Tuesday, January 31, 2017

La Ville d’Ottawa et VERSE OTTAWA instaurent un programme de poètes lauréats / The City of Ottawa and VERSE OTTAWA establish a poet laureate program


La Ville d’Ottawa et VERSE OTTAWA instaurent un programme de poètes lauréats / The City of Ottawa and VERSE OTTAWA establish a poet laureate program

Ottawa, 31 janvier 2017 – VERSE OTTAWA qui est responsable depuis sept ans de l’organisation du VERSEFest – Festival international et bilingue de poésie à Ottawa – annonce qu’elle a conclu une entente pour l’achat de ses services par la Ville d’Ottawa, en vue de la mise en œuvre d’un programme de « poètes lauréats ». En effet, à partir de 2017 VERSE OTTAWA gérera le processus de nomination des poètes francophone et anglophone et supervisera les activités que proposeront les poètes désignés. Ainsi, la Ville d’Ottawa pourra compter sur deux poètes de renom qui seront désignés pour un mandat de deux ans. À ce titre et forts de leurs écrits, ces poètes se feront ambassadeurs de l’art de la poésie ici à Ottawa et partout où ils seront appelés à prendre la parole ; gardant au cœur de leurs préoccupations trois grands aspects des programmes de poète lauréat : nation, population et art.

Financé à hauteur de vingt-cinq mille dollars par année, le programme permettra d’octroyer des honoraires annuels de cinq mille dollars à chacun des poètes. Les sommes restantes couvriront les activités proposées par les poètes sélectionnés ainsi que les frais d’administration du programme.

Les comités francophone et anglophone, qui sont responsables de la désignation des poètes lauréats, sont mis sur pied par VERSE OTTAWA. Le dévoilement des poètes lauréats devrait se faire tous les deux, ans à partir de 2017, lors du festival VERSEfest, dont la prochaine édition se tiendra à Ottawa du 21 au 26 mars 2017 (www.versefest.ca).

Rappelons que la Ville d’Ottawa a été dotée d’un programme de poète-lauréat unilingue anglophone de 1982 à 1990. En 2012, le Conseil municipal d’Ottawa a approuvé un plan culturel sur six ans (2013-2018) comprenant un nouveau programme de poète lauréat. Depuis, le comité de pilotage pour le renouvellement du Plan pour la culture a recommandé la mise en place parallèle de deux poètes lauréats pour Ottawa – un francophone et un anglophone.

Yves Turbide, président de VERSE OTTAWA 613-744-0902 • dg@aaof.ca

Ottawa, January 31st, 2017 – VERSE OTTAWA, which is responsible for the organization of VERSEfest – a bilingual and international poetry festival in Ottawa – announces that the City of Ottawa has reached an agreement to purchase the services of VERSE OTTAWA to facilitate a “poet laureate” program. Starting in 2017, VERSE OTTAWA will manage the nomination process of Francophone and Anglophone poets and supervise the activities that will be suggested by the designated poets. This way, the City of Ottawa will be able to count on two renowned poets who will be designated for a two year mandate. With this title and their writings, the two poets will act as ambassadors of poetry here in Ottawa and anywhere they are asked to speak. At the heart of their concerns, they will keep three important facets of the poet laureate program: nation, population and art.

Financed up to a maximum of twenty-five thousand dollars per year, the program will offer an honorarium of five thousand dollars to each poet. The remaining money will cover activities proposed by the selected poets and the administrative costs of the program.

The Francophone and Anglophone committees responsible for the designation of the poet laureates will be created by VERSE OTTAWA. The announcement of the selected poet laureates should take place every two years, starting in 2017, during VERSEfest which will take place in Ottawa between March 21st and 26th, 2017 (www.versefest.ca).

Let’s be reminded that the City of Ottawa had a unilingual poet laureate program between 1982 and 1990. In 2012, the city council of Ottawa approved a new six year cultural policy (2013-2018) that included a new poet laureate program. Since then, the steering committee for the renewal of the cultural policy has recommended establishing two parallel poet laureates for Ottawa – one Francophone and one Anglophone.

For more information:
Yves Turbide, president of VERSE OTTAWA 613-744-0902 • dg@aaof.ca

Thursday, January 26, 2017

On Writing #121 : Jennifer Baker

On Writing
Jennifer Baker 
Took years                   to fracture
                       this strata        fear of being looked over


trust     out on a limb              
turns lens         on memory's ossuaries

in the bush    where we  tapped trees              the pond my grandfather called          bottomless
its mirror          cradled canopy sway       its silted bottom a warning

once you start swimming                     you have to keep treading forever

drowning     open-mouthed     we tell


one of the men                       
hauled me back           into our tree   
scraped against             street-glow     in public 
petrified          I dropped my Coke

my first thought          my body is against the law

scraped against                        hard light
                                                tell them you're 18
                                    I got you out
scraped      up   worldly
                        over chasm      when the bough

traitor foliage 
                        tricked cover for quiet
                                    night's wide  electrified itch  

now he concedes                     I was the smart one despite his assumptions           at the time                 
I wonder what they were


entire fields     leap skyward

enormous turbine blades rotate     this process
             down     backroad     powerlines

silence is
            the mirror-space between self & self
                         twinned in      repulsion & longing


I don't know why I'd tell
when explanation        fakes out         shelter             

except that justice       is a scrutiny     we step into
& my heels are still dirty
from digging in

bullish between           vulnerability | erasure   
                                              witness | voyeur
                                                 wink & a no  

Jennifer Baker lives, writes, and teaches in Ottawa. Her first chapbook, Abject Lessons, was published by above/ground press in 2014. Her poetry, interviews, and reviews have been published in The Journal of Canadian Poetry, Ottawater, Dusie, The Bird, Philomela, and Illiterissuesixature, with a forthcoming review in The Bull Calf.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

On Writing #120 : K.I. Press

On Being Off
K.I. Press

Sometimes you’re just off, you feel so off, you wonder if you were ever really on.

They keep saying that writing is a muscle. You know how you’re out of shape? Not you, I mean, I don’t really know you, but me, I mean. But you’re so far out of shape that the expression doesn’t really even apply anymore, because to be out of shape implies that you were once in it. In a shape. They mean like a statue, like a rippling Michelangelo, though the first thing I think of tends to be a perfect cube, wooden and hollow. A crate.

And now you are not a shape.

You are liquid.

There are advantages to being liquid.

You fit, you move, you flow.

A little too easily maybe, and downhill.

See what I mean?


I’ve been off poetry. This is neither a success nor a failure. It’s a change of state.

Maybe it’s because I’m not new anymore and the welcome party has worn off, or because I moved to the middle of winter, or because I don’t believe in anything, or because I ran out of ideas, or because I couldn’t figure out how to write poems about zombies, or because [blame the internet], or because I gave up, or because I melted in the sun, or because it’s hard and I’m lazy, or because nothing means anything anymore, or because young people these days, or because I want to be cool, or because I have nothing to say, or because everyone’s doing it now, or because it’s not fun anymore, or because I’m tired, or because it’s the end of the world.

Well, actually, that sounds like failure, doesn’t it?

I want to have it all. Baby. I want poetry, prose, comics, a double shot of scriptwriting, even a song. I want arch-villains, beaches, very serious issues, car chases and internal rhyme. I want to collaborate, infiltrate, organize and publish. I want to go to sleep right here on the couch.

But one thing at a time. O, God.

I want to read something that doesn’t glow.

I am a loser.


Lately I’ve wanted a world in which professors don’t sleep with students. I’ve been doing it for eight years. Not sleeping with my students, I mean. Sleeping with students turns out to be remarkably easy to avoid. Actually, it never seems to come up. But then again, I’m just a loser and a failed poet, so I guess not worth the trouble.

Why bother with any of it, really.

I’m going to go off and write my novel now. It’s about an actor who once starred in a Bertolucci film. He loves his teddy bear. He runs for President. His mistress drowns in a bathtub. There are zombies.

K.I. Press’s most recent book of poetry is Exquisite Monsters (Turnstone, 2015). She is a student in the Optional Residency Creative Writing MFA program at UBC. She teaches creative writing in Winnipeg.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

many gendered mothers : call for submissions

O god save all the many gendered-mothers of my heart, & all the other mothers, who do not need god or savior,

our hearts persist in excess of the justice they’re refused.
Dana Ward, “A Kentucky of Mothers”

many gendered mothers is a project on literary influence featuring short essays by writers (of any/all genders) on the women, femme, trans, and non-binary writers who have influenced them, as a direct or indirect literary forebear.

This project is directly inspired by the American website Literary Mothers (http://literarymothers-blog.tumblr.com/), created by editor Nadxieli Nieto and managing editor Nina Puro. While we hope that Literary Mothers might eventually return to posting new pieces, this site was created as an extension and furthering of their project (in homage, if you will), and not meant as any kind of replacement.

Basically: which female ,femme, trans or non-binary writer(s) made you feel like there was room in the world for you and your artistic temperament, or opened up your understanding of what was possible, either as a writer or a human or both? Perhaps you were closely mentored by a particular writer or editor, or perhaps their work was highly influential, even if not in the most obvious ways.

While submissions by men are highly encouraged, the argument that male literary influence has been long explored in print and online is a reasonable one. This isn’t an argument for levelling the field but, instead, expanding it.

We are currently accepting short essays of 500-1000 words as a .doc or .docx file, with “many gendered mothers” in subject line. Please include: “Your Name” on “Author Name(s),” subtitle (optional) and a short bio for yourself, as well as a .jpg image of your subject (if possible). And: multiple submissions are encouraged! Simply because you’ve already had a piece accepted for the site doesn’t mean you still can’t submit something further down the road.

Submissions can be sent to any of our editors (if you know how to reach them), or directly to neitherliterary@gmail.com

Sunday, January 01, 2017

We Who Are About To Die : Sacha Archer

Sacha Archer is a Canadian writer currently residing in Ontario. He was the recipient of the 2008 P.K. Page Irwin Prize for his poetry and visual art, and in 2010 he was chosen to participate in the Elise Partridge Mentor Program. His work has appeared in journals such as filling Station, ACTA Victoriana, h&, illiterature, NōD, and (parenthetical). He has work forthcoming in Experiment-O. He is the author of the chapbooks Dishwashing Event, Part One: Tianjin, China (no press, 2016), and Dishwashing Event, Part Two: Ontario (Puddles of Sky Press, 2016). His chapbooks Acceleration of the Arbitrary (Grey Borders) and Detour [D-1] (Spacecraft Press) are forthcoming.

Where are you now?

Ontario. Waterdown. I think I’ll be leaving this town soon. I certainly hope so. It’s near Hamilton (technically part of it), and near where I grew up, Dundas. Why do we come back home? I don’t recognize anybody who can confirm it is. The Bruce trail that winds through the escarpment into the Dundas valley and into Hamilton…is one reason.

What are you reading?

I just finished Anne Carson’s new collection, Float. Currently I’m in the middle of Quentin Bell’s biography of Virginia Woolf, and also Injun by Jordan Abel.

What have you discovered lately?

That it is suffering that unites us, and which is at the root of all our actions. It has made me much more comfortable. I was standing at Pearson Airport, looking around, and everyone suddenly could barely hide the wincing nerves just below the edifice.

Where do you write?

It depends on the project. I’ve been working on a lot of collage/ concrete poetry recently, and have found myself at the kitchen table or in the basement in my late grandfather’s office. My next project will likely find me somewhere else. And we’ll (my family) be moving soon, so. Some of my writing practices fail to resemble writing in its traditional form, and consequently where I write becomes unconventional. This past summer I was wandering through the woods (a return—I wrote in the woods as a boy) making rubbings under the sign of poetry. 

What are you working on?

Like I mentioned above, I’ve been doing some collage. There are two escapades. One focuses on excised speech bubbles from the funnies of various newspapers. The other project is—perhaps, not collage—using hole punched circles from various novels and manuals to create, at this point I know not what. Scores? There is a large project demanding my attention which I have had trouble starting. It begins with me reading Virginia Woolf’s The Waves underwater in a bathtub. It will begin very soon.

Have you anything forthcoming?

Grey Borders is publishing a chapbook of mine under the title Acceleration of the Arbitrary. It is the first third of a larger manuscript which imagines a future senseless brutal revolution (same old). Also, Spacecraft Press will be publishing my chapbook Detour [D-1], which is a conceptual translation of the Dao De Jing. Again, it is the first part of a larger project.

What would you rather be doing?

This “interview” in person. Slightly drunk.