one of the sad little things that gives my life meaning (feat. pre-installed microsoft clipart)

three blogs i edit or co-edit are on track to reach 10,000 hits at almost exactly the same time. as of this posting, the race looks like this:

spread it like a roll of nickels: 9,700
Saturdays in the Park: 9,566
One Ghana, One Voice: 9,200

who will make it first? here are the current odds:

silaron: 2:1
SitP: 9:1
OGOV: 3:1

"Insider's Scoop" with Rob Taylor:

"Personally, I'd put my money on OGOV. It's a full year younger than its competitors and known to pick up speed down the backstretch, having doubled its readership over the last month. In all likelihood it will be a photo-finish between silaron and OGOV, so milk those odds and go with OGOV."

place your bets!


some Wallace Stevens quotes

The poem reveals itself only to the ignorant man.


We never arrive intellectually. But emotionally we arrive constantly (as in poetry, happiness, high mountains, vistas).


Poetry is a response to the daily necessity of getting the world right.

- excerpts from Adagia, by Wallace Stevens


and then, somehow, it's even worse than you thought

Much of the resentment toward Iraqis described to The Nation by veterans was confirmed in a report released May 4 by the Pentagon. According to the survey, conducted by the Office of the Surgeon General of the US Army Medical Command, just 47 percent of soldiers and 38 percent of marines agreed that civilians should be treated with dignity and respect. Only 55 percent of soldiers and 40 percent of marines said they would report a unit member who had killed or injured "an innocent noncombatant."

- from a stunning article by Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian in The Nation, based on interviews with Iraqi war vets. Read the whole thing here.


mutanabbi reading

the Mutanabbi Memorial reading on friday night went quite well - a packed house with a number of strong poems from the likes of David Zieroth and Fran Bourassa. thanks to Upstart Crow Books and Pandora's Collective for putting on such a solid event. two of my poems were included in the chapbook (which i believe sold out, raising a couple hundred bucks for MSF in the process), including this here brand-spanking new one:

old words

- for Al-Mutanabbi

we clamour as they burn
bemoan what is lost
and yet they linger
in the ashes and light

choked and blinded
we stumble to our podiums
old words gathering
in our throats


what once was lost...

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

man, i love this quote. it was what i was trying to look up in my notebook a couple of weeks ago when i discovered the notebook was missing. i pulled it from a rather obscure book i encountered on Pender Island called How the Irish Saved Civilization.

after losing the notebook, and with the libraries on strike, i more or less gave up on the quote. then whamo, i ran into someone on a ferry (which in all likelihood is where i lost the notebook in the first place) who was reading the book! we were just about to unload, so i hastily scribbled the thing down. in all likelihood the man thought i was insane, but was polite enough about the whole interaction (afraid?).

p.s. Mutanabbi reading on friday. be there.


Mutanabbi Street Memorial Reading + more

we're back from our trip to Cape Scott, which was fantastic (only came up with one poem, though). arrived home to find that a poem(s?) of mine will be included in a memorial chapbook and reading which is happening this Friday night at 7:30 PM at Upstart Crow Books in North Vancouver.

from the press release:

On March 5th 2007, a car bomb exploded on Mutanabbi Street in a mixed Shia-Sunni area of Baghdad. More than 30 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded. This locale is the historic center of Baghdad bookselling; a winding street filled with bookstores and outdoor bookstalls. Named after the famed 10th-century classical Arab poet, Al-Mutanabbi, this is an old and established street for bookselling and has been for hundreds of years. It has been the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community.

Feeling a need to respond, Beau Beausoleil, a San Francisco poet and the proprietor of The Great Overland Book Company has formed a coalition of poets, writers, artists, printers, booksellers and readers; the Mutanabbi Street Coalition.

This tragedy is part of the wider and continuing debacle in Iraq, but one that we want to isolate and address---not only for the loss of lives but also for the implications underlying the destruction of a street where books were sold. Bookselling on Mutanabbi Street is no different from bookselling here. We traffic in memory, ideas, and dreams. In that sense, we feel that Mutanabbi Street starts at the front door of all bookshops.

In support of the work of this group, Pandora’s Collective (www.pandorascollective.com) and Upstart Crow Books (www.ucbooks.ca) are putting together a memorial poetry reading. The Mutanabbi Street Memorial reading will take place at Upstart Crow Books, 238 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver on August 24th, at 7:30 p.m.

Marta and i will be going via the seabus, and anyone else who wants in is more than welcome to join us. let me know.

oh, and i just got this one cool word notice. the new issue is being launched tonight!!! click on the image to see a bigger version with all the details.


splattered earth at a bookstore near the last one

basically, take this post, replace "a few days on the gulf islands" with "a week at cape scott", and "People's Co-op Bookstore (1391 Commercial Drive)" with "Magpie Books (1319 Commercial Drive)."

and while i'm posting, the structure of this site looks great (perhaps the content, too, tho i haven't had much time to look into it):


see y'all in a week!


Tim Lilburn interview

Interviewer: How can language act as a bridge between people and the natural world?

Lilburn: Language might be a wall between the human and non-human worlds, our way of stepping back, storing the present to savour it later, our way of not really being at the party. The name is more cherished than the thing; it cleanly designates essence, while trees and rocks drag around a mess of individual traits. Language, wielded in a particular way, could be a type of inattention, particularly difficult to correct because it supposes it supplies the forms into which true attention is poured. But there’s another way to think of this: language is nature. Then it just lies down in the grass like everything else, or works a course, or moves about at night. But then it would need to be as free of programmatic control as possible, and so a little frightening in its shape-changing autonomy.

I: What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of writing poetry?

L: Music first, speed and music. Then image, leaping audacious yolking. Finally story: but not story as a girder arrangement or frame—music should provide this—but as embellishment, decoration.

read the whole thing here.


a request

dream, you sons-of-bitches
dream and hold your dreams
like stones in the pockets
of your mouths.

dream, you sons-of-bitches
and when you get the chance
o when you get the chance


lost notebook

i went to do a blog post this morning and found that my notebook i'd been using over the last few weeks was lost - probably fell out of a pannier on one of our many ferry/bus transfers. it didn't have much in it, and i've managed to reconstruct most of the poems from memory (with some interesting gaps in places i never thought i would have forgotten things - titles, key lines, etc.). it's not a terribly big deal, but it's still one of those nightmare scenarios that runs around in my head and makes me back up every poem in five places (including my Fort Knox Gun Safe), so it rattled me a bit.

p.s. then i realised that some people (like Bo Derek and Bobby Knight) live in worlds in which it is acceptable to own large, fireproof gun safes, and got over myself.