Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UNB Poetry Weekend 2014

After missing the last couple of years, I was back at UNB's annual Poetry Weekend this year and brought my digital recorder with me. I was there with Rachel and our son, so part of the weekend had to be dedicated to kid-friendly activities (as Kaleb said to me when I suggested he might listen to my reading, "But daddy, that would be BORING!"), so we missed the first set of readings on Saturday. I've uploaded the other five recordings to Internet Archive.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review in print

A while back, a review I wrote for the Telegraph Journal fell victim to an editorial changeover, but fortunately, the good people at Vallum found a home for my thoughts on Ricardo Sternberg's most recent book, Some Dance. I just received the issue in the mail today. It includes, among many other things, a three-page poem by Karen Solie, intriguingly called "Via." Which I will read as soon as I finish editing my damn book.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mark Kingwell on Jailbreaks

My superlative publisher, Biblioasis, is celebrating ten years of kicking ass in the book world this year. Part of the party is testimonials from people about favourite Biblioasis titles. Philosopher and public intellectual Mark Kingwell has chimed in with some very flattering words of praise for Jailbreaks, my anthology of sonnets.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


My poem "There Is Something Intractable in Me" has been included in a new anthology edited by Shane Neilson for Frog Hollow Press: Play: Poems About Childhood. I haven't had a chance to dig into the book yet, but at a glance it's an intriguingly eclectic collection of poets and poems.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Finding in 'primitive' languages a dearth of words for moral ideas, many people assumed these ideas did not exist. But the concepts of 'good' or 'beautiful', so essential to Western thought, are meaningless unless they are rooted to things. The first speakers of language took the raw material of their surroundings and pressed it into metaphor to suggest abstract ideas. The Yaghan tongue--and by inference all language--proceeds as a system of navigation. Named things are fixed points, aligned or compared, which allow the speaker to plot the next move. Had [Thomas] Bridges uncovered the range of Yaghan metaphor, his work would never have come to completion. Yet sufficient survives for us to resurrect the clarity of their intellect.
What shall we think of a people who defined 'monotony' as 'an absence of male friends?' Or, for 'depression', used the word that described the vulnerable phase in a crab's seasonal cycle, when it has sloughed off its old shell and waits for another to grow? Or who derived 'lazy' from the Jackass Penguin? Or 'adulterous' from the hobby, a small hawk that flits here and there, hovering motionless over its next victim?


The layers of metaphorical associations that made up their mental soil shackled the Indians to their homeland with ties that could not be broken. A tribe's territory, however uncomfortable, was always a paradise that could never be improved on. By contrast the outside world was Hell and its inhabitants no better than beasts.

--Bruce Chatwin, In Patagonia

Reprinted poem online

My poem "We Are More or Less," recently reprinted by Geist magazine, is now up on their website and making the rounds on social media. It's not a bad time for this to be posted, with the rupture of the under-built Mount Polley tailings pond and Canadapologist Shane Koyczan poised to go on tour with David Suzuki et al. Yup, we are more.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Poem reprinted

My spoken-word poem/op-ed rant "We Are More or Less," which was originally published in Vancouver Review, has been reprinted (with a slightly modified title) from Career Limiting Moves by Geist magazine in their latest issue.

 You can also hear me deliver the piece:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Interview and poems online and in print

I'm pleased and honoured to be featured in the very first issue of The Humber Literary Review. They've posted an interview and two poems on their website.

The poems are both from the manuscript of my next collection, which is to be called Sum. I have just recently sent the manuscript in to publisher and editor (my good friend Carmine Starnino, who also edited Track & Trace), and I'm told it should be in print early spring of 2015.

Translation lost and found

Regular readers of this blog (if there are any left) will recall that I went to Mexico a couple of years ago to take part in the Linares International Literary Festival, organized by Irish-Canadian expat Colin Carberry. With the help of a crowd funding campaign, I hired a translator, Lidia Valencia Fourcans, to convert ten of my poems into Spanish. After I came back from Mexico, my publisher asked me if Lidia and I could write something for Biblioasis' translation blog. We did, and sent it on, but in the midst of much other busyness at the press, the blog went into hibernation before my piece was posted. One of the things Jesse Eckerlin has done since joining team Biblioasis is reanimate the translation blog. Then I remembered that I still had this piece. And now, at last, it's up on the blog, for your reading pleasure.

And I still have some copies of the translation chapbook, if anyone wants to buy one.