This Update Post is 100% Read
I’m concerned the blog is going to grind down, over the next few months, into a boring list of personal updates. This is something of the natural grain of a personal blog when one is putting a book out. I went here. I did this. Here’s some things people said. I hope to try and avoid this as much as possible. Or, at least, be aware of it. Or, at least, tell some jokes whilst doing it.
To that end, here’s a boring list of personal updates.
1. I got my contributor’s copy of Poetry is Dead today. It’s their “Form” issue and my contribution was an essay called “Hunters and Taxonomists”. The essay considers the 10th anniversary of Strand & Boland’s “The Making of a Poem”, and specifically looks at that book’s brief but effective distillation of the sonnet in light of two more recent experiments. Namely, these experiments are Jan Bervin’s book of Shakespearian erasure pieces, “Nets” and Gregory Betts’s plunderverse approach to the final Shakespearian sonnet in “The Others Rais’d in Me”. Find the magazine, read the essay, tell me what you think. Specifically, tell me what you think if you’ve also since read Don Paterson’s new book of reactions to the bard’s sonnets that I mentioned here a few weeks back.
2. Tomorrow at 2pm, CKLN is airing an episode of In Other Words they’re calling their “Writers & Music” episode. I was one of a handful of authors who took Jennifer Lovegrove up on her request to name a piece of music that has inspired, impacted, or otherwise accompanied their writing. The obvious choice for me would be to use Desolation Row by Bob Dylan, images from which inspired most of the poems in the first half of Folk. But, not wanting to get CKLN in more licensing hot water by ordering the playing of hits, I went back another book and picked Tim Baker (of Hey Rosetta!)’s love song to St. John’s, Epitaph. It’s got Canlit right there in its chorus. Listen to the song below, and to the radio program at 2pm EST at www.ckln.fm.
3. I’m reading at Art Bar tomorrow (Tuesday) night with Pamela Porter and Jeffery Donaldson. Come on out, Toronto. I’ll have fresh Folks for sale.
4. I’m reading at Pilot on Sunday night with a ton of people, including Richard Van Camp, Susan Briscoe, and Vox Pop favourite Antony Di Nardo. Come on out, Montreal. It’d be good to meet you. I wanted to affix to this point the photo that’s out there somewhere of my four-year-old self, posing in my Tim Raines jersey next to Youppi himself, smiling toothily. Alas, I can’t find it. C’est terrible.
5. I’ve had physical copies of the new book for about a week now, and have just started getting them in the hands of friends. I’ve been pleasantly surprised, then, to see some (very tiny) review notices around, like this one from the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal and this one here at Salty Ink. Atlantic Canada. Represent.
6. I have a Kobo. Did we all know this? I’m not sold on the thing yet. Its great failure is the presentation of lineated poetry. Its great success, however, is in allowing me the joy of wildly recalibrating what I consider to be “on the go” reading. This is no longer a thing only open to sub-200 page novellas and poetry collections. Big books are welcome, too. To wit, I’ve finally, after multiple attempts, managed to finish de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. While the electrogadgetry of the Kobo precluded me from forcefully shutting the two-volume monstrosity with the gusto of a victorious hunter, I do enjoy looking at my virtual bookshelf and seeing the little “100% read” notice under Alexis’s title. I want that beacon for printed books, too. I suspect all the blowhards of my past and present would be embarrassed if their shelves displayed, in eye-friendly greyscale, proof that their prized hardcovers had never actually been opened, let alone finished. My next big reading project is Norman Davies’s Europe: A History. 6% read. And counting.
And fucking counting.
PS-What’s the story on new (Spring) collections? Anyone getting their hands on anything yet? I got two Brick titles in the mail today (thanks, Kitty!) but haven’t gotten around to opening them yet. I suspect most of you with copies of your own at this date have them because you have review assignments, so maybe you’re going to keep it to yourself. Backchannel me, though, if you have a lead on something you feel I should be reading.