demolition site

the way rebar juts into the air
shattered at so many points
though still rigid
as if ignorant of its own defeat
or defiant

placed here as a guide to the sky
for the sludge that would be concrete
a stoic artery
a nerve connecting hand to mouth to brain
in a network now obliterated

though the rebar remains
remembers its form and its duty
sends pulses down into the rubble
rusts over at each jagged opening.

from the Winter/Spring 07/08 issue of FreeFall


lazyman's events

Why compile them when the grapevine: News from UBC Creative Writing does such a better job. Check out this link for news on a whack of neat-o literary events happening this week.

p.s. If you were wondering, "whack" is the technical term for a group of three or more neat-o literary events. "Gaggle" is also acceptable. But not "pile". "Pile" is right out.


poetry in transit

After missing a transfer during my commute a few days ago, I jumped on a 135 - a massive articulated bus that runs between downtown and SFU - and whaddya know, it was the (a?) poetry bus! All of its ad space was filled with the Poetry in Transit ad cards.

I think the bus usually runs the 98 B-Line route (to UBC) and I just lucked out. Knowing how much poetry activity there is on campuses, especially when compared to the rest of the city, it seems a shame to focus on reaching university students- they can already readily get poetry if they want it, while most others can't.

Anyway, I was only on the bus for 10 minutes or so, but I quickly paced up and down and read everything. I'd read most of them already, but there were a few new ones, including an excerpt from Earle Birney's "Vancouver Lights" from his new selected One Muddy Hand (my review of which will be coming out...oh, god knows when...with PoetryReviews.ca).

Once again, The Association of Book Publishers has made good picks - open to the non-poetry reader, yet still challenging - though there are a few oddities.

Firstly, despite riding far too many buses every day, I have still only seen half the poems offered (even the poetry bus was missing half). I assume this means that they are saving the other half for a 2008 release, but the fact that they have more in reserve makes it that much stranger that the poetry bus had 3-4 copies of the same poem posted next to each other as space-filler.

Also, having just read the Birney book, while I understand the attraction of publishing something Vancouver-themed, I can think of many excerpts that they could have picked which would have been much more in keeping with the goals of the series.

Strangest of all, though, is the layout of the ad cards: each poem has a photo of a person next to it. This person, though, is not the author. In all cases but one, it is impossible to tell that the photo is not of the author, unless you already know what the author looks like. This is because, generally speaking, photos of men accompany male-sounding author names and photos of women accompany female-sounding names (with the exception of David Zieroth who, apparently, is an elderly woman). I can see what they were going for in putting "readers", not "writers" photos up - but the gendered alignment does lead to the assumption that David Zieroth is going through a life-altering transformation, which I don't believe was the intended goal.

If you have very, very good eyesight you can read all of the Poetry in Transit poems online here. Or you can just ride the bus and be surprised.

P.S. One Ghana, One Voice is trying something new this week. Check it out!


irradiated + mustaches

My poem "irradiated" has been published on OutsiderWriters.org. You can read it here. Thanks, Outsider Writers!

Also, this: Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century. Fascinating stuff.


poetry stuff, belated and otherwise

I forgot to post a notice about Memewar's Short Line Reading Series event, which was last night. I hope it went well. But atleast I can note that their new issue is out, featuring a couple of poems by Matt Rader.

Now, a notice I'm on time for:

An Invitation

Come celebrate the fourth issue of Singing Crow in an afternoon of poetry, Sunday, October 28, 2007.

Since the early 1980s a group of poetry lovers has been meeting regularly in North Vancouver. They read poems (their own and those of poets they like), and they've published a selection of their work in the fourth Singing Crow.

Bring your poetry-loving friends to Upstart Crow Books, 238 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver (www.ucbooks.ca), just a few blocks up from the Seabus. The event runs from 3:00-5:00 pm. Copies of Singing Crow Fall 2007 will sell for $6 each. Enjoy light refreshments and good conversation.

The poets -- Susan Koppersmith, Herb Walsh, Richard Therrien, Robert Adams, Russell Thornton, David Zieroth, and Josie Scott -- will each read one or two poems from Singing Crow as well as a poem from a favourite poet.

That's all for now.



Am I crazy, or is this new poetry site an almost exact reproduction of One Ghana, One Voice? It's a Blogger template, granted, but it features the same modification of turning a weblink widget into a Table of Contents, and most of the same links. Also, check out their links page and OGOV's links page, their news page and OGOV's news page, and their archive page and OGOV's archive page.

They deny any connection and don't understand why I would want them to acknowledge OGOV on their site. Imitation and flattery and all that I suppose, but I can't help but be cheesed that they are unwilling to recognize OGOV, especially considering our position, as one of only a handful of African poetry sites, at the very fringe of the online literary community. Marta says I should sue them ;).

I've always had a long-term plan to use the Blogger template and modifications that I whipped up as an easy-to-learn package that other African poets could use to establish spin-off sites (One Zimbabwe, One Voice, etc.). At least this proves the structure is an attractive one, I suppose.


because i'm sure the copyright must have lapsed by now...

The Herd-Boy

In the southern village the boy who minds the ox
With his naked feet stands on the ox's back.
Through the hole in his coat the river wind blows;
Through his broken hat the mountain rain pours.
On the long dyke he seemed to be far away;
In the narrow lane suddenly we were face to face.

The boy is home and the ox is back in its stall;
And a dark smoke oozes through the thatched roof.

- Lu You (1125-1209 AD), translated by Arthur Waley

p.s. Lu You is not Lu Yu, the Sage of Tea. Likewise, I did not play eight seasons with the Tampa Bay Bucaneers. Very confusing. In trying to figure it all out, I came across this Al Purdy poem. Neat.


Fez (Red) + Review (HAP)

1. Out of the blue, I am soon to be the poetry editor at Red Fez (which just put out a new issue). So submit your stuff - it'll be nepotastic!

2. This week's issue of The Peak (Simon Fraser University's student newspaper) includes a roundtable review of the latest issue of High Altitude Poetry, in which Mike Hingston (whose blog has mysteriously disappeared - explain yourself, Hingston!) says some nice things about my poem "after the game". Reviews like this are a good way to help improve the writing of SFU poets and critics alike, so while some of it seems to me to be overly harsh on authors' first published works, I'm hoping it becomes a regular accompaniment to HAP's new releases.

BONUS from the vaults: This wasn't the first review-of-sorts of HAP in the pages of The Peak. That happened way back in September 2004, and can be read here.


new poem + sports

My poem 'demolition site' has been published in the latest issue of FreeFall Magazine. I haven't gotten my contributor's copy yet, so I can't say if it's worth a gander - the only other author I know well is HAP-published, chapbook-reviewed, poet Jesse Ferguson - whose stuff always makes for a good read, so I'm optimistic.

I'll get to posting the poem sooner or later. I wrote it while on vacation with Marta, Karin and Dave on Pender Island - so thanks again to K & D for making that trip possible! It was written in the same abandoned construction area where Marta took this photo.

On a completely unrelated note, I'm thinking of starting up a poets' sports league (i.e. in all likelihood two teams) next summer. The idea would be that anyone could join, so long as they included a poem with their registration. It would be a normal league, except that each match the teams would select a representative and have that person recite a poem in lieu of national anthems and other such pre-game rigmarole. Also, at the end of the match the losing team would have to read the "poem of shame," written by the winning team. I'm open as to what sport we play - soccer, basketball, football, street hockey, ??? (just not baseball - Bowering already covered that one and its gawdawfully boring to play). Anybody interested?


ten poems from a cutie

After a long wait, my ten-poem feature in The Green Muse has been published (it was supposed to be posted in May, but such is the life of the online lit mag). Feith, the editor, did quite a nice job of it - and was complimentary to boot! This is pretty damn neat, and I'm very appreciative of the effort Feith put in to making it happen.

The whole issue, which I've only started reading (and when it includes authors like john sweet, I'm sure that it'll be a good read), can be read here. My portion, including a giant picture of my head, can be read either page by page or all at once. A print version is supposed to become available mid-month, also.

The poems included in the profile:

the furthest away
the new canada
these two dogs
shadowboxers (a previously unpublished version)
what a robin thinks
chemical spill
questions to the stars

Thanks to HAP, iamb, One Cool Word, The White Wall Review, and Quills for publishing these poems previously.


open mic + cheating

High Altitude Poetry Open Mic!
Tuesday, October 16th
Highland Pub, SFU Burnaby Campus
7:00 - ? PM

A new zine and lots of new blood, so it should be interesting!

While I'm posting, this site is pretty damn great. I only wish they stayed in character at all times:



creation story

my poem "creation story" has been published in the first issue of 1097 Magazine. it's a sharp little online and print mag that could go places - check it out here, and read my poem here.