A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent: my mainstream sell-out (plus launch dates)
Shove over, Hugh Prather and Rod McKuen! Stuart Ross has arrived. My new book, A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent, now exists. It is published by Hamilton house Wolsak and Wynn, under Paul Vermeersch's A Buckrider Book imprint. It is my mainstream sell-out collection. Now I will just sit back and eat grapes and wait for the awards to accumulate.
Look at what a handsome book this is. The cover painting is by the amazing Victoria painter Roy Green. Cover design is by the superbly talented Natalie Olsen of Kisscut Design. Within the covers writhe about 50 poems, and every one of them is perfectly comprehensible. So that's a first for me.
Sparrow comes on the heels of A Hamburger in a Gallery, my most weird-ass poetry book, released last year by Montreal's DC Books under Jason Camlot's Punchy Poetry imprint. Hamburger garnered somewhere in the neighbourhood of roughly zero reviews, even though it was a very exciting book, one I'm extremely proud of — complete with an odd 50-page interview with me conducted by Camlot-as-blockhead. While Jason and I were putting together Hamburger, which contains scores of personal poetic experiments, I was building a file of my most accessible, narrative, straightforward, personal poems for the subsequent book. That was the book I wanted to do next, with Paul's imprint: my "mainstream" poetry book.
I wanted a book that was as close to mainstream as I could get. (Really, I don't even know what mainstream might mean in the context of poetry.) I also wanted a book that was pretty serious. Paul was good at calling me on some of the more whacky material I tried to sneak in. I mean, I consider myself a serious poet in general, but I do recognize that readers often process my weirdness and surreality as humour.
Sparrow contains a lot of pretty personal poems. A lot of poems about death. A few questionnaires. A prose poem sequence about a version of my childhood. And a ton of homages to writers I admire. There's a lot of hero worship going on in this book. Oh, and there's a long poem about meeting up with everyone's favourite anthologist, Oscar Williams! I know this book is going to be a runaway best-seller!
A Sparrow Comes Down Resplendent has two launches lined up so far:
Toronto: May 12, 7:30 pm, The Monarch Tavern, 12 Clinton Street
Also being launched are new books by Kilby Smith-McGregor (Kids in Triage) and Susan Perly (Death Valley)
Cobourg: June 6, 7 pm, The Human Bean, 80 King Street West
Also being launched is Ashley-Elizabeth Best's Slow States of Collapse. Musical guest: Rhonda Murdoch.
I hope to get to many more towns and cities with my shameless sell-out.
Over and (sell-)out.