Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ride the Train


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Audio: "It's Dark in Here"

Our friend Denise gave us a beautiful edition of Where the Sidewalk Ends for K's birth. Some very fun stuff, including "It's Dark in Here." (Which is how it feels much of the time...)

Thou Shalt Teach CanLit

Regular readers of CLM might remember a post last year about the proposed legislation of mandatory Canadian content in BC high schools. Well, the bad guys won. The battle anyway. I'm still slugging away over at the Quillblog, if anyone cares.

UPDATE: Thanks to Peter Darbyshire at CanCult, who reminded me about this relevant article and the discussion that ensued. I'd completely forgotten about it.

UPDATE II: Thanks to Finn Harvor for reminding me that this interview I did with him also dealt with the CanLit in the schools issue. I'm glad someone's keeping track of these things...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Report on World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia

Today's youth are deeply troubled. Thanks to Mike for pointing out this post.

Kaleb Wells, Superbaby

Just got back from our three-week post-partum visit with the midwife. Kaleb now weighs in at 10 lbs. 14 oz., which means that he's put on 24 oz. (1.5 lbs) over the last 12 days. The high end of normal for such a period at his age would be around 15 oz. There was another baby there who was born the same day as K. and it was freakin' tiny! (circa 7 lbs.) Hard not to feel smugly superior. Numbers aside, the little guy is clearly thriving.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Audio: "Ode on Melancholy"

A couple of separate references to John Keats today led me to revisit "Ode on Melancholy." I'm not the biggest Keats fan, but this is an exceptionally fine poem.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Audio: Hart Crane's "Passage"

Been too long since I did an audio post. Flipping thru The Complete Poems of Hart Crane, I alit on "Passage."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Trip Report

A pretty smooth trip up. From Vancouver to Jasper, my dome car was reserved for the use of tour group comprised of wealthy Americans. This tour company has a special arrangement with my employers to do this, and no doubt it helps to pay my salary, but it's not a very cool thing for the other paying passengers who are excluded from the dome and forced to crowd into the other two. The director of this tour has a rep for being a nuisance, but I've found that nuisances are easily disarmed, if you know what you're doing and don't insist on butting heads with them.

After Jasper, it was pretty quiet. I had a few Australians in my car, two of whom took to calling me "Curly" and have christened Kaleb "Curly Jr." We got along very well.

After some anti-social time, a shower and a nap, I went out to see The Dark Knight with some co-workers. On many levels an impressive action film, but not the Second Coming a lot of the critics are making it out to be. Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker is very worth seeing, however.

Tomorrow, I have to report an hour early for a "Hazard Prevention Briefing." This promising to be extremely dull, but I should get paid 6 hours for it, since it's "over and above" my regular assignment, hence time-and-a-half, and the minimum number of hours for a callout is four. The extent of my employers' penny wisdom and pound foolishness never ceases to amaze me.

Can't wait to get home. I got a report from Rachel that Kaleb is now looking at things in a focussed way.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Off to Winnipeg

Somehow, my days off have evaporated and I'm back off to Winnipeg in a few hours. Which shouldn't affect the activity here at CLM too much...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Shitting on things is so 1999

Thanks to Bookninja for pointing out this lampoon of avant-garde conventions. So much for the grand plan I had for Kaleb's meconium and the Lawren Harris exhibit.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The history of poetry, like the history of any art form, is not a procession of its “best works.”

So saith Ron Silliman. And he's right. However, the history of poetry, like the history of any art form, is not the art form itself. Silliman repeatedly confuses the history and politics of the poetry world for poetry. Of course, this macro-view (you might almost think that a professional market analyst came up with it...) makes schools, movements and conflicts between them more relevant than the poems produced. Which is an odd position for someone who claims to be a poet to stake. It's really more of a scholar's stance. For most amateur readers of poetry, it's those great works that matter, no matter when they were written.

Trip Report

Got back from Winnipeg yesterday, utterly wiped from the trip. Every third trip I make, there's no Winnipeg layover and this was one of them; it makes for three straight days of 18+ hours, which is one thing on solid ground, but that much more tiring on a moving train. It's good to be home with Rachel and Kaleb, who has gotten over some early feeding difficulties and is now probably back over his birth weight; the weigh-in tomorrow should confirm it. He's a bit of a vampire at this point, up all night and endlessly ravenous. He's much calmer and sleeps more during the day.

The trip went pretty well, especially the return portion. A few times in my work, I've received applause from the passengers at trip's end, and this was one of them. This, along with the gratuities showered upon me, was quite gratifying. Much as I'd like to attribute this to my charm and wit, a lot of it has to do with the passengers themselves. This was a particularly good bunch, which made it that much easier to engage with them. (I wonder if it's a coincidence that there was a higher than usual number of Canadians in my car...) I think part of it is that I've been in an exceptionally good mood since Kaleb's birth. In years past, I was quite adamant about never having kids. I'm glad I changed my stance on that.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Some Commentary About Jailbreaks...

...about which, the less said, the better.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Questions of Nationality

A little piece I wrote about Elizabeth Bishop's regrettable exclusion from Jailbreaks is now online at Maisonneuve's website.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'm off to Winnipeg for a bit of a rest tomorrow (Friday). Fortunately, Rachel's mom will be camping out here while I'm gone. This is hard to type, as a swaddled Kaleb is occupying my left forearm. Toodles. Back Tuesday.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Interview online

Literary portrait artist extraordinaire Don Denton has just posted an interview with me, focusing primarily on Jailbreaks.

It's Official

I'm a father! Rachel gave birth to 9 lb. 3 oz. Kaleb Dovin Wells this morning at 1:33, after an incredibly impressive 13 hour labour. All members of the household are now home and happy.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

It's Official

I'm a BC poet! My poem, "Heron, False Creek" has been accepted for publication in Rocksalt, a new anthology of BC poetry. "Heron, False Creek" had its debut here on CLM last March. Interestingly, the phrase "shitty creek" recently became very literally true. Life mirrors art, I guess...

Friday, July 4, 2008


Such a slim barrow into which to stuff
A life; such a narrow beam to cross
And brace the walls. Pollarded and shallow-
Rooted, it resists the winds, persists
Despite its pruning. Stiff and stolid
In its ramrod stance, it stands, but shifts
And strays when no one’s watching. It sees
The road ahead, but is always looking
Back. It asserts and it equivocates.
It makes mistakes. It flirts with grief and grace.
It wears a mask to hide its missing face.

Unsettled review

Just got a google alert for this little review of Unsettled by a pseudonymous blogger in Toronto. I appreciate the observation of both polish and raw in the poems.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Kate Sutherland on Jailbreaks

Kate Sutherland has posted a (very flattering) little review of Jailbreaks on her blog (it's number 11 in her omnibus review).