If tomorrow's Main Street Magazine Tour (where I'll be reading - 7 PM @ Pulpfiction Books) isn't enough lit love for one week for ya, it'll be followed by the two-day poetry explosion known as the Summer Dreams Literary Arts Festival.

This year things are kicking off on Friday evening with an awards night, where Susan Musgrave will be given a lifetime achievement award. Other awards will be handed out as well, including a citizenship award to Daniela Elza.

The main event starts at noon on Saturday at Lumberman's Arch in Stanley Park, and runs until 7:30 PM. Readings by Susan Musgrave, Catherine Owen, Betsy Warland, Fran Bourassa, Evelyn Lau, Brad Cran and many, many more. There will also be music, panel discussions, workshops, a kids tent, and a "Literary Game Show" (!). A full schedule is available here.

As is becoming a terrible tradition, I will be missing the festival because I'm out of town hiking. You must festival it up for me, aight?

Have A Good Summer Dreams Literary Arts Festival, y'all!


p.s. As mentioned above,I'm going to be out of town hiking. I'll be back posting in ten days or so. To tide you over 'til then, check out my latest MS Paint adventure: a new Twitter background/poem. Hurrah!

p.p.s. Sorry if you thought the above Twitter link had something to do with MS Paint Adventures. In hindsight, I wish it had too...


the idea becomes inextricable from its wording

The best poems embody their content so thoroughly that the idea becomes inextricable from its wording. The medium perfects the message. If a message won’t benefit from the medium of poetry, it should be stated artlessly and sent right away. When you have to call 911, don’t bother crafting a poem of it.

- Peter Norman, in interview with Jacob McArthur Mooney over at The Torontoist. Read the whole thing here.


check out the magascene

Oh man, how I wish I could take the credit for that pun. Unfortunately, that one's BCAMP's brainchild, as is the entire Main Street Magazine Tour which is going down this Thursday on... get ready for it... Main Street.

Two tours will be happening simultaneously, featuring visual artists, comics, writers and more representing six local magazines (Room, subTerrain, OCW, Ricepaper, Front and Sad Mag) in six different locales.

I'll be reading with fiction writer Ray Tupach for subTerrain as part two of the three-part "A" tour. We will be the meat in an Elena E. Johnson/Exploding Sandwich sandwich. Or they will be the bun in a Taylor/Tupach sandwich. Whatever you call it, it will be delicious.

The tour will kick off at 6:00 PM at Rhizome Cafe, and our portion will start at 7:00 PM at Pulpfiction Books.

All the details are here. Hope to see you there!


a mind better able to retain the capacity to be surprised

And though it is not a principle reason for doing so, the active cultivation of a loving mindstate will almost certainly improve one’s own writing. My thinking in this is in accord with Emerson’s who writes in “Friendship” that "Our intellectual and active powers increase with our affection." Emerson saw in 1841 what social scientists have recently begun studying with hard data: cognition and emotion cannot be separated; an open, vibrant mind is predicated on an open, vibrant heart. It is a fact that no longer can be pedagogically ignored: people learn better and write better within environments that are positive, humorous, and filled with genuine warmth.

Following Emerson, such a mind, a kind mind, is more likely to be sharp and easily concentrated. It is, further, more likely to be flexible, light, ductile, malleable, plastic, and creative. The virtues are inherently dialogic, in the Freierian sense, and a mind that actively practices the virtues will inevitably become invested with confidence, courage, straightforwardness, honesty, wonder, determination, discipline, concentration, forgiveness, patience, tolerance, renunciation, sympathetic joy, compassion, lovingkindness, generosity, and equanimity. Such a mind is willing to take the risks necessary to effectively write and think and act in the face of adversity. Such a mind is better able to retain the capacity to be surprised.

- Gabriel Gudding, from his blog post "A Rationale for Writing Poetry with a Kind Mind". You can read the whole thing here. Thanks to Gary Barwin for pointing this out via Vox Populism.


two new-to-you poems

That is, if you only read the internet...

SubTerrain has digitized some past issues, back to issue 47. I have two poems on page 4 of issue 52.

You can see all the issues here, and the issue I'm in here.

Thanks, subTerrain!!!

it's like rain on a saturday

Rain in Vancouver on an August Saturday = yay for the forest fire fighters, bleh for the poor folks getting Alanised on their wedding day.

And bleh for you too! Your outdoor plans are ruined! I guess you have two options:
1. Stay inside and get creeped out watching dead poets "talk" via YouTube Poetry Animations.

2. Go the the /diagonal zine fest, starting at 4PM! More info here.

Ok, I'll be doing both...

See you at #2 so we can talk about #1?


branch magazine

Check out this nifty, new-ish online mag:


Has the internet ever made CanLit look so pretty?

Perhaps more importantly, each issue includes a "Workspace" section (which has already featured shots of John Steffler's and Yvonne Blomer's desks - and we're only three issues in, people!).

Put another Desk Blog(-ish thing) up on the big board! The magic number is now six:

On My Desk

Desk Space

Sitting Pretty Magazine

Writers' rooms

What Is Your Ideal Space to Create?

Branch Magazine's "Workspace" Section

Seriously, though, the magazine is neat-o. Go see for yourself!

p.s. Thanks to Ian LeTourneau for pointing the site out. You can take a peek at his ferociously green desk space here.


make it plain to her dog

The Paris Review: Do you, like Joyce, play to the reader subliminally through symbolism, or do you make fairly overt statements by demonstrating what certain values can lead to?

John Gardner: I try to be as overt as possible. Plot, character, and action first. I try to say everything with absolute directness so that the reader see the characters moving around, sees the house they're moving through, the landscape, the weather, and so on. I try to be absolutely direct about moral values and dilemmas. Read it to the charwoman, Richardson said. I say, make it plain to her dog. But when you write fiction such as mine, fantastic or quasi-realistic fiction, it happens inevitably that as you're going over it, thinking about it, you recognize unconscious symbols bubbling up to the surface, and you being to revise to give them room, sort of nudge them into sight. Through ideally the reader should never catch you shaking a symbol at him. (Intellect is the chief distracter of the mind.) The process of writing becomes more and more mysterious as you go over the draft more and more times, finally everything is symbolic. Even then you keep pushing it, making sure that it's as coherent and self-contained as a grapefruit. Frequently, when you write a novel you start out feeling pretty clear about your position, what side you're on; as you revise, you find your unconscious pushing up associations that modify that position, force you to reconsider.

- Novelist John Gardner, in interview with The Paris Review in 1979. Read the whole thing here.