red fez #23

is out! Thanks to our awesome editorial team, lead by Michele McDannold, for making another issue happen.

My pick of the issue is "For Sue: Lev's Late Wife" by Joseph Victor Milford. You can read the whole issue (and come up with picks of your own) here.


it means estuary!

Ya learn something new every day. This looks neat... extra neat if you live less than 5 time zones away:

Emerging & Established Writers - spend 4 days with a stellar faculty in an inspiring location!

Piper's Frith: Writing at Kilmory Resort – The Literary Arts Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador is launching a writing experience for emerging and established writers at beautiful Kilmory Resort in Swift Current (1.5 hours from St. John's, Newfoundland). October 13-17, 2009. Join mentors Don McKay, Jessica Grant and Kevin Major for workshops, discussions, one-on-one consultations and a some peaceful surroundings in which to pursue your work.

$595 includes all program and application fees, accommodation for four nights, meals and social events. Visit http://www.literaryartsnl.com/ and click on Piper's Frith to learn more and apply.

A few spots are left and the application deadline has been extended from August 19th, so if you are interested apply ASAP.


last chance to dream

Oy... I go away camping for a week and miss all the fun at Pandora's Collective's Summer Dream Literary Festival.

Well, almost all the fun. There are still a couple workshops to be had, next weekend: one by Christine Leclerc on ekphrastic poetry (11 AM - 12:30 PM) and another by Jen Currin on prose poetry (1 - 3 PM), both at Christianne’s Lyceum of Literature and Art, 3696 West 8th, Vancouver, B.C.

More details on the whole festival, including these workshops, here.


a poem for robert taylor

Aw, thanks Graeme!

I used to enjoy having a common name. Now, oh internet, you have cursed me. We're everywhere!


purdy books

That's right, books! Not one, but two A-Frame Trust fundraising books are coming out this fall.

The first is And Left a Place to Stand On, from the Canada Cuba Literary Alliance and Hidden Brook Press. It is already available for online purchase ($22.50), and features letters and poems by, to and about Al Purdy (including my poem "How little we need to live, to know"). Check it out here.

The second is The A-Frame Anthology, from the A-Frame Trust and Harbour Publishing. It will be available in October for online purchase ($26.95)either through http://alpurdy.ca or Harbour Publishing. It will contain "personal memoirs, literary analyses, architectural analyses, travel writing, poems, eulogies, photographs and testimonials of all kinds... all about the A-frame itself." Learn more here.

Yay, Purdy books!


the best thing about winning an award

or atleast what should be:
When you get an award like this, it's just a great indication that there are people out there who are actually reading what you wrote and they're enjoying what you wrote... It's extremely gratifying and it makes me want to do better and better things with future books.

- Sci-Fi writer Edward Willett to the CBC, after winning an Aurora Award


James Moore Letter #2

Well, it's been a few months and I haven't heard anything from James Moore about the poetry submission I mailed him. So, today I sent off a query letter:

[click on the image to expand]

If you aren't familiar with the issue, check out this update or this Facebook group, or both!

If others wish to send a similar poetry submission, direct it to:

James Moore, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

And please, send a scan or photo of your submission to me at roblucastaylor(at)gmail.com, so that I can post it here.

Lastly, if you couldn't read the scan, here is the full text of my query letter:


It’s been a few months and I haven’t heard from you in regards to my poem, “An Open Letter to James Moore, Minister of Cultural Heritage and Official Languages”, which I submitted for inclusion in your constituency newsletter or on www.jamesmoore.org.

I understand that you must be getting swamped with submissions. Most poets I know don’t even bother sending work out to traditional literary magazines anymore (they’ll probably fold before they get the next issue out!). If you haven’t yet managed to wade through the deluge and find my submission, that’s fine. But I figure it never hurts to check.

Also, I forgot to include a SASE with the submission. Maybe that’s the problem. I understand that budgets are tight everywhere, and it may be too costly for you to mail the reply (when automakers are only getting $4 billion in bailout money, you know times are tough!). So if that’s the case, I’ve attached a SASE with this letter.

While I’m at it, I figured I’d send you another poem. A companion piece of sorts for my first submission:

James Moore, Minister of Cultural Heritage and Official Languages, is just big boned

There was an MP from Port Moody
Whose waistline declared him a foody
He gobbled funding to Arts
Like a box of Pop Tarts
And left us a pile of doody.

Thank you in advance, yet again, for your consideration. If the policy that’s causing all these troubles is reversed, I think I’ll send this poem to The Malahat Review. For now, though, it’s yours. Enjoy!


Rob Taylor


snaps of ghana

All month long over at OGOV we're showing photos and poems by Van G. Garrett from his travels in Ghana last year. Something new is going up on the site every second day. Check it out here.


good writing is good thinking committed to print

Michael Lista: This is all very, very fine work, and though the thinking is extravagant, it’s never gaudy, or at the expense of the lyric.

This is part of the reason why Pure Product is such a noteworthy book; the generation of Canadian poets who came before us, Mark (you, Guriel, and I are all about the same age) force fed us the fallacy that one must either be a thinking poet or a singing poet. One was either avant-garde or lyric. What no one wants to admit is that most of the so-called avant-garde poets can’t write, and most of the so-called lyric poets can’t think. Guriel strikes a bold middle ground; he consistently strives to overlay serious lyricism with serious aesthetic commentary, and he does so with grace, effortlessness, and humour.

Mark Callanan: You say that Guriel “strives to overlay serious lyricism with serious aesthetic commentary.” I think that’s a valuable point to consider, how his poems successfully combine intellectual inquiry (and specifically, inquiry into aesthetic concerns) with deft lyricism. Guriel’s poems are proof of what should already be obvious to us as readers: good writing is not empty guff, like the voice actor whose rich baritone sells useless gadgetry—pretty to listen to but empty of anything approaching meaningful insight; good writing is good thinking committed to print.

- Michael Lista and Mark Callanan on Jason Guriel's Pure Product. Read the whole exchange here. Thanks to Zach Wells for pointing this out.