Tag Archives: review

Review of Brian Kim Stefans’s Word Toys in Chiasma 5

Hi all,

Normally I like to keep my academic and non-academic work semi-separate, but I thought I’d share an academic book review that might be of interest to any experimental poetry connoisseurs reading the blog. My review of Brian Kim Sefans’s Word Toys: Poetry and Technics has just gone online as part of Chiasma: A Site for Thought, a scholarly journal published by some of my friends at Western University’s Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism. The review appears near the end of Chiasma‘s fifth issue, “To Be a Body?”

I enjoyed Word Toys deeply. Stefans is unique in that he is equally attentive to both experimental poetry and continental philosophy, rarely shortchanging one for the benefit of the other. Of course, these topics are both also of special interest to me, so I found it incredibly fruitful to read such a rich take on their intersections. Perhaps you will, too?


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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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Spring 2016 wrap-up

Hi all,

I’m still reeling this weekend after two great readings this past week: at Toronto’s Art Bar poetry series, and at Coburg’s lay your WORD down! open mic. As always, Art Bar’s readers and audience were diverse and surprising, and I was happy to have lit up at least a few folks’ nights with references to Jay Z, Jackie Chan, and MF DOOM in my reading from Players. In Coburg, though, I couldn’t help but feel like I was the talk of the evening; not only did I find my face on the Human Bean’s window (I just had to snap a pic) along with Wally Keeler’s review of Players, but I also got to make my mark (however temporary) on the “Stanza Room Only” section of downtown Coburg’s sidewalk. It was a strange scene: a group of poets gathering in public, quite late, and with a car pulled up half onto the sidewalk to make a writing lamp of its headlights, all for the ceremony of scratching out a few words in chalk. There’s something inspiring about this that I haven’t quite put my finger on yet. Many thanks, in any case, to Wally Keeler for the photo, and to James Pickersgill for being such a welcoming host.

And now, I feel like the summer is opening up in front of me. Spring is over: Players has found its foothold in the world, and I’ve made some good memories and some good friends over the course of the launch events and readings I’ve taken part in over the past few months. For now I’ll be travelling, perhaps not to return to Ontario until August. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to carve out some new audiences for my work over the course of my journeys (and I know for sure that I’ll be reading from Players on at least a few more occasions over the coming months), but I’ll also be looking, with as much concentration as I can muster, toward the future.





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Players review in Northumberland Today

Hi all,

If you’ve got a second, I want to draw your attention to an excellent review of Players in Northumberland Today, written by Wally Keeler. There isn’t much I could say to supplement Keeler’s insights, but I do want to thank him (and the other folks working behind the scenes in Coburg’s poetry community) for his insights, and especially for touching on some of the aspects of Players I’m most proud of. To my eyes, at least (and I really have no idea how meaningful that is), the piece was incredibly illuminating.

If Keeler’s review whets your appetite for more from Players, make sure you catch me at one of my upcoming readings in Toronto (May 31) or Coburg (June 2)!

Happy reading!

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Critical prose and critical poetry in Hamilton Arts & Letters

I promised more updates, and here they are! These ones are especially Hamilton-themed.

First up, two pieces of critical writing I’ve worked on are included in the just-released special insert for Hamilton Arts & Letters issue eight.2. The first is a (somewhat) conventional prose review of Shane Neilson’s The Manifesto of Fervourism, which you can link to here. The manifesto itself is a pretty rousing read (UPDATE: you can read it in the online edition of Ryga 8!), though I’d like to think I have an intriguing take on it, as well. The second piece is still critical, but otherwise completely different: a poetic review of Phil Hall’s Guthrie Clothing (a selected collage of works spanning Hall’s career), written with Shane Neilson in the style of Phil Hall (link here). I’d really recommend taking a look at this one, if only to see how brashly Shane and I have attempted (and perhaps spectacularly failed) to orchestrate the delicate fusion required of the genre of the poetic essay (which Hall himself has spent a fair chunk of time perfecting). Needless to say, my writing for this issue also represents the culmination of my improbable mind meld with Neilson.

While Hamilton Arts & Letters exists more broadly on the world wide web, my second update pertains to something that’s actually (i.e. physically) happening in Hamilton. Specifically, tomorrow (Friday April 22nd) at 12pm I’ll be reading poetry with John Terpstra to open this month’s edition of the Hamilton Central Library’s lunch hour concerts, featuring the Caskey School of Music. If you’re in the Hamilton area and have some free time around lunch, come check it out!

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Review of Daniel Scott Tysdal’s Fauxccasional Poems at The Town Crier

Hi everyone!

A short update: a review/essay (excuse my affirmation of hybrid forms–it’s a tic) I’ve been working on for the past little while, and thinking about much longer, has just been posted at The Puritan‘s fabulous literary blog, The Town Crier. “Excursions in the Art of Lying” is a review of Daniel Scott Tysdal’s new book Fauxccasional Poems, as well as (and in some ways more importantly) some of the performance and video material he’s constructed around it over the last few months. I won’t give too much away, but I do claim at one point that “Tysdal’s poems are not poetry.” If you think that statement begs for context, check out the full review!

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