21 June 2009

novel, launches, Concordia

In Banff for a few days in advance of my launches in Calgary, Red Deer, and Edmonton. The task: to finish my goddamn novel already. I'm going to do it in 48 hours.

Here's the guff on the Calgary launch:

Please tell your friends and chihuahuas.

Info about the other launches are in the sidebar there to my right. I've also begun putting up links for reviews of my various books.

And speaking of reviews, this just in from Concordia U's newspaper, The Link:

Doggie patch now available

Stuart Ross’ “insane book of stories” begs a re-read


Buying Cigarettes for the Dog Stuart Ross Freehand Books April 2009 198 pp $19.95

The latest instalment of stories from Canadian author-poet-editor-teacher and Yonge Street chapbook legend Stuart Ross has been well worth the wait.

Featuring 23 highly engaging and surprising works, Buying Cigarettes for the Dog is one of those books that has something for everyone. A fragment used to describe this work in a recent e-interview with Ross says it all: “[this is] an insane book of stories.”

Starting it off with “a sequence of limb-related fiascos,” Ross’ stories command interest from the get-go and feature a host of characters that are often confused and always unpredictable. Look forward to reading about tales that are tightly bound in intense unease (“Elliot goes to School” or “Howie Tosses and Turns”), an unrequited letter to the worlds most famous Madame (“Letter to Heidi Fleiss”) and some hilarious English-language lessons any bilingual will appreciate (“Language Lessons…with Simon and Marie!”).

Ross has said that he “spent far too much time reading international news and analysis. The planet is on my mind a lot. I do hope some laughs are infused in my work amid all the tragedy and doom and gloom.”

Apocalyptic nuances aside, Ross’ writing in Buying Cigarettes seems to abide by the values he instructs in his creative writing and poetry workshops. When asked about his pedagogical methods, Ross said he tries to teach “openness and adventurousness. And, of course, I try to get a few principles across, like: don’t fret over meaning, don’t lecture, don’t use clichés, [and] avoid ornamental language,” adding that he “would encourage everyone to try writing poems, and if they like doing it, to keep writing poems. And to assume nothing, and just see the practice as an adventure.”

Poetic escapades are no stranger to Ross, who personally pushed his stuff on the streets of Toronto in the early ‘80s and called the DIY experience “the most exciting time for me as a self-published writer.”

“Self-publishing has been really important to me,” he said. “I have done scores of chapbooks and maybe hundreds of leaflets. Publishing is part of my practice in this way. And I think it’s also given me good tools to push my stuff when other literary presses wouldn’t publish me. It’s certainly given me the beginnings of an audience, this thing of self-publishing.”

For Buying Cigarettes, Ross gathered, edited and wrote anew at the request of Freehand Books, an independent Canadian publisher based in Calgary. Though he didn’t have to street hustle this time around, Ross doesn’t think that having someone doing the publishing for him should change his product.

“Whether one is publishing with a biggie or a smallie,” he said, “the important thing is to be true to the work and be true to the adventure you want to have.”

For the future, Ross said he sees himself concentrating on and experimenting with fiction, as well as resisting any gradual move to the mainstream.

“I just feel right now that I want to really fuck things up on the page,” he said. “I think there’s room for the kind of spirit that B.S. Johnson brought to fiction.”

For more info about Stuart Ross and his works, check his website hunkamooga.com.

I really gotta update my website.

Over and out.


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