I'm busy, you're busy, let's be busy together!

I know, faithful reader, that you've been wondering why posts on the blog have slowed in the last few months, and have all but ground to a halt in recent weeks. Well, you see, things have been kind of hectic around here. But a good hectic, and a hectic you can be a part of, as you'll see.

Good, Hectic Thing #1: Late in 2013 I was asked to judge the Dorothy Livesay Prize as part of the BC Book Prizes, and I was honoured to accept. I'd judged a few read-a-stack-o-poems prizes and contests in the past, but never a read-two-boxes-o-books prize. It was a seismic shift, to say the least. And while the experience was incredibly rewarding, it required such intense focus for a couple months there that it threw a lot of the rest of my life out of whack.

I was partnered with Kate Braid and Sarah de Leeuw on the jury - two wonderful women who were a pleasure to work with - and I think we came up with an excellent shortlist and winner (you can see the results here). The books were quite diverse, but united in their attempt to approach difficult subjects somehow slantwise - be that through experimental form, or humour, or thematic conceit, or, or or... These five found ways to unlock their particular subject matter where others in the past have struggled or failed to do the same. I hope many readers pick up copies of these books and give them a read.

So I'm very happy to say that you have an opportunity to hear four of the five finalists read together (no Russell Thornton, sadly), and maybe buy a book or two, on Monday, June 9th at the Vancouver Public Library. The details:

A Gathering of Poets - Readings by BC Book Prize Finalists
Monday, June 9th, 2014, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level
Central Library
350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

Good, Hectic Thing #2: Around the time I took on the Dorothy Livesay judging, I was also hired to a one-year term as poetry editor at PRISM international. I began training in earnest with outgoing poetry editor Zach Matteson, and in the beginning of May I "officially" took over the position. True to my roots as a blogger, though, it didn't feel official until today, when a Q+A announcing my editorship went up on the PRISM website. You can read that here:

Meet the Editors: Rob Taylor, Poetry Editor

I've dreamed of working at PRISM for many, many years. The opportunity to do so was a motivating factor in my choosing to enrol in UBC's Creative Writing Program. That it's happening is a great thrill for me, even if the work has kept me from some of my other passions (including working on my own writing, and keeping the tumbleweeds away from this blog).

So how can you participate in this part of my busy-ness? Submit! Submit! Help me make the content of the next four issues of PRISM spectacular!

And please bear with me if the blog stays quiet for a while. Not too long though - new interviews with Christopher Levenson and andrea bennett are coming soon.


Poetry in Voice (in Vancouver!)

That's right, everyone's favourite Scott Griffin-sponsored poetry event (deal with it, GPP), Poetry in Voice, is coming to Vancouver on May 9th. If you aren't familiar with Poetry in Voice, it's a poetry recitation contest open to high school students from across Canada, with the winner taking home a staggering $25,000 (which almost seems as unfathomable an amount to a high school student as it does to a poet). You can view videos from past competitions here to get a sense.

The competition has been ongoing for months as students have advanced their way from their class, to their grade, to their school, etc. and will culminate in the National Finals on May 9th at 7 PM at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre (149 West Hastings) in Vancouver.

There will be plenty of local participation, with ten BC students making the finals in the English, French and Bilingual streams (including one who is taught by my former English teacher - go Diane Silzer!), so why not go out there and cheer them on?

Tickets are $10 (I'm guessing that's much cheaper than the Griffin Prize gala), and can be bought here.


Lineup Announced for Next Dead Poets Reading

It's May, which means another instalment of the Dead Poets Reading Series is just around the corner. It will take place on May 11th (Mother's Day) from 3-5 PM at the Alice McKay Room in the Vancouver Public Library's Central Branch (more info on the venue here).

It will feature:

Louis Aragon (1897 - 1982), read by Adrienne Drobnies
James Dickey (1923 - 1997), read by RC Weslowski
Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997), read by Jordan Abel
Rachel Korn (1898 - 1982), read by Martha Roth
William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), read by Diane Tucker

I hope you (and your Mum) can make it!