Wednesday, February 20, 2013


life's abrupt abatement
expiry robbed of its last breath

dead pledge paid dearly
negative legacy left

a loan is only heavy
when the borrow's badly spent

Friday, February 15, 2013


I returned home from an unexpected railroad trip last night and waiting in my mail pile was The Puritan Compendium I. In it are poems and fictions drawn from five years and eighteen issues of The Puritan. This includes two very weird poems of mine, "New Standards" and "Dramatic Stories." The book is beautiful, contains lots of good writing and has been printed in a ltd. edition of 100 copies, so if you'd like one, you'd best act fast. The Puritan has been very good to yours truly over the years. Besides the poems, they also published this great interview I did with Jesse Eckerlin.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Don Paterson interview

Don Paterson, besides being a brilliant poet and critic, is one of my favourite literary curmudgeons:

Unfortunately [experiment] is a word we do sometimes use in that context—as if there were any sexy virtue in experiment for its own sake, which I just don't believe. I mean—so you've done a homophonic translation of Cavafy in three-letter words and substituted every noun for one four entries along in the dictionary—big fuckin' deal. It's kid's stuff, only kids wouldn't trouble themselves with it because Minecraft is far more fun and creative. Wee word games.

Thanks to Carmine for pointing out the interview.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The terrible thing about ... any of the mechanisms and patented insights that make up so much of any style, is that they are habit-forming, something the style demands in ever-increasing quantities. We learn subtle variations or extensions we once would have thought impossible or nonexistent; but we constantly permit ourselves excesses, both in quantity and quality, that once would have appalled us. That is how styles--and more than styles--degenerate. Stylistic rectitude, like any other, is something that has to be worked at all the time, a struggle--like sleeping or eating or living--that permits only temporary victories; and nothing makes us more susceptible to a vice than the knowledge that we have already overcome it. (The fact that one once used an argument somehow seems to give one the right to ignore it.)
--Randall Jarrell

Monday, February 4, 2013

Essay in Print

I received my copy of The New Quarterly 125 today, in which you can find my essay, "A Walking Shadow." It was one of the hardest, most personal things I've ever written and while looking at it in print saddens me, I am very proud of the essay. The issue looks like it has some really fine stuff in it, including work by D.W. Wilson, a talented young fiction writer I read with last year at IFOA, and the always interesting Jeffery Donaldson.