Hunter/Pearson Launch

Aislinn Hunter and Miranda Pearson are launching their new books together:

Hunter/Pearson Launch
November 8th, 2009, 7 PM
Chivas Restaurant and Lounge
2340 W. 4th Avenue, Vancouver

More info on the poster:


James Moore Rejection Letter

I recently received a rejection letter for my two poetry submissions to James Moore (read them here and here). I must admit that at first I wasn't sure it was a rejection (I've had this problem before). The main barrier to my comprehension was that the letter is chocked full of bureaucratic boilerplate (I mean, two pages? Wow!). I suppose this is to be expected when transitioning from running a political newsletter and website to running a literary arts journal. That said, they did manage to reject two submissions with one letter (Exhibit A, below), which is a veteran move.

I've posted their rejection letter below, along with my own annotation which will hopefully clear things up for you, the reader, and perhaps help the editors of James Moore's publications shorten up future letters (click to expand the images):
Section B) "Thank you for your submission."

Section C) "We received hundreds of excellent poems for consideration for our upcoming issue. Because of this, we weren't able to accept all the great work that was sent to us."

Section D) "Unfortunately, we have to reject your submission."

Section E) "But we still totally like you."
Section E continued) "No, seriously. We do."

Section F) "And we hope you keep submitting, though preferably somewhere else."

Section G) "Yours, The New Intern"


hey, look!

I'm reading tomorrow! Neat!

Poets Against War Canada Reading
October 25th, 2009
6:30 PM
Cafe Montmartre
4362 Main Street, Vancouver
Poster here.

See you there?


those hidden sources that animate our lives

It is also disheartening to find so many young people now concerned with only the surface effects of poetry, as if a poem is nothing more than a kind of puzzle or arithmetic equation that can be easily solved by counting syllables or by employing a formal rhyme scheme. What is even more troubling is to see how many are overly concerned with their own sense of prominence. Unfortunately, our culture encourages such poets by telling them it is far better to be a face on a billboard, an image in a magazine, or a name on a page than a flesh and blood person quietly concerned with the long standing relationships between the spiritual and the corporeal, consciousness and reality, imagination and metaphor.

I expect it is no wonder we have raised a generation of young poets now happily posing for photos with microphones in hand and indulging in all manners of poetic trappings without ever exploring in any truly meaningful fashion those hidden sources that animate our lives and our poetry. In fact, a good many of them would ridicule this very idea for it has become quite fashionable to do so.

- Chris Banks, in a blog post. Read the whole thing here.


the funnier the name...

the more I's gots to go. And it's not even St. Bartholomew's Day!

Wayzgoose 2009
October 24th
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Vancouver Public Library, Downtown Branch
350 West Georgia St., Vancouver


dead poets reading this weekend

Congratulations to David Zieroth on his GG nomination! If you'd like to see him speak in the flesh, and hear the poems of many other great poets in the non-flesh, then take in the upcoming Dead Poets reading:

Sunday Afternoon with Dead Poets
Sunday, October 18, 2009
3:00 - 5:00 pm.
The Café for Contemporary Art
140 East Esplanade
North Vancouver, BC

You're invited to listen to five readers reading poems from their favourite dead poets.

+ Poems of John Keats (1795-1821)
read by Harvey De Roo

+ Poems of Gwendolyn MacEwen (1941-1987)
read by Fiona Tinwei Lam

+ Poems of Georg Trakl (1887-1914)
read by Richard Therrien

ten minutes

+ Poems of William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)
read by Jamie Reid

+ Poems of Francis Ponge (1899-1988)
read by Marguerite Pigeon

Emcee: David Zieroth

In each presentation you will hear a brief introduction to the poet followed by a reading of selected poems, 15 minutes in total.

Cafca is one block up from Lonsdale Quay and the Seabus. Bring your friends and enjoy the coffee and art. Seating is limited.

For more info: Cafca @ 778 340 3379 or David @ dzieroth(at)telus(dot)net


i'm on the radio tomorrow

Crazy, eh? Daniela Elza and I are last minute fill-ins on Wax Poetic on Wednesday at 2 PM, talking about the Poets Against War reading that's coming up on October 25th, and reading a few of our own poems. You can listen in at 102.7 FM or online here.

the vice president in charge of making sense

The Polish poet Adam Zagajewski has put this succinctly: “Poetry allows us to experience astonishment and to pause in that astonishment for a long moment or two.”... I think such astonishment is important as an antidote, or counter-tendency, to language’s great capacity for organizing, manipulating, and naming the world. Poetry – any poetry – is always political and subversive because it uses language, our foremost technological tool, against its powers of mastery and control. In poetry, language discovers its eros. In poetry, language is always a singer as well as a thinker, a lover as well as an engineer. Language delights in its own being as though it were an otter or a raven and not just the vice president in charge of making sense.

- Don McKay, in a speech at The Reykjavik International Literary Festival. Read the whole thing here.


all poets are mavericks

Sarah Palin, eat your heart out:

And anyway, the adjective “radical,” when applied to the noun “poet,” is redundant. Any person worth calling a poet (and there are far fewer of these than we might prefer) writes poetry because more basic modes of communication (like the emoticon-caulked prose of texting, say) just won’t do—because basic communication isn’t the point. “All poetry is experimental poetry,” wrote Stevens. In other words, all poets are always already “radical” or “experimental” or “innovative.” This isn’t to suggest that good poets haven’t occasionally huddled around some hub, mimeographed or e-mailed a manifesto, and declared themselves an avant-garde; this is only to suggest that all poets are mavericks, whether they, or their circle, choose to brand themselves as such or not.

- Jason Guriel, from the October 2009 issue of Poetry. Read the whole thing here.


the night of the long bookmarks?

Ok, I'm working on a better nickname for the thing, but it's a start:

B.C. Slashes Funding to Publishing Groups

Do I have to start writing letters to Kevin Krueger now? I wonder if constituency newsletters accept simultaneous submissions?


poets against war reading

Daniela Elza has organized a Poets Against War reading, featuring myself, among others:

Poets Against War Canada Reading
October 25th, 2009
6:30 PM
Cafe Montmartre
4362 Main Street, Vancouver
Poster here.

Hope to see you there!


sympathy for the devil

No, wait... for Dan Brown... by the way most people talk it's hard to tell them apart. Yeesh. Thank you, Jean Hannah Edelstein:

But what swayed my view even more than these economic arguments was in fact, the poignant revelation that Brown shared a creative writing class at Amherst – one of the US's finest small liberal arts colleges – with David Foster Wallace. No one, I am certain, takes a creative writing course with the aim of writing over-wrought, long-winded, critically-reviled thrillers. You take a creative writing course because you want to be a good writer; because you go back to your dorm room and read the great books on your English Lit course syllabus (or your genius classmate David's coursework) and regard the Pulitzer prize shortlist and think, "One day, that could be me." And then you sit down to write with all the best of intentions, and all that comes out is "The thirty-four-year-old initiate gazed down at the human skull cradled in his palms."...

I would thus be willing to wager all of the income I have ever made from writing fiction (nothing, but the sentiment is there) that sometimes, even as he wallows in his piles of money, Dan Brown wonders why he'll never be able to write exactly as well as he wishes he could; why while being one of the world's most financially successful writers, literary acclaim eludes him; why no one ever says, "actually, there's a sentence on page 344 when Langdon says something rather profound and eloquent". Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we just cannot help the way that we write, and sometimes, it is just a bit crap.

Read the whole thing here.


more things purdy

Two more fundraisers for the Al Purdy A-Frame Trust.

A contest (for everyone):

The Contest: We are seeking poems that engage in some direct way with Al Purdy’s poetry, poetics, and/or poetic legacy. There is no limit on the length or number of poems submitted as long as the appropriate entry fees are included. The judges will select the top three poems in each category (see Categories, below). Event, The New Quarterly, and The Antigonish Review will each publish two of the winning poems in 2010. The winners will also receive a selection of titles from Harbour Publishing (including Paul Vermeersch's forthcoming The Al Purdy A-Frame Anthology) and Freehand Books.

Categories: Entries will be judged under one of two categories: emerging poet or established poet. An established poet is someone who has published a book of poetry (longer than a chapbook), or has one forthcoming with a confirmed publisher.

Contest Fee/Donation: Entry fee is $10/poem, with all monies thus collected going directly to The Al Purdy A-Frame Trust. Further donations to this initiative are welcomed and encouraged. Tax receipts will be issued, upon request, for any submission fee/donation of $50 or more. Cheques and money orders must be made out to The Al Purdy A-Frame Trust.

How to Enter: Send a cover letter identifying under which category your poem(s) is/are to be judged, along with one hard copy of each poem, and the appropriate entry fee ($10/poem) to:

After Al Purdy Poetry Contest,
Department of English, University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4

Please include your contact information, including your name and email address at the top right-hand corner of each submitted poem. Email submissions will not be accepted. Please keep a copy of poem(s) submitted; entries will not be returned.

Contest Closing Date: Entries must be post-marked by Friday, November 13, 2009. Winners will be announced by January 1, 2010, and will have their winning poems published in 2010. Entries will be judged by University of Calgary English Department graduate students and faculty:

Suzette Mayr, Owen Percy, Robyn Read, and Tom Wayman.

Sponsored by the English Department at the University of Calgary, Freehand Books, Harbour Publishing, The Antigonish Review, Event, and The New Quarterly.

The contest website is here.

And an auction (for those in the neighbourhood):

Al Purdy Auction

Saturday, Oct. 17th - 10am - 1pm
Al Purdy Library in Ameliasburgh

Contents: The auction will include small items, sentimental trinkets and household items/furnishings from the A-Frame as used/purchased by Al, Eurithe Purdy and the many literary visitors to the cottage.There are some volumes of old books and magazines that will be included in the auction.

With your help we can raise money to support the A- Frame Trust Project.

Where: The Al Purdy Library, Ameliasburgh, County Rd #19 in the village of Ameliasburgh. Continue through village to STOP SIGN and turn immediately left on Whitney Rd.