Saturday, February 27, 2010

Reviews Online

My reviews of Stephen Rowe's Never More There and Joe Denham's Windstorm are now online at Quill & Quire's website.

Pretty uneventful trip to Montreal, tho there was a nifty stretch during which we passed thru an ice storm outside of Moncton. There were birches bowed down to the ground all over--which of course made me think of Robert Frost's poem--and the train kept getting whipped by them as we passed.

And oh yeah, Michael Enright was on the train. Apparently he's doing some kind of cross-Canada special for The Sunday Edition. Had a brief word with him; seems a nice fellow.

Here's the audio of my "Birches" reading:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bad News that Could Have Been Much Worse

This is the sort of thing train attendants get trained for, but hope never happens on their shift. When I heard about the derailment this morning, I went straight to Facebook to find out what wasn't on the news. Fortunately, no crew were hurt and only a handful of passengers suffered relatively minor injuries (the worst being, apparently, a dislocated shoulder).

The chaos that ensues after a major service disruption is usually of benefit to those of us low on the seniority totem pole and such was the case for me today, as I got called to work a trip tomorrow--my first assignment since December. In some ways bad timing, as I have a number of tight deadlines right now, but when a trip comes my way, I'd be an idiot to turn it down. So I'm digging into the back of the closet for my uniform and heading off tomorrow morning. Hi ho, hi ho. Somehow, I have the feeling it won't be a routine trip...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"a mid-level coterie of moderately capable reviewers and a small army of discursively challenged poets"

David Kosub on the state of poetry reviewing. A rather more thoughtful analysis than some other recent essays I can think of.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Audio: ZW live in Cobourg!

Terrific reading tonight in Cobourg. Excellent audience for poetry in this town, I tell you what.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Tomorrow, I board a train for Montreal and from there to Cobourg, ON, where I'll be reading Thursday night at 7 at MEET at 66 King St. East. I've heard nothing but raves about the audience in Cobourg, so I'm looking forward to it enormously. I'll make a tape and post it here for anyone who can't make it--which I assume would be most people reading this.

From Cobourg, I'm going to Ottawa for two nights, where I'll be doing interviews and research for an article I'm writing for Reader's Digest. Nothing but jetsetting--well, trainsetting--in the life of a freelancer, I tell you what.

Monday, February 15, 2010

We Are More or Less

My response to Shane Koyczan's decidedly un-nuanced love poem to Canada:

(n.b.: for reasons unfathomable to me, it sometimes stops 2 seconds before the end. Playing it once will rectify the problem; the second run thru will go right to the end.)

If you'd like to download/share/embed this on your own blog, which you're more than welcome to do, you can do so from the Internet Archive site.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blatant Ripoff or "Homage"?

Can you see the difference?

The Good Morrow

In honour of this over-hyped Hallmark holiday, I thought I'd repost my reading of John Donne's immortal poem "The Good Morrow":


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Audio: Essential James Reaney launch

A fabulous event last night, launching The Essential James Reaney. It's unfortunate that I have only an audio recording, because it means you can't see me reading "The Baby" while sitting on a tiny child's chair.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nota Bene

A fun li'l debate's raging over at Vox Populism. The hotly contested topic: Endnotes--helpful hint or slippery slope to hell-in-a-handbasket? Weigh in!

A belated happy birthday, Ms. Bishop

Just found out that Elizabeth Bishop, were she still living, would have turned 99 yesterday. Bishop is one of my absolute favourite poets and despite the fact that her publisher wouldn't let me include her in a Canadian anthology, her roots run deep in Nova Scotia. Check out this new blog, set up by the very vital Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia as part of their Bishop centennial celebrations.

And when you're done with that, you can listen to my reading of Bishop's great villanelle, "One Art."

Better yet, check out Bishop herself reading.

The Essential James Reaney Launch

Tomorrow night (Wednesday) at 7 pm, the latest installment in The Porcupine's Quill's "Essential" series is being launched here in Halifax, at the St. Mary's U Art Gallery. James Reaney's poems have been selected and introduced by Brian Bartlett and Brian has invited me and I believe 11 other local writers to read a poem. I'll be reading "The Baby," a poem I podcast here a while back. Should be a very fun event; hope you can make it out.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Folks would think it was the moon

Or the first man on the moon. Yes, folks, that thar astronaut is carved out of a big honkin block of cheese. By the cheese lady pictured. A woman after James McIntyre's cheddar-lovin' heart.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Still Waters

Thanks to Carmine for pointing out this lovely documentary from 1990 on PK Page. I did exactly what Carmine suggested: stopped what I was doing and watched it. I recommend you do the same.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Audio: Lebowitz, Burdick, Wells

A terrific reading last night at the Halifax Public Library. Thanks to those who came and for those who couldn't make it, herewith the audio of Rachel Lebowitz, Alice Burdick and meself. Enjoy.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Upcoming: CNQ 78

I'm very excited about the next issue of CNQ, which has apparently gone to the printers. The coolest thing about it is a festschrift for one of the country's most under-appreciated senior poets: John Smith. Besides my contribution (an expanded version of a piece I wrote several years ago), there are many other takes from different angles on Smith's enormous literary and educational contributions. And best of all, a chapbook's worth of Smith's own innovative and mind-expanding sonnets. This is going to be a great issue. Kudos to Dave Hickey for pulling together the Smith section.

Some love for Meniscus

Dan Wells has posted a nice little review of Shane Neilson's book, published in the New Brunswick newspaper The Telegraph Journal. Although Meniscus is currently outperforming Track & Trace on, I nevertheless urge you to go get a copy. But please, support your local independent bookseller.