Agents Assembling

The Scream Literary Festival has announced its lineup for this July’s incarnation. The Scream, for those not in the know, is an annual festival of happenings, round tables, and readings all around Toronto. While it does attract a number of senior authors, it could be best described as a party the best of Toronto’s young literati throw for themselves and their handful of fans.

Last year, at the start of the festival, I was all down on the preponderance of themed events, wishing that it could just be a succession of traditional readings. Somewhere in the middle, I remembered that readings can sometimes be boorish and exhausting, and gave myself over to the variety. This year’s theme is “Agents Provacateurs: A savvy look at radicalism and poetry”. Here’s the current list of participants. A list of specific events (including the epic annual, “Scream in High Park” closing show) is forthcoming.

Carl Wilson
Steve McCaffery
RM Vaughan
Beatriz Hausner
Jay MillAr
Shannon Bramer
Kate Eichhorn
Damian Rogers
Michael Lista
Element Choir
Daniel Scott Tysdal
Michael Knox
Jim Smith
Jenny Sampirisi
Angela Carr
Angela Rawlings
Kathleen Philips
Christopher Doda
Ken Sparling
David Antin
Steve Venright
Sherwin Tjia
Jeff Derksen
Natalie Zina Walschots
Aisha Sasha John
Sachiko Murakami
Darren O’Donnell
Jeff Derkson
Meaghan Strimas
Linh Dinh
Sheila Heti
Nathaniel G. Moore
Souvankham Thammavongsa
Evan Munday
Brian Joseph Davis
Zoe Whittall
Angela Szczepaniak
Kyle Buckley
Margaret Christakos

Also, the League of Canadian Poets announced their award winners. Karen Solie won the Lowther and James Langer the Lampert. Probably my two favourite books in either category. I wonder, though, if House of Anansi is going to win EVERY major poetry prize this year, and if I’ll feel that’s at all boring or tiring by December. Nevermind the poets and their prizes though, I agree that the really substantive news is stillwhat the blogosphere thought about the press release copy.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Canadian Literature, Events, Poems in the Wider World, Toronto Poetry Cult

3 Comments on “Agents Assembling”


  1. Heh. The news on facebook is how unprofessional the League is in handling release of the news to the nominees. And in the Saturday Globe we learn that we should hear more about Pat Lowther’s life and less about her poetry.

  2. voxpopulism Says:

    I read that (Note: it’s here -http://www.theglobeandmail.com/books/review-the-collected-poems-of-pat-lowther-edited-by-christine-wiesenthal/article1600802/).Do you think Lowther’s place in poetry is made MORE obscure by having a national award named after her? Personally, I’d prefer we hear more about BOTH the poet and the prize.

    It becomes a decent review. But, I’d argue that what’s really obscuring her work is that everything that’s written about her (including this) starts with three paragraphs on the circumstances of her death. Doesn’t leave a lot of room for her words, I’m afraid.


  3. Exactly. And she’s a good poet. The thing is that, given that the vast majority of poetry readers are poets and that the vast majority of poets don’t need to be told that violence (against women or anyone else) is abhorrent, it all starts to feel like preaching to the choir. Sounds like Wiesenthal, having already dedicated herself to a substantial biography of Lowther, thought it better to focus on the poems in her intro to … the poems. Would that we all did as much. At any rate, seems an odd thing to criticise her for.

    And yeah, there are all kinds of awards named for poets who remain woefully obscure in spite of the fact–and yes, maybe in part because of it. They stop being a poet at all and their name becomes coterminous with the prize. Alfred G. Bailey ms. contest? How many winners of that one have actually read Bailey? (Fortunately, a few people do and I believe there’s an essential Bailey coming out with PQL in the near future.)


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