21 January 2010

Good night, Paul Quarrington

Paul Quarrington died today. He was a brilliant, brave, beautiful guy, so supportive of younger writers.

I'll cherish the memory of his September concert at Hugh's Room. The pure magic of the music. Paul's warmth.

Over and out.

19 January 2010

I don't want to read another fucking limerick!

The poems for Rogue Stimulus: The Stephen Harper Holiday Anthology for a Prorogued Parliament are pouring in, with just an hour to go before the deadline. My co-editor on this project, Stephen Brockwell, was on CBC's As It Happens tonight, and somehow that triggered a friggin' avalanche of limericks. Well, actually, tons of limericks and other doggerel were already dropping into the harper@mansfieldpress.net inbox.

We've received about 200 poems so far, from all across Canada. And really, I don't want to read another limerick. Though I do think it's telling that Stephen Harper would inspire these sordid little rhymes.

It does amaze me, though, that doggerel is still what comes to mind when a huge portion of Canadian think of poetry.

There have been some amazing poems in the inbox, too, and by some very fine poets. Some I've heard of and some I haven't. It's going to be a great anthology, and I will never have to read another limerick. You can't make me!

Over and out.

16 January 2010


Ottawa poet Stephen Brockwell approached me to collaborate on a very interesting project. We talked it through, did some negotiating. I was game. I approached Mansfield Press publisher Denis De Klerck to see if wanted to be part of it. He was game. Details follow.


Ottawa small business owner Stephen Brockwell, Toronto poet and editor Stuart Ross and, Denis De Klerck, the publisher of Toronto literary house Mansfield Press, will mark Stephen Harper’s Prorogation of parliament with Rogue Stimulus: The Stephen Harper Vacation Anthology for a Prorogued Parliament.

Contrary to what the Harper government would have Canadians believe about the “chattering classes,” people are expressing their outrage over Harper’s unilateralism at family dinners, in the workplace, in social media and in print. Professional and aspiring writers across the country have been invited to submit poems for the anthology which will be published by Mansfield Press just in time for the reconvening of Parliament on March 3.

A book launch and protest will be held at or near Parliament Hill on March 5, 2009.

People interested in contributing to Rogue Stimulus: The Stephen Harper Vacation Anthology for a Prorogued Parliament should send a poem of no more than 75 lines by e-mail (preferably as a Microsoft Word attachment) to: harper@mansfieldpress.net. Submissions will not be accepted after midnight Tuesday January 19 to ensure timely editing, production and distribution. For more information contact Stephen Brockwell via email or 613 728 5287.

The poems are pouring in.

Over and out.

01 January 2010



It is two thousand and ten.
I look around for something
to prorogue. I decide to
prorogue the search for
something to prorogue.
— How small is it?
Wait: this minyan is so small.
That’s what I was talking about.
You can fit it in a phone booth.
It phones god. God phones
for Chinese food. Walks around
for days with fortune cookie
in pocket. Let me try
to explain another way:
“Black obelisk for sale. Barely
used in nine years.”
The primates have learned
nothing. Art has not yet
been invented. The closest thing
is a guy who stuck his head
out the window and yelled:
“This, this, this, and this!”
I am filled with tiny slips
of white paper. I open my mouth.
One flutters out. A talent scout
sees me pursuing it and thinks
I am doing a new dance.
The best thing since.
I sign contract. TV loves me.
But I prorogue my success.
Right now, I require the broadcast
of the heartbeat of everybody.

Stuart Ross
1 January 2010