15 January 2015

Readings in Toronto and Montreal this weekend (January 17 & 18)

Hectic times — much editing and writing. Racing to get a few of my own books completed for this spring. But I have two readings coming up this weekend, and they're both in pretty intriguing settings.

Bread and Honey

On Saturday, January 17, at 7 pm, I'm the literary guest at Church of St. Stephen-in-the-Fields, 103 Bellevue Avenue, in Toronto. You know how poet and novelist Maggie Helwig became a member of the Anglican clergy? This is the church she works at, or presides over, or however you say it.

She's doing amazing progressive and arty things there. So on Saturday, there'll be some prayer, some meditation, some drumming. And then I'll read for a while. And then there'll be discussion about the stuff I read. And then there'll be a potluck bread-and-soup meal. So that's pretty cool. I think I'm going to read A Pretty Good Year, the series of haiku I wrote while Laurie had cancer. And maybe a short story.

Cosmonauts Avenue

The next day, I'm off to Montreal to read at the launch of the first issue of the online mag Cosmonauts Avenue, which is a helluva name for a litmag. I have two poems in the issue, and I love the visual presentation of them. I'm softening a little when it comes to online mags, I have to admit. The reading happens on Sunday, January 18, at 7 pm, at the Brass Door Pub, 2171 Crescent Street. The other readers are Megan Fernandes, Melissa Bull, Rebecca Fishow, Arjun Basu, and Josip Novakovich.

While I'm in Montreal, I hope to meet up with Jason Camlot, who's editing my new book of poetry, A Hamburger in a Gallery, for his Punchy Poetry imprint with DC Books. Also hoping to meet up with poet Marie-Ève Comtois, whose poetry I'm co-translating, with Michelle Winters, for Mansfield Press.

On the train there and back, I'll be putting the finishing touches on Further Confessions of a Small Press Racketeer, by second collection of essay-things from Anvil Press.

Lots more to report, but it'll have to wait.

Over and out.

01 January 2015

My 2015 New Year Poem


I placed the potato on my plate
and cut it into 2,015 discrete
portions. This took me nearly
six hours. A neighbour peering
through my window yelled
something at me but I only
saw his mouth move. The potato
is not a metaphor. The number
2,015 was selected randomly.
Meanwhile — when you’re my
age, meanwhiles are important
because they mean two things
can happen at once, crucial
when time is running out —
meanwhile, on my front lawn
something had appeared:
small and orange and batted
about by the unforgiving wind.
Above, the white blob of sky
convulsed and birds sailed out.
I sent a teetering robot to prod
at the orange thing, examine
it under a microscope, subject it
to various intelligence
tests. I thought at first it was
the fist of a plastic soldier
I’d played with as a child,
but it turned out to be
one two-thousand-and-
fifteenth of a potato. The potato
was sweet. The plate was made
of tin. The neighbour at my
window was made of cardboard.
I was made of regrets, sneezes and
diminishing possibilities. Laurie will
tell me this is depressing, I
shouldn’t be so hard on myself.
Meanwhile, on the television,
which is made of a rectangle,
a black-and-white woman
handed a violin to a child in
a ghetto in Poland. The wind
subsided and snow began to
zigzag from the sky. Each flake
had several choices to make.


1 January 2015