Wednesday, November 30, 2005

People Who Need People

Everytime I update this blog, I spend a little time clicking the "next blog" button to surf blogger blogs. It's kind of fun. Why? This is why.

Now if only Jason Christie will follow through on his Cheese Blog idea, I will be thoroughly occupied for the afternoon.

Listen Up Sports Fans

It all begins tomorrow. The next week and a half are going to be intense. I don't know if my liver will survive.

Tomorrow night is the NOD launch-- Colin Martin and the English Literature Student's Society's new lit mag. Colin's mandate as interpreted by me (i.e. I take full responsibility if I get it wrong): to publish students (unlike dANDelion, which has a strict rule about publishing current students at the U of C) to publish ~really new~ writers, and to publish them alongside a few old hacks. I believe derek b is the issue for example (hehe! just teasing d). I think that this is a great idea and fills a niche that, though it's been filled at other times (orange, in grave ink) is not currently being filled in Calgary. (fS doesn't tend to publish the ~really new~. If you think ~really new~ is a euphemism for "never-been-published-before," or "young," you're right-- my ego rails against saying "young" writers, in part since I've always wanted to be a child prodigy, which didn't happen. Dammit!) The event is Colin-designed, which means it is at the Lazy Loaf and Kettle in Parkdale. Yay! Delicious sandwiches...

Friday night is the Rob Budde reading. He'll be at McNally Robinson. I'm keen on Rob. He's very sweet and his writing is so varied. Rob's got a magazine, stonestone at UNBC. it isn't new like NOD, but it's online, which I like. I'm putting a sidebar link up ASAP! As for Rob's reading, I'm voting now for "Not-the-Unicorn" for the after-reading location.

The weekend is mercifully free of literary events (Or at least that I am aware of).

Tuesday: Shift & Switch!!! Yay!!! My only sadness is that angela r chose to visit Vancouver for the S & S launch and not Calgary. What, you think the ocean is so great? Humph. ;) if Jordan S didn't take angela and conor to the Naam, I'm going to kick his ass. In a sporstmanlike fashion. The launch of this amazing and lovely anthology (younger writers, or young at heart-- not sure what the mandate was except that writers too much older than 30 didn't tend to submit writing for the anthology) is at McNAlly Robinson at 7-- readers: derek beaulieu, Jason Christie, ryan fitzpatrick, Jay Gamble, Jill Hartman, Larissa Lai, Julia Williams.

Thursday: Flywheel at McNally Robinson. (How will I get through this week? I'm already getting tired just writing about it!) Readers: Eugene Stickland, Jonathan Ball, Peter Norman, and Sharron Proulx-Turner.

Friday: dANDelion launch!!! Scroll down for detailed info. Suffice to say, it will be SO FUN. SO. FUN.

How does one preprare oneself for SO MUCH FUN? One drinks a lot of Perrier in an attempt to detoxify the "Cara's-in-town-let's-throw-caution-to-the-winds" liver in preparation. Cara, the big bubble-blowing baby, is leaving today for Winnipeg. She was probably afraid of the upcoming tidal wave of fun.

I like Perrier. I like the lemon-flavour version. I know that it is distributed by Nestle. Or at least, I just noticed that. Paul just noticed that, actually. So, does anyone have a suggestion for an alternative bubbly water? (I don't like San Pellegrino. Too much like sipping a hot tub-- the pH seems dangerously basic to me.)

Over and Out.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Frogments From the Frag Pool

Went last night to the launch of this book by our derek and Gary Baldwin. The lovely Sandy Lam hosted, and Pages was the venue. Unfortunately the Enchiladas and Sangria Friday in Tuxedo wrecked me for the next day, and I had to skip the KP fun after-party-- I blame LaFawnduh's Sangria del Diablo, but also the beers at the Unicorn after that (for Holly's "I'm leaving TRUCK and becoming ever more awesome" party. And just to bitch a little, the waitress was there, and she actually shoved people to get them out of her way. She harshes the mellow in the harshest way.)

The Frogments reading was really great-- I think this book is so good-- a perfect balance of clever and sweet and painfully punny. The poems are haiku-- why do I not write haiku? How has it escaped me that haiku is the perfect form? I love how the book looks, too-- the frog-like dimensions, the un-frog-like green-- Mercury did a really good job. I see angela edited-- well done! Congratulations derek and Gary! This one is going to be a prize-winner, I can smell it!

So, in honour of the launch of Frogments From the Frag Pool, check out this sweet website and think of derek.

Peart of a Hoet

My DVD copy of "Heart of a Poet" arrived in the mail last week. I had to wait for a chance to watch it with Cara and Brea, and there needed to be alcohol involved, so Enchiladas and Sangria night in Tuxedo was the night to watch it. (The enchiladas, btw, were amazing and I'm totally going to make Enchiladas a la Fawnduh at home. Maybe an Enchiladas and Tequila Night in Hillhurst is in the cards.)

It's tough watching yourself on the tv. But I was able to watch the whole thing without hiding behind the pillow too much (or biting the pillow at all). The "Heart of a Poet" People (HOAPP for short) did a really fantastic job. It made me think about getting into film-making. It really looks like it would be fun-- fitting together fragments and fragmenting figments and making the subject appear well-spoken etc.

The half-hour show culminates with the TEAM performance at Lexiconjury, and they left in the bit where I say, in regards to "aaaring" and clinking beers, that that's "how we do it in Calgary" which made me have a tear in my sangria a little bit. They kept in a Cameron House interview with Paul, and the caption referred to him as a "TEAM Groupie" (and he looked so hot! also a little drunk and a lot charming).

I was surprised to see that HOAPP had interviewd Gregory Betts (who, along with Derek McCormack was one of the other readers at Lex-- both of their readings were really terrific) at Cameron House that night. He had a lot of nice and insightful comments about our TEAM performance, which I thought was really sweet of him, considering the way the HOAPP and I kind of hijacked the vibe at the Lex that night. Also, because I hadn't met him before. That's generosity and grace!

So, thank you to HOAPP, to Cara and Brea, to angela, to Paul, to Gregory and to Derek, to Mark Truscott, to Bill Kennedy, to Alana Wilcox, and to the crowd at Lex! The underwear made the cut... I am so tickled.

Ok, one more plug for the air-date of my show-- December 14th on BOOK TV. Now I will stop talking about it.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A Fun Game!

Can you identify the poet/artist/teacher/engineer/dog?

lil’ Sister
Papa D
General Chang
Baby Sister
Short Bus
Chi Chi LaRue

and, for bonus points, identify the members of:

Team Poop
Team Dead Fucker

Friday, November 25, 2005

Cowboy Poetry's Chinook Poem

ranchers kill gophers
richardson's ground squirrels
quarrels seal sorrels
florals teal sky at night
rancher's delight

Deadman's Flats

people don't kill people
with moustaches kill people
don't kill people
with guns don't kill people
kill babies with
moustaches kill
baby killer
bee (Apian Flu).

all that's killing me
migraine chinook
chiniki Chinaman's Peak
Sir Edmund Hilary
Mt. Norquay
ski hill


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Secret Unofficial Good News

I am feeling happier... I got some very good news on the down-low yesterday. When I receive the letter in the mail, I will shout my secret news from the rooftops! Or, er, from this here blog.

dANDelion Magazine Launch!

dANDelion magazine presents...

Issue 31.2 Launch!
Friday, December 9th at 7:00
The New Gallery—516 D 9th Avenue SW
Calgary, AB

When is Alberta’s oldest literary magazine new again? Twice a year! dANDelion magazine’s latest issue features new writing from Sarah Feldman, jUStin!katKO, Stephanie Dickinson, Paul Hegedus, Mark Laliberte, rob mclennan and derek beaulieu, to name a few. We’ll be celebrating with music from Smithjosh, screenings of short film selections curated by Jonathon Ball (what, you thought he just wrote Horoscope Haiku?) and spectacular poetry and performance from former-Calgarian-now-Kamloopian David Bateman (author of Invisible Foreground, Frontenac 2005).

It’s Friday night, we’re literary, we’re going to out-party the neighbouring nightclub! Your $5.00 admission nets dANDelion fun and a limited edition chapbook (first 50 comers are the lucky ones). Those who snap up dANDelion 31.2 will be entered in a draw for fabulous literary prizes and the

~*Secret Grand Prize*~

We’re 30, but we’re spry! Come celebrate with dANDelion!

Can't make it to the event but NEED issue 31.2?
Contact: Jordan Nail, Assistant Editor
(403) 220-4679

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

It's Probably the Best Translation I've Ever Done

Try the Babelfish translator at the bottom of the sidebar! I love it!

Also-- Assignment Number 2 (wasn't I talking about feeling out of control? hmmmm...)

Watch Me and You and Everyone We Know if you liked Napoleon What's-his-name and/or Welcome to the Dollhouse... Except you can't watch it, because we have it from Roger's and it's overdue! Ha ha! (I promise to return it tomorrow.)

))< >((

Miranda July *so* looks like Jenny Conway. And the little kid? Andre Rodrigues. And they seem to share some personality traits/vocations with their doppelgangers too.

The Abyss. That's Right, the Abyss.

Man, what a week. I've been having feelings of losing control. Then my tooth fell out. Really. Ok, technically a crown, but sort of creepy the way it coincided with one of the toughest weeks I've had, interpersonally speaking, for months. (Do you know what happens when your crown falls off? You, and by "you," I mean "me," are left with a peg-tooth. Arrr. Or like a Killer Whale. Yeah, like that. Bring me a sacrificial seal! And some chum!)

I love the I Ching. You can try it here but I really recommend getting the I Ching as translated by Carol Anthony.

Just thought I would post a mini-update.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Artist Formerly Known as Don

Paul and Cara and I went to an "Art Event" at the Untitled Art Society last night to meet up with Travis and his friend Don, I mean Ben. I guess we got there too late, because the party was over. Or had it just begun? Kiara has a studio there, and so the five of us hung out looking at Kiara's wonderful art and playing melancholy music on a Casio keyboard. Will try to post fun pictures of that later. I think the shots of tequila we'd had at the Grad Lounge and the Den made us a little footloose and fancy-free. Whatever that means.

Travis was grouchy because his bandage was overdue for a change. I smelled the bandage. He was also grouchy because he was hungry, and on our trek to the Stride Gallery for the opening that was happening there, Cara and I lost the Doodle, Smurphy, and Kiara to a pizza stop. Cara and I had a fun urban adventure walking past some cops and paramedics confronting someone drunk outside the Mustard Seed. Little did they know we were drunk too! Ha ha!

At the Stride, we barely kept the facade of reason in place. Narrowly avoided disaster when Paul tried to touch the art. Apparently Travis, Kiara and Paul went downstairs and got naked, or at least semi-naked, but Cara and I missed that because we were telling the story of the glove-- the Blue/Green (blue! green! blue! green!) rubber glove from Kiara's studio that Cara oh-so-elegantly wore while holding her Laphroiag and appreciating the art. Someone came up to us and asked about the glove. And so the Legend of the Glove was born. Will try to post some pictures of that too.

Tonight we're going to see the Harry Potter movie. Oh Boy! Will not post photos of that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Heart of a Champion

The launch party for "Heart of a a Poet" is happening tonight in Toronto. I wish I could be there. I haven't seen the show yet-- I am supposed to receive a DVD of the one that features me, but it hasn't got here yet. The episode of "Heart of a Poet" that I am in airs on December 14th at 8:30 on BOOK TV.

I've seen pictures from the night Cara Hedley, Brea Burton and I read at Lexiconjury (which "Heart of a Poet" filmed) and my face looks freakishly pale from the make-up, though Cara kindly said that it looks like I have a perfect complexion. Which I don't. What I really want on DVD is the hours of footage they got of us three and Paul Kennett and Angela Rawlings fooling around. At one point, we were being interviewed in a park and Paul chased away some ravens or pigeons (can't remember anymore) that were chewing on a dead thing by impersonating a much larger bird. Ah, memories. Walking around Toronto with a camera on me and miked up for two days. Trying my hardest to memorize the 20 pages of text that Tina gave me that morning, failing, and disappointing her by admitting that I am not the kind of poet who knows her own work off by heart, but instead am the kind of poet who is based on the page and only performs with any panache at all through long years of practice. Filming a Tarot reading and a tea-leaf-reading in Angela's apartment, and making Tina happy again by having my chapbooks with me (so visual! perfect!) Sitting on Angela's rooftop after it was all over, drinking rum and gingerbeer at sunset, going out for dinner with no cameras, staying out and getting Bill Kennedy and Kyle Buckley into a salsa club, ending up somewhere else, going back to Angela's and talking the rest of the night until it was time to leave for the airport. The stuff we filmed at Coach House that probably will only make it in in snippets: me pretending to set type, Angela looking through the grimy window and me miming "Come in!" in an oh-so-natural way. The two-hour conversation with Alana Wilcox and hiding the mike in the flowers... I think we filmed me walking up to Alana's office and knocking on the door four times. Documentary.

The schedule for "Heart of a Poet" is here. I have to admit, I am disappointed that my publisher Coach House isn't making a bigger deal about it-- they have quite a few authors featured on the show (Coach Houseketeers Christian Bok, Sherwin Tija, myself, and I'm sure bill bissett's been published by Coach House, not to mention the show is hosted by Angela Rawlings, whose Wide Slumber for Lepidopterists is coming out in the spring), but it hasn't appeared on their mailbot mailout and isn't on their website. All publicity is good, no? It'd be nice to get a little more support. Small(er) presses don't have as much publicity power, I know, but that's why piggy-backing on other events seems so ideal to me. Well, that's what I think. If I had a publishing business. One day...

Other events I am missing: Shift & Switch launches in Vancouver, (November 26, 8pm, at The Helen Pitt Gallery 102-148 Alexander St.) and Toronto (November 29, 7pm, at Supermarket on Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market.) Sigh. I should have joined the League of Canadian Poets when I could afford the fee, then I'd be able to travel to do a reading now. I need to be better at planning ahead.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Drink Metaphorical Psycho

The Natalie Walschots and Stephen Cain reading last night was good. I wouldn't have minded a third reader, but Stephen read a very lively selection, and read sections from the "American" and "Canadian" sections of his latest book, so there was a lot of variety. The first poem he read, "American Psycho," was making me feel alienated-- the language was, in a hard-to-pin-down-way, disturbing. Then Paul whispered to me that it was all taken from Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho. Then, only then, did I finally understand. No, seriously though, it would've helped ease me into the reading to know that the poem was a treatment of American Psycho instead of wondering vaguely if Stephen Cain was a misogynist, or racist. The language was so borderline though, it was a question of tone almost, which made me squirrely. Squirmy. Cain later talked a little bit about his writerly process, and mentioned that he is a constraint-based writer, or at least wrote American Standard Canada Dry using different formal constraints, filters, translations.

Natalie's writing is more familiar to me-- the disorientation, the surprise I feel when I "get" one of the compositional tactics didn't happen for me listening to Natalie (I mean because it only happens once, right? I'm no longer a Walschots virgin). Interesting to think about the difference that familiarity with a body of work, its mechanics, makes. The juxtaposition of Natalie and Stephen for me was "successful" as an oral/aural pairing because of the familiarity/unfamiliarity dynamic. Plus, the show up at The New Gallery involved distillation and fish tanks, and, in honour of the fishies, Natalie read what I'm going to dub her "fish up the bum" poem. Fun! (You can get a reasonable fishsimile of the experience-- that is, the reading experience, not the fish up the bum experience-- by reading Natalie's NO Press chappie "Passion Play" while checking out Robyn Moody's Still.)

After the reading we went to the Drum and Monkey to Drink Canada Dry. I became loud and passionate about metaphorical mangy puppies. Sorry, Jordan Nail. I know you care about (metaphorical) mangy (sp?) puppies too.

Ok, so speaking of Bret Easton Ellis, I just read Lunar Park a few days ago. This is not an author I would normally read, but Paul wrote his MA thesis on American Psycho and Fight Club and so there are all sorts of books by coked up American authors lying about our place. Paul ripped through Lunar Park late into the night, and he laughed a lot at first and then became seriously freaked out. His range of reactions to the book, plus his conversations about it, convinced me to give it a read. I similarly raced through the book, reading until 4:00 in the morning. Lunar Park is a very interesting book-- in a nutshell, the narrator and main character is Bret Easton Ellis, and the book seems to be a reflective account of his life post-American Psycho and those other books he wrote that weren't quite as infamous. He becomes a family guy and tries to stop drinking and taking drugs. He begins to be haunted/stalked by his character Patrick Bateman/Christain Bale/his Father/himself as a younger man/a deranged copycat fan. The book becomes truly frightening, playing with horror conventions, playing with "authority," dealing with writerly responsibility, all in a package of narrative.

Ok, and guess what? There is a metaphorical mangy puppy in Lunar Park! How's that for a masterfully written blog entry! Do I know how to tie it all together or what?!

Um, anyway....

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Read My All

Just received an interesting email from Selina Chebib-- she's starting a reading series called Red Mile Revenge at Victoria's Restaurant. The first reading is December 6th (argh-- same night as Shift & Switch) but it'll be the first tuesday of each month. Maybe we'll pull our crowd from McNally that night when the reading is done and Jesse is trying to get us to leave quietly (never happens) and head over to Victoria's to end the night in style and hob-knobbing. Hob-knobbing sounds dirty and wrong somehow, and I think I should get back to the grant-writing I am supposed to be working on today and stop with the blog updates! Procrastination.... Long Live the &!!!

You Say And I Say &

I just looked at the newly-completed Shift & Switch webpage. The design (web and book) is beautiful! The cover... I love it. I love the list of contributors and that the list is a list of links to websites-- lots of blogs...

Funny thing about S & S-- the mad ampersand-- when I was working with Jay MillAr and Alana Wilcox on A Painted Elephant, I had a lot of ampersands in the poetry. Alana eventually convinced me to change them to regular old ands, something to do with house style for Coach House more or less. But when I published part of that work in the Post Prairie anthology, I noticed I'd sent Talon a version from before the Great Ampersand Excision and the funny little glyph pops up again (careful readers will notice another difference-- I rewrote the end of one of the poems.) Anyway, I guess Mercury doesn't have a problem with ampersands (haha I just miss-typed that as "ambersands,"which sounds like a Las Vegas Casino for dissolute writers or something) which will be clear if you visit the site for Shift & Switch. I love the ampersand myself-- Long Live the &!!! Can't remember if any &s appear in the work I have in Shift & Switch-- stuff from Another Word for Pirate Treasure, or, The Booty.

The Calgary launch for S & S is December 6, which makes that a crazy week for events. The 9th is the dANDelion launch (can't wait to see the new issue) and there is a filling Station Flywheel reading that week too. Also derek's B-Day (December 7) and Julia's B-Day (December 10). Whew!

Tomorrow there is a reading at The New Gallery. Natalie Walschots and Stephan Cain. I like Natalie's work a lot, Stephan's I'm not really familiar with, so it'll be interesting to hear what he's got.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Neo Citran is Decidedly Wet

The Calgary launch date for the Shift and Switch anthology is December 6. It'll be at McNally Robinson. A repeat of the Post-Prairie launch? Should be so fun.

McN-R is a great venue for a lot of reasons (you can buy drinks, coffee, food, books) but I feel a little bad sometimes about the way McN-R seems to have taken over as indie-bookstore-launch-site-of-choice since they came to town. Sure, they are independent, but they are also quite a large operation. Pages I love, but their space just can't compete for events (though it wins pants down in the browsing-and-friendly-people contest). Pages gives local authors a lifetime discount on books. McN-R gives free coffee tea or wine with invites. Pages usually serves free wine at events. Hmmm... I miss Books & Books. They took my first chapbooks on consignment.

In other news, we had ANOTHER mad party on the weekend. Paul and Chris had a joint B-Day party (some of the photos floating around are from that). P-Doody is now sick. We're committed to drying out for a few days, although technically, scarfing Neo Citran syrup is not dry.

In other other news, Cara is a-traveling. She'll be in Calgary on November 14th-- this from her:

Lil sister made an executive decision to screw Greyhound and their sleep-robbing, baby-crying, crazy-toothless-people, schizophrenic-driver, eau-de-B.O., bone-shaker marathons. Although I still support the idea that in order to defer becoming a grown-up, it is important to take the Greyhound as often as possible. It's like taking a youth serum, except different. Um, a slacker serum.

I bit the pillow and shelled out the extra thirty bucks (seat sales--hurray!) and bought me one of those there plane ticket thingies. The Cons (for example, the necessity of putting in my teeth and applying deodorant) did not beat out the Pros--which is that I arrive in Calgary, Alberta on Monday November 14th! And that I shall be the proud recipient of either a melee of pretzels and chips or a package of chocolate chip cookies! Either or. Do you get what I'm saying?--like, I get to CHOOSE.
Oh boy!

Other other other: may go to Jacqueline Honnet reading at Pages tonight with Julia. Julia took writing workshop with her, I went to school with JH's little sister way way way back-- like 15 years ago. I'm not in touch with anyone from my HS except Irene. So-- reading tonight, or Lost?

Other other other other: Paul's Spanish cousin is arriving tomorrow from Winnipeg (where he's been soaking up Canadian culture for a few months) to see how we live life out West(er). We're driving him to Banff so he can spend a few days with the lifers out there before he returns to Toledo or Barcelona or some such place. Nothing wrong with a Spanish cousin-- I'd like to go to Spain. Maybe we'll visit him and he'll drive us to Gibraltar.