A bit of what I've done, and a Boot Camp
Just finished a mammoth editing job, one that's been hanging over me for months, so I feel I can come up and breathe a bit. Though I do have all these other editing jobs leaping up snapping like killer fish from a sparkling pond. I'm glad for the work. I just wonder when I'll get some time to write.
Been doing lots of workshops too: this past week, I travelled to the burbs where I did a creative writing session at a drop-in centre with a group of homeless and otherwise marginalized adults. A fantastic experience. Some really good writing happened, a lot of catharsis, and some first steps towards a new kind of self-expression. I learned a lot, too, which for me always makes for the best kind of workshop.
In previous weeks, I've done workshops in schools in downtown Toronto and in Woodstock. Plus a pair of online workshops for a hundred or so students in rural locations across BC's Interior. This was called Poetry Rocks, and I had to prep for it by creating a couple of videos of me reading, by way of introduction. My buddy the gong maestro Steve Lederman shot 'em. They're right over here and here.
Chicago poet Richard Huttel was in town for a week and I set up a couple readings for him. The first was in Toronto: Richard, along with David W. McFadden, Lillian Necakov and Nicholas Power at the Magpie on Dundas West, for an event called Four Poets, Eight Eyes. The place was filled up, the readings were all really excellent, and it was great to see a nice mixture of vets of the Toronto poetry scene and a bunch of the young 'uns. The next day Richard and I hit the road for Ottawa, where we read with Michael Dennis in the living room of Charles and Amanda Earl, who were great hosts. Nice little gathering of Ottawa poets and prosers for that one.
I put together a small chapbook of poetry through my Proper Tales Press for Richard and for Michael. Richard's is called Rainy Day Cliffhanger and Michael's is Forgiveness, My New Sideline (each available from me for $4 including postage). I really enjoyed that Michael read the entire chapbook for the Ottawa reading, in addition to a few new and unpublished poems.
Meanwhile, my short-story collection Buying Cigarettes for the Dog is at the printer. Skedded to be ready in time for the April 1 launch at Clinton's in Toronto. It's a really insane book. It's all over the map, and the map it's all over is not authorized. But it's nice to have a spiny book of fiction again, my first since 1997.
Last month I ran a Poetry Boot Camp in Toronto and it filled up almost instantly, leaving me with a waiting list for the first time. I've scheduled another this month, and the spaces are going at a more steady pace, though there are still some left. Here's the skinny:
STUART ROSS'S POETRY BOOT CAMP
Sunday, March 29, 10am-5 pm (w/ 45-minute lunch break)
$75 includes materials, light snacks & a book by Stuart Ross
To register, write Stuart at firstname.lastname@example.org
A relaxed but intensive one-day workshop for beginning poets, experienced poets, stalled poets, and haikuists who want to get beyond three lines. Poetry Boot Camp focuses on the pleasures of poetry and the riches that spontaneity brings, through lively directed writing strategies and relevant readings from the works of poets from Canada and abroad. Arrive with an open mind, and leave with a heap of new poems!
I am the author of six full-length poetry collections, including the acclaimed I Cut My Finger (Anvil Press) and Hey, Crumbling Balcony! Poems New & Selected (ECW Press). DC Books recently published my newest collection, Dead Cars in Managua. I'm Poetry Editor for Mansfield Press and Fiction & Poetry Editor for This Magazine. I also writes a regular column — "Hunkamooga" — for the literary magazine sub-Terrain. For nearly 25 years, I've led writing workshops and I've brought my popular Poetry Boot Camp to venues across Canada.
In 2009, Freehand Books will release my second short-story collection, Buying Cigarettes for the Dog.
Over and out.