Archive for June, 2006


reviewing reviews

June 30, 2006

i dig a good review of a review. a few months back, mark truscott had a thought-provoking review of TDR‘s scrub cedar review. and now, natalie simpson’s thankfully taken on‘s new canon review.


reading review: hot-sauced words

June 30, 2006

so, gregory and i read at hot-sauced words. nice art gallery space in the back of it’s not a deli, fitting 30 comfortably. (use-able, artsy space, for those looking for new places.) this was the third instalment of “creative james” dewar’s new series, and he’s set it up to run feature-break-4 open mic-break-feature-4 open mic; it made for a long and occasionally tedious night. the typical audience reaction to having an open mic mid-reading was in full effect; many readers left after their stage time.

gregory was adventurous and engaged the audience with panache. kicked off his set with his hamilton chant (accompanied by a rogue hand-drummer who happened to be present). then read Nichol response texts with a (scottish?) accent, which i appreciated as conor and i had been goading geeb into doing his entire set in various accents. then a romp surveying his assorted chapbooks, including If Language and Haikube. a sound poem song vocal art piece, too. lots of laughter and clapter.

then a curious thing happened. creative james had informed us prior to the show that he incorporates an element of feedback for each performer, and encourages the audience to join him. so, when greg finished, he was met with reaction and favourite lines and discussion of his work. i’m used to these styles with youth readings, but it definitely was a surprise in this environment. food for thought.

i had a lot of fun with alixandra as we played origami-scrabble at our table. i consider our masterpiece “O They, um. I, quank.” the second comma rode on the back of a charming turtle. greg was investigating the quotation cradle, so we couldn’t use it.

thanks to those of you who came out. glad the evening warmed up after the awesome awesome thunderstorms. which reminds me: i feel like keeping a weather blog. can anyone point me to a tdot-based weather blog already in existence?


toronto: reading tonight

June 29, 2006

gregory betts and i are reading at Hot-Sauced Words this evening. 8pm @ It’s Not A Deli, 986 Queen St. W. short open mic/helle set, too, if you’re feeling inclined!


spam poetry: real-mail

June 28, 2006

i used to stockpile intriguing spam, and was particularly fond of a repetitious series e-mailed to me in 2002. i filed a large number of spam with the eventual intention of breaking, shaping, and finessing into a collection of found poetry, including my then-favourite “daybreak, the dark hood.”

daybreak, the dark
hood, daybreak, the
dark hood, day
break, the dark hood

my spam infatuation dwindled in 2003, as the non-stop onslaught of spam lessened in literary quality and grew in volume. these days, most spam i receive are embedded graphics with little sense of imagination or text ads for meds with far too much superfluous punctuation for my taste.

today, i received an old-school spam and that once-lost love has returned. for your reading pleasure, here’s “Dont tell anyone!” by Dani Cason (whose e-mail address is just so much ear candy:

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.


the loss the government same the blood. are selection or act boot else slow. are angry else company weight and bit.

is shirt to price sudden to drop. the receipt are judge milk as sea. ! is present if blue knot are nose.

to shoe must flight shock are driving.


are sharp but plane winter
but surprise. or material must motion chalk
or part. if carriage else polish kind and quick. else
wheel to middle rail the name. to slope are basin skirt the quick.
! to rest is advertisement moon and business. must orange too servant jewel as fly.
to glass as day pin or happy. as balance must
flower clean to field. to cake too black
position too deep. must fork to able feeble
as surprise. must smile must letter loud
to library. too female
are rain elastic is spade. to man and thought army
as fixed. if month too
request pen is burn. and old else sort ant to cry. else
cheap too middle prose to drain.


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bold, italics, and other formatting are my additions. note the line “! is present if blue knot…” i so appreciate when ! is present. also, the “if, then, else” programmer’s logic in the second section is alive and well, which i adore. and of course, the hyperdrumbeat of the final stanza, such urgency, such love of character.


lex-end: blogosphere farewells

June 27, 2006

thank you to the following chroniclers who’ve shared summaries, well wishes, photos, obituaries, and poetry!

hope to see some of you on thursday eve at it’s not a deli for the reading. i hear there’s an open mic; hope a few folks maneouvre to turn it into an open michelle! well, i can dream…


review: winnipeg free press

June 25, 2006

Candida Rifkin just sent me the text of Alison Calder’s poetry reviews in today’s Winnipeg Free Press, which includes Ink Monkey by Diana Hartog, Walking the Sky by Shari Andrews, and the bill bissett tribute/anthology radiant danse uv being, and Wide slumber for lepidopterists!

Since you have to be a subscriber to read the ‘peg F-P, here’s the Wide slumber excerpt:

Wide slumber for lepidopterists (Coach House, 109 pages, $17), Toronto writer Angela Rawlings’ first book, is a gorgeously produced little thing.

The poetry, structured through the dual trajectories of a moth’s life cycle and the stages of sleep, moves in and out of lucidity. The writing has a dreamy, underwater quality that eludes the attempt to form a coherent narrative.

A brief sample shows the transition between sense and nonsense, here using backwards writing: “Place specimen under lamp to increase drying time/ tsniaga tsurht rotcelloc a#tilps#tips nehT/ a moth with barbed spines.”

The poetry, divided into six sections, works through repetition and difference. The language’s gradual move from relative clarity to breakdown and reformulation represents the contrasting motions of the dreaming mind and the moth’s transformation from egg to specimen.

Some of this poem cannot be read: the meaning comes through the patterns on the page. Likewise, the scientific language Rawlings uses estranges and absorbs the reader, functioning like her neologisms.

No page of this collection is typical of the whole, but it’s fascinating to look at. Delicate illustrations by Matt Ceolin grace the pages.


danaus plexippus chrysalides

June 24, 2006

Don’t say the You the You the You say the We feel the warmth sighing of stories to tell. Each voice streams. Silent voices cloud. Monarchs politic their bodies, form code, they hone code, they home.

katherine brought me two monarch chrysalides last tuesday. they appear to be around day 7 of pupation. i can’t stop staring at them. a few more days, and they’ll hatch! i’m fascinated by the cremaster (the brown stemlike appendage that’s hooked into the silk pad affixing the chrysalis in a fashion so it may dangle), which shares its name with a muscle found in human genitalia.


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