Sunday, July 19, 2009

He is the very model of a modern major poet...

Blech to the term "major poet," but if the shoe fits anyone it might be this guy.

Speaking of Chrissie Hynde--Debbie an Epic is a rock star poem is it not?

A wee discussion of what is so daunting about Ms. Robertson (once referred to as "the thinking woman's Anne Carson"), over at the Poetry Foundation.

Allen Ginsberg could do what Chrissie Hynde does, though I think rather less around the hips.

Cohen is the obvious exception, but let's not be obvious. Who else?

Eunoia? Bien sur.

Have you heard the Poetry Magazine podcast for the July/August issue?
Kenny? Rock star.

And what's the difference between being a poet with bedhead, a poem with bedhead, and a poem that is a rock-out, anthem-like poem?

In other words, which poem is embedded in your psyche?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Absolutely Awesome

What a poem can't do:

Been there/done that

NP blog has a piece on "status galleys." Could it be the same old same old is finally being outed for being the same old same old in Can Lit?

Yours truly is still looking for a decent anthology of Canadian fiction. I think I've been through them all...there isn't one.

Unless you have any ideas? Seems I'll have to build my own.

Meanwhile another wee literary spat over Lisa Moore



Monday, July 13, 2009

Poetry has left the building...

Quick, someone close the door and bolt it shut.

More fun with rubrick's cubes

Because all art must be in earnest. Courtesy of Mr. Bok


montreal, originally uploaded by kootenayvolcano.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Capilano Review

Okay, you've heard me going on about great TCR is. Now, to urge the gambler in you and give you a more concrete reason to subscribe, they are offering a contest. Enter! Although I suppose if the theme is Olympics you may have to be in Vancouver to realize the impact of that event.
The Capilano Review announces its first contest in ten years. We invite entries of prose – fiction or non-fiction (max 2,000 words) – or poetry (max 300 lines). The winning entry will be published in issue 3.10 (Winter 2010) to be published in early January 2010. This issue will include an Olympics feature. We encourage entrants to submit work that engages the subject of the Olympics, sports, the idea of “the body” . . . but we will also consider non-Olympic content!

Fee: $35 for Canadian entries and $45 for non-Canadian entries (Canadian $).

Prize: $1,000

Deadline for entries: Oct. 15, 2009

Each entry will qualify for a one-year subscription to The Capilano Review. If you already have a subscription, we will extend your subscription or sign up a friend of your choice.

You may submit several entries as long as each entry is accompanied by the relevant fee.

In the interests of preserving anonymity, please include your name only on the cover letter.

The contest will be judged by TCR board members.
Usual submissions policies apply. Click here to find out more information.
Send your entries to

The Capilano Review
2055 Purcell Way
North Vancouver, BC V7J 3H5

Papa Hemingway a spy?

Seems Gertrude Stein isn't the only one to have shady dealings through WWII.

The latter reading would chime with his attempts to assist the US during the second world war in his fishing boat El Pilar, patrolling waters north of Cuba in search of U-Boats, making coded notes but only one sighting.

Revelations made in recent years have not been kind to some of the writers and artists who made their reputations in the Spanish civil war. George Orwell's list of public figures who were crypto-communists, prepared for a Foreign Office propaganda arm in 1949, sullied his saintly image when it was published six years ago. Research in Soviet archives led Antony Beevor to call Andre Malraux a "mythomaniac". Robert Capa has been accused of faking the best-known photo of that conflict. The virulent hatred of Arabs of Martha Gellhorn - Hemingway's third wife, who covered the civil war with him - has been exposed. And now it's the turn of Hemingway himself, the biggest name of all, to lose some of his lustre.

Friday, July 10, 2009

These trees are SICK WITH converting car exhaust and shopper exhale all fucking day!

Oh, Conrad. Here's a snippet from one of CA Conrad's Somatic Poetry exercises over at the online journal Markszine.

THREE: Shopping Mall Trees
for Eileen Myles

Go to a shopping mall parking lot with trees and other landscaping growing between the cars to create this poem. Find a tree you connect with, feel it out, bark, branches, leaves. Sit on it's roots to see if it wants you OFF! These trees are SICK WITH converting car exhaust and shopper exhale all fucking day! Sit with your tree friend. Don't pay attention to the cars coming in and out of the parking lot, you're here to write poetry, not to worry about what a lunatic you appear to be. Remember what our QUEEN poet of merging celestial bodies Mina Loy said, "If you are very frank with yourself and don't mind how ridiculous anything that comes to you may seem, you will have a chance of capturing the symbol of your direct reaction." Public Space is not easy in shopping mall parking lots, but calmly explain yourself to the security guard like I did when creating this exercise. They will train a camera on you, but the sooner you get rid of them the sooner you can train the camera of your brain. Take notes, feverishly at first. Use a magnifying glass to study the dirt, trunk, to look carefully at leaf veins and bark structure. Notes, take notes, writing quickly, as if you've just discovered a sleeping creature that may wake at any moment and ATTACK YOU...
I so get this. The shopping malls of my youth, the spindly trees in their slings, entwined, tagged, uprooted. Sad little trees. Good thing I spent nearly equal amounts of time in the wild, tracking bears and building tree houses...

Sina Queyras, Childhood Landscapes, 2, Guildford

You'll also find some very disturbing conceptual fiction from Vanessa Place. Here is a snippet from "Statement of Facts."
One of the Compton patrol officers who responded to the radio call heard a woman crying inside the home. She unlocked the door with her feet, and the police entered the house. The woman was laying on the living room floor, wearing only a white blouse, her knees and ankles bound with tightly knotted bed sheets. Her elbows and wrists were bound behind her back. Her mouth was gagged with a piece of bed sheet and bound with duct tape, wrapped around the back of her head. She was crying.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Women who write

And are mothers...Daisy Fried, Elizabeth Treadwell, Arielle Greenberg, Joy Katz, Marilyn Hacker, Rachel Blau Duplessis, Vanessa Place...I could go on. Marita Daschel has been publishing a series of interviews with Canadian writers that you might find interesting. Can I recommend the two latest, Marina Endicott and Sara O'Leary? Talk about a risk. A woman writer who identifies as a mother? We might all argue for family values, but we don't tend to want those discussions in our literary world now do we?

But there is much, much more to celebrate!

Some new books:

Rachel Levitsky's Neighbor coming out with Ugly Duckling Presse.

Prismatic Publics, which I blogged about earlier this week, due out very soon from Coach House.

Erin Moure's essay collection My Beloved Wager due out with NeWest! Very good news.

And articles of note:

Flarf gets some respect in both Poetry Magazine and Book Forum.

Kenny stirs up some comments streams with his piece on conceptual writing.

Ron Silliman wades in, stirring it further, with his comments about disjunction and fragmentation...

Sheila Heti on being an artist, also in Book Forum.

A portrait of Renee Gladman up on Les Figues.

Lynn Crosbie on Michael Jackson funeral.

Joyland is worth supporting. Interview over at NPBlog. Big event at The Scream tonight.

Looking back to the Michael Jackson court case on Geist.

Drunken Boat is finally live with ten folios, including a fabulous Conceptual Fiction folio featuring Vanessa Place, Kenny Goldmith, Rob Fitterman, Brian Joseph Davis, Jonathan Ball, Mary Burger and others, as well as a rocking Vispo folio that inlcudes Rachel Blau Duplessis, Ray Hsu, Jen Bervin, Gary Barwin, Sharon Harris, Amand Earl, Kevin McPherson Eckhoff, Geof Huth, and dozens of others!

A spectacular Open Letter issue edited by Kate Eichorn and Barbara Godard, the launch of which is available here (live streaming).

Feminist Poetics Today
guest-edited by Kate Eichorn and Barbara Godard

What are the challenges for feminist poetics today? How has feminist criticism responded to new women's writing? What are the spaces for diffusing this work? How have these changed over the last decade? With these questions, we take up a dialogue begun in Open Letter in 1992. At that time, Lola Lemire Tostevin invited a group of Canadian women writers to articulate their process of writing and contribute to an issue on feminist poetics. Rather than solicit submissions from "the most prominent names," Tostevin "felt it was time we heard from another generation of writers." Fifteen years have passed since the publication of "Redrawing the Lines: The Next Generation" and many of this "next generation" have become established writers. What has happened with feminist poetics since "the next generation"? The literary and political terrains have changed: there are far fewer opportunities to explore women's writing and feminist poetics today than there were in 1992. How have the generations of women writers and critics to emerge since 1992 responded to this situation?

Contributors will include Lola Tostevin, Joanne Arnott, and Margaret Christakos reflecting on their earlier contributions, Sandra Alland, Oana Avasilichioaei, Angela Carr, Jessica Grant, Jill Hartman, Sonnet L'Abbe, Sylvia Legris, Angela Rawlings, Sina Queyras, Natalie Simpson, Nathalie Stephens, Rita Wong, Rachel Zolf, and critics Heather Milne, Christine Kim, Erin Guay, Holly Dupej, John Stout, and Trish Salah.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Prismatic Publics

Very exciting publication coming this September:

Prismatic Publics: Innovative Canadian Women’s Poetry and Poetics,
edited by Kate Eichhorn and Heather Milne, Coach House, 2009

Nicole Brossard, Margaret Christakos, Susan Holbrook, Dorothy Lusk, Karen Mac Cormack, Daphne Marlatt, Erín Moure, M. NourbeSe Philip, Sina Queyras, Lisa Robertson, Gail Scott, Nathalie Stephens, Catriona Strang, Rita Wong, Rachel Zolf.

Thrilled to be in such company. Interview with Kate Eichorn here,

When the rain comes

When the dog bites...

A few of my favorite Tweets

DougCoupland I can't remember the last time I felt we were at the end of something and the start of something new.
about 4 hours ago from web

christianbok Watch yourself freefall from outer space, observing your descent from the viewpoint of the ejected, booster engine:
about 3 hours ago from web

stephenfry Temporary crown in place. Full coronation in three and half weeks. High numbness factor. Drooling like an old man at a netball tournament.
about 2 hours ago from Tweetie

christianbok They calculate the number of atomic warheads within range of your home:
about 7 hours ago from web

christianbok Apparently, 9011 nuclear weapons are, at this moment, capable of being deployed against my evil lair in Calgary, Canada (—beat that…).
about 7 hours ago from web

SarahKSilverman Hey, is it considered molestation if the child makes the first move? I'm gonna need a quick answer on this.
about 7 hours ago from web

amandastern I'm lying in bed reading about codependence wondering why my unspoken needs of needing Chinese food right now are going unmet.
about 7 hours ago from web

sashafrerejones NOES. They're NOT bringing his body out for THE SHOW. Tell me it's TMZ traffic bait and I'll go quietly to my nightmares. HONESTLY. REALLY.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Drunken Boat 10 Spring 2009

Long time coming but the latest Drunken Boat is up. The Hound had a hand in three of these folios, the Mis-Translation, Vispo and Conceptual Fiction. My apologies to those who didn't make it in--we're hoping to add more. Wonderful to see such a mix, and in it, new and familiar Canadian voices.

More to this. Enjoy.

Ah, here it is, the press release:

Drunken Boat, international online journal of the arts, celebrates its tenth anniversary with Issue#10, featuring ten folios and over three hundred writers and artists. Including archival items from the Black Mountain School(1933-1957), 100 contemporary poets, Conceptual Fiction, Electronic Arts, MisTranslation, Visual and Video Poetry, Nonfiction, arts from Asia
and by Tribal Peoples, and our Best in Show, a look back at the last 10 years of Drunken Boat. Now live online and featuring a new blog at:

Join us on Friday, July 10th at the SoHo20 Gallery in NYC to celebrate the
launch of this extraordinary issue.

Friday, July 10th
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
SoHo20 Gallery
511 West 25th St.
Suite 605
NEW YORK, NY 10001

Thanks for your continued support!

Shawna Lemay

Is doing a series of interviews with Canadian women poets including yours truly. I found the following tinyurl for my wee rant:

Am I still having to point this stuff out? Apparently. Why is this so particularly true of the poetry world? The academy has far better numbers.

Cerritos Library

IMG_4234, originally uploaded by choyoungkwan.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Candice Breitz, encore

I have been thinking of Candice Breitz's "Thriller" piece that I wrote about a few years back (here too). There is a lot of footage from Breitz, a conceptual artist (or flarfist perhaps?) who is known for her work with people singing famoust songs--Legend, a piece on Bob Marley, "Working Class Hero," uses John Lenon, "Queen" in which people sing Madonna, and "Thriller," the latter being the only one without an internet footprint. The other thing Breitz does is take existing footage--from movies primarily--and juxtapose or collage images and scenes to reveal certain biases in language and culture. Here is a portion of her work with Meryl Streep:

Friday, July 03, 2009

Amanda Earl on Catherine Owen

2 fires

The gum-rutted edge of the knife
sparked – Victory Square’s old coils
spreading stone in the hot pond the suite became
– not popcorn as the byline read – but crack,
shattering the housecoat & cat image
:innocence. Seconds took the cantilevered
frames, spun possessions to charred
replicas in Pender’s heritage navel.
Iggy Pop & Dal’s Orchestra, Ms. T’s
and the steam room, views
from an émigré’s paintbrush, Rutger’s
negatives, Fred’s tiny birds.
The hostel wall sliced clean as black
cheese, bunks rayed nude to the weather
as thousands of eyes stare smoke-wise,
register the uninsurable landscape.
The kindling snickers, infernos,
skips from bromed crown to sapped
root, gallops its desert over Okanagan
mountain, the valley’s rut, takes the town
in its wisp of indifference and chucks it refugee
from board & plank castles to flee
the mounds of smoke rolling towards them, the fires
that cannot be fought at night.
The next day & the next, its mass
of recklessness gathers, turning black
the briefly tamed crop, stick and parched
the acreage though bombers parturitioned
with floods loosen drop after drop,
silver, into the unseen extent.

by Catherine Owen, Fyre, Alberta Series # 5 (above / ground press, 2008)

2 fires sparked me right away with the sound of “gum-rutted” in the first line. my chief obsessions when it comes to poetry are sound, rhythm and imagery. Owen ignites the poem with the internal uh rhyme of “gum” and “rutted.” to me this use of rutted with gum is also unusual and it gives me pause, which is good. the image of the gum-rutted edge of the knife sparking is visually compelling and then there’s the line’s rhythm and knife-edge ending. the s repetitions of sparked/square/spreading stone. the image of “old coils spreading stone in the hot pond.”
i love the well-painted visuals in the first part: “the suite became/--not popcorn…but crack,/shattering the housecoat…” Owen’s adept at creating a clear and riveting picture with few words: “Seconds took the cantilevered/ frames, spun possessions to charred/replicas…”
the juxtapositions are intriguing, the level of detail: “views/from an émigré’s paintbrush, Rutger’s/negatives, Fred’s tiny birds.”

“The hostel wall sliced clean as black / cheese…” is a powerful, effective and unique image. i can imagine the wall sliced off as if from a block of cheese and the black makes me think of the bubbly texture of burnt cheese. then “bunks rayed nude to the weather” i have never heard the word “ray” used as a verb like this and it compels me. i like the image the final two lines of this first fire create, and the eyes/smoke-wise rhyme is not too cheesy at all here because it serves to accentuate the end of the line. i like the juxtaposition of “thousands of eyes” with “uninsurable landscape.” the small and numerous vs the vast empty.

next fire- again with the internal rhyme: “kindling snickers, infernos/ skips” four lax i sounds in a row, evocative of the quick small movements of catching fire. then there’s the beautiful adjective “bromed,” the closed o matching the short a in sapped and opening to the ooo of root, all the o and a variants evoking the fire’s unpredictable movement across the landscape. and it’s back to the images which efficiently and effectively paint a picture in few words: “gallops its desert over Okanagan mountain.”

i like the use of “refugee” here: “chucks it refugee/from board & plank castles to flee…”
again not the way i’ve ever seen it, not the syntax i’ve witnessed for it before. i have to go back and read those two lines again; this is what i like a poem to do, to make me go back and reread, not for content or meaning so much as to enjoy the structure, its movement, the imagery and the tone, the word choice, the sound.

i like the momentum of this second part from kindling snickering to the fire galloping, then mounds of smoke rolling towards them, to mass recklessness, to an unseen extent. there are very few colours here: black and then silver. it reminds me of a black and white print, the imagine of the mountain fire etched into my brain.

i like the way the two fires are contrasted: one inside a building, the other across the landscape. the rhythm in the second fire varies from the first, there’s more largesse, more movement from tiny to very big. i like the structure of two dealing with same. i like the subtleties, the lack of direct reference to specific people, yet they are there all the way through both parts of this poem: from the items that have been burned to the indifference of the town. there but not there.

i like poems like these because i can read them over and over and focus on a different aspect, different sounds. i envy the writer her precision here, her word choice is spot on and her rhythms are tight and controlled. the poems are from Fyre, Alberta Series # 5, Catherine Owen (above/ground press, 2008) and a pdf is available for download here:

Amanda Earl’s most recent chapbook is “Welcome to Earth – poem for alien(s)” (Book Thug, 2008); She has also published two additional chapbooks “Eleanor” and “the Sad Phoenician’s Other Woman” (above/ground press, 2007, 2008). Her poems appear most recently in the Windsor Review (Windsor, Ontario); Van Gogh's Ear (Paris, France), Variations Art Zine (Sarnia, Ontario) and In/Words (Ottawa, Ontario) and is forthcoming in Rampike (Windsor, Ontario), and Ryerson University's Whitewall Review. Amanda is the managing editor of and the Bywords Quarterly Journal and is the angel of For more information on upcoming readings and recent publications, please visit

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Literary spats

Oh, you thought Alice Hoffman was nasty, publishing a reviewer's phone number and urging fans to harass her? Okay, that is nasty. But what's up with the Malcom Gladwell/Chris Anderson online cat fight? Twitter is all a twitter. My friend Lisa point out one source who gets at a few of the more sensitive nerve ends that might be tickled here... Airport books genre indeed. Gladwell has positioned himself as the most benign commentator of the banal. Chris Anderson I am not familiar with and so must get myself to an airport post haste.

And here Ange Mlinko tackles all the Seidel fans. Well, being grumpy does a position make. Mrrrowww. That was the sound of claws retracting.

Now, all we need is a bitchy little comment about Richard Florida and we have ourselves a blog post!

But do we really need a bitch little comment from yours truly? I think not.

Show the love. Stevie Wonder last night was not as awesome as I wanted it to be, but it was Stevie yo! Stevie! And he sang along with Michael Jackson. Karaoke style.

Happy Canada Day

In case you thought you knew something about Canada... Or, here's few tips about how to behave when the Americans are looking:
* In Canada's western and Atlantic Provinces, a firm handshake and direct eye contact are expected when meeting a fellow Canadian. However, in Quebec, you should be prepared to firmly shake hands when meeting and also when taking leave of another person. ( LH: We are making direct eye contact because we are wondering wtf is going on with your hand grabbing gestures...)

* The Continental way of dining (by taking and keeping the fork in the left hand, the knife in the right) is the most common way for Canadians to eat. Still, some nationals do dine American style by shifting the fork from one hand to the other. (LH: We aren't quite coordinated enough to do all the shifting...we hope you don't mind....)

* To get a Canadian waiter's attention because you want to be served the bill, make a motion with your hands as if you were signing an imaginary piece of paper. (LH: We think it's cute when you make silly motions with your hands, luckily we're very good at paying attention to the movements of Americans and so can figure out what you are wanting from us...)

* Most Canadian tipping practices are like that of the U.S. The exception is in most restaurants, where a service charge of 10 to 15 percent is automatically added to the tab. To reward superior service, you may want to add another 5 percent in cash. (LH: Um, that 15% is actually tax!)

* Good manners mean more in Canada. For instance, men almost always rise when women enter a room, sunglasses and hats come off during any conversation, and whenever possible, one blows his or her nose after leaving the room. (LH: I haven't seen this in action, but okay, if you say so...and um people, anyone know why we blow our noses when we leave a room?)

* In Quebec, eating on the street is considered in very bad taste. (LH: Maybe, but it rarely tastes bad...)

* Canadian English is not always akin to the English we speak in the U.S. Often, British pronunciations and spellings take precedence although American slang is understood and often used by Canadians as well. The occasional ``eh'' used at the end of a sentence or an "oot" instead of an "out" are considered by some to be Canadian trademarks -- though I have heard friends from Minnesota take on that very same vernacular. (LH: We are not Minnesota nice, we're barely tolerating the way you're slaughtering the King's english...)
And a few other bits you might want to note:
British Columbia is perhaps the most unconventional province, engaged with a more entreprenurial spirit than you are apt to find in the Eastern provinces.

Quebec and other French-speaking areas of Canada are said to be strongly nationalistic, very much influenced by European standards. French-speaking Canadians are considered to be more reserved than their southern neighbors in the U.S. However, people from this Province tend to be more animated than they are in other parts of Canada, hence their nickname of ``Latins of the North."

bp Nichol, bill bisset and phyllis webb

Happy Canuck Day Comrades

Thanks to Peter Culley for posting this.