31 December 2007

Goodbye, 2007.

Thought I'd check in one last time before the year turns.

I've been in Vancouver for almost two weeks now, house-sitting and cat-sitting for my friends Dave and Alison. My first self-assigned task was to finish the manuscript of Dead Cars in Managua. And, as of an hour ago, that task is complete, and the book is delivered to my editor.

The next task is to make some major headway on my second novel. I'll dig into that tomorrow, the first day of 2008.

While here, I also wrote my new Hunkamooga column for sub-Terrain. I was perusing Dave's and Alison's books, and I came across half a dozen or so novels that I'd made Dave read when we were teenagers. They were really important books to me. So that's my column: a sort of buried-treasure survey of the books that hurled me into this idiotic career choice.

Some nice catching-up with poet friends while I've been here. Clint Burnham, his partner Julie Sawatsky, and their son, Devon; Mark Laba (my oldest friend: 44 years and counting!), his wife, Karen, and their children too numerous to name; Brian Dedora and his dog, Spot. And today, Lance La Rocque, who happens to be visiting Vancouver from Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

I like this city a lot, though I still can't wrap my brain around its geography. And my mood has been too swinging to actually absorb the beauty of the mountains. The fact that they're invisible on most of these rainy days doesn't help. But this city sure has a lot of character. And a lot of food for vegetarians.

So I've been writing and reading, and going for long walks. Playing piano, fumblingly, for the first time in many years. And I'm here for nearly another two weeks.

Here's to a 2008 crammed with serenity.

Over and out.

17 December 2007

The Small Press Book Fair "buzz" hits Quill & Quire online

Read all about it.

11 December 2007

The only good poet

Tonight the Art Bar is presenting its annual Dead Poets Society Night. I was invited some months ago to participate, but a couple of weeks ago I withdrew after getting a snipey little insult from one of the event's organizers. And after I withdrew, he barraged me with further, and far less subtle, insults.

It was more fallout from my post-Small Press Book Fair blog entry — after which I was repeatedly personally attacked by one of the fair organizers for offering criticism of the job they did and inquiring about their "advertising campaign."

So, for now, here are a couple of poems by the New Jersey poet whose work I had hoped to expose people to tonight, Alfred Starr Hamilton. I'm pretty sure I've blogged about him before.


That's a pint of red daisies
That has been sent to your florist
That he has become your drunkard


Are you whistling
At the back of the dark hallway?
All I do know about dark life
About three rickety flights upstairs.
Are you barked at tonight
By a puppy? that would if he could
Have fed you all the dog biscuits
You wanted, or ever could have –


One cloud, one day,
Came as a shadow in my life,
And then left, and came back again; and stayed

I think those might have been among the best poems ever uttered at the Art Bar.

Over and out.

01 December 2007

The one question.

Do hospital images stay with you forever?