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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)


First do no harm.

I only just wanted so awfully to see.






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.



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.

Written vs Spoken

Can I peg a poet as written or spoken from a headshot?

The performance with body on stage poet is more apt to get studio lighting, performance capture with expressive face and microphone. There’s more dynamic angles.

The written poet disproportionally is outside, with grass, trees. Written poets are more likely to conceal their face or use an instagram filter.

Intuitively I think females smile more in author photos. Looking 132 author photos on past years VERSeFest sites 31 males, and 36 females had neutral face or frown or performance. 17 males smiled for the camera, but 38 females smiled.

Categories: Uncategorized.

VERSeFest Volunteering

Calling all past and prospective VERSeFest volunteers!

To honour our incredible volunteers of poetry past and future, VERSeFest invites you to come out for a night of poetry, complimentary drinks, fabulous raffle prizes, and karaoke at Bar Robo on February 13, 7pm.

Featuring readings by:


Followed by Karaoke Performances by YOU!


– Get a free drink chit if you volunteered at our 2016 edition, or if you sign up to volunteer this year!

– Raffle draws throughout the night! Earn ONE raffle ticket at the door, and ONE raffle ticket for every event you sign up to volunteer for! Prizes will be announced via leading up to the event.

– Sign up to volunteer for two events and get a free FESTIVAL PASS!

– Get first dibs on event sign-up!

VERSeFest (March 21 – 26) is looking for volunteers to work as:

– Ticket desk attendants
– Merch desk attendants
– SmartServ Certified bartenders
– Ushers
– Drivers


Visit to for regular updates about our raffle prizes!

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

Current English Ottawa Poets


Adams, Sylvia
Akinlolu, Segun
Akpata, John
Akse, Tiah
Alcofribas Nasier II
Alexander Heinis, Shery
Aljied, Roua aka ‘Philosi-Fire’
Allison, Luna
Al-Mansouri, M.T.
Andrews, Dana Carly
Anstee, Cameron
Apollo the Child aka Khaleefa Hamdan
Arar, Barâa
Armstrong, Allison
Artelle, Stephen
Atkinson, Susan J.
Auclair, Marie-Andrée


Baker, Jennifer
Bandukwala, Manahil
Bansfield, Anthony
Bedford, Celena
Beissel, Henry

Bell, Dorian
Ben-Shalom, Shai
Berkhout, Nina
Bien, Jeff
Blackman, Jeff
Blaikie, David
Blouin, Mike
Boland, Daniel
Boyle, Frances
Bourque, Jacqueline
Bradley, Jamie
Bragg, MaryLee
Brockwell, Stephen
Brown, Ronnie R
Bruchhaeuser, Candice
Brunet, Catherine
Buckthought, Mike
Burke, Liam


Caesar, Mike
Calvo, Elena
Carter, Terry Ann [Former resident]
Charlebois, Éric
Chetcuti, Vincent (r.i.p.)
Christie, Jason
Citron, Murray
Clayton, Conyer
Collins, David [former resident]
Connell, Marcie
Cook, Bryan
Cumming, Alicia
Cummings, Beverly
currie, brock
Currie, David
Dabydeen, Cyril
Dako, Pete
Dawson, Kanina
Day, Lindsay Clayton 
de Paul, Stephen
Debarats, Michelle
Deen, Faizal
Dennis, Michael
Díaz, Luciano
Djossou, Jean Maurice
Dolman, Anita
Doucet, Clive
Douglas, Rhonda
Droll, Randy
Dumais, Douglas [Former resident]
drystek, nina jane



Earl, Amanda
Ede, Amatoritsero
El-Mohtar, Amal
Emery, David
Etcheverry, Jorge
Farina, Laura
Farley, Claire
Fejzić, Sanita
Firth, Matthew
Fiszer, Doris
Ford, John-James [former resident?]
Foss, Gill
Fotheringham, Avonlea
Fraser, Janet L
Furesz, Eva (Eva Boros-Furesz)
Fragiskatos, Artemysia
Fralic, Mike
Frenken, Sjef
Friday, Rob
Frutkin, Mark
gagno, jesslyn
Gerken, Klaus
Graf, Adele
Greenberg, Jennifer
Groleau Landry, Daniel
Groulx, David
Guth, Gwendolyn



Hamilton, David
Hanna, Natalie
Harvor, Elisabeth
Hawkins, Bill (r.i.p)
Haysom, Jenny
He, Bing
Herrera, Charlene
Heymans, Joshua
Hill, Sylvie
Hogg, Robert
Hunt, Kathryn
‘Hyfidelik’ aka Sergio Guerra
Hyf the GypsySun
Iliza, Amy
Irwin, Marilyn
Iwamoto, Ren 
Jarvis, Jenna
Javaid, Sahira
Jennings, Chris
Johnson, Chris
Jones, Matt [former resident]
JustJamaal aka Jamaal Jackson Rogers


Sarah Kabamba 
Keteku, Ian
Keyes, Adele
King Kimbit
Kirby, Patricia
Kletke, Glenn
Klostermann, Janna
Koensgen, Laurie
Kohler, Miche
kozak, a.m.
Krausz, Rosemarie
Ladouceur, Ben
Lam, Justin
Lamantia, Jason
LaPierre, Margo [former resident]
Larwill, Alastair
Latta, Ruth
Le Dressay, Anne
Leifso, Brenda
Leyton, Katherine
Loeffelholz, Joycelyn
Lyons, Christine


MacDonald, Heather
Macdonald, Robin
MacDonell, Sarah
MacLean-Evans, Leah  [former resident]
Madhavan-Reese, Sneha
Mallet, Heather
Manicom, David
Marchand, Blaine
Martin, Ian
Massey, Karen
Matthews, Kevin
Mayne, Seymour
Mazza, Antonino [r.i.p]
McCann, Marcus [Former resident]
McCarthy, Christopher
McDermott, Terry
McGee, Elizabeth
McInnis, Nadine
McLachlen, Robin
mclennan, rob
McDonald-Zytveld, Cathy
McMaster, Susan
McNair, Christine
McPherson, Christian
Meya,Jenny aka Rational Rebel
Middle, Max
Miller, Ceilidhe
Montreuil, Mike
Moore, Jane
Moran, James K.
Morden, Brad
Morgan, Mia
Morton, Colin
Musa, Sarah
Mustafa, Aruba
Myers, Barbara

Mylrea, Colin


Nadja, Miko
Newman, Kemisha
Nicholls, Sandra
Noble, Catina
Nykyforak, Cassandra
O’Meara, David
Olafimihan, Komi
Oni the Haitian Sensation
OpenSecret aka Onyegbula, Ikenna
Pederson, Jennifer
Pederson, Rod

Peterson, Kimberly
Pirie, Pearl [former resident]
Poile, Craig
Power, Willow-Marie
Pratt, Ryan [former resident]
Prevost, Roland
Priske, Rusty
Pulles, Kirsten



Racek, Jakub
Radmore, Claudia Coutu
Rainville, Nathalie
Raycroft, Brent
Reid, Monty
Rhodes, Shane
Richardson, Peter [former resident]
Ridley, Sandra
Rochefort, LM
Rotondo, Vanessa aka V
Roy, Ian
Ruszala, Sarah



Saghir, Omar
Saikaley, Sonia
Savage, Grant
Seatter, Ronald
Senior, Olive
Ramon Sepúlveda
Shaffran, Rona
Simpson, Rachael
Simser, Guy
Smith, Jesslyn Delia
Stacey, Robert
Steadman, Dean
Steiner, Dawn
Stevenson, Diane Schmolka
Stephen, Carol A
Stewart, Corey
Struthers, Betsy [no longer local?]
Strutt, Lesley [former resident]
Stymeist, D.S.
Sulzenko, JC
Suse, Luminita

Sweazey, Glenn Arthur


Tan, Evelyn
Taj, H. Masud
Taylor, Bruce
Thomas, Rob
Thomson, Sharon
Thumm, Alex Jürgen [former resident]
Tiwana, Amarjit
Tokar, Janice
Trafford, Mary [former resident?]
Tunney, Deborah-Anne
Turnbull, Chris
Tyler, Paul
Tzu, Eyob
Vallance, Richard
Valley, Taymaz
Van Loon, Jean
Vavassis, Vivian
Vuleta, Nina
Vulpe, Nicola


Wabegijig, Vera
Wallace, Gillian
Warrington-Kearsley, Betty P.
Way, Mike
Weerasinghe, Asoka
Whistle, Ian
Wilkins, Grant
Wright, Catriona
Young, Deanna
Zielinski, Margaret


Some are from the National Capital Region, with Ottawa is the closest city or the city where they come and read and contribute. S

From contributions from Ottawa poets as well as,, VERSeFest, Bywords, TWUC, Sawdust, Apt613, Poets’ Pathway, Wikipedia,, Tree,Penny’s Poetry Pages, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawater, In/Words, googling, and seeing people about.

Categories: Poetry history.

2017 Books Read

1. Silence by Nora Parker Cox, illus., Anna Bongiovanni (Hucklenut Press, 2016) – breathtaking. It has a refrain of “This is a biography in silence.” It doesn’t grow redundant but forceful of pushback. Cowed into, gaslighted into, correctness cornered into the silence which will not, does not stand. It feels like a coming of (feminist) age from childhood to adulthood, but is neither raw nor expected and processed into a velouté creamy palatableness of regret. It is a setting self apart from the messed up family and patriarchal obligations to blame, second-guessing self’s (“our girl’s”) motivation. It walks thru and on. “The accusation,/which I still fear will come,/the court order,/which I spend every moment braced fro,/doesn’t have to kill me.//My voice reminds me of this/as I try to feel again”

2. Never Mind: poems by Katherine Lawrence (Turnstone Press, 2016) liked the epigraphs but not my cuppa gauzy poems.

Structured as ekphrastic response to paintings, which are never shown. A parallel text of their name, an epigraph and a response are a good portion of the book, except for the baffling 11 page existential conversation and jokes between oxen. Sketch quotes of Pocketbook Memorandum, I liked, such as p. 73: “Said our goodbyes, gathered the last brown egg. Moving west of not knowing.” The response seems duller. I could see some people digging it.

This has a concreteness and elegance: p. 45 “Garden plot responds to spring’s weak light but my jar of yellow ochre is empty spent”. It is responded to with the less catchy, “Faint line tender-sprung beaded romaine blushed oak iceberg line green green bibb deep burgundy frilly French butterhead veined with nerves.”, ending with a bottom of the page note on painting: Salad Days//Watercolour on Note Page.

3. Portraits of Canadian Writers by Bruce Meyer (,/Porcupine’s Quill 2016)—  tremendous fascinating book. A CanLit staple. Recommended for the photos, some decades ago, some contemporary. They have no unformity to them but capture some ephemeral moment of a poet in sumptuous lighting.

It doesn’t cover everyone, and how could it, but who it covers it does so with an intimate touch, a conversational sharing about a writer, shared times, how the photo or contact came about. It’s like a memoir that shares, hey, look at this great person, and this person too. It is idiosyncratic rather than “objective” and dry.

On Erin Mouré he says “Her passion for language is almost like that of a coroner for forensic detail. SHe is always attempting to determine causality.” (p. 144)

On (Daniel) Jones he wrote “He published one book of poetry in his lifetime (although I suspect that his output was more prodigious than a single volume), The Brave Never Write Poetry.” He did do more than one volume. I have his Unfinished Monument Press chapbook of 30 pages Jack and Jill in Toronto (1983). It was published 3 years before his photo in Portraits. Guess he means full collection tho.

Another portrait is of Richard Harrison in 1981 (p. 94-95) along with the anecdote from near Saratoga Springs pool room with Meyer, Harrison, Ross Leckie and Lawrence Hopperton. “Everything fell silent when a gang of bikers walked in. The bikers had been there before and trashed the place because the locals were outnumbered. The locals lined up with the 4 Canadian poets, and we stared down the bikers, who who beat a quick retreat. We didn’t have to buy beer for the remainder of our weeklong stay.”

4. Thirty-seven Small Songs & Thirteen Silences by Jan Zwicky (Gaspereau Press, 2005) — slow unfolding of a beautiful soul, breathing. Such elegance and space in the poems, and wilful kindliness and trust towards the world.And we won’t mention the entirely beautiful binding with the titles in spot colour to match the cover, will we? p. 30.  how does she get away with personifying the sea and it feeling okay? With saying instead of showing so much and yet it working? If you are that good, you can bend and break the rules you understand.

Small song on being lost

The sea is lonely today.
Here is is, weeping in the streets again,
as if that could help.

I’ll go visit– out along the old pier
where the fishboats used to dock.

how to call the self in
off the wet streets, how not to worry
if it can’t be found.

Books unread keep piling. No chosen order.

currently reading
Books I have started, some I read on and off for months or years, being bumped from queue whenever a library book comes in.

Categories: Currently reading.

New Short Forms Workshops Coming In April

April 3-May 8, 2017, weekly on Mondays for 6 weeks.
Haiku and other short forms: Haiku, senryu, short lyric, tanka, minimalism, one word poems, erasure poetry.

Online, and in-person thru Studio Nouveau in Ottawa if there’s 6 people in person.

The best of participant poems go into a phafours press chapbook.

$200 for 12 hours.

I have 3 trade collections, over a dozen chapbooks, a small press, a few broadsheets and publishing credits in over 3 dozen magazines and anthologies. I co-direct the Tree Reading Series and am president of KaDo Ottawa, a Eastern form group for Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec.

Categories: PSA, Poetry, Uncategorized, Workshops.

Books and Chapbooks read in 2016, part 3 Statistics

16% of the completed books or chapbooks were chapbooks. All averaged to 139 pages, a total of 23,800 pages. 64% was poetry. Of the 30% not poetry, the largest categories were novels, memoirs, then science and essays.

43% male, 44% female, 13% multiple authors or non-binary. Non-binary-authored:4 out of 5, male-authored I ranked 35 out of 5 on average, female-authored 3.1, multiple: 3.0.

67% Canadian so I didn’t read internationally as much I’d hoped.

13% were by known GLBTQ2+ people, but some I may not be aware of.

A full 53% were published in 2015 or 2016 so far more than I expected of reach back. 15% were between 2004-2014.  27% were published over a decade ago and 2% were written over a century ago.

The top source of books was the public library, followed by direct from author. Third was the little free library then a used book store. #5 spot was a review copy then a small press fair or festival table. #7 was new from a bookstore. Borrowed from a friend, got from a thrift store or a gift were a low percentage.

21 books I’d call 5 star. 10 I finished but I’d give 0-1 stars to. 61 titles I gave a 4 out 5 star to.


Categories: Currently reading.

Books and Chapbooks read in 2016, part 2

Futher micronotes on what I completed in 2016.

  • Taxi Cab Voice, an arrangement for Bill Hawkins by Neil Flowers (above/ground, 2016) — I liked the title poem
  • Returning Two (Judith Copithorn, 1972)
  • in search of the perfect loaf: a home baker’s odyssey by Samuel Fromartz (Viking/Penguin, 2014) — extensively obsessively researched, and such enthusiasm is catching
  • Switching off the Shadows by Ruby Spriggs (King’s Road Press, 1996)
  • We are the dreamers: recent and early poems by Rita Joe (Breton Books, 1999)
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau, 2015) – concurring with the world, insightful, articulate, personal and moving
  • The immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Crown, 2010) — eye-opening in many ways, of medicine and of black history in the U.S.
  • the bird philomela: poems, edited by natalie hanna (Battleaxe Press, 2016)
  • Ru by Kim Thuy (Vintage Canada, 2012) — liked this even less than her other
  • Conjugation by Phil Hall (BookThug, 2016) — fun to read
  • The World, I guess by George Bowering (New Star Books, 2015)— super-uneven but the best parts were great
  • Luna Moth and other poems by Steve Luxton (DC books, 2004)— finally read one of his books
  • Framework: Words on the land (A fieldwork project, 2016) — lovely introduction to some writers I haven’t read
  • Notes on Drowning by rob mclennan (Broken Jaw, 1998) — worth the re-read, one of my favs of his
  • even this page is white by Vivek Shraya (Arsenal, 2016) — now in its 3rd print run, with reason. passionate read.
  • Olio by Tyhimba Jess (Wave Books, 2016) — masterfully made. Hugely complex to construct and interesting
  • And Once More Saw the Stars: Four poems for two voices by P.K. Page & Philip Stratford (Buschek, 2001) — interesting, on the cusp of top recommendations
  • The Glory of Love, selected by Helen Exley (Exley, NY, Waterford UK) — verse
  • Dangling Modifiers: haiku & senryu by Mike Montreuil (Alba publishing, 2016) — urban haiku by a Canadian great
  • That Night We Were Ravenous by John Steffler (M&S, 2007) — hugely absorbing to read
  • L’dor Vador: a collection of poems inspired by there people’s recipes, ed. Marilyn Irwin (Shreeking Violet, 2016)
  • A Formerly United Kingdom, ed by John Martone (otata’s bookshelf, 2016) — experimental
  • Lean days by Steve McOrmond (coach house books, 2004) — enjoyable to re-read
  • Born with Teeth by Kate Mulgrew (Little, Brown and Company, 2015) — wanted to read this since before it came out, read it all aloud. worthwhile,
  • Leaving Holds Me Here: Selected Poems by Glen Sorestad (Thistledown, 2001) — enjoyable read
  • The Sacred Path Companion: A Guide to Walking the Labyrinth to Heal and Transform by Lauren Artress (Riverhead books, 2006) — a little randomly ordered and under-edited but interesting nonetheless
  • name, an errant by rob mclennan (stride, 2006)
  • All Inclusive by Farzana Doctor (Dundurn, 2015) — a foray into my reading novels. What she had read at readings was the family-friendly bits
  • But even so by Kenneth Patchen (New Directions, 1968) — not his best
  • Ceremony of Touching by Karen Shklanka (Couteau, 2016) — not my cuppa
  • Prince Caspian: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (Harper, 1951) — oh, good to have the cultural touchstone
  • Look at Her: a book of poetry by Vanessa Shields (Black Moss, 2016)
  • Seed Catalogue by Robert Kroetsch (Turnstone, 1977, 1986) — glad to re-read
  • Beatitudes by Herménégilde Chiasson, trans by Jo-Anne Elder (Goose Lane, 2007) — bit of a drag since the vision of people is so dark and dreary but wishing them well
  • Emanations: Fluttertongue 6 by Steven Ross Smith (BookThug, 2015)
  • Cascadia by Brenda Hillman (Wesleyan, 2001) — intense to read her books in series.
  • CK Williams: Collected Poems (Farrar, Strous and Giroux, 2006)— very trad
  • Practical Water by Brenda Hillman (Wesleyan, 2003)– no stylistic distinctions marked by which element she is focussing on
  • Digsite: poems by Owain Nicholson (Nightwood, 2016) – subject is interesting of archeology
  • If I were in a Cage I’d Reach Out for You by Adele Barclay (Nightwood, 2016)
  • Neighbourhood Tokyo by Theodore C Bestor (Stanford U Press, 1989) – sociobiology
  • Gusts: Contemporary Tanka No. 24, fall/winter 2016
  • Pieces of Air in the Epic by Brenda Hillman (Wesleyan, 2005) – okay, made it thru. liking each book less. will I do the 4th?
  • Frozen Potato Chips Hard Boiled Eggs Coke Not Pepsi: (printed photoexstatically, 2016)
  • Haiku Canada Review (Vol 10, No 2, October 2016)
  • The Black Unicorn: poems by Audre Lorde (Norton, 1978) — powerful in a different way than her last collection
  • Cabins: A Guide to Building your own nature retreat by David & Jeanie Stiles (A Firefly Book, 2001, 2015 9th printing) – fun
  • The Cabin: A Memoir by Munira Judith Avinger (Forest Books, 2012) – a life story in a broad sense, you get to know the person
  • Emergency Poems by Nicanor Parra, trans by Miller Williams (New Directions, 1972) – some of these are or should be canon
  • Alphabetique: 26 Character Fictions by Molly Peacock, illstr. by Kara Kosaka (M&S, 2014) — weird.
  • Wabigoon River: Poems by David Groulx (Kegedonce, 2015)
  • The Outsider by Albert Camus (Penguin Classic, 1942, 2000) — super dark
  • Walsh: a play by Sharon Pollock (Talon books, 1973) — glad to read the classic
  • A Hamburger in a Gallery by Stuart Ross (DC Books, 2015)
  • Succulent: A zine about healing, hope and happiness by Asia Barclay — life as a journey spoken bravely
  • Hominids by Robert J Sawyer (Tor, 2002) — fascinating timeline. I’d read another by him.
  • The World Afloat by M.A.C. Farrant (Talon, 2014)
  • Dream Punk by Ronald Seatter (A Bywords Publication, 2016)
  • Designated Mourner: poems by Catherine Owen (ECW, 2014) – wow, heavy. glad I waited until my own grief was a smaller creature.
  • The White Cliffs by Alice Duer Miller (Coward-McCann, 1940)
  • Lanark County Chronicles: Double Back to the Third Line by Arlene Stafford-Wilson (Self-published, 2013)
  • Crawlspace: new and selected poems by Monty Reid (Anansi, 1993) — neat to see his poems recontextualized this way.
  • Labour and Legality: An Ethnography of a Mexican Immigrant Network by Ruth Romberg-Muñoz (Oxford U, 2011)— so much new information. great long term case studies.
  • Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Oregon State U, 2003) – everyone should read this. native biologist perspective on all the species organized by themed anecdotes.
  • Utopia by Thomas More, trans by Paul Turner (1516, Penguin Classics) – so that’s where Mao was coming from. dissonant idea of whose utopia. Trump’s maybe?
  • Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan Coyote (Arsenal, 2016) – awesomeness. everyone get it.
  • all of us, reticent, here, together by Stephen Brockwell (Mansfield, 2016) – hard to say if this is the best yet or my favourite but definitely worth re-reading
  • Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement by John Lewis with Michael D’Orso (Simon & Schuster, 1998) – play-by-play from within the movement.
  • Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with your Values by Marshall B. Rosenberg (Puddledancer Press, 2005) – useful and worthwhile
  • Across Borders by Xue Di, trans by Alison Friedman (Green Integer, 2013) – the notes on translation was the best part
  • Adoration of the Unnecessary by John B Lee (A Beret Days Book, 2015) – title poem rocks
  • On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood by Richard Harrison (Wolsak & Wynn, 2016) – some amazing poems in here.
  • Variations in Gravity by Sneha Madhavan-Reese (Textualis, 2015)
  • Desiré, In Three Brief Acts by Sanita Fejzic (Battleaxe, 2016)
  • Conditionals by Pete Gibbon (Bird, Buried Press, 2016) – yup, buy this if you can
  • Wind Leaves Absence by Mary Maxwell (Thistledown, 2016)
  • The Long and the Short of It by Liam G Greig and Hannah Scott-Talib (Self-published, 2016)
  • Ukrainian Daughter’s Dance: poems by Marion Mutala (Inanna, 2016)
  • How to be Eaten by a Lion: poems by Michael Johnson (Nightwood, 2016)
  • Burning in this Midnight Dream by Louise Bernice Halfe (Coteau Books, 2016)
  • The Fifth Girl by May Chan (Pedlar Press, 2002)
  • The Pain Tree by Olive Senior (Cormorant, 2015) – people will be reading this in 200 years
  • A Perimeter by rob mclennan (A New Star Book, 2016)
  • A Map in My Blood: poems by Carla Braidek (Thistledown, 2016) – so relatable, so inspiring. women that is strong and sure and becoming
  • A Feeling for the Organism: The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock by Evelyn Fox Keller (Holt Paperbacks, 1983)– who knew all this. wonderful look back
  • The Hideous Hidden by Sylvia Legris (New Directions, 2016) – this lateral thinking music has song that creates a honey coating over the chemo pills of disease. a dissonance but distance, but nearness.
  • Passage by Gwen Benaway (Kegedonce Press, 2016) – gorgeous book that feels like a book with an arc and change. the tones all harmonize and hard hits and fits smooth like waves against the word-built landscape.
  • Domesticity by Sarah Swan (above/ground, 2016)

Categories: Uncategorized.

Books and Chapbooks read in 2016, part 1

Funny, some knock you flat like the roadrunner beeping thru and you recall nothing later. Others stick with you like a sea anemone on a ocean snail.

Particularly Recommended in bold

  1. A Profession of Hope: Farming on the Edge of Grizzly Trail by Jenna Butler (Wolsak & Wynn, 2015) — gives a look at how they turned a northern swamp into a working farm at the edge of a gorgeous wilderness
  2. Failed Haiku edited by Mike Rehling, (issue 1, 2016) — a monthly magazine of senryu, some comic
  3. A Splash of Water: Haiku Society of America Member Anthology 2015 (HNA, 2015) — an anthology around the theme that isn’t as redundant as the risk it takes. Decent.
  4. This Day Full of Promise: Poems selected and new by Michael Dennis (Broken Jaw, 2001) — an older book of his plain spoken poetry
  5. poems for jessica-flynn by Michael Dennis (not one cent of subsidy press, 1986) — instant poems recorded in a store front window
  6. Whiskey Jack by Milton Acorn (HMS, 1986) — surprised me with their versatile tones, elegance even
  7. Debbie: An Epic by Lisa Robertson (A New Star Book, 1997) — blows me away from a typesetting point of view. yes, you can do that on a page.
  8. Tells of the Crackling by Hoa Nguyen (Ugly Duckling Press, 2015)
  9. Said like reeds or things by Mark Truscott (Coach House, 2004) —  third reread at least of minimalist gems
  10. The Best Canadian Poetry 2015, edited by Jacob McArthur Mooney (Tightrope, 2015) — not as varied as the year before but solid poems in there
  11. The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester (Oxford University Press, 2003) — utterly fascinating look at how the dictionary came into being. geeked out.
  12. Why We Write: Conversations With African Canadian Poets and Novelists, edited by H Nigel Thomas (TSAR, 2006) – good intro to various people
  13. The Beggar’s Opera by Peggy Blair (Penguine, 2012) — suspenseful. led to me reading the whole series
  14. PCB Jam by Lynne Kositsky (Unfinished Monument Press, 1981) — a forgotten first chapbook
  15. Talking Into the Ear of A Donkey: Poems by Robert Bly (WW Norton & Co, 2011) — pleasing gentle poems
  16. I’m not crazy…I’m allergic by Sherilyn Powers (Friesen Press, 2015) — illuminating ideas of how allergies and the immune system interact
  17. The Goddess and the Bull: Catalhoyuk: An Archeological Journey to the Dawn of Civilization by Michael Balter (Free Press, 2005) — good info but annoying narrator who makes the history more of his autobiography
  18. The Poisoned Pawn by Peggy Blair (Penguin, 2012) — awesome sit down and read the whole crime fiction mystery ghost story to 2 am
  19. Gender Failure by Rae Spoon and Ivan E Coyote (Arsenal Pulp, 2014) — in two voices, Rae Spoon’s less polished but both interesting
  20. Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit by Andrew Moore (Chlelsea Green, 2015) — super fascinating obsession into following this fruit all over North America and into history.
  21. Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay (University of Pittsburgh Press: Pitt Poetry Series, 2015) — a gorgeous piece of writing that utterly satisfied
  22. The Last Maasai Warriors: an autobiography by Wilson Meikuaya and Jackson Ntirkana (Me to We Press, 2012)
  23. Animal Husbandry Today: Poems by Jamie Sharpe (ECW, 2012) — interesting pov of two boys who grew up traditionally and the no-outsiders safety wall broken by the Christian mission propelling the kids into the west
  24. Map: Collected and Last poems by Wisława Szymborska, translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Batanezak (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015) — a wide scope. might be better to have read individual books
  25. heisting hesse by guy r. beining (unarmed press, 2016)
  26. Bodymap by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (Mawenzi House, 2015) — life-affirming, kick-ass standing ground as a disabled person with a full-on unapologetic life
  27. Thirsty, by Dionne Brand (M&S, 2002) — political, hard and raw
  28. A Tower for the Summer Heat by Li Yu trans by Patrick Hanan (Ballantine Books, 1992, 1658) — vivid old stories of life in China then
  29. Homer’s Odyssey: A fearless feline tale by Gwen Cooper (Delacorte, 2009)— if you love cats…
  30. Snow Flower And The Secret Fan by Lisa See (Random House, 2005) –living inside the perspective of opium-era, foot-binding China
  31. Something Crosses My Mind by Wang Xiaonim trans by Eleanor Goodman (Zephyr Press, 2014)
  32. The Other 23 & a half hours or Everything you wanted to know that your MFA didn’t teach you by Catherine Owen (Wolsak & Wynn, 2015)— useful with or without an MFA, a look at who does what in CanLit
  33. Serpentine Loop by Elee Kraljii Gardiner (Anvil, 2016)— stories of figure skating and community
  34. Cockeyed: A Memoir by Ryan Knighton (Penguin, 2006) — the autobiography of a comedian who became legally blind and his journey of admitting it and adapting
  35. Reluctant Genius: The Passionate and Inventive Mind of Alexander Graham Bell by Charlotte Gray (Harper Collins, 2006) — more than you ever suspected of the lives of the Bells. Detailed and interesting.
  36. this is a love poem but let’s not be too straight forward about it by Philip Gordon (words(on)pages, 2015)— moving passionate poems
  37. How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir by Amber Dawn (Arsenal Pulp, 2013)
  38. Chewing Water by Nelson Ball (A Stuart Ross Book, 2016) — sweet and plain but not blunt, short poems that are endearing
  39. Odds Are by Larry Timewell (above/ground, 2016)
  40. Beauty/Beauty by Rebecca Perry @poorsasquatch (Bloodaxe, 2015)
  41. Bodies Vs. by Adam Zachary (words(on)pages press, 2016) — short fictions of mod gothic
  42. Guthrie Clothing: The poetry of Phil Hall, a Selected Collage (lps, 2015)
  43. I don’t know what you need by Jeff Blackman (Horsebroke Press, 2016) — leaves a warm fuzzy feeling as afterglow
  44. Redrafting Winter by Alison Strumberger and Gillian Sze (Buschek, 2015) — interesting correspondences
  45. 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei by Eliot Weinberger & Octavio Paz (Asphodel Press, 1987) — juxtaposing translations and their reasons
  46. Yiddish for Pirates by Gary Barwin (Penguin Random House, 2016) — what a giddy ride thru Yiddish against the Spanish genocide of Jewish people
  47. Wax Lyrical by Klara du Pleases (Anstruther Press, 2015)
  48. Noon, issue 11, (Noon Press, 2016) — a masterclass in short forms
  49. Oedipus Rex by Sophocles: unabridged trans by Sir George Young (Dover)
  50. Clearings: Poems from Stillness by Willow-Marie Power (real.being press, 2016)
  51. A sparrow came down resplendent: poems by Stuart Ross (Buckrider, 2016)
  52. Canthius: Issue 2: spring, 2016, ed by Claire Farley & Cira Nickel
  53. An Innocent in Ireland: Curious Rambles and Singular Encounters by David McFadden (McClelland & Stewart, 1995) — road trip anecdotes are pleasant Sunday read
  54. Late Victorians by Vincent Colistro (Signal, 2016) — tight poems
  55. Salvage: poems by Michael Crummey (M&S, 2002)
  56. Floating is Everything by Sheryda Warrener (Nightwood Editions, 2015)
  57. Assi Manifesto by Natasha Kanapé Fontaine, trans by Howard Scott — spoken word anthems
  58. Small Fires by Kelly Norah Drukker (McGill-Queens, 2016)
  59. My Dinosaur by François Turcot trans by Erin Moure (bookThug, 2016)
  60. Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey (Houghton Mifflin, 1983) — glad to finally read it
  61. The Red Files by Lisa Bird-Wilson (Nightwood Editions, 2016)— moving accounts of what the Reconciliation is about
  62. Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge (Amulet, 2011)— graphic novel
  63. Load Poems Like Guns: Women’s Poetry from Herat Afghanistan, ed, trans by Farzana Marie (Holy Cow Press, 2015) — many of the poets struck down in their 20s. What might have happened to their work if they weren’t killed?
  64. Songs of Exile by Banoo Zan (Guernica Editions, 2016)
  65. How Festive the Ambulance: Poems by Kim Fu (Nightwood Editions, 2016)
  66. I take off my disguise by Beverly Cummings (Baton Press, 2016)
  67. A Good Death by Beverly Cummings (BooksInPrint, 2011)
  68. The Wedding Officer, Anthony Capella (2007) — romance taking place in WWII’s Italian eruption of volcano. Well put-together
  69. Mãn by Kim Thuy, trans by Sheila Fischman (Random House, 2014)
  70. Umbrella Man by Peggy Blair (Simon & Schuster Canada, 2016)
  71. BafterC, vol 8, no 1 (BookThug, 2016)
  72. Meditation Placentae: poems by Monty Reid (Brick, 2016)— I want to collect every book he’s ever made. All good.
  73. Failed Haiku, issue 6 (June 2016)
  74. illiterature, issue six (Puddles of Sky Press, 2016) — such utter fun of content and form
  75. Where Did You See It Last? ~ Stephen Brockwell (Textualis Press, 2016) — nice collection!
  76. Sailing into the Moon: Haiku Canada Members’ Anthology 2016
  77. River-Places: poems by Bruce Lumsden Serigraphs by David Hunsberger (Stonegarden Studios, 2015) –lovely art
  78. Homes: poems by Phil Hall (Black Moss, 1979) — oldie but novelty now
  79. Vanishing Act by Giles Blunt (Exile, 2016)
  80. Keep it Terse by Beverly Cummings (Loose Cannon Press, 2014) — moving and articulate
  81. In this light by Gary Ewing (Puddles of Sky, 2016)
  82. Argonauts by Maggie Nelson (Greywolf, 2015) — maybe overranked but pretty darn good
  83. The Decisive Moment by Cartier-Bresson, Henri, 1908-2004 ([Göttingen] : Steidl, 1952, 2014) Edition: American edition.— interesting
  84. Escape from Baxters’ Farm written & delightfully illustrated by Rebecca Bond (2015) YA novel – heartwarming

Categories: Currently reading.