Monday, November 28, 2005

In the news

Speaking of entropy, spring has sprung in Toronto. Stuart Ross, along with Kate Sutherland, has started a community-oriented fiction series. The first readers are Heather Birrell and Harold Johnson. I'll be there, Stu. In other news, Damian Rogers has published her first poems.

Yeah, I know, posts have been skimpy lately. I've had a productive three days. Stay tuned as I slide back toward procrastination.

Breaking news: Just throw the guy in jail.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Today in magazines

Book Forum is sold out everywhere in my neighbourhood. Is everyone else looking for the William G(l)ass essay too?

Oh yeah, by the way, I'm working on an essay on form.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Incidentally, it would be great to see you at the Mercury launch Tuesday night at Supermarket. The evening will witness the Toronto unveiling of Shift & Switch (full info on the S&S site), in addition to books by Mark Miller, Barbara Caruso, Richard Truhlar, D.O. Dodd, Gary Barwin and Derek Beaulieu, and Betsy Warland. Christina, who knows these things, tells me that Supermarket is possibly the hippest place in Toronto (besides the Boat, which clearly I've missed). Don't let that make you stay home. It will be fun.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Broke down and got a flu shot today. It was that guy sneezing on my hand on the subway that changed my mind.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The names of minerals and the minerals themselves do not differ from each other, because at the bottom of both the material and the print is the beginning of an abysmal number of fissures. Words and rocks contain a language that follows a syntax of splits and ruptures. Look at any word long enough and you will see it open up into a series of faults, into a terrain of particles each containing its own void. The discomforting language of fragmentation offers no easy gestalt solution; the certainties of didactic discourse are hurled into the erosion of the poetic principle. Poetry being forever lost must submit to its own vacuity; it is somehow a product of exhaustion rather than creation. Poetry is always a dying language but never a dead language.
I sometimes cringe when one of my compatriots in poesy writes something formal that seems to try to engage normative grammar but makes a hash of it. Is this a fault?

Not saying I'm perfect.

UPDATE: I suppose what I find especially disturbing is carelessness with syntax. Syntax, of course, need not be of the normative variety.

Friday, November 18, 2005

If you want to feel that language is a virus (from outer space or otherwise), work as a copy editor in a government office for a little while.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Unfortunately, due to a minor household disaster last night (a leak in our roof) and my tardy arrival at the Cameron House, I'll have to limit my contribution to the response to the latest Lex to Rob Read's performance and the open michelle. I'm compelled first, though, to mention Read's reading ensemble, which conjured the spirit of David Byrne's large white suits. It was only later that Read showed me the blue-faced police officers on his tie, a revelation from which I still haven't recovered. Read read Neil Hennessey's review of O Spam, Poams (plundered from a review of Ralph's Potted Meat Food Product) and then a delightful selection of his treated spam, all with his customary repertoire of voices and accents. If you haven't heard Rob read, you should check him out when you have a chance.

Last night's open michelle has left us with a new standard of excellence. Performers included Lynn McClory (who looked so clam-happy on stage), Maggie Helwig (who began by heckling the hecklers), Marianne Apostolides (who read the first poem she'd written since Grade 5. How cool is that?), a francophone poet whose name I should probably know (who openly and rather directly, but ultimately, I think, accidentally, propositioned Angela) and, get this, John Barlow (who has now read twice in public in the past month).

Oh, and my final vision from last night: Rachel Zolf and Jay Millar waltzing. It's true. It really happened. Jay even said something about having taken dance lessons.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Oh yeah, Lexiconjury's tonight. Aaron Giovannone (Calgary), Camille Martin (New Orleans), Rob Read (Toronto). Eight o'clock, Cameron backroom. See you there.
And now, by popular demand, the three stars of Saturday night's game as chosen by Mark and Lisa (we were just about at gondola level, so we consider ourselves qualified):

1. Aki Berg
He may well be one of the reasons for Belfour's wandering, but the dude made some nice plays. We remember one beautiful poke check and a nice sprawling shot block. How is the guy supposed to fulfill his role as a standup defenceman if he's terrified to show his face in public? Be nice. This post is brought to you by the Friends of Aki Berg.

2. Steve Begin
Hoo hoo hoo. Ha ha ha. Thanks to Brenda for the reminder.

3. Milk and the Jumbotron producer
Hey, ho, lait's go. What is that? Is nothing sacred?

4. The pee wees who were on the ice between the second and third periods, specifically the one who was on a breakaway as the ice crew moved the net. Hey, Ice Man: We know you're on a schedule and it's your job, but this could have been a highlight of the poor kid's career.

5. Ed Belfour
After hours analyzing audiotape of the crowd, we have determined that the supportive "Ed-EE, Ed-EE" did in fact drown out the razzing "BEL-four."

Later: extra bonus stars:

6. French vocab: let's hear it for "prolongation." That means overtime. Thanks to our new friend, the guy who was in the seat to Mark's right.

7. The civilized people of Montreal: We saw at least three Lindros jerseys in the crowd, and there wasn't blood or beer or anything on them.

8. Jon Paul Fiorentino. All hail our man at the Copacabana.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Tickets to the Habs vs. the Leafs.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The garden vegetable sandwich at the Tim Horton's outside Kingston is substandard (according to Lisa, who is a connoisseur), and the soap in the washroom makes your hands smell like urine for the rest of the day (and don't worry, the dispenser was closed securely). They have "Lisa" soap where we're staying.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Lisa and I are hitting the road first thing tomorrow morning to visit my favourite sibling. Stay tuned for the results of license-plate and cow games and for reviews of various rest station restaurants.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Went to Sharon Harris's opening last night, and a warm event it was, which wasn't surprising. What did surprise me was how "shaped" the show, a selection of her Toronto "I love you" graffiti photographs, was. I've always thought that one of the most interesting features of Harris's I Love You project, which seems to be organized simply as a catalogue of the uses of the words "I love you" in contemporary culture with various artistic projects going off in all directions, is its wide scope and the consequent impossibility of seeing its outlines (entirely appropriate given the range of uses of the three words at its heart). The Dooney's show, however, has a tight conceptual focus, with a map of the graffiti occurrences at its centre. Many of the photographs are stunning, too. You should check it out if you haven't already.

Also had a nice chat with Jay about the temptation to willingly box oneself in style-wise. Met Myna Wallin, who's a nice person. And talked to Maggie about personality tests.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Reminder to self: Sometimes the obvious isn't to be avoided. Sometimes the idea is to face it head on.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

This post is coming at you through a wall of snot. Enjoy!

Last Friday I went to Poetry Projections, the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto's night of poetry and film, which paired 14 poets with 14 filmmakers. The films were quite good, though since they were short and many, I'm not sure I can remember them well. A few stood out: Darren Wershler-Henry's and Mishann Lau's setting of one of Darren's and Bill Kennedy's Apostrophe Engine poems was hilarious (it starred Darren O'Donnell as four or five crazed office workers). I enjoyed Rachel Zolf's and Sarah Parker's work, but I must admit that my response may be the result of my enthusiasm for their seed material, Zolf's current project, Human Resources, more than anything.

The film that has stuck with me though is Paul Vermeersch's collaboration with Allyson Mitchell. Because there was a lot going on (Vermeersch read live in front of the film), I'm not sure how much of my memory is a projection (ha!) of my own curiosities and how much corresponds to what actually happened, but I don't know if it matters. What I found striking was Mitchell's film's wholehearted agreement with, or maybe intensification of, the speaker of the poem's self-deprecating tone. Yes, the film poked fun at the poem's speaker, which struck me as a novel feature in a collaborative work in that it mimicked antipathy between the two media. It prompted me to go a step further and wonder what a collaboration based on disagreement would look like. It seems to me that most are based on some form of consensus. Or am I just not looking at the right collaborations?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Was planning to go to the Gil Adamson/Souvankham Thammavongsa reading tonight, but I'm feeling pretty crappy and congested. I'd love to hear from anyone who makes it. (I hardly ever get sick, so I can't complain too much.)