Wednesday, March 27, 2013

On Mentors and Tormentors

Alexandra Oliver talks about her forthcoming collection, Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway, a book I had the pleasure and honour of editing for Biblioasis. It's a good one, kids.

"The poems in Tormentors are not all about bees or bullies, but they do deal with the way in which life torments one in small ways, in the most mundane of environments. When I wrote these poems, I was living with my family in a bedroom community reputed to be the third best place to live in Canada.
If you’re the kind of person who longs for a split-level home with a two-car garage, who likes lining up for an hour at festivals to buy ribs and listen to Guess Who cover bands, who enjoys doing boot camp fitness, playing laser tag with co-workers, campaigning for the Conservative party, or getting plastic surgery, this would definitely be your kind of town.
It wasn’t my kind of town."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Initiation Rites

I had a fabulous time last night being inducted into the University of King's College's Haliburton Society, the longest running university literary society in North America. I wasn't quite quick enough on the draw with my dictaphone, so the recording starts in the middle of Haliburton President Ariel Weiner's introductory remarks, alas.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Upcoming Doings

Just got back from a two-week jaunt in southern Portugal with my mother and my son, and I'm now looking forward to a spate of events over then next couple of weeks. If you're in the vicinity of any of these gigs, I'd love it if you dropped by:

Monday, March 25; 8:30 pm; University of King's College, Senior Common Room: I have been named this year's "Honorary Member" of UKC's venerable literary club, The Haliburton Society, and as such will be giving a reading. This is particularly cool from my p.o.v. because I attended King's way back when. Snacks and drinks, I'm told, will be provided at the post-reading reception.

Tuesday, March 26; 7:30 pm; Dalhousie University Killam Library, Special Collections Room (5th Floor): I'm reading with Rachel Lebowitz. This will be the first Halifax reading for Rachel from Cottonopolis, following a very successful mini-tour in Ontario and Montreal. I'll be reading more or less exclusively from my not-yet published chapbook, Baffle.

Thursday, April 4; 6:30 pm; The Company House, 2202 Gottingen St., Halifax: I will be hosting the launch of Rachel Lebowitz's Cottonopolis. Joining Rachel from Ottawa will be her fellow Pedlar Press author Sandra Ridley.

Friday, April 5; 7:00 pm; Fables Club, Tatamagouche, NS: Rachel and I will be reading at this fantastic venue, one of Nova Scotia's hidden gems.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Reading lessons

The notion that it was animals who taught us to read may seem counterintuitive, but listening to skilled hunters analyze tiger sign is not that different from listening to literature majors deconstruct a short story. Both are sorting through minutiae, down to the specific placement and inflection of individual elements, in order to determine motive, subtext, and narrative arc. An individual track may have its own accent or diacritical marks that distinguish the intent of a foot, or even a single step, from the others. On an active game trail, as in one of Tolstoy's novels, multiple plots and characters can overlap with daunting subtlety, pathos, or hair-raising drama. Deciphering these palimpsests can be more difficult than reading crossed letters from the Victorian era, and harder to follow than the most obscure experimental fiction. However, with practice, as Henno Martin wrote in The Sheltering Desert, "you learn to rread the writing of hoof, claw and pad. In fact before long you are reading their message almost subconsciously."
--John Vaillant, The Tiger

Review online

My review of Walid Bitar's Divide & Rule is now up at Arc's website.

Cottonopolis Tour

Rachel's book arrived from the printer the other day and, as we've come to expect from Pedlar Press, it is drop-dead gorgeous. If you'd like a signed copy, you can drop me a line. It's $20, but can also be purchased along with her first book, Hannus, for a total of $30, or with our children's book, Anything But Hank!, for $35. All prices include tax, but not S&H, if required.

Speaking of which, if you'd prefer to get a copy from her in person, Rachel will be touring Cottonopolis in Kingston, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal very soon. Details:

Monday, March 11: Kingston, The Grad Club (upstairs, 162 Barrie Street), 8 pm. Reading with Michael e. Casteels and Elizabeth Greene. 

Tuesday, March 12: Toronto, Art Bar, Q Space, (382 College St West). 8 pm. Reading with Robert Colman and Clea Roberts.

Wednesday March 13: Toronto, Pivot Reading (The Press Club
850 Dundas Street W), 8 pm. Reading with Dave Cameron and Cary Fagan.

Thursday, March 14: Ottawa, Raw Sugar Cafe (692 Somerset St W), 5:30 pm. Reading with Sandra Ridley.

Friday, March 15: Montreal, Argo Books (1915 rue Sainte-Catherine ouest) 8 pm (doors open at 7:30 pm). Reading with Stephanie Bolster and Sarah Burgoyne. 

There will also be readings and launches coming up in Halifax, Tatamagouche and Moncton. I'll post about those as the dates draw closer. I'll be sharing the stage with Rachel for some of these and also have some events of my own over the horizon. Seems the winter ice is starting to thaw.