15 June 2011

Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew mini-tour — and other stuff

On Sunday, I head to Windsor to kick off a five-city launch tour with the spring 2011 Mansfield authors, Marko Sijan and Robert Earl Stewart. I'm very excited to hear both of them read from their new books, the novel Mongrel and the poetry collection Campfire Radio Rhapsody respectively. These are the four and fifth books to bear the logo of the "a stuart ross book" imprint.

We're travelling from Windsor to Toronto, Kingston, Montreal and Ottawa, and I'll be launching my novel Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew in all but Toronto (where I already launched in May). We have some great guests joining us along the way, including Jaime Forsythe, whose first book of poetry (still untitled) will be released by Mansfield through my imprint in 2012.

In the meantime, this week the winners of the Trillium Book Awards will be announced. Up for the poetry prize is Peter Norman, whose first collection, At the Gates of the Theme Park, I acquired for Mansfield last year. He's a fantastic reader, a really adventurous poet, and I'm mighty happy for him.

In other, more New Yorky news, on Monday I took part in a snazzy shindig at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The event was called Spontaneity: A New York State of Mind, and it was curated by my old friend Jim Shedden in conjunction with the exhibition of Abstract Expressionist paintings on loan from the MOMA. The event featured jazz music, dance, and poetry. Lynn Crosbie and I provided the poetry (actually, Lynn provided a bit of comedy, too, via Lenny Bruce). I read works by Ted Berrigan, Ron Padgett, and Eileen Myles, and I snuck in a quick Joe Brainard poem at the last moment. I got tons of great remarks by audience members afterwards, including a few who wanted details about the poets I read from.

On the topic of Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew, its reception has been interesting. Everyone says that short-story books don't sell, and it's novels that everyone wants. But my 2009 story collection, Buying Cigarettes for the Dog, got tons of reviews in its first few months of publication. SDJ has managed a single review in a daily — the Winnipeg Free Press — and a couple of reviews in U.S. trade mags and on blogs. Could be that it's just off to a slow start, review-wise. And I'm not complaining: I've been incredibly fortunate when it comes to reviews. I know some brilliant writers whose books have gotten either no or very little notice.

I agree with the excellent folks who put together this manifesto in celebration of the short story. But I'm still hoping for more reviews of SDJ!

Over and out.


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