Archive for December, 2006


solstice dream

December 22, 2006

yesterday, festival of lights. a wonderful solstice. last night, dreamt of newfoundland and labrador. newfoundland was a series of small, mountainous islands. large, complicated cruisers and barges raced between the islands. labrador was of the mainland, bordered by partially submerged grey rock and vibrant aquamarine water. i had a feta/spinach croissant on a cruiser before arriving in labrador.



December 21, 2006

This poetry meme comes courtesy Jessica Smith’s blog. Not all of the questions inspire an answer for me, but here’s what did…

The first poem I remember reading was… The Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss.

I was forced to memorize numerous poems in school and… the first half of this statement is dramatic! I elected to memorize poems for school and outside of school. I’ve already mentioned “Little Orphant Annie” by James Whitcomb Riley and the Seuss. I also memorized swaths of Shel Silverstein (“Nobody” was a hit with my brother and me). In grade six, I gave my first oral presentation (on wolves). In 7/8, I gave my speech on war. In grade 9, love… though I chose this topic mostly as an excuse to recite poem excerpts. This proved a bit of a contentious point with a teacher, as I recall, since “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe wasn’t short…

I read poetry because…

A poem I’m likely to think about when asked about a favorite poem…? Oh, they come in a jumble — “Spring night” by Hagiwara Sakutaro (transl. Hiroaki Sato), “RUSH (A long way from H)” by Caroline Bergvall, “Poem improvised around a first line” by Gwendolyn Macewen, “Sonnet XXXVII” by Ted Berrigan, “Identity A Poem” by Gertrude Stein, “Nuevocations” by Steve Venright, “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll…

I write poetry, but… can you feel the love tonight?

My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature… This statement reminds me of a favourite Jack Spicer quote: “See how weak prose is…. Presently I shall go to a bar and there one or two poets will speak to me and I to them and we will try to destroy each other or attract each other and nothing will happen because we will be speaking in prose.”

I find poetry… in Algoma freezers, tucked behind the wild strawberries, chokecherries, and moose.

The last time I heard poetry… was earlier this morning: “Höpöhöpö Böks” recording of Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl, and Austin Publicover’s new “a hoosh a ha” work-in-progress.

I think poetry is like… a simile?

Tag; you’re it. If you stumble upon this and feel the urge to respond to any part, please do so. If you’re blogless, feel free to use the comments here.


variations on "shipbuilding (foundation"

December 20, 2006

really digging this line, liberated from rob mclennan’s “shipbuilding (foundation“:

i pictured a lemon, the shape
of an hour

there’s something pleasing, impossible though plausible, emphatic in my readings — picturing a lemon and then, after that, the hour’s shape; picturing an hour in the shape of a lemon. as though a lemon could be at all suggestive of an hour, on either front. the collision of the shape of an hour (most readily, the hourglass) with the juicy, rotund fruit. how this unspoken collision dangles in the space after hour, a thought unfinished, a mouth open and contemplative.

how enjoyable to have hours as lemons. pithy. yellow. fresh. how enjoyable to picture a thing as a foundation, a basis: step one.

the past tense gratuitous or startling? having pictured, the viewer becomes stuck again in a similar state of aphasia that hit her when she first pictured an hour as a lemon. she pictured nothing after this or the picture extended into the uncharted spaces of her mind.

the line echos in the space where the thought pauses without punctuation, incomplete.

the title, too, i like, with its un-ended parentheses. curvature. what echos beyond. i’m a sucker for shipbuilding. and yet there’s something so matter-of-fact, daily routine about the remainder of the poem, its curiosities stuck in punctuated blips and sanctioned to starts and ends. i wonder what would happen if this poem became several poems. if there was 1) a poem that existed in its entirety as it currently does. if 2) a poem read of just the title and the quoted lines above. if 3) a poem continued on the concept of lemons and hours. if 4) other parts of the poem were exploded out to explore their worlds… what of “, a question of lies”; where could a poem expand around this line? where would a poem of “by…” lines wander? a poem of “i was, i read, i could, i pictured” etc.?



December 11, 2006

finnish treats for the senses: helsinki complaints choir and loituma: levan polkka.


broken telephone: 90s alt-rock edition

December 10, 2006

you know, i’d like to keep my cheeks dry today (“no rain,” blind melon)
i hear as you know, i’d like to keep my jeans dry, jeanine.

you’ve got your ball. you’ve got your chain (“crush,” dave matthews band)
i hear as you got shit-all. you got short-changed.

(how) do you incorporate typos, mis-hearings, and mis-readings into your work?


albertaviews: Jill Hartman

December 9, 2006

Alberta views Jill Hartman and other Calgary-based poets in the latest issue of albertaviews. As their table-of-contents tagline previews, “Calgary poets are making a splash — and plenty of controversy — on the national scene.” I haven’t accessed the article in full yet; anyone care to precis if you’re read it? Who wrote the article, what/who’s discussed, etc…



December 9, 2006

instructables: how to get rid of bees, learn to waterski barefoot, make a spinning bow tie, tie your shoelaces a new way, construct throwies, or build a cosahedron-shaped pie.


courage, my love, by reg johanson

December 8, 2006

so i’m reading reg johanson’s first poetry collection, courage, my love. it’s one of four books issued by west coast line‘s new imprint, LINEbooks. the imprint doesn’t yet have a website, so if you’re curious about how to obtain copies, i recommend e-mailing the editors (michael barnholden, glen lowry) at

the book’s innocuously designed duotone cover (all black with hints of white and splashes of fire-engine red) features a faux-victorian font scripting author and title on cover, its demeanor coquettish and posh. flip the book over and an off-centre red box illuminates most back copy. what’s odd about the OBC is its content: publisher | location :: a poem excerpted, with dedication :: ISBN, no barcode, no-cents price. standard appendages like book description and author bio are distinctly absent. these design choices have particular resonance for me with the book’s content, which wrestles with class issues historically and in contemporary BC/AB, political dissidence and ideological diffidence, and the high costs of living. design: innocuous, coquettish, off-kilter with resonance to content. i’m with you.

unusual wrappers tricked me into a non-standard reading for me of the book; i started at the beginning, and read chronologically. i read the title pages, the front matter, acknowledgements, dedication. i read each poem successively, occasionally pausing to retrace my steps and reread lines of particular resonance. i noted moments where i wanted to return, to choose alternative reading paths through poems (“Variations for Jean Carle” intersperses at least four lists/continuations throughout the poem; want to gather them together to read each pass separately). i noted impulses to review the book, to review a poem, to excerpt lines that turn into passages that turn into page after page of excerpt (read the book!). and then, i noted a desire to have a conversation about a book of poetry.

as a result, i won’t delve into a full review just yet; i’m still reading and processing courage, my love. but it has relevance and resonance for me as a reader, right now, and i would love to dialogue with other readers about the book. so, get the book, let me know, and let’s talk.

“I had to learn to hate
the structure that made me.”
- from “Chips”


review: WSfL in ESO

December 8, 2006

Dana Gagnier has written a review of Wide slumber for the Entomologist’s Society of Ontario newsletter.


kenny goldsmith’s traffic

December 6, 2006

the second installment in kenny goldsmith’s trilogy (the weather, traffic, sports) is available as full-text online or as downloadable pdf on the excellent eclipse archive. the first entries are engrossing (what drama!) and the ending’s happy (yes, i skipped ahead). intriguing how the locations develop as characters. also intriguing to consider the copyright implications of literally taking the words out of someone’s mouth and publishing them.


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