13 November 2006

Memoirs, book fairs & anal whores

I was amazed at how well Saturday's workshop, There's More To Memoir Than Truth, went. A really great group of writers who ranged from "beginner" to "published," some of whom had been in previous workshops. It was exciting to spread dozens of memoirs and memoir/fictions and memoir/poems all over the table and explore the bridge and the blur between memoir and fiction. I did some writing myself and was very pleased to have the beginnings of some new work, since writing's been a little rare for me lately.

I will definitely run this workshop again and try to travel with it, if possible.

The next day was Day 2 of the Toronto Small Press Book Fair, which was the day I was scheduled to do a table. Which I did. The fair took place upstairs at the Victory Cafe, and it was certainly the tiniest fair (even doubling it mentally, since a whole different group of presses had been there the day before) in TSPBF history. The "audience" turnout was dismal, but somehow there was still a good, if resigned, mood in the room. One treat was that Nick Power, with whom I founded the fair back in 1987, was back with his Gesture Press, after a long absence, and we sat at neighbouring tables, had a good visit, wrote a couple of collaborative poems. Nick also had three new publications on his table, and it was so great to see him producing all this new work.

Ryan Bird was there, too, with his Um, Yeah Press, and it was neat to see the Byword gang from Ottawa, as well as Murderous Signs from Ottawa. Jen LoveGrove was down the row and, like me, she didn't have anything new, but she'd made a whole new batch of the last issue of dig and the covers were fantastic. Nice visit with Beth Follett, of Pedlar Press, who is one of the fair's coordinators — though this was her last fair in that role.

One thing that irked me was that Beth's co-coordinator, Lindsay, had a table the day before, and in Lindsay's mass-mailing about the fair (from her Puddle Press) and on her website, didn't mention that the fair was two days. She only gave the hours for the Saturday half of the fair. When she was doing a table. Anyone looking at that would never have known the fair was over two days. And she was one of the coordinators.

There was some talk about whether this stunted little fair was the death throes of the event, but I don't think so. Besides, that nice vibe in the room made it worthwhile, and reminded me a bit of the monthly Meet the Presses events that Nick and I organized throughout 1985. Plus I sold $127 worth of stuff, which isn't too bad.

Speaking of books, I spent a couple hours this afternoon going through the online catalogue for Jay MillAr's Apollinaire Bookshop. Only scratched the surface of the catalogue, but found some great stuff, especially some of the items in the New York Poets list.

One of the books Jay has published through his BookThug imprint is a collection of Rob Read's spam-derived poems. But a couple years before that came out, Dana Samuel released a tiny artist's book delicately titled Anal Whores, which does it much better and much more concisely. You can find a PDF version right over here, if you scroll to the bottom of the page. Though you don't get to see the hot-pink cover paper. It's a great little book of poems.

Over and out.


At November 14, 2006 5:41 pm , Blogger roxword said...

without a doubt your best post title in the last six months. good one stu...and dana.


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