04 November 2006

BookFestWindsor and book-supply conspiracy theory

Up all night Thurday to finish a copyedit and then boarded a 7 a.m. train to Windsor. Hadn't been on a train for so long and really enjoyed the ride, though I mainly nodded off, woke with a start, nodded off, woke with a start. Fun to pass through London and peer into the downtown, where I spent so many wandering days when Dana went to university there.

They plunked me into the downton Ramada here in Windsor, a nice little room with a slightly interesting print on the wall. I immediately headed out and found some good Indian food in a little hole-in-the-wall place, and then hit the used bookstores. Biblioasis is either moving or going out of business, so they're selling pretty much every book for $5 or $2. I had to really restrain myself, but I made some good finds: a hardcover of Stuart O'Nan's non-fiction book The Circus Fire, about a horrendous 1944 fire in Hartford, Connecticut, that killed over 150 people; Simon Worrall's the Poet and the Murderer, about Emily Dickinson, mormonism, and murder; some book on revising fiction that looks pretty good; a paperback copy of Hula, by Lisa Shea, one of my favourite novels ever; and the Doctor and the Soul, a book about existential psychotheraphy by Viktor E. Frankl.

I could easily have bought five times that number of books.

Over at Art Gallery of Windsor in the evening, the festival's opener was a quiet affair, with a classical trio, lots of cake, a nice dinner for the authors (no one had told me about it, so I had to go into the kitchen after everyone else had eaten and begged them to rustle something up for me: it was delicious). Harvey Pekar and his partner Joyce were there in the gallery! They are mentioned nowhere on the programme, but apparently are part of the festival. Sorta curious.

The festival bookstore had no copies of Hey, Crumbling Balcony! — the guy there said they simply didn't come and that, after reading Confessions of a Small Press Racketeer, he wondered if it was deliberate. Luckily, I brought a few contraband copies. My persecution complex is duly fed.

Hung out mainly with Karl Jirgens and his cool son Nicholas, as well as Louis Cabri and Nicole Markotic. Met Marty Gervais after all these years. Was disappointed that more of the writers I know weren't there: Babstock, Morin, Schultz, Davis. But I guess they all made it to the dinner (he said bitterly).

The festival schedule is a little strange: though it's nominally a three-day event, almost everything takes place today. In the evening, there are three poetry events simultaneously, which seems a little foolish.

I'm hoping to do a reading tonight unlike any reading I've done. Want to read a lot of dense and difficult things. Might experiment with delivery. Seems like a good opportunity to do all that. It's exciting to read with Karl and a bunch of other poets who are serious about their work.

Over and out.


At November 04, 2006 12:57 pm , Blogger dana_plato said...

Depends who funds the festival -- Canadian Heritage has a stipulation that a festival be 3 days in order to be eligible for their funds... but many small orgs can't support a full 3 days of activities.

At November 06, 2006 11:57 pm , Blogger roxword said...

ever since i bought my copy of "hey crumbling balcony" i've notice an unmarked car circling my neighourhood. the oocupation of iraq (i refuse to call it a war because a war is when there are two sides almost evenly matched...ali and frazier fights were more warlike than this futile bombardment and occupation) became more and more difficult to swallow. i dreamt i heard black helicopters in my dreams. my last trip the doctor he asked me how my implant chip felt. i swear on a stack of howl first editions i heard the local librarians all agree the world trade towers fell because they were imploded from the basement. the dude who changes my oil told me to stop taking vitamins and i'd be healthier and he was right. an ex-special ops marine told me they offered him $250,000 to interrogate iraqis; instead he stands on a busy intersection where i live with a sign that demands the president be sent to jail. the president stands in his bully pulpit and says a vote for the democrats is a vote for the terrorists. there goes that black sedan again. the passenger tries to peer through my blinds...the ghost of lee harvey oswald came to my halloween party. i swear this stuart ross book is dangerous material. my life is more interesting but the world is much worse than even he could have imagined. i say order a copy and have it sent to a friend's house or business address. they could be watching you. stand by...what's that ringing in my head?

At November 07, 2006 3:46 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...


I read the Poet and the Murderer book two years ago on a desert holiday (I hope you like it,I turned Jen LG onto it a few months ago, since she's writing her -- from what I've seen -- really good novel about having to deal with this kind of religious nutsoism as a child and teenager). The O'Nan book is also fantastic, a big inspiration for poems on the same subject, for me and others.


At November 08, 2006 3:26 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...



just for the record, harvey pekar and joyce brabner were last minute replacements for one pheobe gloeckner, she of the amazing illustrations accompanying the re/search j.g.ballard projects, who was originally slated to particpate in the festival through the auspices of the 'visitors in the arts' (v.i.t.a.) lecture series. ms. gloeckner had to cancel for some reason or other, and pekar and brabner were called in, though, by then, all the publicity for the festival had been printed, etc etc.

23 skidoo!

gustave m.



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