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.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Alexis vs. Gilmour

Anne Kingston has done a nice job writing up the rather dreary "feud" between two novelists who talk a lot of shit. She highlights my response to a particularly smelly piece of Andre Alexis bullshit in her piece, but seems to think the title of my book is meant more unironically than it is.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Confirmation Bias at Work

It seems to me that, when we lost our aesthetic pleasure in the human presence as a thing to be looked at and contemplated, at the same time we ceased to enjoy human act and gesture, which civilzation has always before found to be beautiful even when it was also grievous or terrible, as the epics and tragedies and the grandest novels testify. Now when we read history, increasingly we read it as a record of cynicism and manipulation. We assume that nothing is what it appears to be, that it is less and worse, insofar as it might once have seemed worthy of respectful interest. We routinely disqualify testimony that would plead for extenuation. That is, we are so persuaded of the rightness of our judgment as to invalidate evidence that does not confirm us in it. Nothing that deserves to be called truth could ever be arrived at by such means. If truth in this sense is essentially inaccessible in any case, that should only confirm us in humility and awe.

--Marilynne Robinson, The Death of Adam


I have a lot of time for what Robinson says here. Unfortunately, she follows this paragraph, the last in the introductory essay of her collection, with an essay so thoroughly tendentious in its arguments (broadly, against what she calls "Darwinism"), so selectively blind to extenuating testimony, that it could have been the target of the quotation above. In the first essay, she castigates writers on Calvinism for having no works by Calvin in their bibliographies. I got so irked reading caricatures of various philosophers and scientists in the second essay that I flipped to the back to check out her bibliography. There was none. It's pretty shocking that she seems to have been deaf to these ironies.

Here is an excellent response to Robinson's essay.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Some love for CLM

My old friend Mark Sampson (who I've known since we lived in the same dorm at the University of King's College in 1995-96) has posted a review of Career Limiting Moves on his blog. I'm especially glad that he highlighted my review of Souvankham Thammavongsa's Found, as it's a piece I'm particularly proud of. (I was also glad to hear recently that Thammavongsa's wonderful follow-up collection, Light, has been shortlisted for Ontario's Trillium Prize.)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Waypoints broadside

When I was crowdfunding my trip to Paris a few months ago, one of the perks available was a broadside featuring the four poems set to music by Erik Ross and performed by Phillip Addis and Emily Hamper. I got word from Gaspereau the other day that, after some mechanical problems at the press that delayed production, the Waypoints broadside has now been printed. Andrew Steeves has produced only twenty copies, exactly the number I need to fulfill the perk claims, so there will be none for sale. Nevertheless, it looks so pretty that I just had to share.





Earlier this month, on Mother's Day, the full four-song sequence was performed for the first time at Montreal's Conservatoire de Musique (the score for "Broken" was not finished early enough for it to be rehearsed for the recitals in Toronto and Paris). I was in attendance, along with Rachel and a number of friends, among the seventy or so audience members (mostly members of Montreal's Société d'Art Vocal, which was hosting the recital). It was another brilliant performance and people were excited that I was actually there, since the creators of most of the music they hear are no longer living. The Société provided excellent hospitality, including a post-recital reception at their private club. So good to hear the full sequence; it will be interesting to see, in coming years, if any other performers incorporate it into their repertoire.

Monday, April 21, 2014

SUNK COSTS


The fact that I persist despite the futile
nature of this brutal quest is no
proof that I want reason. If bloated
bait lingers on my line and I hammer stakes
three fingers deeper into carbonized
humus, you mustn't see me as apostle
to St. Anthony, follower of fool's
errands or keeper of extinguished flames.
Ceteris paribus et mutatis mutandis,
if I don't brake or bail, it's because I can't
go on, but, like Sisyphus who is,
of course, just like the rest of us, I must.
Now is no time to reckon or cut loss—
now is when I must honour my sunk costs.