pigeons and lams and hunters, oh my!

Also, Musgraves and News and McWhirters and Bachinskys and more. And of course...

Word on the Street is tomorrow! Get the schedule here.


booby-trapped with twists and surprises

Jason Rotstein: How would you describe your work? How would you describe one of your poems? What do you think distinguishes you as a poet?

Jason Guriel: I hope that what distinguishes me is that people think my poems are entertaining. To that end, I try to get down to the business of entertaining the reader as quickly as possible, with an eye on the exit. I certainly don’t want to overstay my welcome. I do want my poems to have a relatively linear argument that a smart reader can follow, though I want the argument to be booby-trapped with twists and surprises. (You can’t mess with the reader if you don’t establish some expectations to mess with.) I’m always after original images, metaphors, and similes that shock but still make sense. And I want some unity of sound and for my line-breaks to be meaningful if not playful. In short, I want the reader to feel like she’s in good hands. These are the goals, anyway. And none of this is to say that I want an overly accessible or ‘simplistic’ poetry.

- Two Jasons talking about one Jason's poetry, in Maisonneuve. Read the whole interview here.


do you think he'd have gotten a call from the queen?

Well, she sure seemed to have a better time with him than with at least one other world leader, if that means anything...

Kwame Nkrumah would have been 100 on Monday. In tribute to Ghana's independence leader, I've posted the title poem from my chapbook Child of Saturday over at OGOV. You can read it here.


1 launch + 1 sort of launch + 1 griffin winner =

Vancouver Launch of 4 Poets
Monday, September 21st, 7:30 PM
Vancouver Public Library, Peter McKay Room
350 W. Georgia Street
Featuring: Daniela Elza, Peter Morin, Al Rempel and Onjana Yawnghwe

Emerge 2009 Sneak Preview Reading
Thursday, September 24th, 7 PM
Rhizome Cafe
317 E. Broadway
Suggested donation: $5
Featuring: Tanyss Knowles, and other members of the SFU Writer's Studio

Play Chthonics Reading Series
Friday, September 25th, 7:30 PM
Graham House at Green College
6201 Cecil Green Park Road, UBC
Featuring: A.F. Moritz and Jordan Scott


read the same thing... somewhere else!

Isn't that what 98% of the internet is about? My rejection letter from two posts ago has found a home on the TNQ blog. You can read it (again!) here.

And if you have your own rejection letter stories, send 'em their way.


flickering in dull gloom

The tradition to which I belong, though sometimes called accessible, requires more than learning and mere intelligence. The brain flickers in dull gloom when we rely on intelligence alone. A clever and insipid irony all too often masquerades as brilliance shining in shallow mud. Mere language play and a busy head, the trickery of a lively performance, the paltry illusion of a complex game, the easy rhyme and facile rhythm of popular verse, each might receive the attention and briefly excite the admiration of an applauding audience, but when the dust settles the crowd soon forgets.

I want, in poems, for the heart to feel true sentiment, the head to know eternal truth, the body to come alive with full-fleshed bone-buzzing experience, the soul to thrill to a commingling of temporal and extra-temporal things, and the spirit to surround and be surrounded by an interplay between the deep wells of the self and the stars beyond the farthest stars we might dream of but never see.

-John B. Lee, from the essay "Even at the Worst of Time" in And Left a Place to Stand On: Poems and Essays on Al Purdy.


literary typing

The New Quarterly has a blog, eh? And they're starting up a few little projects. One is a response to the James Moore Magazine Thing, where they are gathering descriptions of magazines that will be affected by the cuts. The other is a collection of "rejection letter stories".

Both should be interesting once they get going. Ok, mostly the second one. But the first could have its moments, too.

My favorite form rejection letter came to me from a rather big Canadian lit mag, and said, in full:

Thank you for your submission. We received about --- submissions for our --- issue, and therefore were not able to accept all of the fantastic work we saw. We are, however, currently accepting submissions for ---. The deadline is ---; check out http://---.com/ for more information. In the meantime, check out Issue --- which will be in stores soon!
They were so polite that they avoided actually rejecting my work (how Canadian!). Instead, they told me that they had to reject some people. Maybe they were feeling anxiety about that (how incredibly Canadian!) and had to get it off their chests by telling someone. I was glad that I could assist them (how spectacularly Canadian!).

I'm still waiting to see whether they will be rejecting my submission, specifically. I have a feeling I may be waiting a while...


two readings

Ah September... the return of crappy weather, traffic jams, and reading series (seri?). Two up next week. On the same day. At the same time. Goooo Vancouver!

Robson Reading Series
Thursday, September 10th, 7 PM
UBC Downtown Bookstore
800 Robson Street, plaza level
Featuring: David Zieroth and Marguerite Pigeon

The Writer's Studio Reading Series
Thursday, September 10th, 7 PM
Rhizome Cafe
317 East Broadway (at Kingsway)
Featuring: Daniela Elza and others!


down one at the nat

I've thrown my poem from A Verse Map of Vancouver, "Down One at The Nat," up on my website. You can read it here.