27 June 2008

Frank O'Hara's birthday today, This Ain't reopens on Sunday and the Scream

Today would be Frank O'Hara's 82nd birthday. He was born Francis Russell O'Hara on June 27, 1926. Hey, that's the same year my dad was born! But Frank died on July 25, 1966, on Fire Island. He wrote an awful lot of truly fantastic poems.

Last year, on John Ashbery's 80th birthday, Carl Wilson, Paul Vermeersch, Erik Rutherford and I met at Clinton's to share our favourite Ashbery poems, turning Clinton's into a temporary Cedar Tavern, the New York hangout of poets and artists in the 50s and 60s. Today, I'm planting myself at Clinton's again, from 2 to 5 pm, with a little stack of O'Hara books. Others may turn up, Frank poems in hand. Or maybe it'll just be me. The suspense is palpable.

On Sunday, my favourite indie bookstore, This Ain't the Rosedale Library, is celebrating its reopening in Kensington Market, at 86 Nassau Street. The new location is small but the abbreviated This Ain't crew are making great use of the space. There will be readings and live music outside the shop, and I'm really pleased to be part of it, since I've been a customer of since the store opened nearly three decades ago on Queen Street East. Here's the tentative schedule:

3:30 - singer/songwriter, busker, and now author (with two books on songwriting and performing from Gaspereau Press) Bob Snider.
4:00 - Stuart Ross, the author, most recently, of two excellent poetry collections I Cut My Finger (Anvil Press) and Dead Cars in Managua (DC Books).
4:30 - Steve Venright, author of post-surrealist
masterworks Spiral Agitator (Coach House) and Floors of Enduring Beauty (Mansfield Press).
5:00 - Saxophonist Richard Underhill will provide a musical interlude
5:30 - Pamela Stewart, self-described 'literary proctologist', former private detective, and author of the story collection Elysium (Anvil Press)
6:00 - playwright and now author of her first novel, Stunt (Coach House), Claudia Dey
The evening will wrap up with live music from Nifty and Rosazia

I'll be reading from my most recent book, Dead Cars in Managua, plus a bunch of new poems, including some from a batch I unearthed yesterday (always great to stumble on poems you forgot you wrote!). This Ain't, by the way, is the only retail outlet in Toronto that sells the CD An Orphan's Song: Ben Walker Sings Stuart Ross.

Next Thursday, I help kick off this year's Scream Festival. I'm taking part in something called Best Practices: The Scream Alumni Night, starting at 8 pm at Supermarket, 68 Augusta. Here's how it'll work: Priscilla Uppal, Kevin Connolly, Emily Schultz, Ken Babstock and I each read from the work of a younger Toronto poet whose stuff we really like. I'll be reading from the published and new poems of Evie Christie. That'll be an interesting challenge, because Evie's poems are pretty specifically written in a woman's voice. Details about that event and the rest of the festival are right here.

Lots more to talk about. I'll save it for later.

Over and out.


At June 27, 2008 12:08 pm , Blogger Evie Christie said...

Stuart Ross is back online?!


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