Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pivot podcast: Blackman, Warner and Wells

Loyal CLM readers may remember a much talked-about reading I was doing in February at the Pivot reading series. I meant to post the podcast when it went up last month, but it slipped my mind till now. Click play to hear Jeff Blackman, Pat Warner and, finally, meself.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Bill, I know you loved driving down to the sea
from that crazy river-abounding town,

as all things that flow—and all things flow
quoth Heraclitus—ineluctably must. So here I be

on this beach doing what I like doing best
(because I too, pressed by the mouths I feed

and wearied by work, have turned from poesy,
which is to say it has abandoned me):

I am stacking one red rock atop another,
taking them as they come, fitting them snug

with no chisel or hammer, giving to each face
a bit of batter, so that one stone supports

the stones it leans upon and settles firm
against the hearting. Which is a stupid

futile stay against entropy, since even
the cliffs at my back are one good storm

from crumbling, but fuck it, Bill, it should
withstand at least one tide, and it served

no sensible function in the first place, now did it?

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


The rebel Viking hairs that copper-threaded
my Semitic iron spade were first to fade
silver as fuck tomorrow ceded way to fretting

over pension and investments. Berserk
no more in middle age, nihilistic
abnegation whelmed by surging waves

of care for kin and colleagues' welfare,
I laid aside my pen and page, muted
rage and issued antiseptic grievance.

And grieve I did, my father, for you, whose
rogue and sober ways have forged me
even as your blood and the auburn hairs

of the grizzled beard you daily shaved bequeathed
to me the tempered mettle of my steel—
and debility in speaking what I feel.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sum gets some love

My book Sum was published over a year ago. It got one review right away, in Quill & Quire, but not much noise about it since. Until today, thanks to reviewer Alison Goodwin in Arc Poetry Magazine. I don't usually comment on my reviews, but this one is uncommonly perceptive. I know how challenging it can be, how much work it takes, to say much of substance in a 500 word piece, having written a lot of them myself, and Goodwin, whose work I don't recall having seen before, really nails it here.

As a writer and editor, I've always felt that if you are conscientious about how you put your book together, it will lead a good reader to make connections and hear rhymes you didn't necessarily know were there to be heard. A lot of my critical work has involved ferreting out such correspondences (the title of my next prose collection will be Correspondences, in fact). There are a lot of intentional echoes and references in Sum and I arranged the poems deliberately to make the most of the book's motifs, to make the book itself a poem. Goodwin has picked out a couple of things I hadn't consciously considered before, which is a real treat.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Cinema of the Present meets The Prelude

An essay of mine on Lisa Robertson and William Wordsworth, an earlier, abridged version of which was published by Arc Poetry Magazine, has just been published online by The Critical Flame.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Review Online

My review of Elena Johnson's debut collection, Field Notes for the Alpine Tundra is now up at Arc Poetry Magazine's site.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sun, Wind & Wood

I just found out that Sun, Wind & Wood, a 1977 NFB doc about alternative/renewable energy R&D on PEI is online. My father is featured prominently in it, and yours truly even makes a couple of cameos. Ultimately pretty grim, since we're only really starting to see the kind of investment of "social capital" in these technologies that my dad advocated as urgent forty years ago.

Sun, Wind and Wood by Dorothy Todd Hénaut, National Film Board of Canada