Monday, October 29, 2012

Pearl Pirie w/ Donato Mancini, Beatriz Hausner, Steve Zultanski and bill bissett | Grey Borders Reading Series, Saint Catharines, ON

There’s a lot of history in the scuffed, wooden floorboards of the Niagara Artists Centre. The organization, now in its 43rd year of serving Niagara’s artistic interests, has hosted countless literary heroes through its Grey Borders Reading Series alone, including the likes of Phil Hall, Catherine Owen, Stuart Ross and Dennis Lee. That eclectic venue in the heart of St Catharines’ fragile downtown earned a few more stripes last Wednesday when Donato Mancini, Beatriz Hausner, Steve Zultanski, bill bissett and Ottawa’s own Pearl Pirie convened for a celebration of wide-ranging poetry.

I was mostly drawn to the event because of Pirie, a familiar face in the crowd of bespeckled wordsmiths and enthusiasts, whose prolific output has always intrigued. After some time for book-buying, booze-finding and a fond eulogy for Raymond Souster, hosts Eric Schmaltz and Craig Dodman gave the brick-backed stage to the evening’s guests.

Establishing an unpredictable tone that would colour the whole event, Donato Mancini dropped a heady gauntlet of philosophical ideas, political buzzwords and household names in self-described “lists” that built up in momentum until they threatened to collapse at any moment. His compendium on Death Row inmates’ last meal choices and Dr Pepper – Texas’ beverage of choice – devolved into a lengthy list of doctors (some real, some imaginary). Flipping haphazardly through pages of his notebook, it was the uncertainty of Mancini’s sporadic jumps that ensured a vital, if occasionally bewildering, reading.

Beatriz Hausner followed with a selection of essay meditations and poetry inspired by her lover “Raccoon” and their nocturnal rites of passion. With her sensual approach to wordplay, Hausner won appreciative nods from many in attendance with “Loneliness of the Fashionista”, a rebuttal on the black leather and metal-pronged ugliness that seeks to identify bondage.

Steve Zultanski offered two rapid-fire examinations during his oft-comedic time onstage: the first, of yawning and its space-time relationship to those who know him most intimately, and the latter entertaining the cause-and-effect possibilities of pushing his friend into a pool. In reaching for outlandish strands of logic, Zultanski’s sly use of repetition and speed-reading unveiled tiny shards of brilliance that rendered his doubts, while dysfunctional, wholly relatable. Knowing laughs from the audience seemed to verify that everyone was strapped in for the ride.

To the untrained eye Pearl Pirie looked the relaxed participant, listening and taking the odd photograph. But speaking to me during intermission, Pirie admitted she was just as actively listening for the crowd’s reactions and amending some poem choices along the way. Her ensuing plan of attack, a loosely tied knot of rogue poems – some new and unpublished – provided a freewheeling test-drive of a unique literary voice.

Whether describing isolation and conversational fever in “We’ll Leave At Night For Thunder Bay” (from her mini-chapbook Sprockets Away) or an evocative landscape that flexes between the earthy and bodily on “River-High” (from been shed bore), Pirie’s language shined especially when read aloud, her rhymes emerging in stuttering successions that countered any straightforward pacing. One of the evening’s highlights was surely a poem (from Where There’s Fire) inspired by SlutWalk, capturing the air of sexual freedom spilling through a metropolis’ etiquette of suits and cigarettes. But just as intriguing were poems assembled from games of Scrabble and snippets of Hollywood dialogue, spun in reverse, which highlighted her creative playfulness. All of the five poets showcased their inventiveness with finished poems but Pirie’s willingness to discuss her work’s origins added to the event’s refreshing openness.

Although I was due to meet friends on the other side of downtown, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to hear bill bissett read from his previously out-of-print, post-modernist/ collagist manifesto Rush: what fuckan theory. It was a joy to behold. And as he chanted syllables around his essay of “the artist as a young man, an outsider” with a shaker in hand, I smiled at the thought of bissett’s revolutionary calls emanating through the NAC’s outdoor speakers and ricocheting down St Catharines’ chilly storefronts. With regards to each of last Wednesday’s poets, I can’t think of a better way to announce the latest chapter in Niagara’s understated literary history.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Andre Alexis, David O'Meara & Cameron Anstee

Thursday November 1, 2012, 7:30pm
Ottawa Art Gallery, Arts Court
University of Ottawa Writer-in-residence Andre Alexis, with David O'Meara and Cameron Anstee
No Cover

Apt. 9 Press Presents: Phil Hall, Rachael Simpson & Claudia Coutu Radmore

Apt. 9 Press presents:

Phil Hall – A Rural Pen
Rachael Simpson – Eiderdown
with special guest Claudia Coutu Radmore

Saturday 24 November 2012
Readings at 2:00pm
Raw Sugar Café (692 Somerset St. W.)
No Cover

Apt. 9 Press is overjoyed to celebrate the publication of two new chapbooks with a reading by three fantastic poets. Phil Hall will launch A Rural Pen, Rachael Simpson will launch Eiderdown, and Claudia Coutu Radmore will belatedly celebrate her Apt. 9 chapbook Accidentals winning the 2011 bpNichol Chapbook Award. We're spoiled by the quality of these books, and you'll be miserable if you don't get one before they're gone.

Raw Sugar Cafe, the best venue in town, is once again gracious enough to host us for an afternoon poetry. Be early, settle in, have a pint or a cup of coffee depending on the weather. Readings to start at 2:00pm.

Phil Hall is the 2011 winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry in English, for Killdeer, published by BookThug. His is also the 2012 winner of Ontario's Trillium Book Award for Killdeer. This book of essay-poems also won an Alcuin Design Award, & was nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize. He currently offers a manuscript mentoring service for the Toronto New School of Writing. This fall he isWriter-In-Residence at Queens University. Next fall, he will be a faculty member of the Wired Writing Program at Banff. He is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, & the League of Canadian Poets. He lives near Perth, Ontario.

Rachael Simpson's poetry has been published in Canada, the United States and abroad. Eiderdown is her first chapbook. She lives in Ottawa.

Claudia Coutu Radmore is known for her Japanese form poems, as well as for her lyric poetry. Her poem where language forms won second place in the 2010 Banff Centre Bliss Carman Awards and Accidentals (Ottawa: Apt. 9 Press, 2011) won the 2011 bpNichol Chapbook Award. Recent series have been Qui annus est?/ What year is this?, poems in response to 13 – 18, PHOTOGRAPHS BY OLIVIA JOHNSTON at the Red Wall Gallery (SPAO Ottawa), and saturation, the joy of, poems in response to TILT, ORCHID PHOTOGRAPHS BY JAKE MORRISON at the Orange Gallery (Ottawa).

Sunday, October 14, 2012


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Friday, November 2, 2012

Ottawa Art Gallery
Arts Court
2 Daly Avenue
Ottawa, Ont.

A B Series presents readings by two poets of razor-sharp intellect. Join us for this not-to-be-missed convergence of exceptional literary talent.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

2012 Archibald Lampman Shortlist Reading: Blouin, Ridley + mclennan,

Each year, Arc Poetry Magazine honours Ottawa poets. Arc is proud to present the three 2012 finalists for the Archibald Lampman Award for best book of poetry by a National-Capital author.

The award is named in honour of Archibald Lampman (1861 - 1899), one of Canada's finest nineteenth-century poets. Lampman moved to Ottawa in 1882, and much of his metaphysical nature poetry was inspired by the National Capital region.

Michael Blouin: Wore Down Trust (Toronto; Pedlar Press, 2011)

rob mclennan: Glengarry (Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2011)

Sandra Ridley: Post-Apothecary (Toronto: Pedlar Press, 2011)

The three authors will be reading at Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeebar on Sunday, October 14, from 2-4pm.

The event will also include a reading of the 2012 Diana Brebner winning poem by Lauren Turner, this year's winner.


Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Jenny Sampirisi & kevin mcpherson eckhoff

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Join us for an evening of visual poetry and poly-vocal performance!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ottawa Art Gallery
Arts Court
2 Daly Ave.
Ottawa, Ont.

Jenny Sampirisi is the author of the novel is/was from Insomniac Press. She is the former Managing Editor of BookThug and current co-director of the Toronto New School of Writing, a series of reading and writing workshops designed and facilitated by working writers. She teaches English Literature, Creative Writing and Composition at Ryerson University. She is the 2011 recipient of the K.M. Hunter Artist Award for Literature. Croak, a libretto of hermaphroditic Frogirls, is her first poetry collection. It is a poetic narrative of love, loss, and compromise played out on a Beckettian stage. She will present a poly-vocal rendering of the text at the A B Series.

kevin mcpherson eckhoff equals rhapsodomancy plus easy peasy! Will he win the ReLit award this year? Join to make it interesting. His bestfriend is named Jake Kennedy; together they enjoy art, popcorn, hugs, Open Letter, musick, kindness, whey protein, students at Okanagan College, clinamen, Tim & Eric, Denny's, pretend violence, and eventually finishing their community-written novel, Death Valley. kevin’s words have been made for real totes in-print, like, within West Wind Review, Fact*Simile and Descant. He lives & loves in Armstrong, BC, with some rescue dogs and a dog-rescuing super-lady, Laurel. She & he are merely weeks away from welcoming their first & craziest collaboration ever, which remains, as of yet, untitled.

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