14 May 2008

Edmonton launch of Dead Cars in Managua! May 15! And other stuff goddammit!

Edmonton writer and pal Wayne Arthurson arranged for me a last-minute reading in his home city. Happening tomorrow evening at Audrey's, an excellent indie bookstore. Here's the guff:



at Audrey's Bookstore
10702 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton

May 15, 7:30 pm

Toronto poet Stuart Ross launches his sixth full-length poetry collection, Dead Cars in Managua (DC Books Punchy Writers Series), and Betty Jane Hegerat launches her short-story collection, A Crack in the Wall (Oolichan Books).

Meanwhile, I'm spending my last full day in Vancouver. Dave, Alison, Lily (their daughter), and I drove here from New Denver on Friday. I really love this city. This big city with mountains in the distance.

On Saturday, I met up — in person — with Zachariah Wells, with whom I've butted heads a few times in the cyberworld. The rumours were correct: he's a really nice guy in person. We exchanged books, and he gave me a nifty little chapbook from Mercutio Press (Ben Kalman's Montreal micro), and he also gave me my contributors' copies of Jailbreaks: 99 Canadian Sonnets (Biblioasis), which I'm thrilled to be in, with some extraordinarily unlikely company. I gotta say, the cover looked sort of okay online, but in the flesh, the book is gorgeous, a real class act. Zach and I will now resume spitting venom at each other over the internet. Damn you, Wells!

In the evening, a great visit, as always, with Mark Laba and family: partner Karen, coupla sub-year-old twins, and son Eli (well, Eli was off at his grandma's). Mark is my oldest friend; we met when we were about three. He's Canada's secret literary weapon: so secret, he doesn't even know it himself. If you can dig up a copy of his one big poetry book, Dummy Spit (The Mercury Press), you will have a poetry-reading experience unlike any other.

Also great to see Michael Boyce, who is working away on his follow-up to his novel Monkey (Pedlar Press). We had a long coffee and walk on West 4th. I'm glad to be in touch with him again after being pals way back in the 1980s.

Lance La Rocque happens to be visiting Vancouver from Wolfville, just as he was during my own visit last December. He promises me he's gonna send me his poetry MS, just for a friendly read. We walked through the rain, checking out bookstores and playing the "Hey, have you read this?" game. And we chatted for a while at Wicked Cafe on West 7th, an excellent place with a wide variety of loose green teas.

Got together, of course, with Brian Kaufman, my boss over at Anvil Press. He gave me copies of the new issue of sub-Terrain, which features incredible paintings by John Lurie (!!!). I don't quite get why there's not a throw to Lurie on the front cover — except that it would've interfered with the cover painting. My column "Hunkamooga" appears in the mag, and it was for this column that I got my first-ever National Magazine Award nomination. I'll be losing on June 6. Can you believe it's one-fucking-hundred-and-sixty clams to go to that gala? Feeeeeerget it! Brian and I met at Sofie's, where I fell for the waitress.

Later Monday evening, Dave and Al and I went to see some comedy improv and stand-up at a restaurant on West 4th. The audience was smaller than that of the average poetry reading, which got me thinking. About something. The quality of the art was just as uneven as at a poetry reading. But it was a huge amount of fun. Unlike most poetry readings.

Clint Burnham just got home after his Test reading in Toronto, so I got to whine to him yesterday for a couple of hours, again at Wicked. I'm looking forward to Clint's big book on the history of the KSW, even though I probably won't be able to understand it. I hear he did a good reading in Toronto last week.

So many other people I want to visit while I'm here, but I guess I'll just have to come back soon.

This morning, though, was my main chunk of work in Vancouver: a Canada Council-sponsored reading at the Jewish Community Centre, organized by the Jewish Book Fair, for Grade 11 students from King David High School, which is right across the road from the JCC. It was a real pleasure: they were a great audience and had great questions and a nifty teacher. I got to drag out all my Jewish content: the Razovsky poems, and various other pieces with Jewish references. I also played them a couple of tracks from Ben Walker's An Orphan's Song CD, which they really enjoyed.

It for now.

Over and out.


At May 16, 2008 6:05 pm , Blogger Zachariah Wells said...



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