20 June 2011

Tonight: Toronto! Tuesday: Kingston! Wednesday: Montreal! Thursday: Ottawa!

Nice crowd last night in Windsor at Milk for the opening night of the mini-tour featuring the two new Mansfield Press books and my own Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew. I've heard Robert Earl Stewart read several times before, and he's really good, but I had never yet heard him read from the new book, Campfire Radio Rhapsody. It's a dark collection of poems, but from the stage Bob eked out some great humour among the chilling moments. And, though I have read Marko Sijan's novel, Mongrel, about half a dozen times (in the course of the editing and proofreading processes), I'd never heard him read a single word of it aloud. He, too, was fantastic.

I read three short chapters from Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew, one of which I haven't read from yet. It's going to be fun this week reading from different parts of the book I haven't yet uttered aloud.

Opening the evening was Bob's bandmate in Waker Glass, a singer/guitarist named John Pilat, and he was excellent. Mostly originals, plus a very nice cover of "Suzanne." (The Leonard Cohen song, not the Randy Newman song. Though I would love to hear him sing Cohen's "Suzanne.")

Tonight at the Magpie in Toronto, I'll just be doing hosting duties, as it's strictly a Mansfield event. It's late in the launch season, but we're hoping for a good crowd. Marko has a lot of friends in Toronto who have been dying to read this legendary novel (read about its publishing trajectory in the new issue of Canadian Notes & Queries), and Bob has already built a good Toronto fan base based on his first collection, 2009's Something Burned Along the Southern Border.

Tuesday morning we'll head to Kingston, where we're reading upstairs at the Grad Club in the evening. I'm really looking forward to seeing a lot of the people I met during my stint as writer in residence at Queen's University last fall; that gig was among the great highlights of my writing life. Marko, Bob, and I will be joined there by Jaime Forsythe, who's an amazing poet and whose first collection will come out with my Mansfield imprint in 2012. Here are three poems by Jaime.

The tour continues later in the week with stops in Montreal and Ottawa.

Over and out.


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