31 December 2015

3 poems to usher out the Old Year

I'm very pleased to have three poems up on The Lake today. Nice to squeeze in a final 2015 publication on the last day of the year.

Here be those poems.

The poem "Doxology" contains the lines that title my spring 2016 book, A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent, from Wolsak and Wynn, the book that is going to allow me to hire a chauffeur and also buy a small holiday house in Nicaragua. I'm really proud of this poem: it's the one that set the tone — and gave me motivation — for the new book, which I think will be a very different book for me.

I'm also pleased to have "Adul and the Magic Book" up. I've gotten a great response to that poem at recent readings. And it's another poem I'm particularly proud of. Even as it makes me very uncomfortable. Perhaps because it makes me very uncomfortable.

The third poem, "Three in a Room," is from a few years ago. It is a very personal poem, and one of my decreasingly rare strictly autobiographical poems (though A Sparrow has a few more of those). In my mother's last week or so of life, in 1995, as she lay in a hospital bed, she at one point opened her eyes to see me and my two brothers in room with her. The three of us Ross boys together all at one time was not a common sight. I'm glad she got to see that. I think it gave her a lot of comfort.

Over and out.

29 December 2015

25 of my poetry favourites from 2015

Okay, the heading for this blog entry isn't exactly true. I didn't read nearly enough new poetry books this year. So really, these are simply 25 of my favourite 2015 poetry books, chosen from those that I read. And the heading's still not accurate. For example, I'm not including the books I ushered through Mansfield Press under my "a stuart ross book" imprint: Last Stop, Lonesome Town, by Tara Azzopardi; My Planet of Kites, by Marie-Ève Comtois (translated my Michelle Winters and me); Abnormal Brain Sonnets, by David W. McFadden; The Purpose Pitch, by Kathryn Mockler; Love Me Tender, by Nick Papaxanthos; punchlines, by Aaron Tucker. And then there's my own, almost totally ignored, collection, A Hamburger in a Gallery (DC Books), which I think is pretty damn good. And there are also all the books and chapbooks I couldn't locate over the past few days. And beyond that, some of the 25 books below were published as fiction or non-fiction, but I think they're poetry. Oh, and I included a book from my own Proper Tales Press, which I know is cheating, but this is my blog.

Breezeway, John Ashbery (Ecco)
Thirty Poems, Nelson Ball (Rubblestone)
Thrillows & Despairos, Chris Chambers (Wolsak and Wynn)
Poems to Work On: The Collected Poems of Jim Dine (Cuneiform)
Sonosyntactics: Selected and New Poetry of Paul Dutton (Wilfrid Laurier University)
Rilke Shake, Angélica Freitas, trans. Hilary Kaplan (Phoneme Media)
Moods, Yoel Hoffmann, trans. Peter Cole (New Directions)
That Said, Richard Huttel (Proper Tales)
the blue, blue there, Marilyn Irwin (Apt. 9)
Our Inland Sea, James Lindsay (Wolsak and Wynn)
Ongoingness: The End of a Diary, by Sarah Manguso (Graywolf)
The Well-Dressed Wound, Derek McCormack (Semiotext(e))
Get Me Out of Here, Sachiko Murakami (Talonbooks)
Diversion, George Murray (ECW)
The Lake Contains an Emergency Room, Lillian Necakov (Apt. 9)
Tells of the Crackling, Hoa Nguyen (Ugly Ducking)
Alone and Not Alone, Ron Padgett (Coffee House)
The Exiles' Gallery, Elise Partridge (Anansi)
Dear Leader, Damian Rogers (Coach House)
Thirteen Ways of Looking at CanLit, by Rachel Rose (BookThug)
Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine (Graywolf)
Careen, Carolyn Smart (Brick)
That Train Again, Mark Statman (Lavender Ink)
Dome of the Hidden Pavilion, James Tate (Ecco)
A Brief History of Portable Literature, Enrique Vila-Matas, trans. Anne McLean & Thomas Bunstead (New Directions)

Over and out.

04 December 2015

Ladles & geraniums, the cover of my spring 2016 book…

I have been immensely fortunate in that almost every one of my book covers has been graced by art and/or design by someone of my choice, and always a friend. I met Victoria painter Roy Green only once in person a few years back, but I have admired his work ever since and we've corresponded on social media. I'm thrilled that one of his paintings will be on the cover of my forthcoming poetry book, A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent, to be published this spring by Wolsak and Wynn, under Paul Vermeersch's excellent Buckrider Books imprint. The cover design is by Natalie Olsen of Kisscut Design. I like the simple, almost Letraset-like type treatment. The image below is a low-res version: the final thing will be much sharper. But I'm eager to get this out there. I love it.

I like the suggested religiosity of the image. The title of the book comes from my poem "Doxology." So it all makes sense, right? This will be my religious book. My mainstream book. My Rod McKuen book. Maybe even my last book of poetry.

Over and out.

02 December 2015

Pushcart follies

Well, after nearly 40 years of crawling through the small-press trenches, I have now been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, thanks to Kathryn Mockler and The Rusty Toque!

The Rusty Toque is an excellent online literary mag, featuring fiction, poetry, interview, reviews, and more. Here are the pieces they nominated. I'm in very good company.

It's funny. I had never even thought that I might be nominated for a Pushcart — the most coveted prize in the small-press universe — but now that I have been, I'm all indignant that it had never happened before!

Unfortunately, my story, "The United States Has Gone Crazy," is completely whacko and I have no chance at the prize.

Over and out.