My contribution to One Ghana, One Voice's tribute to the Black Stars (see below, or here, for more info) is now up on the site. You can read it here:

Jabulani - Rob Taylor

If you need translation from Black Star-ese, Gyan is Ghana's top striker and Kingson is the indomitable goalkeeper.

Big game on Friday. Cheer loud!


sorry obama

Well, not that sorry...

With their victory on Saturday over the US of A, Ghana became only the third African nation to ever qualify for the World Cup quarterfinals. To celebrate, and to push the boys on a little, we're featuring poems on the Black Stars at One Ghana, One Voice from now until the team stops playing (because they've won the Cup? Hey, a boy can dream!).

One poem is up so far, with more to be posted in the coming days. You can check it out here: http://oneghanaonevoice.com

Oh, and the photo is by Nana Kofi Acquah, who has been documenting the post-game celebrations in Accra on his great photo blog: http://nanakofiacquah.blogspot.com/


two lit-things tonight

One features poetry body art, the other features me (in poetry body art?). Your call on where to go, but do something, aight?

Skin: a OCW fundraiser
Thursday, June 24th, 8:30 PM
One Two One Studios
121 Heatley St, Vancouver
Featuring: Um... poetry body art! Do you really need more?

Word Whips: Inspired by "Child out of Time"
Thursday, June 24th, 7:30 PM
The Sidney and Gertrude Jack Gallery @ the JCC
950 W. 41st Avenue, Vancouver
Featuring: Fran Bourassa, Robin Susanto, me and more!
Poster (again!):


yet another use for this blog

exactly the way you want it

It seems, though, that one of the ideas we’ve inherited from the 20th century’s focus on destroying meta-narratives (God, morality, truth, etc.) is that anything is possible: I mean, that one can do anything they want, or be anything they want, that everything is bendable and flexible and, truly, anything goes. There are entire industries (self-help, cosmetics, some branches of medical science) that are devoted to selling the idea that you can have it exactly the way you want it, whenever you want it. This is the engine of modern consumerism, and, I feel, some part of me was cast in this fire. I suppose that’s what makes this personal.

The book, then, is in many ways also a reaction to this idea, as I’ve self-defined it. I suppose what I see myself struggling against is a more general co-opting of language (in politics, marketing, news, etc.) for the purposes of making things easy. I want to make things difficult again. But I want there to be a rung.

- Jeff Latosik, in interview with Jacob McArthur Mooney over at The Torontoist. You can read the whole thing here. And for goodness sake, buy his book already!


something language does to itself

There are two ways to take the question 'What is poetry for?'... You can ask it neutrally, in which case there's a good answer. But you can also ask it as a challenge – what use is it? But you don't need to answer that one. Poetry shouldn't be on the defensive, because poetry doesn't have a case to answer...

If you burned every poem on the planet and you wiped every poem from every human mind, you would have poetry again by tomorrow afternoon... It's not something you do to language, so much as language does to itself under specific conditions – mainly shortness of time and emotional urgency. Any time that comes up, its grain and structure suddenly become apparent, all its music, rhythm and capacity for invention.

- Don Paterson, in yet another "What is poetry good for?" article (this time in The Guardian). You can read the whole thing here.


june (reading) bug

I've been busy of late and delinquent in posting reading info - my apologies to the organizers of readings that have already passed. Here are a couple I haven't missed (one of which includes me!):

Spoken Ink
Tuesday, June 16th, 8:00 PM
La Fontana Caffe
101 - 3701 East Hastings (at Boundary), Burnaby
Featuring: Pam Galloway and Clélie Rich

Word Whips: Inspired by "Child out of Time"
Thursday, June 24th, 7:30 PM
The Sidney and Gertrude Jack Gallery @ the JCC
950 W. 41st Avenue, Vancouver
Featuring: Fran Bourassa, Robin Susanto, me and more!

June (reading) Bug attack:


Image from bugguide.net


a good start

Marta and I got up early today to watch Ghana sneak out a 1-0 victory over Serbia to kick off their Wold Cup campaign.

I've got OGOV into the World Cup spirit with the best header Microsoft Paint could muster: http://oneghanaonevoice.com

Speaking of all things Ghanaian soccer and poetry, here are some Ghanaian soccer poems (including a poem of my own).

Gooooo Black Stars!!!!


an extraordinary accelerator of comprehending the universe

There are, as we know, three modes of cognition: analytical, intuitive, and the mode that was known to the Biblical prophets, revelation. What distinguishes poetry from other forms of literature is that it uses all three of them at once (gravitating primarily toward the second and the third). For all three of them are given in the language; and there are times when, by means of a single word, a single rhyme, the writer of a poem manages to find himself where no one has ever been before him, further, perhaps, than he himself would have wished for. The one who writes a poem writes it above all because verse writing is an extraordinary accelerator of conscience, of thinking, of comprehending the universe. Having experienced this acceleration once, one is no longer capable of abandoning the chance to repeat this experience; one falls into dependency on this process, the way others fall into dependency on drugs or on alcohol. One who finds himself in this sort of dependency on language is, I guess, what they call a poet.
- Joseph Brodsky, from his 1987 Nobel Lecture (translated by Barry Rubin). Read the whole thing here.


an attempt to subordinate literature to history

Nowadays, there exists a rather widely held view, postulating that in his work a writer, in particular a poet, should make use of the language of the street, the language of the crowd. For all its democratic appearance, and its palpable advantages for a writer, this assertion is quite absurd and represents an attempt to subordinate art, in this case, literature, to history. It is only if we have resolved that it is time for Homo sapiens to come to a halt in his development that literature should speak the language of the people. Otherwise, it is the people who should speak the language of literature.

- Joseph Brodsky, from his 1987 Nobel Lecture (translated by Barry Rubin). Read the whole thing here.


poetry in transit contest results

The winners have been announced in the ABPBC's Poetry in Transit contest that I mentioned a while back. I cheated a bit and submitted a poem from my manuscript (instead of an essay), which managed to snag one of the three runner-up awards - the very cool prize of some PiT buscards! I think I'll post them on my bathroom walls, add a few handrails to the room, and maybe hook the toilet handle to a pull cord that's strung along the walls. Next stop! Anyway, I digress...

The winner of the first prize of sixteen(!) books of poetry was SheLa E. Nefertiti Morrison (who, I assume, has also won a few "best name" contests in her time), though if you read her entry I think you'll see that Fiona Tinwei Lam is an equally big winner!

A contest summary and SheLa's full winning entry can be read here.

Thanks, ABPBC!


cause to celebrate

Congrats to Karen Solie! Pigeon was one of the best books I read last year (as I suggested here) - a well deserved win!

cos to celebrate

My second chapbook, Child of Saturday, has sold out. When I printed out the two-hundred copies, I didn't think I'd manage to sell them all. So yay!

Thank you to everyone who bought a copy. If you didn't get one, but are interested in having a look, I've now made it available online, for free.

Click on the cover image below to view it:

Now it's on to promoting my new chapbook, Lyric, which is coming out in the Fall from The Alfred Gustav Press, along with chapbooks by Diane Tucker and Shane Neilson. More details (and ordering info) on all that can be found here.