“for my boston fern” in Hart House Review Winter Supplement, launching Friday!

Hi all. Happy New Year!

I know we’re already a few weeks in, but with the sleepier parts of January now long past, I’m happy to announce that one of my poems, “for my boston fern” (one of many with that title, as you might have noticed by now), will be appearing in this year’s Hart House Review Winter Supplement! A launch party for the supplement will be taking place this Friday, January 20 in the Debates Room of University of Toronto’s Hart House…Even though I won’t be able to make it, I really think you should check it out; the last time I was at one of the Winter Supplement launches, the combination of venue + fancy cheese made it one of the classiest poetry readings I’ve ever attended. Also, the fantastic and charismatic poet/musician Rasiqra Revulva will be performing, so you’d be a fool to miss it (personally, since I’m missing it, I’ll be wearing my fool hat proudly). Here’s the facebook event.

Aside from the aforementioned Rasiqra Revulva, I’ll also be sharing space in the Winter Supplement pages with (unstoppable CanLiterary force) David Huebert, as well as many others whose work I’m super-excited to read. One of my favourite things about HHR’s Winter Supplement is that it also centres its design on the work of a visual artist (this year it’s Dahae Song), which tends to produce a pretty unique reading experience. In any case, I hope you enjoy it.

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Buffalo, NY: Center for Inquiry / Just Buffalo Literary Cafe

Hey folks,

I’ve been pretty beat this week, mostly from riding the bus out to Buffalo, NY to perform at the Center for Inquiry / Just Buffalo Literary Cafe last night, but I wanted to take some time to thank some of the great folks who made the event happen. First and foremost thanks go to Josh Smith, the incredibly well-travelled Buffalo poet known to many (including me) for his frequent appearances in the Toronto scene: aside from guest-hosting the reading and inviting me to it in the first place, Josh also delivered an impressive tour of the city, took me out to lunch at the bar that invented Buffalo wings (or, as I was later informed, “chicken wings”), and was a pretty great conversation partner for the day. At the reading itself, I was really impressed by the writings/performances of co-features Justin Karcher and Benjamin Brindise, who I definitely hope to see/hear/read again soon (I owe thanks to them, especially, for making me look good, though I also got a lot out of their distinct styles and poetic approaches). Finally, I can’t thank The Buffalo News enough for printing one of my poems from Players, “The Mole Rat,” in their paper’s Sunday edition. I kind of still can’t believe that happened. (Though you can also see the poem for yourself here.)

Overall, it was a privilege to visit the city, and to add another line to the list of places where I’ve been able to share my writing. For a little while at least, I’ll be sending dreams and love in Western New York’s direction.

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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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“for my boat lily,” “for my boat lily,” and “for my boat lily” in S/WORD 6

Hi everyone,

This time, an update for all my friends on the internet: the sixth issue of S/WORD appeared online just this weekend, and I’m pretty excited to let you know that three of my poems, “for my boat lily,” “for my boat lily,” and “for my boat lily” (can you tell I’m a fan of repetition?), are right at the top of the contents! The S/WORD editors have a pretty raw perspective on poetry and poetics (just take a look at their “About” page), and judging by some of the strong and surprising work they’ve included in this issue, I can’t help but feel I’m in good company. You can check out the whole issue here (and, if you’ve only got a minute, I might go so far as to recommend you take a look at Mark DuCharme’s “Understood” or Michael Rerick’s excerpt from Moss). Happy reading!

 

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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!

 

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&, 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.

 

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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.

 

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Performance at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival with Vocamus Press

Howdy all!

I just wanted to check in to mention how excited I am to be performing at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival this weekend! I managed to make it out to the festival last fall and was pretty much swept off my feet–it was amazing to see so many writers and readers gathered to celebrate literature on the gravel roads and riverside lawns of pretty much the most picturesque village you’ll find in Southern Ontario. (Plus, I’ve heard that I’ll get a chance to schmooze at gala dinners on Saturday and Sunday night.) If you can make it out to Eden Mills (just down the road from Guelph) this Sunday, I highly recommend checking out the festival; aside from a tonne of authors reading at different times throughout the afternoon (here’s the schedule), there are also book tables staffed by a bunch of publishers, and a pretty strong chance you might run into someone you know from the Toronto-area literary scene.

I’ll be reading at 1:30 on Sunday (the main festival day) at the Rivermead site along with three outstanding Guelph-area authors: James Clarke, Candace de Taeye, and Andrea Perry (you can find us all on the authors page, too–just scroll down!). Many, many thanks to Jeremy Luke Hill of Vocamus Press, who organized the set and will be introducing us. Of course, I’ll also have some copies of Players for sale if any listeners happen to take an interest. Hope to see you there!

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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!

 

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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).

 

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Microlit review of Zane Koss’s Warehouse Zone at The Town Crier

Hi everyone,

I’ve already shared this on social media, but I wanted say a few more words about the “microlit” review of Zane Koss’s Warehouse Zone I wrote for The Town Crier (The Puritan‘s “bloggy appendage), which was published last Wednesday. The review is part of (the first part of, in fact) an ongoing series of microlit reviews the blog introduced last week; rather than try to define the term “microliterature” or the mission of the series myself, I’ll refer you to this introductory post written by The Town Crier’s editor, Jason Freure, which does a really excellent job of framing the extended project. It’s probably needless to say that I’m 100% behind it.

If you haven’t read it already, I hope you do take a look at my review of Warehouse Zone, which is really an amazing work of post-conceptual writing. I also hope the review might lead a few more people to read the complete chapbook, however difficult that may be; the project was printed in a very limited run last summer by Publication Studio Guelph and has not been widely advertised since. I’ve been told that the book will be available at the brand-new Publication Studio webstore very soon, so you should definitely be on the lookout for it. And if you’re really anxious, you should be able to get a copy sent to you (for only $5, + shipping and handling) by emailing PS directly, as noted on the book’s listing here.

Aside from the opportunity to review Warehouse Zone specifically, I’m also super-proud of the strong showing Guelph is making in the microlit scene, at least as far a The Town Crier defines it. It so happens that the blog’s second microlit review was written by my friend Jeremy Luke Hill at Guelph’s Vocamus Press on the fantastic Fenylalanine Publishing, who I released a chapbook with earlier this year. It’s also worth pointing out that Zane Koss is a founding member of the &, collective, a really excellent bunch of young poets I’ve been working with since September and will be releasing a chapbook with very, very soon (so stay tuned for that).

As usual, it won’t be long before I have more news. Until then, keep reading microlit!

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