Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Here's what happens when you don't have a daytimer: you think Margaret Christakos's multimedia presentation is tomorrow night and you miss it. Ugh.
First, a familiar quotation:

A. A violent order is disorder; and
B. A great disorder is an order. These
Two things are one. (Pages of illustrations.)
Yes, we are back from Chicago and Milwaukee (you decide whether the above is related). A wonderful time was had by us.

Chicago, part 1, in which Lisa and Mark played tourist and took the Architecture Society's river tour and visited many of the usual suspects: the Museum of Contemporary Art (which, get this, had a show on tourism), the Art Institute, Millennium Park, Lula Cafe, the Empty Bottle, and the Starbucks on Michigan Avenue.

Milwaukee, in which Lisa and Mark keyed in to the relaxed pace, took a walk in the park, and nearly got wiped out by a stunt kite. Mark read, thanks to Stacy Szymaszek and Kiki and Mali Anderson, at the glorious and homey Jody Monroe Gallery to a friendly crowd composed of many non-poets (!): met were, among others, Mark the mime, poet David Baptiste Chirot, filmmaker Jennifer Montgomery, photographer Dean Johnson, Nicky Glory of the Singing Flowers, and poets Roberto Harrison, Jackie Lalley, and Matt Cook.

Chicago, part 2, in which Lisa and Mark stayed with the eminently hospitable Chuck Stebelton and his partner Cathy. Mark read at the Myopic Bookstore with Luis Valadez (whose name Mark now realizes he misspelled on the readings page). Luis rocked the house with his easygoing and highly attuned work, after which Mark delivered his customarily neurotic fare. Excellent beer afterwards with the likes of the legendary Richard Huttel, Nathalie Stephens, Chuck, Cathy, Luis, and Kate.

In the news: hey, Said Like Reeds or Things has been shortlisted (along with books by Pierre Nepveu, A.F. Moritz, and Aislinn Hunter) for the ReLit poetry award.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Greetings from the Chicago Public Library, which is very clean. I just licked a table. Lisa says they should do more for teenagers. Though there's a big Teen Chicago exhibition coming up. Way to go.

Some controversy over that essence post. I guess I meant fun to proceed as if with an essence in view only to allow the getting there to fall apart. Pseudo-naivete. Pushing the logic until it breaks. Take it easy. (Friendly smile, which is often a sign of submission in primates.) What do I know? I'm on vacation.

Chicago has been fun so far. Not much of a walking city though. As in you may still need hiking shoes and a canteen when you get off at your stop. People are really friendly. I think there's a somewhat high-strung politeness here that's similar to what you find among Torontonians. Lots of sorries on the sidewalk. Maybe it's the proximity to a great lake. You know, radiation or something. Anyway, people here have nice haircuts.

In other news, Stu Ross has a blog. He's in Norway.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Suggestion for the CTA

Put real loops in the El! Make it go upside down.

This Internet terminal is eating my money. Best to everyone.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Fun to think about imagining an essence or a basic level and pushing to reach it only to "discover" its absence.

Speaking of essences, get this: we're staying at the Cass Hotel in Chicago and the Plaza on Cass Street in Milwaukee. My reading in Chicago is on Milwaukee Av. Whoa. (Time for some research.)

Digging Kemeny Babineau's poem for Nelson Ball in the current fhole. On heavy rotation in my head thanks to Thomas and Lisa: "Waterloo Sunset."

Stay tuned for Windy and Brew city dispatches.

Thanks to those who came out last night. Great book fair, eh? Gotta love that Syd & Shirley.

Friday, May 20, 2005

In the news: Saw Mickey O'Daatje wobbling on his bike without a helmet. Safety!

Late breaking news: I'm subbing for Rachel Zolf tomorrow night at the Small Press Book Fair reading: Victory Café, 581 Markham Street, 6 p.m., free (with Karl Jirgens, Suzanne Hancock and Laura Farina). Come on out. Say hello.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

From the something-in-the-air department: mere hours apart, Brenda Schmidt approves of the notion of a salon-like house reading series in which there is "space for conversation between reader and audience" and Russell Smith almost complains about the commodification of the author in his Globe and Mail column (use Google news for free access: "Why read it? Sign it, so I can sell your book").

From the phobia department: this morning, on a bridge over the Don Valley Parkway, I realized that the way I deal with my fear of bridges is to look straight ahead, toward my destination. As soon as I look to the side, at where I actually am, at the movement all around me, I'm sunk, though the vertigo is thrilling. Interesting to think about this in terms of reading.

LATER: I guess I should have specified the "standard" mode of reading. What I mean of course is that I love looking down in a text.

In other news, saw a "for rent" sign in Another Story's window.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Fun times

I'm no Belinda Stronach fan, but isn't it fun to watch Stephen Harper twist in the wind? Call me an optimist, but I like to think we're witnessing the death throes of neoconservativism in Canadian party politics. Of course political discourse is another story. Okay then, are we just losing a visible target?

Lex was fun last night, if a little weird. Fun to hear Derek mess with history that's a little closer to home; fun to find out that Gregory Betts, in addition to being an incredibly interesting writer, is a gifted performer; fun to meet the lovable beer-swilling three-headed monster that is TEAM; fun to witness the open michelle living up to its gender (and a chance—almost missed due to the ineptitude of the guest host—to hear one of Maggie Helwig's first poems in years!). Slightly weird to do it all in what felt like a television studio. (I'm curious about Book Television's motivation for doing a series on poetry.)

In other news, it's okay to go back to sleep. P.S. I didn't see all that much in the Canadian media either.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Please come out tonight

If you're within travelling distance, please come to the Cameron House for tonight's installment of Lexiconjury, which will feature
  • Hamiltonian Gregory Betts, who to my knowledge rarely reads in T.O. but whose work is some of the most interesting I've seen in a while

  • beloved Torontonian Derek McCormack, who will be unveiling his forthcoming Anansi Christmas book (this might even be the world premiere!)

  • Calgarians TEAM (Brea Burton, Jill Hartman, and Cara Headley), whose outrageous performance stylings revel in the multiple and, I predict, will wake some of us smug hogtowners up from our slumbers

  • the fabulous open michelle: 1 original + 1 cover

Cameron House (backroom)
408 Queen Street West
Toronto
8:00 p.m., doors at 7:30 (get there early, because those stairs can be mighty hard on the old rear end)

Friday, May 13, 2005

It is 6:26 p.m. Dear Chris, hello.

Okay, so I finally get Blueberry Boat.
It's not a noodley "concept" album so much as a childlike meander.
Used Bee Thousand as a ladder.
Now we can move on.

Friday, May 06, 2005

This blog will likely be quiet until Wednesday or so of next week. Until then. And thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Silliman on Goldsworthy

Ron Silliman's post today is about Rivers and Tides, a documentary on the British earthworks artist Andy Goldsworthy. I've fallen asleep during the film twice now, once when we rented it and once when it played on the Documentary Channel, but I think I've seen enough to say I share Silliman's frustration with Goldsworthy, though I tend to cast mine in different terms. What bothers me about Goldsworthy's work (or I guess, judging by my reaction to the film, what I find boring about it) is that it feels as though it earnestly appeals to a nostalgic and preconceived sense of beauty rather than, assuming that beauty is the work's aim, attempting to discover a contemporary one. In fact, I'm tempted to say that as far as I'm concerned, if there's one marker of bad art (and I mean art in the general sense), it's this orientation to beauty.

I'm a big fan of ugliness myself.

Monday, May 02, 2005

May Lex lineup revealed

Here's the star studded lineup for the May 17 edition of the Lexiconjury reading series, which I'm guest curating:

Gregory Betts
Derek McCormack
TEAM (Brea Burton, Jill Hartman, and Cara Hedley)

Speaking of TEAM, check out this new publication from MODL Press:

"Pirate Lore" - Brea Burton, Jill Hartman, and Cara Hedley

Examining the language surrounding the sexed roles men and women adopt, Burton, Hartman, and Hedley follow pirates, hockey players, and belly dancers through a constantly shifting and collaborative poetic. "the language we use / is the language we desire" as if our choices determine what we will be like, not the sex or role we are assigned.

Brea Burton, Jill Hartman, and Cara Hedley met studying English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Calgary, where they decided to embark on this collaborative project. Performing in Calgary, Scotland, and, pretty soon, Toronto under the now-abandoned moniker "The Twat Team", these three writers have wowed audiences with their flair, their unequalled wordsmithery, and the soon-to-be-patented "Pirate Poetry Drinking Game".

Produced in an unnumbered edition of 75 copies. Pirate/Parrot cover art gloriously rendered by Sandy Lam. 20 pp. 5.5" x 5.5". $7.00. If interested, please contact ryan fitzpatrick (rcfmod@gmail.com).

Spread the word.