The shelves are finished. My poetry is now single-layer, with all books visible. Though I know there are still more book in various nooks and crannies and boxes in my apartment. There are now empty shelves elsewhere to be filled and to be figured out. And I realized that although I have a filing cabinet, I do not have a drawer for my current writing projects. Given that I'm a writer, that's pretty stupid. It sure does feel library-like in my living room now. I like it.
Wanted to go to the Hugh Thomas reading at Test last night, but my noggin was throbbin'. Did make it to Mark Truscott's reading the night before at Oakham House at Ryerson. A few people did short sets before Mark took the invisible podium. I didn't catch the first reader, but I caught the final (long) poem by Jordan Scott. It was excellent: played with language but had real human elements to it, too. Angela Rawlings read some new stuff: one was a piece that centred on pronouns, sort of R.D. Laingy. I was aching for some narrative on Tuesday — I bought a book of poetry by Marty Gervais at This Ain't the quench that, in fact — and the narrative seemed to lie in Angela's intonation.
That series is a funny thing, because the room is packed with students taking notes. I'm not sure if readers are prepped to be explanatory, but everyone seemed to do a lot of explaining. Especially the main event. Mark read some stuff from Said Like Reeds or Things
, plus some older poems that were eventually distilled into the SLRoT
content, and some newer poems. I'm intrigued by his work: its brevity, its precision, its fascination with bad grammar. He's also very funny. But the poems themselves seemed to sometimes get lost between the explanations. I would have preferred one of two things: a) if Mark read all his poems twice, à la Simon Pettet or Marshall Hyrciuk, though Mark's a modest fellow and that might have felt pretentious for him, or self-important; or b) if Mark showed his poems silently on a screen via overhead projector, and allowed us to see them on the field of a page, read them silently to ourselves, mull them over a bit — this would have provided a nice contrast to the verbal explanations. I think his poems really grow in silence.
Side note on the Marty Gervais book, Wait for Me
. I've read about half of it now. I like the straightforwardness of it, I like much of the humour. Those poems could have been written in the 1970s as easily as now, but that didn't bother me. It felt really relaxing to read very literal narrative poems. His stuff brings to mind the poetry of Michael Dennis, though Michael gets a little edgier sometimes.
In other news, some things finished:
• the Ron Padgett book of collaborations that I'm publishing: ready to go to press
• my poetry manuscript for I Cut My Finger
: fired it off to Brian at Anvil yesterday afternoon
• the literary section for the March/April issue of This Magazine
: poems by Paul Vermeersch and Gary Barwin, and a short story by Maria Smythe, of Calgary
The McFadden Selected is coming down the home stretch. It has been a huge task, both for me and for David. Going to be a beautiful book. The young bucks would do well to read some Dave if they're not already doing that.
Over and out.