My whole approach to literature is active and is, first and foremost, as a reader. At a certain point, if one is reading widely and deeply enough, a response becomes inevitable, especially when reading translations of a poet’s work with whom you acutely identify.

If you haven’t already you should read Jonathan Ball’s write on schedule post. He quote Paul J Silvia who says

The secret is the regularity, not the number of days or the number of hours. It doesn’t matter if you pick 1 day a week or all 5 weekdays — just find a set of regular times, write them in your weekly planner, and write during those times. To begin, allot a mere 4 hours per week. After you see the astronomical increase in your writing output, you can always add more hours.

I’d like to show excerpts for value added of what’s what. Already it’s almost March and I haven’t.

  1. The Best Canadian Poetry of 2014, ed, Sonnet L’Abbé (Tightrope, 2014) which has a diverse set of voices. A survey of what’s happening in CanLit poetry from sacred verse to surreal to genre fiction tributes.
  2. Some Mornings by Nelson Ball (A Stuart Ross Book, 2014) with very brief but crafted clear as a window, short poems you have vignettes of places and conversations without ornamental bs.
  3. To Keep Time by Joseph Massey (Omnidawn, 2014). With rigamarole the publisher wants for direct orders, print out form, mail request, to be send a book cod to be paid in US funds or money order in a month or two, I just went thru Amazon. Glad I did. It’s nerve wracking to get a book by someone whose previous books you enjoy. Terse but not overtight poems, sharp images. Looking forward to his next book illocality coming in a couple months.
  4. Fragments: The Love Letters and Haiku of Chiyo-ni by Marco Fraticelli (King’s Road Press, 2012) where the haiku are made into haibun by his imagining the context and voice around them. Interesting.
  5. Texture: Louisiana by rob mclennan (above/ground, 2015) seems like convergent evolution with Basho. A travelogue of anecdotes and kaleidoscopic fragments of travel, where deep history, recent history and personal in the moment all collide.
  6. Sapphic Derivations by Dan Sargent, (Ahadada Books, 2006) The publisher website is gone. Is that Daniel Sargent or another? The fragmentary poems are kind of vague. They de-queer the text as far as I can tell, but maybe that’s me taking the narrative voice as the same gender as the writer, therefore the object of affection being het.
  7. Van Gogh, Letters From Provence by Vincent Van Gogh (Collins & Brown, 1990) showed the pop culture lies about the man. He was in a fugue state in the whole ear incident. When in ill episodes he couldn’t function. He created despite not because of and his innovations were conscious explorations of colour theory and extending the history of European art and what his impressionist colleagues were doing.
  8. Songs of the Colon by Eileen Tabios (Ahadada Books, no year, 2006?) has more density and thought per line, I daresay, that some whole pages or sections of some poetic work. Structured kind of like definitions under clusters of heading, it plays against the form. Extremely condensed and witty. I’ve had it on my computer for years before I read it.
  9. 19 Varieties of Gazelle Poems of the Middle East by Naomi Shihab Nye (Greenwillow Books, 2002) who is a brilliant writer. She can make lucid and find beauty without ignoring the shadows. A master craftsperson of words. Not surprisingly this has gone thru a few print runs.
  10. Amy Clampitt Selected Poems (Borzoi, 2010) shows what can be done and well. Her poems are rich but not rococo. Heavily bookmarked, it could make a text of this is how you use adjectives. It’s not that poets shouldn’t use adjectives, but that they are knives that one should be coordinated enough to use properly. Like? “brute honey” (not the person but the bees honey), featherweight wheels of cobalt (of the train) howling doodlebug of fright (in rain), the busy daisy. It’s the combination of things and the sound that begs to go to voicebox.
  11. The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss (Harper Collins, 2005) has general human psychology and to my surprise, a narrative arc. And language “his smile seemed like a plastic, snap-on attachment,”(p.228) catching the gesture of people, and wit of situations, “He was validated. She was validated. They validated each other. They were a perfect pair, each completely unaware of each other.” (p.283)
  12. Asking by Shawna Lemay (Seraphim, 2014). As I mentioned to a class, it sits between genres, poem-essay or blog-post-poem, they are units of meandering musings. The upshots are often towards being aware of beauty, reflecting on how it is we got here. An enjoyable read.
  13. The Poetry of French Canada in Translation ed by John Glassco (Oxford, 1970) was a bear to get thru. The preface says translation makes choices. Some more embedded in language than story can’t readily be conveyed. That forced some choices. Apparently poetry in Quebec of the era was a winter zombie apocalypse.  So many corpses, I regret having to repeat the word again now. With meditations on ocean. A lot of sad young men thinking about boobies. But among them, every few poets there was someone doing something spectacularly vivid like François Hertel, André Brochu, Anne Hébert and Gérard Godin that blow the roof off with a saucy and lively alert presence. Code-switching and conflict between what ideals and broken sense of self and rebuilt implications. A whole miniseries within a lyric arc.
  14. A Chrystal though which love passes: glosas for PK Page ed by Jesse Patrick Ferguson (Buschek, 2013) increasing my kick of doing glosas with more samples, reminding me to pick up a collection by Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang and to keep watching for Sandy Pool’s next collection.
  15. Poems of the Late T’ang, trans by A.C. Graham, (Penguin Classics, 1965). Wouldn’t it be lovely to own a penguin classics library. I entered a draw but didn’t win the lot. The poems vary over time. They seem remarkably similar to Quebec poetry. Perhaps poetry is not place or time so much as age. The young men drinking and going to prostitutes and bragging while having a mope by a waterfall. Some begged the definition of reading. Is running my eyes over them enough. To be told in footnotes that the frogs are eunuchs and it an allegory for some nobleman’s woman on the side wouldn’t have interested me if it weren’t coded as rabbits, etc. But among those Tu Mu and Li-Shang Lin who have verses that cross easily, moving into more reachable universals, concrete details.
  16. Introduction to the Introduction to Wang Wei by Pain Not Bread (Brick, 2000) is a writing name of the collective or Roo Borson and Kim Maltman. They are reading notes around various classic Chinese writers. They unpack the dense into meditations, more essays, often very much in the head and in abstracts. They feel floaty interjected with aphorisms or sharp observations.
  17. Stéphane Mallarmé: The sonnets trans by Marshall Hryciuk (Imago, 2011) The publisher site’s domain has been squatted on. The poems are  semi-faux translation, a trippy fun kind of rhyming play.

So, that’s the year to start. Perhaps I’ll dip back at some point and add excerpts. We’ll see how time and year go. Would that be value-added for you?

Categories: Currently reading.

Last Call, Chocolate

I know the pic says 10th but it was extended to the 20th. Just in case you’re sitting on cocoa poems.

Categories: phafours press news.

Tonight on Literary Landscape

How to get your memoir on? On the air with Brecken Hancock talking about this and more.

Brecken Hancock’s poetry, essays, interviews, and reviews have appeared inLemon HoundThe Globe & MailHazlittStudies in Canadian Literature, and on the site Canadian Women in the Literary Arts. Her first book of poems,Broom Broom (Coach House, 2014), was named by The Globe & Mail‘s Jared Bland as a debut of the year.

Hear a sample of what she’ll be reading at the Feb 27th AB Series with Fred Wah at Raw Sugar. 6:30pm EST on CKCU online or off the air at 93.1fm.

Categories: CKCU.


It’s a remarkable sensation being in a group of writers where each knows the other’s go-to ideas and style and how that projection produces a poem from cento process like a thumb print from each. The effect among people who are strangers isn’t visible in the same striking way.

To today’s rusty gate

I gave the disorder of my studio
our mixed messages
poking flashlight light
ever-deepening shades of avocado

bit of lava from cold volcano
because this seems to be how i keep going
clouds flitter relief

the ceiling opens
present but isn’t

The parts in new combinations adds up to different direction and effect. In order of lines above (including title): The Irrationalist by Suzanne Buffam, p. 29 (Anansi, 2010) The Cabbage of Paradise by Colin Morton, p. 48 (Seraphim, 2007), Elizabeth Fanto in Take-out Window, p. 55 (Haiku Society of America, 2014),  George Bowering in Love Where the Nights are Long p. 50 (M&S, 1966), Paul Muldoon Poem: 1968-1998, p126 (Farrar, Straus & Gireaux, 2001), Blue Light in the Dark by Brenda Brooks, p.44 (Polstar, 1994), Casemate Poems (Collected) by Joe Blades, p62 (Chaudiere Books, 2011), Ecstatic Torture Gratitude by Jill Battson, p. 27 (Guernica, 2011), Margaret Atwood: Selected Poems, p145, (Oxford, 1976), and In the Laurels, Caught by Lee Ann Brown p 74 (Fence, 2013).

Categories: Poem draft.

Poetry Writing Rates

I have been scrupulous since elementary school to note what draft number a poem is, giving hooks for cross-referencing with date started, how many drafts it takes to end.

Most of the early poems are on paper aka largely lost/mislaid/likely to be foisted at me from one of mom’s sheds, but ones I have from the mid-80s note the date, to the minute, of starting a draft, and sometimes the minute it ended.

I thought maybe there is a pattern, a time of day when I am geared to write most or best. So for future records, I added the time in the margin.

Spoiler: The numbers all fell apart. It doesn’t matter what time of day. I wrote at all hours. The pattern I saw to writing rates was when I took time to do it.

As some people are sure of being their gender, I have been a poet. It was on my secondary school business card.

To go pre-beginning, I have an early memory of being taken to a department store—possibly Zellers in Smiths Falls; it was some other town and a store off my usual path—and was asked to spend time in the toy aisle while mommy did other things.

I was aware of her peeking in on me, monitoring, and looking pleased at the attention and seriouness I gave to the dolls, concluding, maybe I wasn’t a tomboy entirely.

What I was doing with my trusty notebook was noting features of the dolls. Hair, eye, skin colour, size, number of outfits. The sign claimed each doll was unique. I was skeptical.

I had only basic addition and multiplication to work with but when I got home, stomach down, page spread out on the living room floor, I worked out how many variations there were. A fairly small set. Certainly not infinite. And I was satisfied.

(And postscript: I got another doll that Christmas).

Flipping ahead to university age, in paper files I found one bundle from mostly 1992 (but spread from 1989 to 1996) where I sometimes wrote the hour and day but not year, or no date at all. (These I can’t add to the stats). I’d note if it was a rewrite, or came out of a different poem as a spinoff.

One, curiously had the date set for 4pm Nov 20, 2017. I’m assuming that wasn’t placed by future-me but nonetheless I’ll go for the romantic notion and read it in a couple years as I intended.

I started to chart poems in 1991 but the poem files of late 80s to 1993 were on floppy disk, and up and died. What I have references poems earlier. Sometimes I copied over the first draft into the 1993 file to keep them together so this is what I’m measuring in the (eventual) chart (below).

In the early 90s used to annotate the poem with notes on how I felt it failed and what I aimed to do, what I was reading, what poem I was emulating when that was the case, notes on scansion, copy of a model poem, the version number.

Apparently I was reading Atwood in the fall of 1993. Funnily enough my conscious memory declared the good story it preferred: I read one poem of the eye of the needle and never read her again until last year. That’s the way numbers and keeping records are useful for correcting stories.

Over the last year I’ve gone back to annotating poem drafts with what poetry I was reading at the time. It may cause no pattern, just a nice tracking system.

I also started tracking in 2002 and with increasing attention number of poems submitted out, to where, where and when ones were published. But that may be a chart for another day.

I have made: 5,174 initial poem draft from Nov 1991-Jan 2015 and 1,706 poems completed in the same period. That works out to writing a poem draft 18 days per month, although it tends to be nothing, nothing, nothing,…six….edit, edit…nothing…
Look at 2007. Wowie. Spike cluster around the time of taking rob mclennan’s second workshop which blew off creativity’s barn doors. Partly with the wonder of a poetry teacher crossing out most of the poem and his saying. Nope. But this phrase, and this line, promising. Start again with those. People who assure it’s all good are counterproductive.

And it coincided with my doing poetry full time. And, after a year’s recover from the depression of quitting my day job my health finally improving. You can’t write well from within illness.

And having suddenly both time and energy to write, and permission to process some schtuff and to explore, and having new to me poetry to explore. And doing NaPoWriMo.

Still, cause and quantity are tricky things in a few ways.

What is completed? I don’t have tags on each poem. I’d compile the numbers every few months or years. Sometimes a poem flagged as done, 4 or 6 or 15 years later gets redone. So it counts multiple times.

One poem which I distinctly remember writing easily in 2011 as a haiku, I found the rough frame of in a re-draft in 1993, marked as from an original of Oct 1991. So it wasn’t an initial draft.

Wiley things, these poems, and memory.

Quantity. Hm. When doing a book-length poem, a poem gets the same weight as the after effects of receiving 2 haiku magazines and going to a conference and consequently trying to haiku-mind and doing 70 haiku over 3 days.

The biggest spikes there were for the smallest forms. With those you either have something with legs or don’t. If the foundations are wrong, there’s not fixing, just demolition and starting a new one.

So, the numbers are more specific than accurate, particularly in some earlier dates where I’m missing data. As I said, the floppy disk fiasco.

But also, here and there I lost a paper notebook and all the ways to count with it.

I remember walking down Merivale Road one snowstom day in the mid-nineties. I had stashed my bag at work, deciding to only being the essentials. I thought my hands are cold. Why should I carry my wallet and notebook in my hand? I can fold them into my hat, put that under my arm and stick my hands in my pocket. Never mind the cold head. I thought they would fall out of my pocket.

The hat arrived empty from this harebrained scheme. Months of poems, gone no matter how much I retraced my steps. And all i.d. but that was a more common thing. I’d already lost or had my wallet stolen a couple times within a few years. But poems, those you can’t get new copies of at a government office.

Watching the statistics I see some patterns over time.
1) I don’t lose notebooks anymore.
2) I now am liable to start 3 or 5 times the amount I finish, instead of finish most of what I start.
3) I used to do copious rounds of substantial edits to each poem. Now I pursue some poems only.

When I write more, do I write better or worse? Or am I diluting by doing more? That’s hard to measure. Anyone up for looking through a thousand poems or five as an indie judge?

The poems I did the most drafts of I were those I was most likely to publish, or to send to publish. Is that because there were more completed?

Part of that may be getting more attached to those which I spend the most time with.

The poems I published have another category which is no substantial edits. They never were workshopped. No test readers. They were a gut yes as they tumbled out. They may have been written over a few minutes or a few hours or a week or two but when done, were done. And generally have a grace to them which appealed to people far more than those that were “my babies” which I edited and lived with and fought with and so on.

Those poems that pleased me most were likely composed in months when I did crazy things, like doing not NaPoWriMo of a poem a day but set a personal challenge to do three or four prompts in parallel. And that didn’t stop me from writing off-prompt as well.

As with doing daily pages the practice scrapes off the obvious conscience mind’s well-intended intent and prattle.

I wasn’t doing a polite occasion poem of safe things. I was well into productive level of stress and without time to curb instinct.

At the same time I wonder did friends or family see me when I was doing 4 new poems a day for 2 months straight? There were fewer edits in these files.

For my theory of a good season for writing I made charts through the 90s that compared a February to every other February, for example. The pattern held for a while but ultimately when I wrote more, it was only because I wrote more. Morning person or night owl was disproval. Now winter-person or summer-person.

Because I write as practice (regularly since the mid-80s at least) I write whether in mood or not. There isn’t a lot of pattern with poetry. I write. Some of it was lineated and looking back wouldn’t qualify as a poem, more diaristic, but madness enough as is without going through them all ad putting on foil stars of poem, or almost poem, or red x of wtf, definitely a fail.

It’s the process of stretching, learning to articulate that matters, learning to pay attention rather than just be present. Talking to self without shutting self down for long enough for a signal to get through. Observing rather than just seeing what’s outside of me. Navigating what matters or to what matters.

Good times or bad times, poetry drafts happen. In contrast, diaries get more impacted. When my life is in chaos I get secretive with myself and go silent to the paper page. There are months I’d love to go back and see what I was thinking, how did I understand this, but I said nothing. I was inarticulate.

Blogs are effected by more going on. If I’m very busy I used to write posts in advance so there are constant skeleton posts covering my absence. But I quit my job and because I didn’t talk of work at the blog, never mentioned quitting. I am circumspect about mentioning online where I live so I moved house and there was no sign at the blog. When I was most depressed it showed as inverse of the most upbeat countering myself.

The poetry shifted with each tumult, even if not directly explaining direct perceptions.

Mary Ruffle in Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures said p77

It has been a long journey for me, of listening. I used to think I wrote because there is something I wanted to say. then I thought, “I will continue to write because I have not yet said what I wanted to say”; but I know now I continue to write because I have not yet heard what I have been listening to.

Categories: Poetics.

95Books CWILA Self-Audit

Alright, I admit I’m bogged. I have a couple dozen books left to summarize from last year and the year is getting on. I don’t know if I can pare out the time before February.

Following it is the breakdown on self-audit on categories of reading.

In 2014 I read 144 titles, which is only a couple a week. For a while it looked like I might average out to 3 a week.

3/4 were books, the rest chapbooks. In previous years I left out chapbooks unless I wanted to give one a shout out. To a degree I did that again. The push is to read paper and to finish a book rather than browse about. The push is to read wider. I didn’t count online reading but did count ebooks. I don’t tend to read all of magazines so again they don’t make the list.

Invisible are people who are writing who are presenting as one gender but may be genderqueer. If the pen name is one gender, I tick that box. With gender, what counts? I If there is a female translator of male work, which gender is the book? I counted that as multiple as with anthology.

If I count only the book-books and not chapbooks or magazines I get this.

Instead of looking only at gender this year, I added a few more elements into the reading audit including whether it was Canadian or international. It didn’t vary much if I count only the books and not books and chapbooks together. These are the numbers of all together:


And just the books:
Of domestic vs non-Canadian. With a Canadian writer with an American press, which side do I fall on? f it is a Canadian writer translating a European writer, which way to fall? All kinds of fuzzy zones. Maybe next year I should add a column for multiple for nationality as well.

For books vs. chapbooks.

I added genre, generation, and genes.

I added a count, very rough of genre of writing, poetry, or non-poetry. (What finer discrimination does one need? ;) ) Mostly the non-poetry was history, essays, non-fiction on typography and memoir/biography.


For generation I added year of composition to consider how much is classic vs new and the shelf drop off after something is over 5 years old.


For what I’ll call here, genes, I also added a count of the proportion of visible minorities. How do we measure? Is there a pantone for that? A century ago Irish, dark Italians, Turks, Greeks southern European Jewish were excluded from white. Do we decant to South African’s 1/64th black blood? Here’s a blog list of racialized Canadians. Bloggers of colour. But it’s a complex business. An ugly sort of business when fine-tuning. But without hard numbers how do we know individual or context? Instincts are wishes.

Of course skin tint shouldn’t matter. Do we presume an exoticism that a skin tint brings a different content? But does it? If you read who you know and only know a white enclave, isn’t something amiss in your sense of writers as tribe if there are visible color lines? What’s perpetuated at individual minute to minute level is responsible for the global picture? (See comic, who wants change? Show of hands from everyone. Who wants to change? No one raises a hand.)

Why is that with Canada’s population of declared being 16% of visible minority [StatsCan] (next census due next year cancelled) I was reading 7%-9% (depending on books and chapbooks or books only by UN definition of books)? Seems disproportionally fewer. although if we consider my geography Ontario visible minority is 6.6% as of a decade ago. But if we look at Ottawa-Gatineau, we’re back up to 16% visible minority.

What’s visible? How to count? Am I asking the right question yet?

There may be people who self-define as native but I am unaware of it. Race being a construction and identity, what do I have to go on for someone’s colour? Malcolm Gladwell presents white to some eyes but self-defines as half-Jamaican. How many do I presume white because I have no data? It feels wrong to make up lists and cross-check cultural background. Here’s my list of Irish Writers, and South African Boer writers, and Scandinavian and Jewish and Australian Aborigine. What ghettos do we paint ourselves into and does it make it better?

To be aware that I’m reading mostly white Anglo Canadian is good to note and inquire into why and how. It would seem reasonable for demographics to consider French vs. English. I read slower in French but i pecked away at some french poetry and am working on reading more. Some I read in translation. I could do more. Goodreads has a list of French CanLit in English but it’s all novels: French CanLit Novels in English. Canadian Literature has recommended French Poetry in translation and the anthologies cover dozens of poets.

What other categories of voices? invisible minorities? Stories by people with strokes, or cerebral palsy or depression. Depression as a swatch would probably cover so many writers that would not be salient.

There are gaps. For some books I have no clue to sexuality or gender. Some authors I could google around for the data, some not. What of writers that are bi but not politically so like myself, or it hasn’t percolated as part of public bio? These are presumed het. If one isn’t writing about sexuality issues is it relevant for demographics or only people writing about sexual dynamics het counted against someone doing the same while in the GLBTQQ? And what to do with poly? Is that under GLBTQQ?

So, for paying attention to whose stories I am listening to, I added a count of queer writers. Here’s a list made by Casey of 2014 in the CanLit queer writers section: 2014 of queer CanLit.

The whole shebang was:

  1. Chinatown Zodiac by Steve Artelle (self-published, 2013)
  2. Ignite by Rona Shaffron (Signature Editions, 2013)
  3. Leaving Howe Island by Sadiqa de Meijer (Oolichan Books, 2013)
  4. The Innocence of Father Brown by GK Chesterton (1911)
  5. fur(l) parachute by Shannon Maguire (BookThug, 2013)
  6. micro haiku: three to nine syllables by George Swede (Inspress, 2014)
  7. glottal stop: 101 poems by Paul Celan, translated by Nikolai Popov & Heather McHugh (Wesleyan Poetry, 2000)
  8. Jail Fire by Julie C Robinson (Buschek, 2013)
  9. Surge Narrows by Emilia Nielson (Leaf Press
  10. Desire Lines by Glen Downie (Wolsak & Wynn, 2002)
  11. Strangely Happy by Joan Margarit, translated by Anna Crowe, (Bloodaxe Books, 2008)
  12. Black Suede Cave by David Reibetanz (Guernica, 2013)
  13. The Loneliness Machine by Aaron Giovannone (Insomniac, 2013)
  14. The Blue Tower by Tomaž Šalamun, translated by Michael Biggins (Houton Mifflin, 2011)
  15. Road Trip River Voices: Canada Liminal: A Travelogue of Longing Across Two Continents by Lynne Pearl (Snell, 2013)
  16. Muse by Dawn Marie Kresan (Tightrope, 2013)
  17. Believing the Line: The Jack Siegel Poems by Mark Silverberg (Breton Books, 2013)
  18. Dewey The Library Cat by Vicki Myron (Grand Central, 2008)
  19. White Piano by Nicole Brossard translated by Robert Majzels and Erin Moure. (Coach House, 2013)
  20. The Sea With No One In It by Niki Koulouris (Porcupine’s Quill, 2013)
  21. The Monument Cycles by Mariner James (Talon, 2013)
  22. The Sky The by Michael Sikkema (Serif of Nottingham Editions, 2012)
  23. Not Quite the Classics by Colin Mochrie (Penguin, 2013)
  24. Acknowledgements and Poems by Avonlea Fotheringham (Self-published, 2014 with design by Stephen Watt)
  25. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott (Anchor Books, 1994).
  26. heart badly buried by five shovels by Hugh Thomas (Paper Kite Press, 2009)
  27. The Hottest Summer in Recorded History by Elizabeth Bachinsky (Nightwood, 2013)
  28. The House is Still Standing by Adrienne Barrett (Icehouse poetry/Gooseland, 2013)
  29. Laws of Rest by David B Goldstein (BookThug, 2013)
  30. Incarnate by Juleta Severson-Baker (Frontenac, 2013)
  31. Uncertainty Principle by rob mclennan (Chaudiere, 2014)
  32. Fidelity by Grace Paley (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009)
  33. radish ~ a singulaity by Czandra (obvious epiphanies, 2014)
  34. Works and Days by Edward Kleinschmidt Mayes (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999)
  35. Arrhythmia by Janice Tokar (above/ground, 2014)
  36. from Lamentations by Robert Hogg (above/ground, 2012)
  37. in the laurels, caught by Lee Ann Brown (Fence Books, 2013)
  38. Love-Lyrics with Life Pictures by James Whitcomb Riley (Braunworth & Co Bookbinders & Printers, Brookley, NY, 1899)
  39. Shouting Your Name Down the Well: Tankas and Haiku by David W McFadden (Mansfield, 2014)
  40. moon baboon canoe by Gary Barwin (Mansfield Press, 2014)
  41. Blue Sonoma by Jane Munro (Brick Books, 2014)
  42. The Energy of Slaves by Leonard Cohen
  43. The Radiation Sonnets by Jane Yolen (2003, Algonquin Books,North Carolina)
  44. My Journey by Joseph Jurman (self-published, undated).
  45. In a Country None of Us Called Home by Peg Bresnaham (Press 53, 2014)
  46. Singing in the Silo by Philomene Kocher (Catkin Press, 2014)
  47. You must look hard to see what is there by Nelson Ball (press-press-pull, portland oregon, 2014) [end of list 5]
  48. Three Letter Words by Nelson Ball (a reprint by Press-Press-Pull in 2014 of the 2006 book)
  49. Ker-bloom! 107, March-April 201Four, (artnoose, Pittsburgh PN, 2014)
  50. The Counting House, Sandra Ridley (BookThug, 2013)
  51. Metropantheon, Steven Artelle (Signature Editions, 2014)
  52. The Polymers, Adam Dickinson (Anansi, 2013)
  53. The Daughter-in-Law by DH Lawrence (1912)
  54. Mermaid Road by Louise Carson (broken rules press, 2013)
  55. Bonsai Love by Diane Tucker (Habour Publishing, 2014)
  56. School by Jen Currin (Coach House, 2014)
  57. The Selected Poems of Shuntarō Tanikawa, trans, Harold Wright (North Point Press, 1983)
  58. What Maisie Knew, Henry James (1897)
  59. Flurries by LeRoy Gorman (Timberline Press, 1999)
  60. Echoing Silence: Thomas Merton on the Vocation of Writing, collected letters and notes of Thomas Merton (2007)
  61. Melancholy Scientist by Nicholas Power (Tekseditions, 2014)
  62. The Beginner’s Guide: Acrylics by Angela Gair (New Holland, 1994)
  63. Poemotion, by Takahiro Kurashima ( Lars Müller Publishers, 2011).
  64. 101 Things I Learned at Architecture School, Matthew Frederick (MIT Press, 2007)
  65. The Raw Pearl, Pearl Bailey (Harcourt, Brace, 1968)
  66. bottle rockets, issue no 30
  67. The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception by Martha Silano (Saturnalia Books, 2011)
  68. Global Haiku: Twenty-five Poets World-Wide, edited by George Swede and Randy Brooks (Mosaic Press, 2000).
  69. Reeds and their Shadows by Christina Baillie & Nicholas Power (Gesture Press, 2013)
  70. in twenty words or less by David Collins & Otto Graser (Black Squirrel Press, 1994)
  71. Hypotheticals by Leigh Kotsilidis (Coach House, 2011)
  72. Rivering: The Poetry of Daphne Marlatt edited by Susan Knutson (Wilfred Laurier Press, 2014) (on Kobo).
  73. Philip Whalen’s Tulip by Marthe Reed (NousZot Press, Dusie Kolletiv, 2014)
  74. The Ledger by Robert Kroetsch (Brick, 1975)
  75. Forbidden Books of the New Testament (1820)
  76. A Writer’s Life The Margaret Laurence Lectures: 25th Anniversary of the Lecture Series (Writers’ Trust of Canada, 2011)
  77. Poems of François Villon translated by Norman Cameron (Jonathan Cape, 1952)
  78. Making Your Life as an Artist by Andrew Simonet (Artists U, 2014)
  79. Shen Fu: Six Records of a Life Adrift, translated by Graham Sanders (Hackett, 2011).
  80. In Search of Tatiana by Marshall Hryciuk (LyricalMetrical Books, 2014)
  81. Desperately Seeking Susans: An Anthology of Poetry, edited by Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang (Oolichan, 2012)
  82. I Shout Love, by Milton Acorn, edited by James Deahl (Aya Press, 1987)
  83. Ember and Earth (Selected Poems) by Gaston Miron, translated by D.G. Jones and Marc Plourde (Guernica Editions, 1984)
  84. Portal Stones by Frances Boyle (Tree Press, 2014)
  85. Naturally Speaking by Sandra Alland, (Espresso, 2012)
  86. Old Hat by Rob Winger (Nightwood, 2014)
  87. Complete Sonnets of Archibald Lampman, edited by Margaret Coulby Whitridge (Borealis, 1976)
  88. A Clearing by Louise Carson (forthcoming, Signature Editions, 2015)
  89. The Color of Water: A Black Man’s tribute to His White Mother by James McBride (Penguin, 1996)
  90. Very Special People by Frederick Drimmer (Citadel, 1971)
  91. Singular Plurals by Roland Prevost (Chaudiere, 2014)
  92. Sound Ideas: Hearing and Speaking Poetry by B Eugene McCarthy and Fran Quinn (Hobblebush, 2013)
  93. Astrophel and Stella by Philip Sidney, a translation by A.S. Kline, (2003)
  94. a thin line between by Wanda Praamsma (BookThug, 2014)
  95. The Vignelli Canon by Massimo Vignelli (Lars Muller, 2010)
  96. Theseus: A Collaboration, bpNichol & Wayne Clifford (BookThug, 2014)
  97. The Green Word Selected Poems, Erin Mouré (Oxford University Press, 1994)
  98. distinctions: (rob mclennan, above/ground, 2014)
  99. [from] carcino¼Ґ!Y#86Øi‡ſß™86Ł*,´≈μðm‰г]³4¤±_gen (16 Pages Digital Chapbooks by Nickel Gambles, ed./curated by Daniel Zomparelli, 2014)
  100. Robert Bly: Selected Poems by Robert Bly, (Harper & Row, 1986)
  101. Images from Declassifed Nuclear Test Films by Stephen Brockwell (above/ground, 2014)
  102. Thou by Aisha Sasha John (BookThug, 2014)
  103. The Alphabet Game: a bpNichol reader, edited by Darren Wershler-Henry and Lori Emerson, (Coach House, 2007)
  104. Whiskey And Wickedness: Lower Rideau River Valley of Carleton, Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Counties (Whiskey and Wickedness, #1) Larry D Cotton, (Larry D. Cotton Associates Ltd., 1997)
  105. An Acre in Time by Phil Jenkins (Macfarlane Walter & Ross, 2002)
  106. Time Was Soft There: A Memoir A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co by Jeremy Mercer (Picador, 2005)
  107. The Poems of Aemilia Lanyer: Salve Deaus Rex Judaeorum (1611)
  108. Five (Apt 9 Press, 2014)
  109. The Pleasure of Text by Roland Barthe (1973)
  110. Polyamorous Love Songs: A Novel by Jacob Wren bookthug, 2014)
  111. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown, 2008)
  112. Hallellujah Anyway by Kenneth Patchen (New Directions, 1967)
  113. Brood by rob thomas (Bywords, 2014)
  114. Punctuation: Art, Politics, and Play by Jennifer DeVere Brody (Duke U Press, 2008)
  115. Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynn Truss (Gotham, 2003)
  116. Bird Facts by Dave Currie (Apt 9, 2014)
  117. Klee Wyck by Emily Carr (1941)
  118. Another Bad Haircut by John Sheirer (Riverstone Books, 1997)
  119. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown, 2005)
  120. Love the Sacred Raisin Cakes by Sarah Burgoyne (Baseline Press, 2014)
  121. O My God of Apes and Apples by Paul Mackan (Publish America, 2011)
  122. Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols & Other Typographical Marks by Keith Houston, (Norton, 2013)
  123. Sonnet in a Blue Dress and Other Poems by Sarah Tolmie (Baseline Press, 2014)
  124. Tiny by Marilyn Irwin (in/words, 2014)
  125. is…fog….is: Algonquin Park Haiku by Grant D. Savage (Éditions de petits nuage, 2014)
  126. Cloudy with a Fire In the Basement by Ronna Bloom (Pedlar, 2012)
  127. Surreal Estate, edited by Stuart Ross (Mercury Press, 2004)
  128. Malaria Poems by Cameron Conaway (Michigan State University Press, 2014)
  129. Capital Poets: An Ottawa Anthology, edited by Colin Morton (Ouroboros, 1989)
  130. Garden by Monty Reid (Chaudiere, 2014)
  131. Doxologies by Gil McElroy (above/ground, 2014)
  132. Confessions of a Small Press Racketeer by Stuart Ross, (Anvil Press, 2005)
  133. Whisky and Wickedness No 3 by Larry D Cotton, (self-published, 2008)
  134. Ocean by Sue Goyette (Gaspereau, 2013)
  135. What the World Said by Jason Camlot (Mansfield, 2013)
  136. Take Out Window 2014 Haiku Society of America Members Anthology (Haiku Society, 2014)
  137. Light Carved passages by Frances Boyle (Buschek, 2014)
  138. Surfaces of Sense by Nicole Brossard, trans Fiona Strachen (Couch House Quebec Translations, 1989)
  139. The transparent Neighbour by Wain Ewing (Proper Tales Press, 1984)
  140. Helen Vendler: The Given and the Made: Recent American Poets TS Eliot Memorial Lecture (Faber & Faber, 1995)
  141. Ora Ga Haru, Mon Année de Printemps by Kobayashi Isa, trad, Bridgette Allioux, (éditions cécile defaut, 2006)
  142. Secret Leopard: New & Selected Poems, 1974-2005 by Rosemary Nissen-Wade, (Alysscamp Press, 2005)
  143. Personals, poems by Ian Williams (Freehand, 2012)
  144. How to Tell Lies: G8 (Handbook, ed by Robin Bell (Bluechrome, 2006)

Categories: Currently reading.

Tags: , , , , ,

fw: Feel The Love, Cobourg

Wherever you live on this big old planet, we invite you to submit a love poem that we can consider including in our February 14, 2015 {piCs} project, which is called:
poets ♥ downtown Cobourg

This is a repeat of last year’s very successful collaboration between {poetry in Cobourg spaces} and the DBIA (Downtown Cobourg).

It will occur Saturday, February 14 to coincide with:
the DBIA’s “FEEL THE LOVE” event; and,
Valentine’s Day; and,
the holiday weekend (Family Day falls on Monday, February 16); and,
Cobourg Tourism’s Winter Festivities event; and …
… wow! Just WOW!

Last year, 200 poems from all over the world were presented to the public in our wonderful town, widely known as “a poetry place.”

For our 2014 event, an even larger number of poems will be shown in a public display throughout the downtown of Cobourg, Ontario. We hope to use 500.

Also, pairs of poets will wander around downtown asking passers-by, “Would you like me to read you a love poem?” and if the answer is “Yes” that’s exactly what they will do.

Again, the way the poetry is exhibited will invite the public not only to stop and read (or stop and be read to) but also to “TAKE ME” “SHARE ME” “LOVE ME”

Yes, anybody can take away any copy of any poem they like … to show people at home … to read later … to keep forever … whatever moves them.

The only “Right” extended to us for the poems is for this one-time only usage: copyright and all other uses of the poem is retained by the poet.

If you submit, you will not receive feedback from us about your poetry; we could not possibly develop a critique for each poem we receive. Our experience last year taught us that it is not feasible for us to give individualized replies to poets who submit. Thus, our responses will be in a generalized format and will sometimes be limited to a broad-swath-type reply, either by email or via social media. (Last year, we grew to feel completely swamped. But we still think it is wonderful to be swamped by poetry; it’s just difficult to give everyone personalized attention..)

We will (again) present to the public still photography and video (with audio) of the Saturday, February 14 event. Last year, a big group of poets out there were quite delighted to either see an image of their poems on public display or, perhaps, to have video of a poet reading their work to passers-by. Again, that will be presented both on youtube and on Facebook.

We hope *YOU* send us poetry. (Be sure to review the criteria below. We do not want you to waste our time BUT even more than that, we do not want you to waste your time.)

James Pickersgill, Secretary,
{poetry in Cobourg spaces}

* ** *** ** *

The poems that are displayed will be selected from the submissions we receive. The poems read by our wandering poets to passers-by are taken from those on display.

ONLY submissions received by email will be considered. Use this email address to submit:
pics [at]

Do *NOT* submit your poem(s) using this Facebook event page. Do *NOT* submit your poetry using Facebook messaging. If you do so, the poems will not be considered.

ONLY submissions received before the end of the day Monday, February 2, 2014 will be considered.

ONLY poems that fit within our criteria both for the number of lines and for maximum line length will be considered.

ONLY poems that are submitted already formatted –BY YOU so we can copy-and-paste them without any re-formatting– will be considered.

Note well:
Submission does *NOT* guarantee inclusion in the project. An editorial process will be applied to ensure that the poems are acceptable for display to the general public (for instance, we are asking for “love” poems, not “lust” poems).

Last year, approximately 500 poems were submitted. From those 200 were selected.

Also, we will not include any poems that are NOT love poems (if you send us a poem that only expands on semiotics or Monsanto seeds causing health problems in humans and cows or the taste of the eggs laid by free-range chickens you raise on your urban farm or who you would pick as the President of the newly-proclaimed break-away Democratic Federation of Flebisque, etc, we will enjoy reading what you have written but we will NOT include it in this particular project).

Note too: no poet is restricted to submitting only one poem or having only one selected. As stated, we hope to collect and present 500 love poems.


The length of the longest line in a poem will be 75 characters maximum (spaces and punctuation are considered to be characters).

The maximum length of the poem is 25 lines. If the poem is titled, the Title counts as a line; if the poem is broken into stanzas, each space between stanzas counts as a line.

We are able to use 2 columns side-by-side as long as the above two criteria work in combination, that is, poems up to 50 lines in length can be used if the longest line is 35 characters or less.

For your information: our experience last year showed us that the poems that worked best were 14 lines or less. (That would be 28 lines if they would fit into a 2 columns side-by-side presentation).


Last year, we found that formatting all the poems to fit our presentation template was extremely (extremely!) time consuming. We will not be able to do that again this year, especially because we want to increase the number of poems used from 200 to 500.

You must format your poems before sending them.
Use “Georgia” as your font.
Use 16 pt as your font-size for the body of the poem.
Use 18 pt for the poem’s Title (if it has one but a title is not a requirement).
Put your name at the bottom of the poem also using 16 pt.
If you submit more than one poem, put your name at the bottom of each one and put a page break between each poem. (That is, do not put more than one poem per page.)

* ** *** ** *
We hope you send us a poem (or thirteen).

James Pickersgill, Secretary,
{poetry in Cobourg spaces}

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

PoeTrain Readings

When? Wed April 15, 7-9pm
Where? Pressed Café, 750 Gladstone Avenue. Ottawa
What? Great Canadian PoeTrain Launch Event.
Who? An opening ceremony (blessing by elder Albert Dumont), poetry by Pearl Pirie, Max Middle add Dennis Reid who presents Vimeo poetry. An open mic.

If you’re Toronto-based there’s a fundraiser reading sooner with Max Layton, Cathy Petch and Robert Priest Feb 12 at The Hot House Café, 35 Church St, Toronto, Ontario M5E 1T3.

What’s the PoeTrain? The PoeTrain is a few days in April in a train carful of poets. You can do it all or legs going from Ottawa to Vancouver with stops in Toronto and Edmonton for the writing festival there. It is doing a boarding call for tickets Jan 31.

More information on the PoeTrain.

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

This Week’s Literary Landscape: Ottawater 11

This Thursday I’ll be talking with a couple of the poets in Ottawater which launches annual issue 11 Fri Oct 30th.

Catherine Brunet is a high school teacher in the Ottawa Valley. Her poetry and short fiction have been published in Arc, Prairie Fire, Grain, The Literary Review of Canada, The New Quarterly, The Dalhousie Review, Queen’s Quarterly, Vallum and other Canadian literary journals. She lives with an engineer and an elderly bulldog.

Vivian Vavassis is a Montréal ex-pat who currently lives in Ottawa and calls both cities home. Her poems and essays have appeared in Arc, ottawater, Peter F. Yacht Club, Montage, A Crystal Through Which Love Passes: Glosas for P.K. Page, Phafours Press publications, and Studies in Canadian Literature, among others. Once upon a time, she co-founded and ran a little ‘zine called incunabula. Her work has been shortlisted for the Diana Brebner Prize and featured as part of the Parliamentary Poet Laureate’s Poem of the Month Program (Canada). She also has a chapbook forthcoming with Textualis Press and will be reading on Feb. 7, 2015 at the Factory Reading Series.

That’s on 93.1fm or on the internet at CKCUfm

Categories: CKCU.