two new poems

It's been more than two years since a new poem of mine (save my Malahat Review mailing list found poem) was published online. So I'm pleased to have something out there again (two somethings, in fact) and to have them published in a very fine magazine, The Maynard. The Spring 2014 issue is now online and includes two of my poems:

In the South Chilcotins

The Shell

The issue also features new poems by Melissa Sawatsky, Kevin Spenst, Richard Kemick and many more - most notably Kayla Czaga, whose two poems are, as you'll see, f-ing fantastic.

Thanks to the folks at The Maynard for giving my poems some space in the issue!


Magazine Launchathon

All your favourite BC lit mags (except for those other ones, of course) will be simultaneously launching their new issues this Thursday at the Cottage Bistro. The details:

Poetry is Dead/Prism/Event/Room Magazine Launch
Thursday, April 17th, 7:00 PM
The Cottage Bistro
4468 Main Street, Vancouver
Featuring: Readings by Zoey Leigh Peterson, Karen J Lee, Ashleigh Rajala, Dina Del Bucchia and Billeh Nickerson. Music by the Woolysock Band. Pinata smashing by YOU.
Free. Maybe get a magazine, though?

There will be pinatas, so of course I will see you there, riiiight?


Today: Christopher Levenson Book Launch

Christopher Levenson is launching his new (eleventh!) book of poetry, Night Vision (Quattro Books), at 3PM today at the VPL. The details:

Night Vision Launch
Saturday, April 12th, 3 PM
Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level
Central Library, 350 West Georgia St.
Featuring: A reading from Christopher and interview with Ken Klonsky

It should be a fantastic afternoon. I hope to see you there!


Twisted Poets with Jane Munro and Jan Conn (and me! Sort of!) this Wednesday

I'm guest co-hosting (with Daniela Elza) the Twisted Poets Reading Series this Wednesday night for a special Brick Books authors night!

The reading will feature Jane Munro and Jan Conn, both of whom have recent books out from Brick. As 50% of the writing quartet Yoko's Dogs, they have also recently released the poetry collection Whisk (Pedlar Press, 2013).

It should be a great evening! The details:

Twisted Poets Literary Salon
Wednesday, April 9th, 7:30 - 9:30 PM
The Cottage Bistro
4468 Main Street, Vancouver
Featuring: Jane Munro and Jan Conn
$5 Suggested Donation


braced to take in the full force

When I encounter a poem that engages the mind over the senses I really have to force myself to pay attention and work my way through it, even if it’s a brilliant piece of writing (and thinking). I need to feel a thing I’m reading to really become involved with it, and in that way I sometimes have the sense that others would consider me rather old-fashioned, or traditional, or, I don’t know, soft. That needing or wanting to “feel” is a kind of weakness in our post-post-modern era, or whatever this is. But it doesn’t feel soft to me. When I read, I’m braced to take in the full force of the mysteries of our existence. I want to be kicked in the gut, and when I write, that’s what I’m aiming to hit. Not the mind, not the heart: the gut. That doesn’t mean the mind and heart aren’t involved; they’re entwined, actually, rather than one or the other dominating. When I read something really powerful, the sensation is physical, like being bruised.

- Anita Lahey, in conversation with Susan Gillis on Susan's Concrete & River blog. You can read the whole thing here.


the same words everything else used

I remember, in my early teens, encountering the voltage in a good poem. I can still recall how startled I was by how the words in a poem relayed a kind of intensity and vitality and I was curious about that. I’d read a lot of novels and short stories but began to read poems to figure out how they were pulling off what they were with the same words everything else used. This intensity, vitality was one of the things that convinced me that there was something going on besides the dailiness and challenges of my own life. That there was a conversation apart from but still somehow fiercely connected to my own experiences and, at first, I was shocked by being addressed in that manner, so directly, then, later, I wanted to respond and add my voice to the conversation.

- Sue Goyette, in interview with Susan Gillis over at her Concrete & River blog. You can read the whole thing here.


UFV Reading - This Thursday!

You know how you always have all that free time on Thursday afternoons? And how badly you've been wanting an excuse to zip on out to Abbotsford? Well, there's no need to wait until the Airshow to check off both boxes at once!

Myself, Renee Saklikar and Rajnish Dhawan will be reading at the Universtiy of the Fraser Valley this Thursday. The details:

Canadian Writers Series at UFV
Thursday, March 13th, 12:30 - 2:00 PM
University of the Fraser Valley Bookstore, Abbostford Campus
33844 King Road, Abbotsford
Featuring: Renee Saklikar, Rajnish Dhawan and me!

It's been a long time since I last read more than a poem or two in the Lower Mainland, so I'm pretty excited to try out some new stuff. And I'm looking forward to reading with both Renee and Rajnish - I'm completely prepared for Renee to, as usual, steal the show.

This event is an extension of UFV's writer-in-residency program, and is organized by current WiR and friend of silaron, Daniela Elza (Thanks, Daniela!), whose reward for organizing the readings is to have a giant photo of herself featured on all the posters. Not bad, eh?

Will Daniela make a cameo appearance during the reading? Will Renee and I get lost trying to find UFV for the first time? Will anyone come to a poetry reading in Abbotsford at 12:30 on a Thursday? You'll have to come to find out!

p.s. Speaking of Renee, she's got a great new interview with Jordan Abel and Daniel Zomparelli up now at Lemonhound. Check it out!


to align myself appropriately with the world

I’ve sometimes felt compelled to demystify the writing process, to deny the romantic view of the inspired writer, which belies the sheer labour that goes into making a poem, hides the all-important editorial blood-sweat-and-tears, the enlivening but sometimes endless-seeming work of fine-tuning. But for me there’s also a dimension of the writing process that is effortless — even the sometimes excruciating effort of fine-tuning can feel effortless. A real paradox.

I think what I mean when I say that the effort feels effortless is that I’m responding to a call from something in the world. Something, some situation, presents itself to me as imbued with lyric intensity, and to respond is second nature. An urge to respond just “flowers forth.” I don’t think poets are the only people to be called by aspects of the world and who feel the urge to respond; that’s just part of what it is to be human - we’re responsive, susceptible, if sometimes more so than at other times. And response can take many forms. But for me, to respond is often to make a poem, i.e. to work to build an instrument that helps me — and, if I manage to do it well enough, possibly others — to align myself appropriately with the world.

- Sue Sinclair, in conversation with Susan Gillis over on her blog Concrete & River. You can read the whole interview here.

I'm thrilled to see that Susan has started publishing interviews on her blog. You can read more of Susan's interviews with poets here.


the real estate modern man has made of Earth

"Sentimentality" is often the accusation brought by the critic when he would refuse some experience or idea arising in the poem that does not satisfy or support his personal world of values but would threaten, if it were allowed, to undo that world. The word "sentimental" means "supposed" experience, I suppose. "You do not really feel that" or "you are letting your feelings get away with you" is the reproof often where we would not like to allow the feeling detected to advance, lest we too feel what the advancing feeling brings with it. Much of modern criticism of poetry is not to raise a crisis in our consideration of the content or to deepen our apprehension of the content, but to dismiss the content. When such critics would bring the flight of imagination down to earth, they mean not the earth men have revered and worked with love and awe, the imagined earth, but the real estate modern man has made of Earth for his own uses.

- Robert Duncan, from his essay "The Truth & Life of Myth: An Essay in Essential Autobiography", as published in his Collected Essays and Other Prose.

Thank you to Don Share for pulling this quote out and sharing it.


a ten or twenty year walk, maybe

Many university students I’ve worked with have been stuffed to the gills with words and texts and complexities, various theories of writing and what constitutes significant thought and therefore significant work. Some of them want to be writers, but they can barely get one of their own words in edgewise amongst the many prescriptions, what they are and are not ‘supposed’ to write about. I feel for them; understandably, some of them are afraid to think and write and read for themselves...

Some of the students are writing poetry. Sometimes their poetry is incomprehensible. They are being taught that writing must be ‘complex’ to be good. It must not betray too much emotion. It must not record in an open, transparent way states or experiences that are deeply emotional. (Honest emotion is also passĂ©? Mon dieu! What can this possibly mean?) Poetry must refer to technology and science in order to be relevant to our technological postmodern age. But, why? That’s not what poetry is really good at, in my opinion; poetry does not have to prove itself in that way (scientifically, postmodernly) to be worthwhile. My advice to these new poets is to leave their universities and go for a long walk. (A ten or twenty year long walk, maybe.)

- Karen Connelly, from an excellent Q+A (light on the Q, heavy on the A) with Shawna Lemay over at Canadian Poetries. The Vehicule Press blog has another great excerpt here, and you can read the whole Q+A here.