29 September 2005

A Missive from the Rabbi

I really gotta blog more regularly. It's therapeutic and fun.

Yellowknife is looking good again. On Monday, I wrote to the librarian who's bringing me there, and said I was gonna feel dumb being there for a week to do a one-hour reading. She wrote back and reassured me that I'd have a very busy week, and in the ensuing hours and days evidence of my busy-ness began to arrive. School visits, the public reading, a day in the nearby community Rae, a workshop with the Territorial Writers Association. I'm excited about it again.

Monday night was the Kat Biscuits! reading with Martin Figura, Helen Ivory, Sandra Alland, and me. I was nervous all day about attendance, remembering the terrible terrible turnout when I brought in three excellent Ottawa writers. I sent lots of emails, made some personal phone-call invites. And at the appointed time, 7:30, Yammy the Cat was just about empty. We wait a half-hour, and maybe a dozen people arrived, which is enough to make Yammy look fullish. Over the course of the readings, another five people walked in, so it turned out well, if not spectacular, audience-wise. I'm still disappointed by the consistently pathetic showing by the Lexiconjury management junta, but grateful for the presence and courage of those who dare to come to a reading that's not on the usual literary circuit (i.e., it's a little north of Bloor Street -- scarrrrrrrey!).

But the reading itself -- fantastic. Sandra, reading from paper in her hands instead of by memory, read all new work from her "translation" project. Really great stuff, and it got a great response. I read, with a little trepidation, from my in-progress hospital sequence, as well as some other newish stuff and a couple of oldies.

Helen presented work from her book and from the MS for her forthcoming book. A great mixture of funny and emotionally harrowing, all set forth in, as Kevin Connolly calls it, very plainspoken language. Martin goes more for the out-and-out hilarity, part poet and part standup comic. He's bitingly funny, and his delivery is sharp as hell. I can't imagine a North American poet pulling off such a reading, but he certainly aced it. Both the Brits were charming and charismatic. It was a rare reading for Toronto.

Much alcohol consumption ensued, and Martin pretty much held court for the rest of the night, keepin' us in stitches. Yammy is such a goddamn comfortable place.

An odd little thing this week: my Hunkamooga guestbook was signed by a rabbi in Russia, who said that his wife's maiden name was Razovsky, and he wondered what city my grandfather, Max Razovsky, was from. He must've googled "Razovsky" and found my book Razovsky at Peace. I wrote him back with what I recalled offhand about my grandpa, and hope I'll hear back from him again. It'd be very exciting if a distant relative had found me.

Over and out.


At September 30, 2005 8:48 am , Blogger a.raw said...

sorry not to've made Yammy the Cat! sounds like it was an excellent evening. i was glad, initially, to hear you'd decided to hold a weeknight spot since i haven't been able to make any of the weekend ones due to time conflict. but the weeknight proved just as difficult, as a friend launched his book and i'd've been sore to've missed that.

ahhh, conflicts!

have a fantastic time in yellowknife! conor's dad was there a few years ago to do a reading and talk, and he said he was treated like royalty. he loved the place!


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