21 July 2011

PLOTLESS FICTION: another new workshop

It was very exciting putting on an all-new, all-day workshop the other week. I had a full house for Walking the Poem. So I'm inspired to create another new workshop I've been mulling over for a couple of years.

A Workshop with Stuart Ross

Fictioneer and writing teacher Stuart Ross offers a relaxed, supportive workshop for writers at all levels. Plotless Fiction explores the possibilities of fiction beyond the constraints of narrative and the artificiality of plot. In this hands-on session, you will be introduced to writers from around the globe who push against the definitions of the story, and you will produce a half-dozen or so of your own short works, using a variety of enjoyable, challenging writing strategies.

Sunday, August 21, 10 am - 5 pm
Dupont/Symington area

Fee: $90 includes materials and light snacks.
Space is limited.

To register, write

Stuart Ross is the author of two collections of short stories, a novel, and two collaborative novellas. He has also published six books of poetry, including Farmer Gloomy's New Hybrid (shortlisted for the 2000 Trillium Book Prize), I Cut My Finger (shortlisted for the 2008 ReLit Poetry Award), and Dead Cars in Managua (shortlisted for the 2009 ReLit Poetry Award). His short-story collection Buying Cigarettes for the Dog was shortlisted for the Alberta Publishers Award and the Alberta Readers Choice Award, and won the 2010 ReLit Short Fiction Award. His recent plotless novel, Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew, has received rave reviews in Canada and the U.S. Stuart has been teaching workshops across Canada for over two decades. He was the 2010 writer-in-residence at Queen's University.

Word of this workshop went out just a few days ago, and already it's nearly half-full.

Over and out.

12 July 2011

Chapbook Market buys, poems got walked

Back now from a very busy, very productive five days in Toronto. One of the highlights was Saturday's Meet the Presses SCREAMING Chapbook Market at Clinton's Tavern. I think this was likely the first all-chapbook market in Canadian history! And it was a great time. Attendance was pretty good — I'd estimate about 100 people came through. We could have done a better job with signage out front, though: we need to get a proper sandwich board to put on the sidewalk and on the morning of the market poster all along Bloor Street with "TODAY!" signage. We did a pretty good job, though, with pre-day publicity: Tweeting, FBing, emailing, blogging, and postering.

By the middle of the afternoon, Clinton's was teeming shoppers, and the 18 participating presses made for one of the most exciting assortments of small press stuff I've ever seen. The difference between this event and the regular Indie Literary Market we've put on in the past, is that there was pretty much zero stuff here that could be found in a bookstore.

I wish I could have bought something from every table there, but I still managed to get some very exciting material:

over my dead corpus, by Pearl Pirie

APT. 9 PRESS (Ottawa)
Exit Interviews, by Jim Smith

BOOKTHUG (Toronto)
Form, by Mark Truscott
Ten Random Poems from Demtened, by Jay MillAr

YesNo, by Beth Follett

Swing Rhythms, by Nicholas Power

Abraxia, by Graeme Clarke
Expense Account, by Caroline Szpak
Where Punknames Come From, by Martin Hazelbower

Set a Compass upon the Face of the Depth, by Carleton Wilson

The Saxophonists' Book of the Dead, by Gary Barwin
what happened was: he flew, by Ally Fleming

The Morning Light, by Jason Heroux
The Really Funny Thing about Apathy, by Chelsea Martin
Rumble Strip, by Jason Tandon
What to Tell the Sleeping Babies, by MRB Chelko

Stowaway, by Carey Toane

Cameron Amstee of Apt. 9 Press did a small second printing of 10 copies of my I Have Come to Talk About Manners, and I think those pretty much sold out. And, of course, I think any new Jim Smith title is a huge thing to celebrate in this country's literature, so kudos to Cameron for Exit Interviews.

It was very exciting that Gary Barwin, after 25 years of self-publishing through his Serif of Nottingham Imprint, chose Ally Fleming's fabulous work to publish as his first-ever non–Gary Barwin title.

Horse of Operation is one of the best publisher names I've ever heard, and their small collective creates very eclectically designed publications: from punky and messy to tidy and classy.

It was a thrill to see the work of Sunnyoutside, David McNamara's press out of Buffalo, and he too is eclectic: amazing that the same press puts out work by Jason Heroux and Chelsea Martin!

I released two new publications for the occasion: Ladies & Gentlemen, the Solar System, a short story by me, and Teeth, Untucked, the first poetry chapbook by Nicholas Papaxanthos, who is a crazily talented, very young writer who I met during my residency in Kingston this past fall.

Definitely looking forward to another chapbook market sometime in the future. For the moment, we at the Meet the Presses are just beginning to cook up something else new for the fall.

Had pretty much a full house for my Walking the Poem workshop in the Mansfield Press office on Sunday. This was a full-day version of a three-hour workshop I ran in Cobourg a couple months back. Sunday's session took an awful lot of stamina — the big challenge was pacing things, because it was as intense as it was fun. I seem to have great luck with the makeup of my groups, and this one was no exception. Everyone read at least a few pieces over the course of the day, and no one was without some really exciting moments in their work. By the end of the day, it felt like we'd been working together for months, the chemistry was so good in the room.

A couple of people suggested a two-day workshop would be in order. So I'm working on this idea. Wondering, though, if I could get enough people willing to pay, say, $150 for a full weekend. It'd be an amazing workout, and we could accomplish so much. Details of the two-day to come.

Over and out.

06 July 2011

Meet the Presses SCREAMING Chapbook Market

Very excited about the new Meet the Presses venture — is it the first chapbook market ever in Canada? I dunno, but it's going to be a lot of fun. This is a project we've wanted to produce for a long time. For me, the chapbook is the heart of the small press.

I'll be there with an array of Proper Tales chapbooks from the recent and distant past, as well as two new items — a fiction chapbook by me called Ladies & Gentlemen, the Solar System, and a first chapbook, Teeth Untucked, by Kingston poet Nicholas Papaxanthos.

Over and out.

01 July 2011


Last call for my new poetry workshop in Toronto!


Write in ways
you’ve never
written before!

Poet and writing teacher Stuart Ross offers a relaxed, supportive workshop for poets at all levels. Walking the Poem focuses on creating new work and exploring the possibilities of those texts, as each poem multiplies and mutates.

Sunday, July 10, 10 am - 5 pm
Dupont/Symington area, Toronto

Fee: $80 includes materials and light snacks
Space is limited. To register, write


"I really enjoyed myself and felt like I got a lot done. I thank you very much for the stimulation & the relaxed atmosphere."

"Yay! Excited to go back to trying to write poems. I have so many new things to try now. Thanks!"

"I liked being exposed to the familiar in a new, fresh, creative way."

"Just what I needed!"

"I most enjoyed the relaxed pace and the self-directed nature of the work."

"The Boot Camp pushed me beyond my comfort zone in precisely the way that I hoped it would."

"My favourite part was the variety of non-threatening strategies for writing."

"Really informative, really helpful workshop. Great energy!"

"Excellent pacing! The day passes quickly — it really is a boot camp!"

"You always get such interesting characters attending your workshops!"

"Excellent overall. I got a lot of out of it. Money very well spent! I'd recommend it to others."

"Very well-run, well-thought-out workshop! Thanks!"


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). My second story collection, Buying Cigarettes for the Dog, earned positive reviews across the country, went into a second printing after only two months, and won the ReLit Prize for Short Fiction. I'm Poetry Editor for Mansfield Press and Fiction & Poetry Editor for This Magazine. I also write a regular column — "Hunkamooga" — for the literary magazine sub-Terrain. In fall 2010 I was Writer in Residence at Queen's University in Kingston. This spring, ECW Press released my novel Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew. For nearly 25 years, I've led writing workshops and I've brought my popular Poetry Boot Camp to venues across Canada.

Over and out.