4/30/2016

Coming Soon... The Cyclist!


I have an essay coming out on Wednesday with Big Truths magazine and, well, those folks don't mess around when it comes to promotion. I thought that Ooligan Press' promotion of my poem in their "Alive at the Center" anthology, complete with hand-drawn recreation of my author photo, was impressive, but Big Truths (and it's sister magazine Little Fiction) might have them beat.

The essay is about a motorcycle accident Marta was in when we were living in Zambia in 2013. Needless to say, it was a harrowing moment in both of our lives. The cover image (yes, my online essay has a cover - see above) and promotional trailer (yes, my online essay has a promotional trailer - see below) manage to take that harrowing moment and crank the harrow-meter to 11.


I'll post a link when the essay goes up on Wednesday, which gives you four days to get adequately pre-harrowed. Also, make sure you check out Little Fiction/Big Truth's fiction and non-fiction archives - there's oh so much good stuff in there.

4/29/2016

BC Poetry 2016: "Rough Ground Revisited" by Kate Braid (Caitlin Press)



He Calls Me
Found poem
from a conversation with a female firefighter

Because I don't carry a purse
or wear makeup
 
because I like sports
and am physically fit
 
because I wear a uniform
and the gods didn't make me pretty
 
because I wear boots
and am a firefighter, proud as him,
 
he calls me  Bitch  Broad  Dyke.

I call him  Hey,  Bill.


Who?

Kate Braid has written and co-edited eleven books of prize-winning poetry and non-fiction, most recently a memoir, Journeywoman: Swinging a Hammer in a Man’s World, and poems, Rough Ground Revisited. In 2015 she was awarded the Vancouver Mayor’s Award for the Literary Arts for leadership in Vancouver’s cultural community.


What?

After publishing her memoir, Journeywoman: Swinging a Hammer in a Man’s World, it seemed appropriate to release a second edition of her first book of poems. In Rough Ground Revisited, several of the original poems in Covering Rough Ground have been replaced with new ones that explore - in slightly more gritty fashion but still with humour, compassion and a wise eye – Kate's experience as a construction carpenter and the impact of that crucial time in her life.


When?

Arrived August 15th, 2015.


Where?

Book Launches: N/A.

Purchases: From the Caitlin Press website or at your local bookstore. $18.


How?

Exploring in a more gritty fashion.



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

4/28/2016

BC Poetry 2016: "Twenty Seven Stings" by Julie Emerson (New Star Books)



Excerpt from "Fire"

With fire, a man faces the enemy.
It’s fear he offers, no screen
of scarlet tulips. A samurai’s
sword compels the foe to face
the man, the knight with a spiked mace,
no blooming allium bulb.
The crossbowman can rupture
class, accused of cowardice
for not getting close to his rival.
Militiamen throng the fields,
muskets firing, nothing natural
as hundreds of blazing hawthorne buds.
Poppies turn blood-red,
pilots fly their own fire.
Now, beside a potted geranium
at his desk, a man with a screen is god.
He steers a dragonfly in another
country he’s never seen, a mother
calls her teenaged son — the end,
unmanned. Songs efface the boom:
bam.

Illustration by Roxanna Bikadoroff


Who?

Julie Emerson is a writer and multimedia artist who lives in Vancouver and on Mayne Island, BC. She is the author of The Herons of Stanley Park (with photographer Martin Passchier, 2013) and A Hundred Days: A Botanical Novel (2012), and won the 2013 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Competition. Her artwork is exhibited in galleries around Vancouver.


What?

Twenty Seven Stings is a suite of seventeen poems inspired by the cultural histories and military strategies that have led us into wars throughout history, from sixth century BCE China to Alexander the Great to contemporary American drone warfare.

Drawing on these and other well–known conflicts, Twenty Seven Stings engages various aspects of war, including the rules of warfare; the unsung roles of women as pawns or inspirations or lures; the seasons of battle, the landscape, and the lack of food as elemental factors; and the use of poisons and bees as weapons — the title poem refers to the bee–stings required to kill an enemy, according to Pliny's Natural History. Julie Emerson's powerfully understated verse reimagines human consciousness, and the ways our psychological needs, our territorial instincts, and our propensity for violence inhabit and animate the state of war.

Twenty Seven Stings is illustrated by renowned Vancouver illustrator Roxanna Bikadoroff.


When?

Arrived November 11th, 2015.


Where?

Book Launches: Done and gone!

Purchases: The New Star website, or at your local bookstore. $18.


How?

Reimagining human consciousness.



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

4/27/2016

BC Poetry 2016: "The Red Files" by Lisa Bird-Wilson (Nightwood Editions)



Blood Sisters

between learning and laundry
backs against redbrick building
legs crossed Indian-style
Agnes tells Leona
“you should marry my brother”

they pinky swear
but it’s not set
until Agnes swipes
a kitchen knife
and they pledge in blood
to be sisters forever
pressing their palms together
a stick red promise

teacher catches them out
of sight behind the rectory
pulls their hair
flushed and inflamed
she pinches their legs
to hear them squawk
makes Agnes kneel
to lick Leona’s hand wound
a viscous curious bloom
clean, before sending them
to scrub floors
on prayer-bruised knees


Who?

Lisa Bird-Wilson is a Cree-Metis writer from Saskatchewan whose writing has appeared in a number of literary magazines and anthologies, including Grain, Prairie Fire, The Dalhousie Review, Geist, kimiwan, cîhcêwêsin and Best Canadian Essays. She is the author of the novel Just Pretending (Coteau Books, 2013). Bird-Wilson lives in Saskatoon, SK.


What?

This debut poetry collection from Lisa Bird-Wilson reflects on the legacy of the residential school system: the fragmentation of families and histories, with blows that resonate through the generations.

Inspired by family and archival sources, Bird-Wilson assembles scraps of a history torn apart by colonial violence. The collection takes its name from the federal government's complex organizational structure of residential schools archives, which are divided into “black files" and “red files." In vignettes as clear as glass beads, her poems offer affection to generations of children whose presence within the historic record is ghostlike, anonymous and ephemeral.

The collection also explores the larger political context driving the mechanisms that tore apart families and cultures, including the Sixties Scoop. It depicts moments of resistance, both personal and political, as well as official attempts at reconciliation: “I can hold in the palm of my right hand / all that I have left: one story-gift from an uncle, / a father's surname, treaty card, Cree accent echo, metal bits, grit— / and I will still have room to cock a fist."

The Red Files concludes with a fierce hopefulness, embracing the various types of love that can begin to heal the traumas inflicted by a legacy of violence.



When?

Arriving May 7th, 2016.


Where?

Book Launches: TBA.

Purchases: The Harbour Publishing website, or at your local bookstore. $18.95.


How?

Embracing the various types of love.



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

4/26/2016

BC Poetry 2016: "The Names" by Tim Lilburn (McClelland & Stewart)



Rabbit Lake Log House, Where I First Read the Tao

Stove of quarter-inch iron
In a wide grey room facing the opposite
Plunge of the valley, frost on the inner walls, the early Nineties –
Where else to sleep but in front of that cherried blackness,
One sleigh, drifts, and a moon pressed into the metal,
In a winter bag, on a moose-hide rug, waking every few hours
To lay in poplar chunks broken
From the iced pile behind the kitchen.
I’d light a propane lamp later,
Put a kettle on the hottest part of the stove’s plate
For instant and watch white trees come out of dark.
A beautiful woman had left me.
Unskinned stars every night,
The river was frozen a half-mile below
Under animal scratches through snow.
The house was still and stepped back even in late morning,
Horsehair couch, some sort of tiptoedness in the biblical quotations
In glass ovals on the wall; the old logs in the loaned house
Cracked as if they made a boat
Moving across a sea of buoyant cold.


Who?

Tim Lilburn is the author of nine previous books of poetry, including Assiniboia, Orphic Politics, Kill-site, and To the River. His work has received the Governor General’s Award and the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award, among other prizes. Lilburn is also the author of two essay collections, Living in the World As If It Were Home and Going Home, and the editor of two other influential books on poetics. He teaches at the University of Victoria.


What?

From Governor General's Award-winning poet Tim Lilburn comes a new collection of poetry of great scope and ambition.

The Names is personal and familial archaeology, an extemporal dig giving spectres back to their bodies. With its lines sped up and dazzlingly associative, Tim Lilburn’s cocktail of obsessions – confession, ontology, mystical theology, humour and extreme, fleet, apt weirdness – marches through on full display. He pulls in an even broader cast of characters than his previous collections managed: John Ruusbroec and Marguerite Porete brush past aunts, uncles, and unusual creatures steering the boats of language past fog-draped trees. In Lilburn’s latest collection, we are immersed in a realism of remarkable proportions, as though incandescent memory comprised both texture and text, and combined formed the elemental fibres of a perilous present.


When?

Arrived March 22nd, 2016.


Where?

Book Launches: Vancouver launch at Open Space, date TBA.

Purchases: From the McClelland & Stewart website or at your local bookstore. $18.95.


How?

Cocktail-ing obsessions.



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

4/25/2016

BC Poetry 2016: "Waiting Room" by Jennifer Zilm (BookThug)



elegy, a rain fragment

The rain a silk mesh blanket,
  giddy at a prose poem, a monologue
  of hobos, a tiny leaf
  a prayer of thresholds. Theft under
  your chargeable offense, your diagnosis. Goodbye
                from the boundary shore. If she said
 that to me 


Who?

Vancouver-based Jennifer Zilm received a B.A. and an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of British Columbia and was a doctoral fellow at McMaster University, where her (unfinished) dissertation focused on the liturgical and poetic texts in the Dead Sea Scrolls. A graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Writer’s Studio and the Humber College School for Writers, Zilm’s writing has been published in numerous journals, including Prism International, Prairie Fire, Grain, CV2, The Antigonish Review, Vallum, and Women in Judaism and Poetry. Zilm is the author of two chapbooks: The whole and broken yellows (2013) and October Notebook (2015). Zilm has been a finalist for many contests, including The Malahat Review's Far Horizons Award and CV2's 2-Day Poem Contest. A draft of Waiting Room was shortlisted for the 2014 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry.


What?

Featuring a mélange of styles and forms (including sonnets, erasures, unsent emails, footnotes, session notes, CVs, tweets, and other disparate source materials), Zilm’s engaging and observant writing invites readers to investigate the curious boundaries of various therapeutic terrains-from an exploration of the esoteric world of graduate school, where the subject is religion, to a mash-up of Dante’s vision of purgatory and Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), to the improbable written intersections of van Gogh’s doctors and Sylvia Plath’s therapist-subverting, sharing, and repurposing the all-too-familiar vocabularies of psychiatry, dentistry, the Bible, and academia in a humorous investigation into what it means to wait, to be a patient and to be patient, to be a student and to be a teacher, to be a healer and to be healed.

“From dental work to theological discourse, Waiting Room enthralled me. Zilm’s ‘salient’ lines leap or spring with poignancy. She deeply attends to the urgency and meaning of the poem on every level and it’s rare. Brava!” — Betsy Warland


When?

Arrived April 5th, 2016.


Where?

Book Launches: Vancouver launch June 2016 (exact date TBA).

Purchases: The BookThug website, at AllLitUp.ca, or at your local bookstore. $18.


How?

Repurposing the all-too-familiar vocabularies.



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

4/23/2016

BC Poetry 2016: "th book" by bill bissett (Talonbooks)


i live in a well

its parshulee
polluted

ths is a deep
image
pome

sumtimez i
remembr
evreething

sumtimez i
remembr
nothing

whats th diffrens

can yu tell

dew yu know


Who?

bill bissett garnered international attention in the 1960s as a pre-eminent figure of the counter-culture movement in Canada and the U.K. In 1964, he founded blewointment press, which published the works of bpNichol and Steve McCaffery, among others.

bissett’s charged readings, which never fail to amaze his audiences, incorporate sound poetry, chanting and singing, the verve of which is only matched by his prolific writing career—over seventy books of bissett’s poetry have been published.

A pioneer of sound, visual and performance poetry—eschewing the artificial hierarchies of meaning and the privileging of things (“proper” nouns) over actions imposed on language by capital letters; the metric limitations imposed on the possibilities of expression by punctuation; and the illusion of formal transparency imposed on the written word by standard (rather than phonetic) spelling—bissett composes his poems as scripts for pure performance and has consistently worked to extend the boundaries of language and visual image, honing a synthesis of the two in the medium of concrete poetry.

Whether paying tribute to his hometown lunaria or exercising his native tongue dissent, bissett continues to dance upon upon the cutting edge of poetics and performance works.

bill bissett was recently a featured poet on the Heart of a Poet series, produced in conjunction with Bravo! TV.

Among bissett’s many awards are: The George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award (2007), the BC Book Prizes Dorothy Livesay Prize (2003) for peter among th towring boxes / text bites, and the BC Book Prizes Dorothy Livesay Prize (1993) inkorrect thots.


What?

New poems from Canada’s shaman of sound and performance poetry, bill bissett. bissett’s innovations in sound poetry shaped poetry, music, painting, and publishing and have stimulated, provoked, influenced, shocked, and delighted audiences for half a century.

In this new collection of concrete poems, bissett writes “poemes uv greef transisyun n sumtimes joy byond binaree constraints if evreething goez what is aneething accepting nihilism lettr texting as an approach 2 heeling sorrow denial.”


When?

Arriving April 21st, 2016.


Where?

Book Launches: April 26th, Pyatt Hall (Vancouver).

Purchases: The Talonbooks website, or at your local bookstore. $19.95.


How?

Paying tribute to his hometown lunaria.




The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

4/22/2016

BC Poetry 2016: "The Resumption of Play" by Garry Geddes (Quattro Books)



A Song of Recall

And so it is with longing, you extend a hand
into the mist expecting to take hold of something
lost, perhaps the very thing you’d yearned for

but could not claim, a dream-shape, an unwritten
melody, insistent, that flitted in and out of your days
leaving its residue on your pillow, the faint smear

on an otherwise blank page, a colophon of desire.
You glimpse an apron, blue, with a pale, stitched
hem, a smudge of flour near the generous pocket,

enough to hold for a moment that lost mother
disappearing into the night who might, just might
be yours, wisps of her long dark hair surviving

cancer, surviving the flames, making a mockery
of memory itself, that insatiable canvas needing
to be filled, framed, needing to have occurred.


Who?

Gary Geddes has written and edited more than 45 books of poetry, fiction, drama, non-fiction, criticism, translation and anthologies and won more than a dozen national and international literary awards, including the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Americas Region), the Lt.-Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence and the Gabriela Mistral Prize from the government of Chile, awarded simultaneously to Octavio Paz, Vaclav Havel, Ernesto Cardenal, Rafael Alberti, and Mario Benedetti.


What?

The gripping title poem of The Resumption of Play, which won the 2015 Malahat Review Long Poem Prize, dramatizes the traumatic experience and enduring legacy of Canada’s Indian residential schools. The book is also about coming to terms with grief and loss, including a special elegiac sequence about the poet’s mother, dead at age 35, and another about Pound, Brodsky, Stravinsky and Diaghelev called “On Being Dead in Venice.” This exciting new cornucopia from one of Canada’s premier poets also includes two prison letters from Somalia and lyrics about Virginia Woolf, Bronwen Wallace, misogyny, obstacles to belief, and the healing power of poetry.


When?

Arrived in January 2016.


Where?

Book Launches: Back on March 15th, at Russell Books (Vancouver).

Purchases: At your local bookstore. $18.


How?

Cornucopia-ing.



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

4/21/2016

BC Poetry 2016: "After All the Scissor Work is Done" by David Fraser (Leaf Press)



The Pick-up Girl

Out of the longest shadows
when the road lay looped and black
he found a girl with a crooked smile
in the headlights of the car.
He picked her up.
She slid into the seat.
She was lipstick, rouge, long legs
and cigarettes, slightly tarnished,
not a lucky coin, and he knew
he was in trouble when
she put her bare feet on the dash.
She flashed some thigh, so he kept
his eyes on the dark ribboned road,
the rocks and brush on either side.
She told him tales of forty pounders,
mornings naked waking on the grass,
how she took the cherries off young boys
and how at night she cried for all the babies
she’d given up. He knew he could’ve
kept her safe, but bought her breakfast,
left on the table a bit of cash
and went to wash his hands.
She took the money,
hit the road, and found
another ride.





Who?

David Fraser lives in Nanoose Bay, on Vancouver Island. He is the founder and editor of Ascent Aspirations Magazine, since 1997. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Rocksalt, An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry, and Tesseracts 18. He has published five collections of poetry: Going to the Well, Running Down the Wind, No Way Easy, Caught in My Throat, Paper Boats, and a collection of short fiction, Dark Side of the Billboard, and On Poetry, a book on poetry and poetics, co-authored with Naomi Beth Wakan. To keep out of trouble he helps develop Nanaimo's spoken-word series, WordStorm. In October 2009 and 2010 he participated in Random Acts of Poetry, a national poetry program that brought poetry to the streets of Canada. David has performed his poetry in British Columbia, Ontario, California, and Switzerland.


What?

The poems in After All the Scissor Work Is Done scrape at the darker shades of human experience.

"Having admired David Fraser's poetry for years as he wonderfully manages to hallow small everyday moments, After All the Scissor Work Is Done came as a surprise. It is as if David has shed a hundred skins, let everything fall away until he could see matters with a naked, raw clarity, speak of things directly and unflinchingly. The sepia of nostalgia creeps like a mist over these poems, yet the sharpness of his memories, imagined or otherwise, keeps the reader from lulling into complacency by asking that we confront, time and time again, our own human frailties and our own mortality. A brave book." - Naomi Beth Wakan


When?

Will arrive at the end of April 2016.


Where?

Book Launches: TBA

Purchases: From the Leaf Press website or at your local bookstore. $16.95.


How?

Scraping at the darker shades.



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

4/20/2016

BC Poetry 2016: "Buoyancy Control" by Adrienne Gruber (BookThug)



Oyster

Drink it slow, says the girl who takes you
on her Vespa along the freeways of Manhattan, who dresses
all in black, face a sharp-eyed cat. Oyster juice
dribbles down her chin and she catches it with a napkin. Can you
taste it?
she asks, and you nod, not at all sure what she means.
The ocean, she says. Now close your eyes, and you do.
Sip the salty water, granules of the shell roll around
in your mouth. Nibble the oyster like touching tongues.
Open your eyes. She tilts her head back and pours the fleshy
meat down her throat. A bathtub made of marble, legs stretched
in lukewarm, the girl sprawled against your solid frame. It is this
and every image like it that prevents you from moving forward.
You take a cautious bite, pulp against your teeth. The summer
in Tofino, the afternoon at Long Beach, your face dry and sunburnt.
Find shells and smell their insides. Musky. The girl’s eyes watch
your mouth as you chew small plump bites. You can’t bear
to swallow something so raw, so full of life.


Who?

Adrienne Gruber is the author of the poetry collection This is the Nightmare (2008; shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry) and three chapbooks: Intertidal Zones (2014), Mimic (2012; winner of a bpNichol Chapbook Award), and Everything Water (2011). Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Grain, Event, Arc Poetry Magazine, Poetry is Dead, and Plenitude. She has been a finalist for the CBC Literary Awards in poetry, Descant’s Winston Collins Best Canadian Poem Contest, and twice for Arc’s Poem of the Year Contest. Her poem “Gestational Trail” was awarded first prize in The Antigonish Review’s Great Blue Heron Poetry Contest in 2015. Gruber lives in Vancouver with her partner Dennis and their two daughters.


What?

Buoyancy Control presents a fascinating culmination of land and sea, mind and body, in linguistic form. Metaphors of oceans, lakes, and other bodies of water (as well as the creatures that inhabit those spaces), swim and swirl their way through Gruber’s languid poems, which are divided into two evocative sections that explore themes of sexuality, sexual identity, and queerness, while confronting the feelings of loss and longing found in relationships, and the chance glimpse into a new life, while still recovering from a painfully failed connection.

Buoyancy Control is an honest, at times humorous, and revealing look inside the mind and body of a woman manoeuvring through experiences of longing, loss, and the fluidity of sexual identity, presented in a powerfully feminist and unapologetic poetic voice, from one of Canada’s most promising young writers.

“Densely, disturbingly erotic, Adrienne Gruber’s Buoyancy Control is not a book for the faint of heart. Gruber’s erotic reach encompasses the world entire, from undersea creatures to the human body of the beloved. No Hallmark sweetness in this collection—here is a fierce, wet, pulsing hunger, though there is an acute sensitivity in these observations, whether of childbirth, cold-water swimming, or other moments of convulsion and transformation so powerful that they transcend intellect. Here are poems that burst like fireworks, ‘all thought blasted into the night sky.’” — Rachel Rose


When?

Arrived April 5th, 2016.


Where?

Book Launches: Vancouver launch June 2016 (exact date TBA).

Purchases: The BookThug website, at AllLitUp.ca, or at your local bookstore. $18.


How?

Culminating land and sea.



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.