Archive for March, 2006


CHB launch in Tdot

March 30, 2006


tagaq and test

March 30, 2006

split focus tonight (again! it never ends!), with the inaugural test reading series and a tanya tagaq concert.

i popped in for the first half of test, where jay millar gave a charmed 40-minute reading of his lacklustre lyrics. felt shorter than 40 minutes, though sure was nice to hear so much of the work at one sitting. hearing more of the work somehow gave it sustained context. created a nice sense of familiarity, too, where i’ve now heard enough that i can chat confidently about it.

only peculiar thing about test was the venue… the white background of mercer union had my eyes playing optical illusions after awhile. first, jay had a dull blue/pink aura. it spread, so as i looked around the room, trying to shake the burned aura out of my vision, i found all i could see was the aura around everything else. hurt my eyes. i wondered if it was just me (i do have occasional trouble with vision spots and tracers pre-migraine), but heard that prolonged focus on people or objects with white backgrounds can cause these types of optical illusions. is mercer always painted white? i want to paint it black.

tagaq was absolutely stunning. intense performer, organic use of microphone and sound. that may be a weird description, but i don’t know how better to say it. she’s one of my favourites for a reason, that’s for sure. only qualms with the performance? again, not the performance: the venue. gladstone’s new space is cut in half: perform in one room attached to bar. can’t hear anything near the bar, so everyone talks full-volume. this sound leaks into the performance room. plus, the acoustics are fucked in the performance room. tagaq was spell-binding, breathtaking… i was near tears twice from the breadth of her vocal capacity and wordless emotional intensity. tagaq: AMAZING. gladstone: at least one thumb down.

am i a venue snob?


reading season

March 29, 2006

well, it’s spring in tdot and i’m playing a nerve-wracking game of jenga with all the readings available to attend. friday was a triple whammy:

  • dub poets collective reading series, featuring larissa lai, sandra alland, and leviathan
  • iv lounge reading series, featuring gary barwin, max middle, maggie macdonald, and more
  • shameless magazine launch

gregory betts and i had made a deal to catch DPC’s series @ 6:30, then motor down to IV for 8. as readings go, the first didn’t start until 7ish, and we were quite at home in the space and chose to stay for the entire time. i’m glad i stayed, though disappointed i was unable to make the other events. sandra gave a stellar, polished reading (similar material to her ecopoetics symposium reading) that featured excerpts from her work-in-progress blissful times and some sound poetry. it’s always a jolt of energy to visit with larissa, and i greatly enjoyed hearing her read. i wanted to chat with her about twenty different topics (how’s the leg? how’s van? dinner, tea, drinks?) but there was never time.

a cramped weekend had me miss fictitious reading series (with elyse friedman and clint burnham), much to my dismay. i heard the event went well. next time, gadget!

tonight was another double whammy events-wise:

  • camille martin and kyle buckley @ ryerson’s live poets reading series
  • ross leckie @ art bar

i considered the motor technique for tonight, but opted for one event: ryerson. i hugely enjoyed myself! camille’s work is just amazing, and she read largely from a new series of poems called THE LIMNIC REALM. soooooo good. “a lone aquamarine marmot.” “circadian slumber.” kyle read explanatory notes about his untitled poetry manuscript (which may very well be the actual title). in fact, the explanatory notes (peppered with excerpts of his poetry) may very well be the manuscript itself.

tomorrow: the inaugural test reading series!


bounding into the present

March 27, 2006

Wide slumber for lepidopterists is printed and bound! please do join me for a beverage at the coach house books launch:

wednesday, april 12, 2006 @ 8pm
revival @ 783 college street, toronto

many books launching that night, including treats by chris ewart, jon paul fiorentino, karen hines, darren o’donnell, and sina queyras!



March 16, 2006

slow to blog lately due to travelmania. shift & switch readings are now complete (events below happened between january 14 to march 10). i have a whackload to say about each, but for now just a teaser…

ottawa: rob read, mark truscott, max middle, and i read at mother tongue books. neat mix of local readers and writers, and a few close high school lovelies of mine. hung out with michelle balch and heddy ulch. michy has a dwarf rabbit and heddy’s preggers; love those femmes!!

montreal: rob, mark, max, and i were joined by jon paul fiorentino and matthew hollett. total hipster crowd packed into cafe esperanza. glorious to see high school friend kandice ardiel, as well as writers dimitri nasrallah, zarmina rafi, and jani krulc.

buffalo: rob, mark and i were joined by gregory betts, trevor speller, and geoffrey hlibchuck for a reading. andrea strudensky organized a panel on canadian poetry followed by readings. neat set-up of events, though i found the panel papers + readings a bizarre portrayal of “what’s shakin’ in canpo.”

philadelphia: rob, mark, gregory, and i met up with janet neigh to read. philly was easily my favourite travel spot; i didn’t know what to expect, and ended up having a fantastic time. i met two totally wicked awesome writers and i wish we all lived in the same city… sarah dowling and karen hannah, COME TO TORONTO!

windsor: mark and i met gus morin and danielle maveal for a reading. rowdiest poetry reading i’ve ever attended (that’s what we get for visiting windsor of superbowl weekend). super to visit with stephen pender and sergio forest.

fredericton: hugh thomas, alice burdick, and i read in the charlotte street arts centre co-op cafe to an audience of mathematicians, writers, and readers. hugh made kick-ass vegetarian treats at his place, and i discovered that the mystery songs on a CD i burned last summer were performed by the be-good tanyas.

halifax: hugh, alice, and i were joined by michael debeyer for a reading at ginger’s tavern. hugh’s humorous work was a crowd-pleaser with the theatre folks. andy cull and another member of the fancy lebanese country band played after the reading; fantastic music.

kentville: i toured gaspereau press (!!), met gary dunville and andrew steeves (lovely!!). i couldn’t get over how *clean* the space was, and how much room they had. i’m used to the lovingly cluttered chb, so it was cool to see a different set-up.

mahone bay: alice, michael, and i enjoyed an intimate reading by candlelight at the cozy biscuit eater. highly recommend this venue for readings; dawn and alden, owners, are a magical team!

brandon: i’m off to manitoba tomorrow for the ecopoetics symposium. tomorrow night, i’m reading with erin moure and mari-lou rowley (tres excited!), and “launching” wide slumber (hot off the press TODAY; WOW!!!). will hopefully get to see chris fickling, who’s doing that churchy-minister-thing in a neighbouring town. saturday, rachel zolf and i will panel discussion on a secret, magical topic.

upcoming wide slumber events in toronto, ottawa, montreal, calgary, and winnipeg. w00t!


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