Archive for April, 2006


travelogue: winnipeg

April 30, 2006

short but enjoyable visit to winnipeg. candida and andrew gave me a nice tour of downtown and we had veggie bagels at the underground cafe. i whiled away my afternoon in their beautiful 1910 apartment, then trundled off to mcnally robinson (portage place) for the book launch. ‘tino was the sina of winnipeg; i was no competition whatsoever. though i was dog-tired, i had a super time with old and new friends melanie brannagan, catherine hunter, chandra mayor, and many others.

‘tino and i said our tour-buddy good-byes. he sang me a version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight that he and sachi came up with… “in the cervix, the mighty cervix, the thorax sleeps tonight… a hoosh a ha a hoosh a ha…

i’m home in toronto now. i slept a much-needed twelve hours last night. i’ll post other bloggish mentions of the tour another day; now, i must watch trailer park boys season five disc one.


travelogue: dANDelion & NoD

April 28, 2006

yesterday’s brunch at kensington pub featured a redux of folks from the spoken word festival. we shared samosas as derek and emily discussed literary festivals in the works in vancouver and calgary.

in the afternoon, jill and i rehearsed a two-voice performance of wide slumber. i absolutely wish we lived closer, so we could explore sound and text in person. jill’s a luscious performer, and one hell of a listener. the onstages nerves melted away with jill at my side.

at 7pm, we trundled off to the magazine launch for dANDelion and NoD. four readers, whose texts are in the magazines, kicked off the night. james dangerous’ song delighted. the magazine launch gently blended into a book launch as jason took the stage. he exuded wit and compassion with his excerpts from canada post; it’s heartwarming to see how loved jason is in his new (old) home.

derek read next, roving through several bookish objects. ryan fitzpatrick, chris ewart, sandy lam, paul kennett, and i helped by reading excerpts from fractal economies. derek helped colin organize last night’s event, so it was good to have the chance to applaud derek publicly for his hard work both creatively and supportively.

‘tino took the stage, offering a short and spunky set. his poem ‘rapidcycler’ became ‘chris ewart blowdrying his nuts,’ referring to an inside joke of some infamy with the calgary writers.

jill and i anchored. thank you, jill! thank you, jill and paul, for the hospitality! thank you, calgary, for raunching wide slumber.

off to winnipeg…


travelogue: int’l spoken word fest

April 27, 2006

“…when your nipples become harder than your life…” – shane koyczan

yesterday was rambunctious. in a good way. last night, i took part in the inaugural event for the calgary international spoken word festival. jason christie, jon paul fiorentino, and i launched our books. i love those guys; consummate readers, wonderful texts. the calgary literary scene is quite remarkable, and the supportive enthusiasm was palpable throughout the featured set and the open mic. speaking of the latter, i was happily surprised by the open mic. each time i’ve been in calgary, i’ve wanted to hear what everyone else is writing, but there’s never been ample time. it was great to hear voices familiar and new to me, including emily elder, laurie fuhr, ryan fitzpatrick, christian bok, jordan nail, and shane koyczan.

oh yeah: according to ‘tino, last night i was the sina of calgary. what an amazing title to have!

the calgary crew gifted the book launchers prezzies yesterday. we gave ‘tino a FRESHMAKER shirt, in honour of his dose magazine appearance. we gave jason a metrosexual kit (including nair for men, clear nail enamel, tweezers, emory boards, and a vitamin-A enriched cream). i received a purple waterproof massage wand (since everyone’s aware how much i miss conor and his wonderful, uh, footrubs… in the bath…).

wish i could stay longer in calgary. each visit is never long enough. i’m quite eager to collaborate with jill hartman; our collaboration will inevitably take place over e-mail, but it’d be so nice to sit around in person and discuss writing and play with texts. if only i had five more days and a visit to banff in the interim…

in my dream this morning, i flew to winnipeg for a mercurial engagement, then returned to calgary for tonight’s reading. calgary became san francisco, and huge waves doused seaside interstates as we drove along them. when we merged onto the golden gate bridge, i became emotional, childhood nostalgia washing over me. a wolf stood on the water’s surface, in the shadow of a bridge support. two porpoises sped underwater to meet our car, surfacing to satisfy our mutual curiosities. on the other end of the bridge, french-canadian reserves grappled down ropes to a base underneath the bridge. we stopped the car. we spent the night. in the morning, one man had been murdered: chopped. an amorphous and amorous swede followed me through the dream.

it is warm in calgary and i read with derek, jason, and ‘tino tonight @ the carpenter’s hall.



April 26, 2006

…a nice profile and review of wide slumber in calgary’s weekly ffwd, written by derek beaulieu…


travelogue: calgary

April 26, 2006

yesterday, ‘tino and i met jill at the calgary airport. shortly after, we deposited ‘tino at derek’s. i washed markers with maddie and met her uglydolls.

i had a nap in the afternoon after i finished joyland by emily schultz. the novel is efficiently and consistently organized around its video-game setting: the two-charater narrative represented as player 1/player 2, each chapter the name of a popular atari game. emily’s sentence structures please as they jostle, experimenting with verb/noun placement and squeezing the lemon pulp out of every simile. tart, strict, splendid. set in 1984’s southern ontario summer, the (pre-)teen characters pump reality through every “Fucken A” and cigarette exhale. this is recommended reading, nostalgic technicolour at its sharpest. schultz’s story is, at its heart, believable; she triumphs in her depiction of the grit and glitz of teenage life in small-town ’80s. i found myself quite wrapped up in the world she created and the grace of her epilogue. i’ve been craving pat benatar since i read the book, and even encouraged an a capella outbreak of “love is a battlefield” this morning. well-honed. well-crafted. well done, emily!

later, i made dinner for jill, paul, ‘tino, derek, sophie, brea, and brett. jason and andrea came by for a visit and the room was full of pleasure.

even later, a bundle of us had drinks at kensington pub. i finally met the delightful laurie fuhr and sandy lam. ryan fitzpatrick regaled us with a story of subbing. i was the designated driver, a role i relished.

today, i hung out with jill, jason, derek, and ‘tino. ‘tino was in dose magazine yesterday, a chipper box hosted by mentos declaring the theory of the loser class a must-read. ‘tino has gained a new nickname: The Freshmaker.

tonight, i enjoyed a lovely dinner at the coup with paul, jill, andrea, and julia. julia’s looking fit, exuding a centred energy. she’s cool, and i hope she updates her blog more (hint, hint).

tomorrow: reading with ‘tino and jason @ int’l spoken word fest. 8pm. beat niq bar.


travelogue: montreal

April 24, 2006

stayed with dejan! conor came! meagan played cards! i made dinner! brunch with matthew!

reading @ green room last night: ewart, ‘tino, queyras, thompson. queyras won “most loved,” fully deserved for the stunning selection of poems she read. very pleased to spend longer this round in conversation with her, zarmina, gail, wanda. also saw jani, oana, gillian, sachi, and sherwin. met angela and ian.

lovely fun. excellent good fun. the kind of fun you need a fork to enjoy. forkish fun.

“early morning, are you working?” – honey is cool

‘tino will be here in 10 minutes with a cab. off to calgary…!


travelogue: ottawa

April 22, 2006

event-filled day yesterday. train trip delays and rerouting due to belleville-area show of solidarity next to train tracks for the six nations land claims dispute near caledonia. arrived in ottawa later than anticipated, greeted with miss wanda‘s article and veggie quesadillas. tea with meera karunananthan before the event (wonderful to see her!! gardens and breakdancing!!). awesome to read with gary barwin and john mcdonald; reports here, here, and here.

carmel purkis is super cool; a total pleasure to meet her and hang out all night. i finally met chris turnbull, too; although our encounter was brief, she’s piqued my curiosity with the words “trail project.” monty reid’s a neat guy… paleontology and bluegrass makes me wish i was staying in ottawa longer.

i had a lovely visit with kateri akiwenzie-damm in the hospitality suite. jw curry and max middle gave an impromptu performance, sharing bp nichol and sound poetry. it was an excellent gift to share with the after-hours room, and set an awesome mood for the remainder of the evening.

departed for montreal early this morning (too early). settling in for a day of hockey play-offs, bagels, extras (finally! i love stephen merchant and ricky gervais!), and nightmare: the video board game (biff, wanna play??).

reading at the green room in montreal tomorrow night (sunday, april 23rd!), 8ish, with ‘tino, christakos, queyras, ewart, and other lovelies i’ve not yet met…


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