Archive for April, 2008


April 29, 2008

I have an article on my early poetic adventures in collaboration in the new Gig anthology, ANTIPHONIES: Essays on Women’s Experimental Poetries in Canada. Details from Nate Dorward, the publisher:

Antiphonies is a primer on some of the most exciting work in contemporary Canadian poetry. These essays deal with the period from the 1980s to the present, and discussa wide range of work, from books already acclaimed as modern classics–such as ErinMouré’s O Cidadán, Lisa Robertson’s Debbie: An Epic, and Karen Mac Cormack’s Implexures–to the equally remarkable work of Susan Clark, Catriona Strang, LissaWolsak, Christine Stewart, Deanna Ferguson, Lise Downe, Nancy Shaw, a.rawlings,Marie Annharte Baker and others. The essays are complemented by brief selections of poems, interviews and poetics statements. Contributors include Gerald Bruns, Miriam Nichols, Edward Byrne, John Hall, Susan Schultz, Caroline Bergvall, Chris Daniels, Peter Larkin, Peter O’Leary, and many others. A full table of contents is available at

*256pp, 5.5″ x 8.75″, perfectbound; ISBN 978-0-9735875-4-8.

$20 CDN/US (includes postage in North America) £16 / 23 euro (includes airmail overseas). Make out cheques to Nate Dorward (not “The Gig”).


linh dinh on english

April 22, 2008

linh dinh’s been influential in pushing my thought to tricky areas, and for this i’m most thankful. his recent post to the harriet blog is incredible, and has my brain active as i process. i encourage you to check it out!


Countdown: Zaoem in Belgium

April 21, 2008

I’m en route to the Zaoem Polypoetry Festival in Ghent, Belgium (April 25-26), where I’ll join poets from Belgium, the Netherlands, and other foreign locales. Festival cohorts include Eduard Escoffet, Rozalie Hirs, Mark Insingel, Leevi Lehto, Tonnus Oosterhoff, Maggie O’Sullivan, Vrouwkje Tuinman, Peter Verhelst, and Stijn Vranken. Zoom zoom zaoem!!

Zaoem poster photo courtesy Helen White, one of the excellent festival organizers.


Gadzooks! talks poetry

April 17, 2008

Gadzooks!, an online arts publication, offers an article written by Lisa Young on the Toronto poetry scene. The article features interviews with Dani Couture, Paul Vermeersch, and me.


Last week in a nutshell

April 16, 2008

Well, it’s a torrent of activity in the land of raw. In a nutshell:

  • spent my second-last OAC AiE project with students at Aldershot Secondary School in Burlington last week. There was such enthusiasm for the work we covered, and I was particularly impressed by the willingness to take risks and explore new ground exhibited by grade twelve students. Some fascinating linguistic and sound experiments offered by students, too. A great memory. I’m sure I’ll encounter these students again in the future, and look forward to returning to Aldershot next year.
  • visited Parkdale Collegiate to work with drama students on poetry and sound improvisation. Again, such open-minded and thoughtful participants. Wholly impressed.
  • lost my voice due to overuse and so spent half the week froggy.
  • enjoyed Coach House Books spring launch, with new work by Maggie Helwig, Jen Currin, RM Vaughan, Claudia Dey, and Jordan Scott (see note below for more on Jordan’s book).
  • also enjoyed an intimate reading by Rachel Levitsky and Gail Scott. It was a real treat to hear Rachel’s work, as I’d not had the pleasure. She even read a poem in Icelandic, one of hers translated into Icelandic by Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl (and hey! I even understood part of it as she pronounced it!! Gold star for me slooooooowly learning elements of the language). Gail shared work in progress that was playful, strong, and kept my brain busy pondering subtext. Can’t wait for this book.
  • met with Dennis Lee for inspiring conversation in preparation of Influency next month. Dennis is deeply cool, and his last book (yesno) felt like a sibling to Wide slumber in an odd way.
  • ‘risi aged! Rocka!
  • Ciara and I attended the Summerworks Theatre Festival launch, to represent bluemouth inc. Finally got to see an excerpt from Anorexican, the one play I missed last year but really wished I’d caught. Just stellar comedic performance, dark delivery. Now I want to see it entirely. Remount, please??
  • chased this with a photo shoot for a Luminato project called Milles Femmes.
  • and then a bluemouth board meeting, which netted a few quite thrilling ideas which may come to pass this summer, in anticipation of their next major Toronto project, The Dance Marathon. I’ll post more once plans are confirmed.
  • and throughout it all, work work work. I’m in a mad dash to finish several contracts and get ahead on others before I leave for Europe next week. More soon on that. I’m remiss in posting my countdown to Belgium, but it’ll happen. Ridiculously hyper for this excursion, feeling so fortunate and awed. I wake up everyday ready to jig!

blert by Jordan Scott

April 13, 2008

by Jordan Scott

Hot off the Coach House printer: blert by Jordan Scott. This blog entry deserves fair warning: my usual propensity of overusage of adjectives and positive critical feedback will be at a high.

As some of you might know, Jordan’s a close colleague of mine. It’s been a pleasure getting to know him the last few years. We’ve shared a kinship over our rural obsessions and our curiosity for alternative approaches to poetry-making.

During the time we’ve known one another, I’ve had the privilege to experience many an intense and eye-opening conversation around blert, which has just emerged from the Coach House Press cutter a freshly bound and trimmed creature. Jordan gave a brief though generous reading at the Toronto launch last week, and he’s now set out on a tour across the country. Do pop by an event if he’s near you; he’s an incredible reader.

I hope and plan to post more on this book in the near future. It’s an important one for me, as it examines many issues central to my own practice — especially attention to sound and its relationship to written text, kinesthetic response to text, uncommon English vocabulary, biological/zoological/environmental/ecopoetic references and study. This is just a cursory note to encourage anyone popping by this blog to seek out blert for yourself. Perhaps we can discuss it together!


Writers in Electronic Residence

April 4, 2008

This week, I began my first term with Writers in Electronic Residence. I’m working alongside Margaret Christakos, Robert Priest, and Carolyn Smart to offer editorial feedback and facilitate discussions for high-school students across Canada (there’s even a group from Wyoming!). What a cool program!


Stereogum revisits Post

April 2, 2008

Stereogum offers a spring gift to enthusiasts of Björk’s music. They’ve revisited her mid-90s album Post, inviting fellow musicians to cover each track. Xiu Xiu does “Isobel!” Final Fantasy and Ed Droste do “Possibly Maybe!”

The tribute also includes a juicy interview with Björk, liner notes with brief discussions by the contributing musicians, and an essay on the project.

Yum! Three thumbs up.

(Thanks for Kevin Hehir for pointing me Stereogumward.)


bpNichol celebration this Wednesday!

April 1, 2008

I’m stoked for the bpNichol celebration at Toronto’s Supermarket this Wednesday. Full details below. I’m honoured to have been asked to participate, and to join the awesome roster of readers. I’ll read a brief excerpt from one of my most loved Nichol texts, Journal.

Literary event at Supermarket celebrates three new pieces of Nicholmania from late Canadian author bpNichol

‘His wit, along with the seriousness, was there to keep the language free and untethered, to keep the poem aware of its roots, like a tuxedo worn with bare feet in a muddy river … No other writer of our time and place was so diverse, attempted so much, and never lost sight of his intent.’ – Michael Ondaatje

A member of the sound-poetry performance group The Four Horsemen, winner of a Governor General’s Award for Poetry and writer of Fraggle Rock, bpNichol was one of Canada’s most important writers. Nichol was the author of countless publications in a variety of forms, including poetry (lyric, concrete, visual, sound). He was known as a promoter of poetry and the small press, a manipulator of the lines between genres and a prolific Canadian word artist, and they even named a Toronto laneway after him.

In late 2007, Coach House Books published The Alphabet Game, edited by Darren Wershler-Henry and Lori Emerson, a selected reader of Nichol’s work designed as an introductory overview to Nichol’s texts. This spring, Canadian literary criticism journal Open Letter publishes the first of two new bpNichol-focused issues, and the long-awaited bpNichol site,, is unveiled. The spring also sees the release of Brian Nash’s bp: pushing the boundaries on DVD.

To celebrate, Coach House Books, Open Letter and present NicholBack, a stellar night of Nichol performances.

with performances by Paul Dutton, W. Mark Sutherland, Nobuo Kubota, Frank Davey, Lola Lemire Tostevin, damian lopes, Gary Barwin and a.rawlings.

Supermarket, 268 Augusta Avenue
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
8:00 p.m.

* * * * *

With an introduction of Alphabet Game co-editor Lori Emerson is split into two rounds of performances.

Four Horsemen member Paul Dutton leads off the evening with a short work from bpNichol, then he and fellow acclaimed sound poets W. Mark Sutherland and Nobuo Kubota perform an entirely new collaborative sound performance piece inspired by the work of bpNichol.

Following a break, five of today’s most innovative writers ­– Frank Davey, Lola Lemire Tostevin, damian lopes, Gary Barwin and a.rawlings – read their favourite Nichol works.

* * *
For information on The Alphabet Game or media requests, contact Evan Munday at 416 979 2217 or


This Ain’t the Rosedale Library

April 1, 2008

This Ain’t the Rosedale Library, one of my favourite Toronto bookstores, has just announced the sad news that, after twenty-three years, they’re closing their storefront on Church Street. The amazing news, though, is that they’re opening a new store this May in KENSINGTON MARKET!!!


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