Archive for February, 2007


prologue recorded

February 28, 2007

i’ve been playing around a little more with garage band, and have rough drafts of excerpts from wide slumber recorded. if curious, they’ll rest for a spell at the links below.

prologue (pps. 7-10)
apnea (p. 24)


the year of school

February 24, 2007

last year was the year of the book for me, and this year’s found me firmly planted in the year of school. i’ve returned to an overwhelming combination of facilitation, research, instruction, and workshop, and am trying to determine a way that doing the dishes can be educational just so i rationalize doing them. studious a.raw:

  • cut-up poetry was a favourite at both victoria park collegiate institute and aldershot high school two weeks ago. surprising and, at times, surreal poems were created. one shiny line from vic park juniors: “I found nature behind Tim Hortons.”
  • i’m leading the toolbox workshops at downsview secondary school in grades 11 and 12. spent each morning last week with a fascinating group of students; will return over next two weeks for five more classes. the grade 12 class a hoosh a ha‘d with me on thursday, and the grade 11s mined newspapers to build vocabulary and create erasure poems on friday.
  • i visited st. clement’s school on tuesday afternoon for a grade 12 writer’s craft class and we discussed lighthouse adjectives, automatic writing, and strategies to translate poetry from page to performance.
  • ryerson may be on reading week, but the marking’s not. we’re in the final week for short stories, and soon onto poetry.
  • i nearly passed out from excitement when margaret christakos forwarded info on this upcoming sound ecology retreat.
  • i’m considering applying to richard armstrong’s sound workshop at banff this summer. it’s been recommended by a few others and looks up my alley.
  • i found out about the performance studies program at berkeley last weekend and have been daydreaming…
  • march: collingwood youth workshop, toolbox workshops commence @ marc garneau, another lovely visit to vic park, virtual liaison with aldershot, and a trip to vancouver to read @ UBC.

current mood: studious (procrastinating the inevitable hike up the mountain of dishes)
current get-out-of-dodge: haliburton sound ecology retreat



February 20, 2007

“Why are you alive? To want everything.

She told me to learn to be happy.”

from Ponette

urgent: the four horsemen project

February 18, 2007

it’s sunday morning. as soon as i woke up, i started writing a review of volcano’s the four horsemen project at factory theatre, which i had the pleasure of seeing last night. five hours later, i’m still writing and rewriting my response to last night’s performance, some versions including initial attempts at a critical response, others more frank in their urgency for attendance. i now have multiple responses, but what’s risen to the surface is my strong feeling that this show should be seen. i know i plan to attend a few more times; this is a rare opportunity for audiences in toronto and ottawa to experience an interdisciplinary performance focused on language.

i’ve had the opportunity to watch public performances and workshops of this show in 2001 and 2006. in 2001, kate alton debuted five minutes of choreography to the horsemen’s poem “allegro 108.” this playful vignette appeared in each incarnation of the show. in february 2006, volcano shared an hour of their work-in-progress; i sent them this feedback.

last night’s show was sensational. volcano’s made an enthusiastic performance about sound and intermedia poetry. it’s not flawless; there’s much to unpack, critique, question, evaluate… but that’s another post, or conversation over beverages, or listserv fodder.

i won’t break down my experience of the many scenes in this blog post, but the opening sequence had me ecstatic at both the 2006 and last night’s shows. THE SHOW IS WORTH ATTENDING TO SEE THIS SEQUENCE (or) ATTEND THIS SHOW SO YOU CAN SEE THIS SEQUENCE. the first performer onstage is naoko murakoshi, whose dedication to the material and ability to share herself with the audience makes for wonderful theatre. the project’s opening sequence features four poses relating each to a spoken syllable. naoko’s solo is accompanied by animated text projections, which spiral and multiply on cyclorama and floor. my heart was in my throat as the entire space became awash with text, spoken and seen. it LIVES! oh, it DOES!

if you see the show, let me know; i’m eager to hear reactions.

and now, a note to the unsure:

what’s important for me, what’s relevant for me is how exciting it is to have this gift of a show available for discussion. the apathetic, disinterested, and dismissive gestures of people who haven’t seen this version of the show have had me querulous all week. why the negativity around a show that, ultimately, no one’s seen in its final incarnation?

i’ll openly admit i broke out into a nasty rash when i read the eye article. the word ‘experimental’ overplayed? yes. the attitude that there are only six people in toronto capable of this work and volcano’s cast four of them? that’s inaccurate; it doesn’t acknowledge the dedication, strength, and innovation of groups such as humdansoundart and theatre gargantua, groups who work with a host of artists to create demanding, physical, aural performance. but an itchy reaction to an article is no reason to avoid this valuable project.

after the 2006 show, discussions in the blogosphere circled around issues of authenticity and motivation for the work, and volcano’s treatment of the selected texts. these notions intrigued me, too, but i was surprised by how focused many poets became with this aspect. the questions are of value, to be certain, but to write off a work-in-progress for one part of the overall project? i’ve been astounded at the fall-out from this: at its most dramatic, a complete lack of interest in seeing volcano’s final efforts… but what could be worse, a host of would-be attendees who are dubious about the project before giving it a chance.

so i watched this show as a performance, as its own artwork. the show offers so many neat implications in terms of what can be done with text and movement, sound and movement, animation and text, space and sound, light and movement, language and body, body and language. it’s important for me to determine a way to approach the performance on its terms, as a multi- or (at times) interdisciplinary live performance dedicated to exploring the work of a 20th-century sound-poetry group.

critique of this show has so many potential directions, which makes it that much more alive, relevant, necessary to be seen. it’s true the show isn’t perfect. i found myself dissuaded by parts, unconvinced by the inclusion of others, curious to know how the impact of the show might change by a reshuffling of scenes. in short: it could use another dramaturge. they’ve progressed from the 2006 show, but there’s so much room for development. that’s cool.

the show spurs thought. it’s immediate. it’s here, now. it’s happening now (literally — its sunday matinee starts in 5 minutes).

for the unsure, the unconvinced… what causes your hesitation? i hesitated before i went, and i know why. i hesitated every time i heard one of my peers make a disparaging remark. i hesitated when i read the article… but last night, i thanked myself for following my curiosity. what a gift.

it’s the collective fifteen minutes of the four horsemen project where i sat wide-mouthed or grinning, bopping or applauding, shiny-eyed or with tears inexplicably streaming down my face that’s made volcano’s hard work important to me. you’ve given me ideas. you’ve given me food for thought. it’s truly a gift, and for that i’ll gladly give you my undivided attention for an hour. and hopefully three more. there’s so much to digest!!

check out original four horsemen sound-poetry performances here (some of which likely provided the basis for volcano’s project).

proactive meteorology

February 18, 2007

when scientists dream: cloudseeders.



February 17, 2007

found this fascinating educational opportunity for youth — a floating classroom in halong bay, vietnam. d’you know of anything comparable in other parts of the world?


Nypoesi: Translation issue

February 14, 2007 (online publication out of Norway) has posted their first of two issues on translation. The issue includes a text by me, a text that’s the genesis for my new project, Environment Canada a.k.a. Cleavage & Fracture a.k.a. So Constantly Breathing (working titles).

I haven’t had a chance to go through this entire issue yet, but here’s a quick rundown from the editor(s) on the Translation issue:

This issue, the first of two on the subject of translation, contains no texts translated from one national language to another. We have asked for texts where the act of translating is in some way readable. That is: translations that are not about metabolisms, how well the target language can assimilate texts written in another language, but about translating as a way of writing.

Texts by Oana Avasilichioai \ Erín Moure \ Elisa Sampedrín \ Nichita Stănescu, Derek Beaulieu, Vincent Broqua, Maria Edite das Chagas \ Jennifer Sarah Frota, Zé Frota \ Scott Bentley, Kristofer Flensmarck, Aaron Giavannone, Camille Martin, Tristan Parish, Joyelle McSweeney, Angela Rawlings, Will Rowe, Aki Salmela and Rodrigo Toscano.

The second issue on the subject of translation will be published in March, containing more translations, essays and bpNichols Translating Translating Apollinaire transposed into Scandinavian.

Check out Nypoesi’s past issues, too, if you’re looking for stimulating textual input.


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