The News is out in the world!

The trickling pre-release of The News has begun! My Vancouver launch is still a month away, but twenty copies made it out into the world at WORD Vancouver on Sunday. Some photos:

It's a real book!
The baby in the book is real too!
Here he is taking in my WORD reading.

The book is also sneaking out on the internet. It's officially for sale on Chapters.com, Amazon.ca, etc. (and, of course, it can be ordered in to your local bookstore).

It's sneakiest sneaking is over at Goodreads, where Goodreads members can enter to win one of two free copies of the book:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The News by Rob  Taylor

The News

by Rob Taylor

Giveaway ends October 27, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

The winners will be announced on October 27th, the day of my Vancouver launch! I hope you win, and we can celebrate together that night!


Fall Readings w/ Posters!

Man, when it's the busiest book season of the year and you have a new book out, your reading calendar fills up quickly. Here are my Vancouver readings for the next couple months, starting tonight at the Poetry in Transit 20th Anniversary Bash! I'd love to see you at any (or all? A boy can dream) of them:

Poetry in Transit 20th Anniversary Celebration
Wednesday, September 21st, 7:00 PM
The Emerald
555 Gore Avenue, Vancouver
Featuring: Twenty readers from twenty years, including me (representing 2011)!

Pandora's Collective Literary Awards
Saturday, September 24th, 7:00 PM
CBC Studios
700 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
Featuring: Many award recipients. I will be presenting the mentorship award to Kate Braid!

WORD Vancouver
Sunday, September 25th, 1:30 PM
Sunrise Suite (Poetry Tent)
VPL Central Branch
350 W Georgia Street, Vancouver
Featuring: Christopher Levenson, Carla Funk, Juliane Okot Bitek and me!
(I'm also hosting a Dead Poets reading immediately following my reading, in the same tent!)

In Fine Form: 2nd Edition Book Launch
Thursday, October 6th, 6:00 PM
ArtStars in Schools
808 Richards Street, Vancouver
Featuring: Many, many readers from the anthology, including me!
Free! RSVP here.

The News Vancouver Book Launch
Thursday, October 27th, 7:00 PM (Doors 6:30)
1882 Adanac Street, Vancouver
Featuring: Raoul Fernandes, Aislinn Hunter, Karen Solie and me!
Free! And free snacks!


The News - Vancouver Book Launch!

I'm very excited to announce the Vancouver launch for my second poetry collection, The News! All the details are in the poster, but if you don't like getting your info that way, I'll spell it out for you here:

The News Book Launch
Thursday, October 27th, 2016
1882 Adanac Street, Vancouver
6:30 Doors, 7:00 Reading
Special Guests: Raoul Fernandes, Aislinn Hunter and Karen Solie
Free entry and snacks. Cash bar.
RSVP via Facebook here.

No, that list of special guests isn't my CanPo Fantasy All-Star Team, it's the actual lineup of special guests.* I'm thrilled they all agreed and will be there to celebrate with me. Each of them has played an important role in my development as a writer, so it means so much for me to have all of us together at one event!

Don't know anything about the book? Well, it's a collection of 36 poems written during my wife's pregnancy with our son. As the back-cover blurb puts it:

‘The news’ can mean many things, but first and foremost in this collection the news is—We’re having a baby! Starting in the fifth week of his wife’s pregnancy, Rob Taylor wrote a poem every week as they traveled toward their child’s birth. His poems anticipate the astonishing and yet commonplace beginning of a human life, but they also explore how a baby’s arrival streams into both the incessant chatter of the world’s daily news and into that other sort of news that literature carries—what Ezra Pound called “news that stays news”.

You can learn more about the book (and order a copy, if you can't make the launch!) on the Gaspereau website. If you're in Vancouver, I hope to see you on the 27th, and if you're out East, I'll be rushing through Ontario and Quebec in the days following the Vancouver launch. Stay tuned for more info on those readings!

*They are also, coincidentally, my CanPo Fantasy All-Star Team.


Al Purdy A-frame - Applications Open for 2018!

The Al Purdy A-frame Association is now accepting applications for the 2018 season. As a past resident I can say it's well, well, worth it - it was the best, most affirming and inspiring, thing I've done as a writer. And they were incredibly accommodating for a writer with a family, to boot - so writers with families, don't feel discouraged.

The residencies will be slightly different in 2018 - chiefly, a change from month(s)-long stays, to week(s)-long. Hopefully that flexibility will allow more people to make it out there, without having to pack up their entire lives. From the call:

Travel to Ameliasburgh will be paid. Those awarded the residency will be given a stipend of $650 dollars ($500 honorarium and $150 travel) a week[1] while living in the A-frame, and will be free to spend their time on their writing. Residents will be expected to participate in one public event for each month of their stay—the event could be a reading, lecture, workshop, an event in a local school or some other literary activity—and to consider other reasonable requests. These events will take place in one of the larger communities nearby, Picton, Belleville, Kingston. As well there is an event at the Town Hall in Ameliasburgh each April to coincide with National Poetry Month and National Al Purdy Day, April 21. All this will be organized in collaboration with the Prince Edward County Arts Council, and a dedicated group in Ameliasburgh and the local area. Residents will be offered a temporary library card for the excellent library at Queen’s University in Kingston, where many of Al Purdy’s papers are held. Those awarded a residency will be asked to donate at least one copy of one of their books to the Residency Library. Writers in residence will also be encouraged to make themselves known at the Purdy Library in Ameliasburgh and to donate a book. They may also wish to discuss with the local liaison the possibility of working with local schools.

The Al Purdy A-frame Association is now accepting applications for residencies. Effective spring 2017 the residency program is switching from monthly to weekly. The current Call is for residencies from April 14, 2018 to June 30, 2018.

Applications will be accepted until October 21st. You can read the full guidelines here.

If you're thinking about it, do it!

The A-frame during a Purdy Party


being a little smug worked to my advantage

rob mclennan: How did you come to poetry first, as opposed to, say, fiction or non-fiction?

Adrienne Gruber: Let’s be real, I came to poetry because fiction and non-fiction scared the shit out of me and poetry seemed like the easiest and safest way to express myself. I’ve always had issues with intellectual confidence and for some reason I envisioned poetry as this shortcut to expressing myself – short-term pain for long term gain, kind of? Weird, I know. In a way, I’m grateful for the naivety I had in those early years of writing because it shielded me from psyching myself out. I wrote poetry prolifically all through high school and in my early twenties, thinking I was cheating my way into being a writer because I could sit down and whip off two or three poems in an afternoon and call it a day. By the time I fully realized that writing poetry – good poetry, that is – is hard work, excruciating at times, I had been writing for over a decade and had already written my way through a bazillion poems that sucked and managed to rework a small handful of pieces and get them published in literary magazines. So being a little smug about being prolific worked to my advantage in a way. It allowed me to write through about a decades worth of clichéd lines and suffocating imagery and build my revision skills.

- Adrienne Gruber, in conversation with rob mclennan over on his blog. You can read the whole thing here.


September Dead Poets + WORD Reading

The next Dead Poets Reading Series event will take place this Sunday, September 11th, from 3-5 PM, at the Vancouver Public Library's Central Branch, Alice MacKay room.

The lineup:

John Asfour (1945 - 2014), read by Elee Kraljii Gardiner
Mahmoud Darwish (1942 - 2008), read by Rahat Kurd
Hafez (1325 - 1390), read by Nina Mosall
Nizar Qabanni (1923 - 1998), read by Ray McGinnis
Rumi (1207 - 1273), read by E.D. Blodgett

Also, as a special event for WORD Vancouver, we will be presenting a reading on Sunday, September 25th, at 2:35 PM, in the poetry tent ("Sunrise Suite").

The WORD reading will include:

Sveva Caetani (1917 - 1994), read by Daphne Marlatt
Jamie Reid (1941 - 2015), read by Wayde Compton
James Schuyler (1923 - 1991), read by Raoul Fernandes

Attendance is free for both.

For more info on either reading, visit the DPRS website.

I hope to see you at one (or both!) of our September events.


First Look at "The News"

Gaspereau has posted a few photos of the cover of my new book, currently in production, over on their Instagram account:

Dwiggins ornaments on Saint Armand paper. #letterpress #saintarmandpaper #canadianpoetry #dwiggins

A photo posted by Gaspereau Press (@gaspereaupress) on

The cover design, dreamed up by Andrew Steeves, resonates on multiple levels with the themes and images in the book, and is just about as perfect as I could imagine any cover being. There's a solid chance I will pass out when I actually get one in my hands.

Also, some good news on the publication front: both The Fiddlehead and Event magazines will be publishing "sneak previews" from The News concurrently with the book's publication. So if you're a subscriber to either and you want more of a sample of the contents before putting down the big bucks, keep an eye out for the Fall/Winter issues!

If you'd like to read a few poems from the book which are already online, you can do so here.


Poetry in the Park!

Alongside Susan McCaslin, I'm reading tonight as part of the Poetry in the Park series in New Westminster. The series is run by the Royal City Literary Arts Society, and has been going on all summer. You can get more info on the series here.

The show starts at 6 PM, and it sounds like I'll be closing the show.

I hope to see you there!


most of it has not been covered up well

Suzanna Derewicz: Something I noticed in Shiner is how often the speaker(s) call out to history... The desire to call out to that which preceded you, where does that live in you?

Eva HD: I guess I feel like it’s doing the same to me, so I feel like I’m responding. In today’s world, it feels sometimes like everyone has the memory of a goldfish, but history and context are very clearly present in everything we experience, though some of it might be willfully passed over. I find it difficult to write anything that is disassociated from it.

SD: Like we’re tethered to it.

HD: More like it’s a palimpsest—most of it has not been erased or covered up very well and I’m constantly stumbling upon it. Your question is a very good one. And people are shouting out to history all the time, whether intentionally or otherwise. The term Puritan, for example, is something I can’t really hear without thinking about the ethnic cleansings of Ireland and North America. We contend daily with the consequences of history, which manifest themselves more obviously for some of us than for others. Try telling some kids in Attawapiskat that history doesn’t matter. I think a person would have to live in a peculiar state of privilege to imagine that they lived outside of history.

- Eva HD, discussing her second poetry collection, Shiner, with Suzanna Derewicz over at The Puritan's Town Crier blog. You can read the whole thing here.


a cheap way to scooch your audience closer

There’s a link between poets and comedians. Both inspect and wrestle with the status quo, and both do so to share the experience of discovery.

But I think comedy has unseated poetry over the past 100 years in popular culture because its core purpose is more straightforward—laughter. The other stuff, the “Thinky Pain” as Marc Maron puts it, gets to tag along like a rider provision in a congress bill. Comedy has this way of leading different interpretations to the same general response—again, laughter.

Poetry doesn’t have a core purpose as easily definable as comedy (look at all the ink spilled everywhere), so maybe people are unsure what they’re supposed to glean from it, or how they’re to react. I love poetry for that. I love that a single line can elicit all sorts of interpretations.

The reason I guess that I use humour sometimes—maybe you could back me up—is to toss a little life raft into the storm and say, let’s all convene to have the same response to something, if just for a moment. It’s a cheap way to scooch your audience closer.

- Vincent Colistro, in interview with Catriona Wright over at The Puritan's Town Crier blog. You can read the whole thing here.