Category Archives: interviews

Poetry in Motion on All Lit Up / 5 Questions with… on IFOA blog

Howdy everyone,

Two big pieces of news this week. First (and just in time to get in on the hype for my performance at Battle of the Bards next Wednesday), All Lit Up has generously featured me and my book, Players, on the newest contribution to their Poetry in Motion blog series. The post includes a pretty sweet write-up and a poem from the book, “Love Song for Kazoo,” but the main event is a pair of videos of me reading two other short poems: “Lush,” and the ever-popular “for MF DOOM.” You should watch them, right now, here. Though I’ve performed both poems at readings a bunch of times, these videos were shot especially for All Lit Up (with many thanks owed to Amanda Boulos for help with the filming, and for letting me stand and yell in front of her artwork).

A quick word about performing ‘page poetry,’ and the film medium…. The whole idea of performing poetry that isn’t specifically written for performance is both something I’m seriously interested in and something I’m largely baffled by. For their part, All Lit Up’s Poetry in Motion features do a great job of showcasing the huge variety of approaches people take to the genre (that is, the ‘poetry reading’ as a performance genre), especially because combining it with the film medium only seems to exacerbate the variance: if you look through the archives, you’ll notice that Poetry in Motion videos range from recorded live readings to staged, for-the-camera performances to produced and edited video poems (an established sub-genre in its own right). In my videos, I tried to mix together some (very) basic theatrical principles, something of the emotional vibe of spoken word, and some of the from-the-book authenticity and intellectualism of lecture-style readings. But I’m still really curious about how this kind of presentation comes across. Is it entertaining? Engaging? Convincing? Is it any better or worse than reading the book? I’ve always felt that public readings are somewhere in between a unique experience of the art form and a largely artificial gimmick for organizing the literary community; perhaps that in-betweenness isn’t going anywhere, but I’m still always wondering whether it can or should be pushed in certain directions.

In any case, all of this only leads me closer to the aforementioned Poetry NOW: Battle of the Bards, which I and 19 other poets will be performing  nexatt Wednesday at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. As part of the build-up, IFOA has just posted a “5 Questions with…” interview with me and three other contestants–Julie Cameron Gray, David Goldstein, and Lisa Richter–on their blog. You can check it out here. It’s a pretty interesting smattering of poets’ opinions about poetry, and the format (each of us answered the same five questions, without knowledge of each other’s answers) gives it a kind of rapid-fire effect. Also, it continues to amaze me that David Goldstein was one of my professors (and a great one at that!) during my undergraduate creative writing days at York; some of the poems in Players were even first written for his third-year poetry workshop. Seeing our names together makes me feel (accurately) like a total fraud. But there we are (see below).

Finally, here’s a ballin’ promo pic from IFOA’s Instagram to cap things off. As always, happy reading!

 

 

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CFRU 93.3 Guelph interview with &, collective, and Battle of the Bards March 29!

Hi all,

Although this winter has been fairly sleepy, I’m looking forward to a miniature flurry of updates to post about in these last few weeks of March. One of these updates’ subjects, in fact, has already happened: last Sunday I had the pleasure of joining Lauren Lavery on her International Art English talk show on CFRU 93.3 (Guelph campus and community radio) alongside two other friends and &, collective (website to be updated soon, I hope!) poets, Mike Chaulk and Sierra Paquette-Struger. The four of us had a pretty rewarding conversation about the collective’s current and past projects, making books at Publication Studio, the poetry scenes in some Southern Ontarian cities, and wood ducks. We even read a few of our poems on air. If you’re interested in sampling the interview, you can find the archived recording here.

Next up, I wanted to take a second to announce that I’ll be participating in the International Festival of Authors’ 2017 Poetry NOW Battle of the Bards competition! Even though my participation in this was based on a random draw (so don’t get too jealous), I’m pretty damn excited to be taking part. The competition features short readings by 20 poets, with the winner receiving an invitation to read at the International Festival of Authors this fall and an ad for their book in NOW Magazine. But who cares about winning, right? In any case, this year’s lineup includes some folks I’m very excited to read with, and others who are sure to offer up some stiff competition…I’m just hoping to put on a good show. The event takes place at Harbourfront Centre’s Brigantine Room, 7:30pm on Wednesday, March 29. Admission is $10 (but free for students!).

Happy listening!

 

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Carousel Guelph launch this Wednesday, and a new interview at Vocamus Press

Hi everyone,

Beginning with the second topic, I wanted to take a second to wholeheartedly thank Vocamus Press (Guelph’s champion of local literature) and especially Sheri Doyle, Friends of Vocamus Press’s Director of Communications, for posting Sheri’s interview with me on the Vocamus Press blog just last week. Sheri’s readings of some poems from Players (including some that didn’t make it into the final interview) are really incredible, and I think we opened up some great discussions around things like found poetry, the question of “meaning,” Players‘s road to publication, and even what it’s like writing from the perspectives of my ex-girlfriends. Check out the interview here (and don’t be afraid to skip to the juiciest-looking questions!).

For those in the physical (and not only thematic) vicinity of Guelph, I’ll be reading at Carousel Magazine‘s annual Guelph launch this Wednesday, November 23, starting at 7pm at Silence (46 Essex street, near downtown). (Here’s the facebook event page.) If you haven’t heard of Carousel…well, you should check it out. Aside from readings by me (potentially including some projected visual accompaniments, confirmation pending) and Mark Connery, the event also features sound performance by William Davidson, a projection-performance by Mark Laliberte, and an open mic (!). Alongside the magazine, Mark will also be launching the first issue of his collaborative 4PANEL experimental comic arts project. I don’t think you need any more than that description to realize how cool this is, but you should still check out 4PANEL’s website and instagram.

Happy reading, hearing, and seeing!

 

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Reading at The Secret Handshake this Sunday, Danny Jacobs’s review of Players, and an upcoming interview with Michael Prior

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since my last update! Over the last few months I’ve spent time in London (the real one), Beirut, New York City, and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and I have certainly brought back some stories. At Cornell I had the opportunity to talk extensively with Canadian poetry hotshot (and unbelievably kind human) Michael Prior, and if all goes well my interview with him will be published very soon over at The Rusty Toque‘s Rusty Talks section. (UPDATE: the interview is now online, and you can read it here!) I can say honestly that I learned a great deal talking with Michael, so I hope at least a fraction of his wisdom and insight comes through in the written piece.

Another excellent learning experience came in the form of Danny Jacobs’s review of Players, which appeared online last month in Hamilton Arts & Letters. The review, titled “Praying to Articulate” (an unacknowledged quotation from the book), is just about everything I could have hoped for: Jacobs is curious, thorough, and generous, yet also critical in ways that define the book’s place in the wider literary landscape quite sharply. My thanks to Jacobs.

All of this is in the past, however. Coming up, I’ll be reading at The Secret Handshake art gallery in Kensington Market this Sunday, August 28. The show is at 170a Baldwin Street (second floor), with doors opening at 1:30 and readings (by me, Judith Chandler, and Robert Priest) at 2:00. Back in the day, The Secret Handshake was one of the first reading series I had the opportunity to perform at (thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of David Bateman), and I distinctly remember my experience there being one of the first things that pushed me towards preparing the manuscript for Players. Needless to say, I’m pretty much overjoyed to return there (this time with continuing thanks to David as well as to bill bissett) with a bound collection in hand. Here’s a poster for the event; I hope to see you there!

 

Secret Handshake poster

 

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Rusty Talk with Paul Dutton

Hi everyone,

I’ve already been spreading word about this a little bit, but I wanted to write a few notes here about The Rusty Toque‘s newest interview, my Rusty Talk with Paul Dutton, which went online just a few days ago. Most of the context should be clear in the interview and its introduction, but the “talk” (or, more specifically, a kind of email questionnaire, as Paul stressed) was mostly organized around my reading of Sonosyntactics, Paul’s selected and new poetry (edited with an introduction by Gary Barwin, and with a fiery afterword by the author), which I thoroughly enjoyed from a variety of angles. I also read a few of Paul’s past interviews, though I truly believe he came up with some of his best responses in this one…especially on the themes of choice (both readerly and writerly) and the relationship(s) between art and politics.

In any case, reading Sonosyntactics and working with Paul on the interview was truly a privilege, both because of his stature as an artist and because of the incredible uniqueness of his artistic style(s). If you haven’t heard his soundsinging, it’s definitely worth a watch or a listen at his website, pdutton.ca. Or you can check out an excerpt of his writing in the interview!

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12 or 20 questions with rob mclennan

Howdy everyone,

A quick update about a great opportunity with one of CanLit’s most recognizable voices: I’ve had the pleasure of being “interviewed” by rob mclennan for his 12 or 20 questions series following the launch of Players, and the results of that interview have just been posted on rob mclennan’s blog.  If you want to read some of my thoughts on writing poetry, my multiple relationships with theory, writing and privilege, and videogames, you should check out the interview here.

I say I was “interviewed” because the 12 or 20 questions series doesn’t take the form of a conventional interview; instead, every writer is asked the same series of questions, to which they may respond to all, some, or none. In fact, so many writers have been featured that the series might offer one of the best opportunities to compare your favourite author’s views and personalities…keeping in mind, of course, that they may have changed since the time of the interview (I have, for example, shaved my head since responding to one of rob’s questions).

Happy Reading!

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Palimpsest Press interview, + upcoming launches and readings

Hi all! Here’s another quick update, in two parts:

First, I’ve just had the pleasure of being interviewed by Palimpsest Press’s Liz Ross about Players (my new, debut poetry collection, if you’re new to the site); that interview is now up on the Palimpsest Press blog. The interview is fairly short, but I think I managed to come up with some bold answers to Liz’s very thoughtful queries about everything from metaphysics to dessert. Check out the full text of the interview here.

Second, aside from my reading at the Underdog Poets Academy TONIGHT in Toronto, I have several readings coming up this week in several Southern Ontario cities. On Wednesday night I’ll be launching Players with Andrea Perry’s Rise (Vocamus Press) at the eBar in Guelph; on Thursday night, I’ll be launching with Palimpsest authors Mark Sampson (Weathervane) and Dorothy Mahoney (Off-Leash) at Brown & Dickson in London; and on Friday, I’ll be in St. Catharines reading at the Border Blur Reading Series’s offering for the In the Soil Arts Festival, Blur Blur Blur, at the Niagara Artists Centre. You can find further details about these and other readings on my full list of Players launch events here.

As always, happy reading and happy listening!

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Players events updates, + TV appearance on Inside Guelph!

Hi all,

Just a few quick updates for you today, with more to come soon! First of all, did you catch my appearance on Rogers tv’s local cable program Inside Guelph yesterday at noon? I’m guessing you didn’t, so here’s a link to the video. It features me and the incomparable Andrea Perry talking about poetry and, most importantly, the launch of our recently published poetry collections next Wednesday, April 27 at Guelph’s eBar. (You can find more details about the event at the facebook page.)

Aside from next week’s Guelph launch, I’ll be performing at readings and launch events in several Ontario cities over the next two weeks. All of these events (including readings in Hamilton, Toronto, and St. Catharines, and the London launch of Players) are listed (with links and details) on my previous post, Players launches and readings, spring and summer 2016.

I’ve also just added a few updates to that list, including: (1) full details and a facebook event page for the Palimpsest Press London launch next Thursday, April 28; (2) a link to the facebook event page for “Blur Blur Blur,” the Border Blur Reading Series’s instalment at the In the Soil Arts Festival in St. Catharines next Friday, April 29, as well as a link to purchase tickets at the In the Soil Festival’s website; (3) details for this Sunday’s Underdog Poets Academy, which I’m delighted to discover will include a reading by dalton derkson, who’s probably one of the brashest and most experimental performance poets in Ontario.

As mentioned, I will have more updates on a variety of themes very soon. Until then, happy reading, watching, and listening!

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London Open Mic Poetry update: interview, poems, and bio online

Hi everyone,

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my upcoming feature reading at London Open Mic Poetry, which is happening next Wednesday, April 1 at 7:00 (doors at 6:30) at Mykonos restaurant near Adelaide and Central. Everything I wrote there is still true (especially the parts about my wanting to see you at the reading!), with two important additions:

First, I’ve recently learned that London Open Mic Poetry’s special National Poetry Month event will include two feature readers. This means that I’ll be reading alongside Penn Kemp! Kemp, if you’re not familiar with her, was London’s inaugural poet laureate, along with holding a slew of other honours and accolades I won’t even attempt to take full stock of here. Needless to say, I’m quite humbled (and a little petrified) to be featuring with her, but I’m looking forward to both of us stirring up some excitement.

Second, my interview with London Open Mic Poetry co-organizer Kevin Heslop (himself a thoughtful and imaginative poet) has just been posted online! The interview appears along with my bio and four poems I’ve previously published in other venues, and you can read it here. I should point out that among all the things I really love about London Open Mic Poetry, Kevin’s interviews (which he conducts with every month’s featured reader) are some of the most impressive. For this month’s he definitely hit me with some thought-provoking questions, and I can’t help but feel like my answers are some of the best things I’ve ever managed to say about poetry. If you’re curious about my thoughts on linearity, ambiguity, formalism, the speaking “I,” or the connection between language and technology, you should check it out.

If you didn’t already have enough reason to come out on the 1st, I’ll also be making a special announcement during my set. But that’s all I can say for now. I hope to see you there!

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Interview on Chrysalis Blog

Hi all,

In my last post, I mentioned my review of The Encampment which was recently posted on the blog for Chrysalis Zine, Chrysalis Blog. Well, about a week ago, I was also featured on the blog in an interview with Chrysalis editor Kimberley Dawkins! You can read the interview here. I’m a little tossed up about the results, since in the process of editing a lot of what I said was cut (understandably–I think the original interview lasted about 45 minutes) and the transition from speech to text is always at least a little awkward, but I’ll let you guys decide for yourselves.

As you all know from my last post, Chrysalis Zine’s first print issue is launching this Thursday night at Tequila Bookworm. You can check out the Facebook event here. Several of my poems and photographs are being included in the issue, and I will be reading at the launch party, so I hope to see you there!

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