17 April 2011

A Poetry Boot Camp on April 30 … and typesetting the Mansfield spring list

I haven't done a workshop in Toronto in ages. Feels like ages. Certainly not this year. Was it last summer I last led a workshop there? Last spring?

So I'm scheduling a Poetry Boot Camp for April 30. I pretty much always fill up my Poetry Boot Camps, but my presence in Toronto is a lot less these days. My Patchy Squirrel Lit-Serv lands in Toronto every week, but I no longer do. So it'll be interesting to see what happens.

Here are the details:


Saturday, April 30, 10am-5 pm (w/ 45-minute lunch break)
Symington/Dupont area
$75 includes materials and light snacks

Prepayment guarantees your spot. To register, write Stuart at

A relaxed but intensive one-day workshop for beginning poets, experienced poets, stalled poets, and haikuists who want to get beyond three lines. Poetry Boot Camp focuses on the pleasures of poetry and the riches that spontaneity brings, through lively directed writing strategies and relevant readings from the works of poets from Canada and abroad. We'll also touch on revision and collaboration. You will write in ways you'd never imagined. Arrive with an open mind, and leave with a heap of new poems!


"I really enjoyed myself and felt like I got a lot done. I thank you very much for the stimulation & the relaxed atmosphere."

"Yay! Excited to go back to trying to write poems. I have so many new things to try now. Thanks!"

"I liked being exposed to the familiar in a new, fresh, creative way."

"Just what I needed!"

"I most enjoyed the relaxed pace and the self-directed nature of the work."

"The Boot Camp pushed me beyond my comfort zone in precisely the way that I hoped it would."

"My favourite part was the variety of non-threatening strategies for writing."

"Really informative, really helpful workshop. Great energy!"

"Excellent pacing! The day passes quickly — it really is a boot camp!"

"You always get such interesting characters attending your workshops!"

"Excellent overall. I got a lot of out of it. Money very well spent! I'd recommend it to others."

"Very well-run, well-thought-out workshop! Thanks!"

MY BIO: I am the author of six full-length poetry collections, including the acclaimed I Cut My Finger (Anvil Press) and Hey, Crumbling Balcony! Poems New & Selected (ECW Press). My second story collection, Buying Cigarettes for the Dog, earned positive reviews across the country, went into a second printing after only two months, and won the ReLit Prize for Short Fiction. I'm Poetry Editor for Mansfield Press and Fiction & Poetry Editor for This Magazine. I also write a regular column — "Hunkamooga" — for the literary magazine sub-Terrain. In fall 2010 I was Writer in Residence at Queen's University in Kingston. This spring, ECW Press released by novel Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew. For nearly 25 years, I've led writing workshops and I've brought my popular Poetry Boot Camp to venues across Canada.

Know anyone who might be interested? Please help spread the word!

Meanwhile, in the next 48 hours, I hope to finish typesetting the second of the two Mansfield Press spring releases, both of which will appear under my "a stuart ross" imprint.

I've already completed the typesetting on Robert Earl Stewart's second collection of poetry, Campfire Radio Rhapsody. It's following quickly on the heels of his first collection, Something Burned Along the Southern Border, which came out in 2009, but Bob is a very fast writer and a very good one. The new book has a very different tone than the first: and it's better, which is saying a lot. This is a dark book — sometimes darkly funny, too. Bob has been working on a novel for many years now, and I'm really curious about that. How does a guy who writes poetry like he does write fiction?

The book I'm wrapping up on the typesetting on now is Marko Sijan's first novel (and his first book), Mongrel. I guess I've read this about five or six times now. It still shocks me. I'm very curious to see how this book is received. And whether he'll have his key to Windsor (where he grew up and where the novel is set) taken away from him. Marko has a personal essay in the just-new issue of Canadian Notes & Queries; therein he tells the sordid and sorta jolting story of Mongrel's genesis, in particular its near-publication about a decade ago by the then-soon-to-be-defunct Gutter Press. It's almost as shocking as his novel.

I'm really proud to have a hand in getting these books into the world. There will be a Toronto launch for these two titles, and launches in Montreal and Windsor as well. Maybe Kingston. Maybe Hamilton. Maybe even Cobourg.

Over and out.


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