Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blog, blog, blog

Jacob Mooney, who clearly has more time for blogging than yrs truly (I have one foot out the door as I type this) weighs in with a thoughtful post about blogging. One thing I've noted is that, however "well read" CLM is, my traffic has been steadily dropping since November. It may be that I've been blogging less (or less interestingly); it may be that more people are following blogs thru one feed engine or another and so dropping in randomly less often. Or it may be that people are simply reading (my) blog(s) less. All I know is that I gots to go.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Handmade

After a day of finishing work on a flagstone patio in my backyard, it's fitting that, upon checking my email, I learned that my gorgeously designed book has been chosen for a Literary Press Group campaign promoting books that are beautifully made. Sweet.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So disturbing

Apparently, some poets' work is tailored for toddlers:

Enormous Boons

Jake Mooney in conversation with Peter Norman

I've raved about Peter Norman's poetry here before; here's another chance to see what a smart feller he is.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Enjoy the Silence

Recent drought of posting due to yours truly being busier than a hen picking pepper out of horseshit. Mostly railroading, with an unhealthy dose of freelance work. Hardly any time for my family of late, much less for you lot. But never fear, I'll be back.

Reviews online

The following reviews are now online, for your reading pleasure:

Suzanne Hancock, Cast from Bells






Friday, August 6, 2010

ORTHOPAEDIC DEVICE

After his accident, one-quarter shaved
(plus spot buzzes for i.v. and pain patch)
with what looks for all the world like a massive
safety pin running the length of his smashed
upper leg to keep the snapped humerus
stable, that the two halves might fuse back
usably, Sammy lounges, unaware
of his luck and the fact that his eight-life brush
with the Black Cat (viz. the bumper or tire
of whatever car hit him) has cost us
two dozen times his replacement value
and then some. And then there's our small son, who
loves that cat fiercely, but whom we must watch
like anxious parents, to ensure he
does his beloved no permanent injury.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Some Love for Jailbreaks

Always nice to see written responses to a book two years after it's been published (i.e., long after it's been actively promoted and stocked by stores, in 99% of cases), but I was especially pleased to be alerted to this review of Jailbreaks by Jonathan Ball. I appreciate the review not so much for the generous things it says about the quality of the book--I take praise or censure as pretty much value-neutral qualities in reviews of my work--but for the clarity and intelligence of certain insights Ball has. Most notably this: " I’ve never been convinced that the sonnets of the more radical poets, poets whose work I admire profoundly, have ever really been that great. " Which is, for me, far more the issue at hand than aesthetic affiliation, which was of no interest to me in assembling the book. Ball goes on to mention a specific sonnet by BP Nichol, which I was glad to see. That sonnet, which has been anthologized by Gary Geddes, was on my longlist and came close to making the cut, but I ultimately felt that it had only made it that far because of my own eagerness to be as eclectic as possible in my choices; I cut it because I couldn't in good faith include it at the expense of a stronger poem. Ball's assessment of that poem's failure--both as a poem and as a poke in the sonnet's ribs--is bang on.


One of the things I was hoping Jailbreaks would do is open up and reorient discussions of what it means to be "traditional" or "innovative." So I was also glad to see Jonathan point out poems by Klein and Elsted, poets who aren't associated with the avant-garde, but who are far more innovative in their manipulations of diction, syntax and grammar--particularly in the two poems cited--than most poets who claim to be "experimental." Elsted's poem was one of my favourite discoveries while doing research for the book, not just because of its formal uniqueness, but because I knew of him only as a printer/publisher prior to coming across his lone trade poetry collection in the stacks at Dalhousie's Killam library.