Sunday, December 21, 2008


jwcurry performing MESSAGIO GALORE take V on April 13, 2008

photo courtesy of Ben Walker

The A B Series presents jwcurry’s



Saturday, 24 January 2009

City Hall Art Gallery

Main Floor

Ottawa City Hall

110 Laurier Avenue West

Ottawa, Ont.

Admission: $15 at the door (or more or less according to your ability)

Program for MESSAGIO GALORE take VI provided at the door with admission.

General seating

Door prizes / raffle tickets

Cash bar / Appetizers

On January 24th, 2009, The A B Series is delighted to present jwcurry's MESSAGIO GALORE. It promises to be another astonishing act combining curry's acute editorial acumen with the crew's extreme technical skill. Incomparably well informed on Canadian and international sound poetry, Ottawa editor, publisher and producer jwcurry has awed audiences with the previous five productions of MESSAGIO GALORE. This performance will indubitably mark another historic development in the trajectory that curry has charted for MESSAGIO GALORE. With this production, The A B Series brings the best in sound poetry to Ottawa. We're expecting a full house so come early, have a drink, a snack and enjoy the ninety-minute performance.

MESSAGIO GALORE is a celebratory investigation into what constitutes sound poetry, surveying its com- & ex-position through the writing & reading (& listening & rewriting & reading) of Canadian and international works. MESSAGIO GALORE take VI will be read through the lingual acrobatics of jwcurry, John Lavery, Roland Prevost, Carmel Purkis, Sandra Ridley and Grant Wilkins. It takes as its outer formal structure a 4-voice arrangement of John Cage's Lecture On Nothing and incorporates material by Hugo Ball, Four Horsemen, Claude Gauvreau, d.a.levy, Sam Loyd, Mike Patton and Frank Zappa.

Following the performance, a raffle will be held to celebrate the launch of The A B Series web site with the following prizes: a combination book/gift certificate prize from Nicholas Hoare, a prize pack from Coach House Books, a gift certificate from The Great Canadian Theatre Company, double passes to The Bytowne Cinema, The Dig Your Roots CD collection from National Campus Radio Association, a double pass to any production in The National Arts Centre's Fourth Stage 2009 season, gift certificates for local restaurants and more to be announced.

The A B Series thanks The City of Ottawa, our volunteers and raffle sponsors for their support. Many thanks to Ben Walker who has generously provided photos of Messagio Galore take V, one of which appears above and others can be found on The A B Series web site.

More info on MESSAGIO GALORE take VI:


or from:

Max Middle

Artistic Director

The A B Series

director at abseries dot org

tel: 613 859 8423

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Dear friends,

It is with great pleasure that The A B Series announces the launch of its official web site at ABSERIES.ORG. Visit the site to see what's happening in Ottawa's reading series for performance, sound and experimental poetry.

Launched in November 2007, The A B Series has quickly become one of the most dynamic reading series in Ottawa. Performers from Ottawa-Gatineau, across Canada as well as The Netherlands and The USA have graced The A B Series stage.

The A B Series was initiated in late 2007 by current Artistic Director, Max Middle. The first event in The A B Series' inaugural season took place on November 1st, 2007 in Ottawa's City Hall Art Gallery with readings by three book touring Calgarians: William Neil Scott, Natalie Zina Walschots and ryan fitzpatrick. The A B Series saw the completion of a very successful inaugural season (Autumn 2007 – Spring 2008) on June 12th, 2008 with a reading by Christopher Dewdney. The second season (Autumn 2008 – Spring 2009) was launched in October and proceeds apace with major productions to be staged early in 2009.

In its brief history, The A B Series has drawn consistently large and enthusiastic audiences to its events. Legendary Dutch sound poet Jaap Blonk performed in The A B Series on June 6th, 2008. Attendance at this event was one hundred and thirty: the best attended sound poetry production in Ottawa's history.

On January 24th, 2009, we are very keenly anticipating hosting jwcurry's next execution of Messagio Galore. It promises to be yet another astonishing act combining curry's acute editorial acumen with his and assistants' extreme technical skill. This performance will indubitably mark another historic development in the trajectory that curry has charted for Messagio Galore. See for details on the program and who curry's assistants will be. At fifteen dollars suggested donation, we humbly contend that it will be one of the best values in the history of the performing arts. We're expecting a full house so come early, have a drink, a snack and stay after the ninety-minute performance for door prizes and a celebration of the launch of The A B Series web site.

On February 6th, 2009, The A B Series in association with Kevin Matthews presents four acclaimed Australian poets/spoken word artists on The National Arts Centre's Fourth Stage. They are Alicia Sometimes, Emilie Zoey Baker, Justin Ashworth and Sean M Whelan, each of whom hails from UNESCO's recently announced City of Literature, Melbourne. On 4 February 2009, they land in Vancouver to start their debut North American tour. The A B Series hosts their second North American performance. After which, they leave for Montréal's 2009 Festival Voix d'Ameriques and several engagements there; later in February, they perform in New York's Bowery Club and at The Green Mill Bar in Chicago.

On February 20th at The Mercury Lounge, The A B Series presents a collaborative performance by Gary Barwin and Gregory Betts. They will be reading from The Obvious Flap, a performance text in progress that includes dialogue, mixed-media and sound poetry.

A very special thank-you goes to Brian Pirie for designing and realizing The A B Series web site. While you're on The A B Series web site, make sure you view the photos Ben Walker has generously provided of Messagio Galore take V, which took place in April 2008. Many thanks to the following for providing photographs: Ben Walker, Pearl Pirie, Charles Earl and Natalie Zina Walschots.

The A B Series is currently preparing for these and several other momentous productions to take place in 2009. We're very much looking forward to seeing you in the New Year; in the meantime, come visit us online.

Best wishes,

Max Middle

Artistic Director
The A B Series

Monday, December 08, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Poetry Recommendations for Christmas

If you're thinking about giving the gift of poetry to your family or friends over the holidays, you might be interested to hear a few recommendations by some of Ottawa's local poets. Like any other gift, poetry is a matter of personal taste, tis true, but if they're your friends, i wouldn't be surprised if they are interested in poetry, so here are a few possibilities; all these books can be purchased through your local independent bookstores, such as Books on Beechwood, Collected Works, Mother Tongue, Perfect Books, and Nicholas Hoare or directly through the publishers.

Mike Blouin

Some Days I Think I Know Things: The Cassandra Poems, Rhonda Douglas, Signature 2008
The Luskville Reductions, Monty Reid, Brick, 2008

Amanda Earl

Decalogue: ten Ottawa poets (Chaudiere Books, 2007)
includes poetry by Stephen Brockwell, Michelle Desbarats, Anita Dolman, Anne Le Dressay, Karen Massey, Una McDonnell, rob mclennan, Max Middle, Monty Reid and Shane Rhodes; this is a great overview to what's going on in contemporary poetry in the National Capital.

Marcus McCann

Best Canadian Poetry in English 2008 ed. by Stephanie Bolster (series ed Molly Peacock), (Tightrope Books, 2008)

This is the first book in a new series collecting the best poetry that appeared in Canadian journals in the previous twelve months. It's controversial & compelling - the intro is worth the price of the volume ($18.95) on its own. Bonus: the anthology includes work by current or former Ottawans like Shane Rhodes, Craig Poile and John Barton.

Susan McMaster

Ronnie R. Brown's "Night Echoes" (Black Moss, 2006) is a rich romp through a wise woman's dark, moving, and hilarious dreams, Nadine McInnis's "Two Hemispheres" (Brick Books, 2007) mixes science and madness in a personal and at the same time historical narrative that grips from the first page, and Colin Morton's "the Local Cluster"(Pecan Grove Press, 2008) -- full of sounds and images drawn from the streets of our town over several decaudes -- will rouse responses from any longtime Ottawan.

Christine McNair

Karen Houle. During. Gaspereau Press: 2008. (not local but good)

Roland Prevost

Guess I'd feel ok recommending Robert Kroetsch's "Completed Field Notes" (University of Alberta Press, 2001).
Certainly experimental enough, but also accessible enough, fun enough & wide ranging. I know I'd have been very happy to get it as a gift too. (Um, in fact I did get it as a gift, & I was glad to get it.) I know it's not exactly what people would expect, but it's an excellent read & also Canadian too.

Rob Winger

Troy Jollimore's Tom Thompson in Purgatory (Margie / IntuiT House, 2006) is a nice recent one. Failing that, tell everyone to buy the new edition of George Bowering’s Kerrisdale elegies, (Talon Books, 2008) [also pooka press in Vancouver published a beautiful limited edition run, but perhaps that's out of print?]