02 April 2007

I spilled some poetry on my shoe

The first Patchy Squirrel Lit-Serv delivery went out tonight to 131 subscribers!

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Really enjoyed Camille Martin's Poetry as Plagiarism workshop last weekend. It was real nice to be able to concentrate on my own poetry for a whole day. And then on Thursday I wrapped up Get Your Hands On My Poems! at This Ain't: very pleased with how my first critiquing workshop turned out: it appears that not all workshops automatically turn their participants into Lorna Crozier clones. In fact, each of the participants in my workshop had very strong identities, which they honed and experimented with over the six weeks.

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Was glad to help celebrate the launch of Emily Schultz's first book of poetry, Songs For The Dancing Chicken, from ECW Press, at the Gladstone this past week. I was the copy-editor on Emily's book and she was a pleasure to work with. The first section of the book is built around the films of Werner Herzog, and the launch featured an onstage interview of Emily by Jason Anderson while Herzog clips flickered along in the background. I was saddened by the absence of The Strange Enigma Of Kaspar Hauser, my favourite Herzog. Emily's book is great, though, and really nicely designed.

The long, long journey of editing David W. McFadden's volume of selected poems is just about done. We're at the page-proof stage. David took me on quite a trip through the process, but a very educational trip, with lots of excellent visits to our local bar, Legends. Perhaps the toughest part for me was writing the introduction: but, in the end, Insomniac's copy-editor declared it "adequate." So that was a big relief. I strive for adequacy. The book should be released sometime in late May. It's going to be one of the most enjoyable and readable books of Canadian poetry ever.

In the meantime, I'm cheerleading Lillian Necakov as she puts together a new book of poetry. Some months back, Denis De Klerck nabbed me as I was leaving a Mansfield Press book launch. He'd read my Confessions Of A Small Press Racketeer, the essay where I whined about how some press should let me put a poetry book of my choice through, and he offered me exactly that opportunity with Mansfield. (Bev Daurio of Mercury also generously — and in a great leap of faith — took me up on my challenge a few years back, and the result was Mark Laba's brilliant book Dummy Spit, which sold probably in the, um, double digits....) Anyway, it was really exciting to mull over what book I would like to see exist. And I decided that a new book by Lillian would fill a void in Canadian poetry publishing. If things go well with this, Denis says he'll continue the experiment.

Another book that I had a light and early editorial hand in has just come out from BookThug: Sandra Alland's Blissful Times, which is an incredible departure from her first book, Proof Of A Tongue (which I edited for McGilligan Books). Sandra is an extremely brave writer, and this collection of 60 or so "translations" from a passage by Samuel Beckett is a wild conglomerate of writing approaches and results. It's going to confound a lot of people, and I think it still even confounds Sandra herself in ways, but it's also going to give a lot of readers an awful lot of pleasure.

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It's late. I must sleep. I need my energy for the Passover seder: the little finger puppets for the ten plagues are going to take a lot of concentration.

Matzoh and out.


At April 02, 2007 12:32 pm , Blogger gary barwin said...

Hey Stu,

You use finger puppets. Last yar we adopted a nautical theme for our seder and used signal flags for the Passover story, Morse Code for the Four Questions, and then semaphone for the plagues. Sadly, I knocked over my grandpa when I made the semaphore for "frog" and a 737 landed badly on our front lawn.

Hey, here's an idea.

What about a poem entitled "The Four Questions." But then again, why would this poem be different than any other poem?


At April 02, 2007 5:10 pm , Blogger Charlie Irving said...

Yep, finger puppets:


At April 02, 2007 10:25 pm , Blogger MissWanda said...

plague puppets. haha.

I can laugh because I have no plague.


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