Category Archives: chapbooks, zines, and prints

Slogan, Substance, Dream: keywords for a responsible poetry at the Anstruther Press Spring Launch

Hi everyone,

It’s been a long winter. I don’t think I’m quite ready to pull myself out of hibernation on my own, but it looks like the forces of the spring launch season are beckoning me into the limelight: this Friday, I’ll be reading from my new manifesto chapbook, Slogan, Substance, Dream: keywords for a responsible poetry, at the Anstruther Press Spring Launch at Jeff Kirby’s much-beloved Kensington Market bookstore, knife fork book. I’ll be launching alongside the venerable authors listed on the poster below, and though I only have a few minutes, I’m looking forward to offering some of my thoughts on the new chapbook and reading from a section or two. Doors open at 6:30pm this Friday, March 9th at knife fork book at Kensington’s Dark Side Studio (244 Augusta Avenue), and the poetry begins at 7:00; check it out on knife fork book’s blog or facebook.

If you’re planning to come, it’s best to keep two things in mind: (1) bring cozy socks, since the shop/studio is a shoeless space; (2) kfb events, at least as far as I understand, start ON TIME!



Slogan, Substance, Dream is something a little special; rather than a book of poetry or creative fiction, it’s a concise prose manifesto written for Anstruther’s Manifesto Series. The series is edited by Shane Neilson, and Jim Johnstone and Erica Smith also contributed immensely to the chapbook’s execution; I owe them all great thanks for helping me get it out into the world.

Shane first asked me if I’d be interested in writing a manifesto at least two years ago (perhaps even longer), and although I’ve been committed to the project since then, my thoughts and beliefs about poetry and my role in it have transformed many times since I began writing. Several people who have read the final version of Slogan, Substance, Dream have told me that it is very much a poetic text–full-blown poetry, even!–but even as I take their evaluation seriously, I can’t stress enough that it isn’t the case for me. Even at its most abstract and imagistic, the manifesto is my best attempt at honestly expressing what I believe my and others’ poetry should strive for.

The manifesto (like much of my PhD research, which, though distinct, has greatly inspired it) is about responsibility, and part of the process of writing it has involved grappling with the question of whether expressing my “should” (or, indeed, writing anything called a “manifesto”) could ever be a responsible act. In truth, I’m still not sure it is. However, my work on the project has led me to the conclusion that, in order to present myself as a writer at all, I can’t help but strike a balance between acceptance and assessment, absorption and imposition, listening and speaking out. In other words, to respond ethically to the world in an act of creative expression, I also have to be confident enough to expose the person I really am and the thoughts I really think. And if this means that, ostensibly, I sometimes pursue the fantasy of imposing my beliefs on others, I only hope they realize that I’m just one person, that the power I have over them is only that of one person in a world of very many, and that I have no interest in presenting myself as anything else.

One of the ways of summarizing the argument of Slogan, Substance, Dream would be to say that this is all a manifesto–or perhaps any piece of writing–can or should do. With that in mind, there’s nothing left for me but to leave it to its work.



Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Toronto Zine Off and Epistolary Shapes

Hey all,

I had to post a little bit about the fabulous first (with hopefully more to come) Toronto Zine Off, which I attended last night at The Steady (a well loved venue that will unfortunately be closing at the end of the month–it will be missed!). Organized, in part, by friend and fellow poet JM Francheteau on the model of his Ottawa zine offs, the event was intended as a deadline to create a new zine to trade with fellow zine makers. In short, I took up the challenge, had a blast, and came home with a bunch of zines to thumb through! I’d say the night was quite a success, and I’m looking forward to follow-ups being announced on the new Toronto Zine Off facebook group.


Here’s my and Miles Forrester’s zine, Epistolary Shapes, next to some promo copies of Carousel generously provided by Mark Laliberte:


And here’s JM’s photo of all the zines he collected last night (my haul was pretty much the same):


Epistolary Shapes came out of a collaborative project Miles and I started this past summer, before he moved out to Montreal to study at Concordia. The two of us wrote short poems by responding to each other line by line, ensuring each line fit a pre-established length constraint. Although we had always had the intention of transforming the resulting source texts into visual pieces, it took the zine off to finally push us into realizing our vision: after a marathon bout of editing and visualization (all of the final products were put together over about 24 hours), we came up with eight visual poems for the zine. Here are two:


Overall, the past few days have been a pretty exciting way to jump back into zine culture. It’s been a while since I did anything more than gawk at all the tables at Canzine (which I’m not even sure I’ll get to do this year, with IFOA events looming large on my schedule), but last night really reminded me that it’s zine people who make zines such a valuable part of culture. I met and chatted with a lot of fine folks last night, from old friends to new, and I hope to see more of them soon!


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Guelph Book Bash!

Hi all,

I’m here with yet another message for my Guelph friends: this Sunday I’ll be participating in the city’s annual Book Bash Festival, a celebration of Guelph authors hosted by Friends of Vocamus Press and made possible by the tireless efforts of Jeremy Luke Hill. I’m involved with the festival from (at least) three angles: first, this year’s edition of Vocamus Press’s annual collection of Guelph creative writing, Rhapsody, featuring my poem “for my boston fern,” will be launching at the festival; second, I’ll be promoting my debut collection of poetry, Players, which was released with Palimpsest Press this past April; third, I’ll be helping my friends at the &, collective promote our second collection, this happened to one of us, which we launched with PS Guelph only two weeks ago (!). The whole &, 2 launch has been quite a rush over the past few weeks (I’ll actually be over at PS Guelph tomorrow helping bind and stamp copies of the book), and I’m pumped to see it continue at Book Bash this weekend, where we can hopefully get some copies out to new and returning readers who missed our launch. Of course, I’m also super-happy to have a chance to introduce Players to some new audiences, and I may even have copies of some of my more experimental projects on hand to show off, as well.

If you’d like to stop by to see me, the &, collective, or anyone else writing anything else in the Guelph area, come to Book Bash at the Red Papaya restaurant in the Old Quebec Street Mall this Sunday, October 16, between 1pm and 4pm. You can also check out the Book Bash facebook page. Finally, as always, happy reading!




Tagged , , , , , , ,

&, 2 and XAGGERA launches this week!

The very tail end of this week will be a pretty big one for me! First up, this Thursday I and the other amazing members of Guelph’s &, collective will be launching the collective’s second chap/book, this happened to one of us. The book’s been in the works for a while, and I think it’s pretty exciting: the project came from writing and workshopping we did together around the theme of confessional poetry, where one of us would come up with a confessional-style prompt and everyone else in the group would write a poem as if they’d actually had that experience themselves. The result is a bunch of poems about things like getting a flat tire, cheap motels, drunken teenage birthday parties, coffee dates, and (of course) sex. We’ll even be filling up this week’s launch with prizes for audience members who correctly guess which poet actually wrote the prompt for each set. Several of us in the collective have been working with Publication Studio Guelph to plan the launch and actually make our own books (see photo evidence below), and the book layout (wickedly designed by yours truly) also includes illustrations by the Guelph-based artist group SADSADDERDAZE, which will be hand-coloured for the launch editions–so, the whole thing definitely feels like a community effort. Which is why you should come celebrate with us: 7pm at Boarding House Arts (6 Dublin St. South) this Thursday, September 29! Check out the facebook event. Or look for the book (which, as per PS’s amazing distribution model, promises to be pretty damn cheap) over at the PS web store.




Second, and the very next day, I’ll be hanging out with David Knight and friends of Fenylalanine Publishing and Ed Video to celebrate Ed Video’s 40th anniversary and launch FP’s new art magazine, XAGGERA (which will be on sale for $10 a copy). I’m definitely not as in-the-know about this project, but a quick look at the event’s facebook page promises a series of probably insane visuals and music that’ll be nowhere close to ordinary. I can also let you in on the fact that my contribution to the magazine is a bizarre pseudo-advertisement for the special erasure/asemic font I created for The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-analysis: A Selection, which I’ve been uploading in parts over at my new instagram account. In short, the magazine is something to watch out for. And if you’re up for something on the weirder side of normal, come join us at the ANAF Club (32 Gordon St.), 9:15pm this Friday, September 30.


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Group Huddle reading and chapbook

Hi all,

I’ve been fairly busy these last few weeks travelling through various parts of the planet, although most recently I’ve been hanging out at Cornell University in upstate New York. Nonetheless, I wanted to take a minute to highlight the newly founded Group Huddle reading at Topos bookstore cafe in Queens, New York, which I performed at last Thursday. At the invitation of the incomparably generous Parker Menzimer, I had the opportunity to read from Players alongside Madeleine Braun, Michael Anzuoni, and Tom Haviv, all of whom have been working on some incredibly fresh and urgent writing. I really can’t do justice to how thankful I am: it was a great room full of great people, and there was plenty of enlightening conversation afterwards. I should thank Zane Koss especially, both for his irreplaceable help setting up the reading (even though he’d never met me before!) and for being such a generous host in Brooklyn.

As if all this wasn’t enough, I also managed to take home a souvenir from the reading: a limited edition chapbook featuring work from all four of the evening’s presenters. I especially love the design on the cover, and the use of translucent paper (something I’ve dabbled with quite a bit). Moreover, I was pretty excited to have the opportunity to include a small excerpt from a visual/conceptual project I’ve been working on since last fall: a re-setting of Jacques Lacan’s The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-analysis using a custom font composed of partially erased letters. Overall, I also love the idea of creating limited edition printed ephemera for a reading…not only because I’ll jump at any opportunity to make a chapbook, but because it showcases an otherwise inaccessible visual and spatial dimension of the readers’ work without sacrificing the particular spirit and energy of the reading-as-event. The format definitely gives me some ideas for the future.

In any case, the chapbook also looks spectacular (this picture isn’t mine, though it’s probably better than any I would have taken).


Group Huddle 4


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Performance at The Quilliad’s first chapbook launch March 31, with printed copies of euNoia

Howdy folks,

I’ve already gushed about my love for The Quilliadfabulous print magazine, inspiring small press, and home of the inexplicably awesome Poetry Parrot–in previous posts. Luck would have it that the press’s Editor-in-Chief, Sarah Varnam, has invited me to perform at The Quilliad’s first chapbook launch and retrospective! The event features the launch and a reading of Geoffrey Nilson‘s We Have to Watch, as well as short sets by past Quilliad contributors (including me!). It’s all happening this Thursday, March 31, 7pm at Betty’s on King in Toronto. $5 cover gets you either a back issue of The Quilliad or half the sticker price of We Have to Watch.

Of course, I’m mostly excited to take a gander at Nilson’s chapbook this Thursday. But I’m also excited to (1) share some pieces  from my debut poetry collection, Players, which is launching in JUST ONE WEEK, and (2) to show off the long-awaited printed edition of my typographical remix chapbook, euNoia, which was published online by Fenylalanine Publishing earlier this year. See you Thursday!

P.S. If you’d like to own a copy of euNoia for your coffee table or zine shelf (a great fit for either, I think), they’ll be on sale for the super-cheap price of $5! The printed edition even comes with this exclusive cover, designed and databent by yours truly.

cover FP15 euNoia (chapbook) v2


Tagged , , , , , , ,

euNoia and Fenylalanine Publishing

Happy New Year!

It looks like 2016’s starting off with a bang: just today, my poetic remix euNoia was released online with Fenylalanine Publishing, a Guelph-based press headed by David J. Knight. euNoia is, I’d like to think, a unique work, combining influences from conceptual poetry, remix culture, and typographical art. The chapbook’s procedure is nonetheless fairly straightforward: it features precise reproductions of the first page of each chapter of Christian Bök’s Eunoia, but with the capitalization adjusted to highlight each section’s vowels and consonants, alternatively. I’ve always been enamoured with the visual patterns formed by the typography of Eunoia‘s chapters (which, if you’re not familiar with the book, each employ only one of English’s five vowels), and I imagined that a minimal change in the text’s presentation could bring those pattern out in a new way. euNoia is Fenylalanine’s fifteenth publication; you can see the full document on Fenylalanine’s wordpress page here.

Fenylalanine Publishing itself is a pretty interesting project to dive into. I had the pleasure of meeting David, the press’s founder, this past December at its first in-person launch event (although many online editions had already been published in 2015). Speaking off the cuff about Fenylalanine’s mission, David stressed that literacy, as far as he understands it, means reading the spaces in between the reference points established by existing genres and categories; as such, Fenylalanine aims to publish works that resist classification. Its output to date has included artworks and ephemera from verse poetry to asemic writing to found photography, highlighting projects that straddle the boundaries between image and text, and between page and screen. I highly recommend browsing some of Fenylalanine’s publications, either on the wordpress page linked above or through the posts on their facebook page.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

O Our Ism erasures/artist’s book now available on the Publications page!

Hi everyone,

Presenting some of my work at the fabulous Facilitate event Seeing Poetry last week inspired me to make one of my major visual poetic projects more readily available online. Different forms of O Our Ism have accompanied me through much of my development as a writer: after completing the first few entries of the project for a class assignment in third year (specifically, in my poetry class with the wonderful David Goldstein), I went on to print further spreads as glossy, broadsheet-style posters, many of which are now in the hands or on the walls of poetically-minded friends and acquaintances. Finally, last summer, I compiled the pages into an artist’s book designed to mimic the source material in size and layout (although, admittedly, not thickness). Over the past few years I have brought versions of the project to countless readings and assembled parts of it into wall displays for exhibitions such as the T E X T ual A R T ivity show in Coburg, Ontario this spring.

For reference, I’ve included below a brief note that accompanied O Our Ism on the walls of The Academy of the Impossible during the latter’s brief stay at 231 Wallace Avenue in Toronto. You can access my complete pdf e-book of the project here, or by finding it near the top of the Publications page. Of course, you can also get in touch with me to look at (or potentially own) a physical copy of the book–it’s quite striking in person!

A note on the work:

O Our Ism is a series of erasures developed out of two-page spreads from the book Photojournalism, edited by Nick Yapp and Amanda Hopkinson and published by Könemann (2006) using photographs from Getty Images. The book’s original captions, which provide the textual source for the erasures, appear in English, French and German. O Our Ism is a realistically endless project, as its source material will only be exhausted once its nearly 400 spreads are rendered into poems.





Tagged , , , , , ,

Table at WordsFest London Local Authors’ Book Fair, 10-2 on October 25

Hi everyone,

I’ve gotten quite settled into the academic year in London, Ont. over the past few months. To my delight, I’ve also been given the honour of showing off some of my zines and chapbooks here at the upcoming Local Authors’ Book Fair this Saturday, October 25, from 10am to 2pm at Covent Garden Market (upstairs on the mezzanine level)! The fair is part of WordsFest London, a weekend-long celebration of “all things wordy,” and is only one of many amazing events listed at their website.

During the fair I will be showing and selling some of the books I created over this past summer, including the mixed media chapbook “an erratic sample,” “Push,” “Room” and “Desk Index” zines printed on vellum, and my “O Our Ism” photographic book of erasures. I’ll also be featuring chapbooks by fellow poet and student Jeremy Colangelo, which I haven’t laid eyes on but which (judging by the work of his I’ve been privileged enough to read) should be fantastic. And finally, if all goes well, I’ll be ‘playing’ my newest collaborative poetic project with visitors to the table. If you’re in town, you should come check it out (and say hi)!



Tagged , , , , ,

Zines and Chapbooks at Zine Dream this Sunday

Hi everyone!

For any of you who haven’t had a chance to check out my new chapbook or the experimental poetic zines I’ve put out this summer (but also for any of you who have), they will all be available for viewing, handling and purchasing this Sunday at the Zine Dream small press fair, taking place from 12-5pm at the Tranzac on Brunswick Avenue in the Annex. My work will be featured at the Steel Bananas Art Collective table along with books and artworks by many, many friends, including those who launched some amazing new books just last night at the immensely successful SB book launch in the Junction. In any case, I am more than grateful to the collective for their support, and for allowing me to take part!

I’ll be showing off my recent chapbook, an erratic sample (which I’ve discussed a bit in this earlier post), my large scale erasure of the history of photojournalism titled O Our Ism, and my PushRoom and Desk Index zines printed on vellum (all of which I’ve described in more detail here). It looks like it’ll be a great fair, so come take a look!

Tagged , , , , , ,