Monday, September 25, 2017

fwd: Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem--Anthology Call





Current statistics predict 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. We need more art to understand the complexity and dimensions of what this means.

So please join us in this landmark groundbreaking anthology on the subject of cancer; whether from a patient, survivor, caregiver, loved one, doctor, surgeon, alternative healer, compassionate human being, body part or disease itself point of view.

This anthology aims to offer new ways of seeing, understanding, and representing this ordinary and extraordinary experience; with a full spectrum of emotions spanning the tragic and comic.

We believe the imagination and poetry have their own parts to play in our contemporary healing warehouse. And we invite you to demonstrate this power as we bring together an exciting group of contemporary poems and poets tackling the “c” word in unexpected and affecting ways.

Please send between one and four poems on the topic of cancer in any poetic style/form and from any perspective to plus a 100-word author bio.

Previously published poems are welcome as long as the author owns the copyright and gives us permission to reprint, and as long as the poem was published after the year 2000.



on behalf of Priscila Uppal and Mansfield Press

Friday, September 22, 2017

On Writing #140 : Nicole Brewer

On Writing
Nicole Brewer

I am an inconsistent writer. Literature is my greatest love, but I keep it at a distance sometimes. I’m a very extreme person, and have a tendency to lose myself when I become too invested, so I work hard at maintaining balance in all areas: I work out, but am sure to have rest days; I read, but also make an effort to go out and spend time with people; I write, but also go to bed on time and drink neither coffee nor alcohol.

It’s possible to read that and think I’m on some straight edge high horse (I’m not straight edge), but I actually mention it because, a lot of the time, I feel hugely inadequate as a writer because I try to have a healthy lifestyle. I feel like a phony if I’m working on a story and stop to go to bed before midnight. I feel like a poser because I’m slow, working my writing into bits of time around my life, instead of fitting my life around my writing. I feel like less of a writer for not being dedicated enough, not submitting enough, not wanting it bad enough.

Spending my twenties trying to manage an old eating disorder, depression, minor anxiety, and general low self-esteem has made me careful and choosy: about habits, about routines, about company. I don’t avoid difficult things, but I monitor myself closely when I engage with something I know I can get lost in, and writing can be one of those difficult, losing things.

I prefer reading to writing, honestly. If I have a block of free time and I give myself the choice between reading and writing, I’ll choose reading almost every time. But I’ve started to count reading time as writing time. I’m coming to learn what I want out of being a writer, of writing--it’s not a book, it’s not an audience, it’s not catharsis. It’s just stories. I just want to write good stories, I want to always be writing better stories. I want to be inspired, challenged, and that’s what books do. Books like A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, like Marianne Apostolides’ Sophrosyne, like the story collections A Manual for Cleaning Women, The Thing Around Your Neck, and How to Get Along With Women, like Anakana Schofield’s Malarky--as I read each of these books, I wrote: reactions, quotations, expansions, responses. And each of these writers carved out a bit of space in my writing nook, to appear in tiny style developments in each new story I write.

I get a lot more enjoyment out of writing now, since I set aside most of the tangible writing goals I “should” have in mind and have started writing just to write. Mostly, I lurk. And sometimes, I write.

Nicole Brewer is a writer, editor, and publisher from Toronto. In early 2014, she co-founded the organization words(on)pages, which supports emerging writers with chapbooks, a literary magazine, and a reading series. Her stories have been published in Canthius, The Hart House Review, untethered, and other journals. She does not have an MFA, and can be found online at

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Al Purdy A-Frame Residency : Call for Applications


The A-frame house at the edge of Roblin Lake was built in 1957 by Al Purdy and his wife Eurithe, who had set aside $1200 dollars from CBC radio plays Al had written in Montreal. They bought a piece of land and a load of used buildings material from a structure being torn down in Belleville, then set to work, building from architect’s plans ordered from a popular magazine. As Al made clear in his autobiography, Reaching for the Beaufort Sea, in the first years they endured fierce cold and poverty and worry. “But Roblin Lake in summer, planting seeds and watching things grow; doing a marathon swim across the lake while Eurithe accompanied me in a rowboat; working at the house, making it grow into something that nearly matched the structure already in your mind. Owls came by night, whoo-whooing in a row of cedars above the house; blue herons stalked our shallows; muskrats splashed the shoreline; and I wrote poems.” At 39 Al was a little known poet, still publishing what he later decided was bad poetry. He called a book from that period The Crafte So Long to Lerne. But he and Eurithe hung on, and in the following years, Al’s poetry took a new turn and his reputation began to grow. In 1965 he won the Governor-General’s Award for The Cariboo Horses.
            Many of Al Purdy’s best-known poems were written in Ameliasburgh, a lot of them derived from the history and geography of the village. He lived in the A-frame house—which was gradually improved and expanded—for many years, and he spent at least part of every year at Ameliasburgh until his death in 2000. He and Eurithe were always warm and welcoming to writers who came to visit, and dozens—some would say  hundreds—did. There is surely no house in Canada so strongly connected with an important poet and his literary community.
            The Purdy house is now the site of the A-Frame Residency Program, under which writers are offered a time and place to work in a location that is attractive and of historic significance. Each year between mid-April and mid-November the house will be open for the residency. Writers who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents may apply for a term of two to twelve weeks. The residency will be open to all writers, but preference will be given to poetry and poetry projects. Each year the Selection Committee will also consider proposals for a one to four week project in critical writing about Canadian poetry and will be open to unusual and creative ideas for residencies.
            While the primary aim of the A-Frame is to provide writers with time and space to concentrate on their projects, the residency also gives them the opportunity to interact with the community. As part of the residency plan writers are encouraged to develop a community-based project. Such projects should provide the opportunity for writers to interact with the local community but should not require more than one or two days of the writer’s time over a four-week period. Katherine Leyton’s project was How Pedestrian. Katherine travelled the community with a video camera and asked people to read Purdy poems. She also had friends and other writers visit, and recorded their readings. The recordings were posted to her blog and a final performance was held in Rednersville at Active Arts Studio.
            One possibility would be to invite other writers and artists to visit, develop a performance event that could be staged at the Townhall in Ameliasbugh. Writers are encouraged to be innovative about the community project aspect of the application.
Travel to Ameliasburgh will be paid.[1] Those awarded the residency will be given a stipend of $650 dollars ($500 honorarium and $150 travel) a week[2] while living in the A-frame, and will be free to spend their time on their writing. Residents will be expected to participate in one public event for each four weeks of their stay, or complete a community-based project as noted above—the event could be a reading, lecture, workshop, an event in a local school or some other literary activity—and to consider other reasonable requests. These events will take place in one of the larger communities nearby, Picton, Belleville, Kingston. Residents will be offered a temporary library card for the excellent library at Queen’s University in Kingston, where many of Al Purdy’s papers are held. Those awarded a residency will be asked to donate at least one copy of one of their books to the Residency Library at the A-frame. Writers in residence will also be encouraged to make themselves known at the Purdy Library in Ameliasburgh and to donate a book. They may also wish to discuss with the local liaison the possibility of working with local schools.

Applications should include:
A brief professional curriculum vitae (max. 2 pages)
 A plan for your residency at the A-frame (max. 2 pages)
A letter of reference (if desired by the candidate)
A 10-20 page sample of recent writing. 
Community-based project, if one is being proposed (1 page)
Applications should consider “Why the A-frame?” and “Why now?”

Successful applications will be asked to submit a grant proposal to the Canada Council for the Arts for matched funding for the residency, and travel expenses. A final report is due three to six months after the residency is complete.

Applicants should propose alternate residency dates if possible.

Five hard copies of the application and the accompanying material should be sent to:
Jean Baird
The Al Purdy A-frame Association
4542 West 10th Ave.,
Vancouver BC V6R 2J1

Electronic copies of the same files should be emailed to Please send one email with all documents and a subject line that includes your name and “2018 residency application.”
Any questions can be addressed to
Applications for residencies from July 2018 to end of June 2019 will close on October 20, 2017—mailed materials must be postmarked October 20, 2017 or before. Electronic copies must be received by 4 p.m PT. If you wait until the last day—October 20, 2017—to mail your hard copies please send by courier.

[1] Pending successful CC and OAC funding
[2] Pending successful fundraising

Thursday, September 07, 2017

On Writing #139 : Dennis James Sweeney

On Staring, Obsessing, Getting Stuck
Dennis James Sweeney

For a long time I was nothing if not disciplined, partially due to the fact that people give me a lot of writing manuals. They all said: write, keep writing, and after that continue to write. It's the only way to get good. Or Malcolm Gladwell: 10,000 hours. I heard what they were saying. Grace and inspiration do not substitute for regular sessions of hard, attentive work.

I am still disciplined. I still make the hours to sit down and write. But I used to make words that entire time, type and type and type. I would end up with book manuscripts, piles of short stories I didn't know what to do with. At first, I sent them all out. (I apologize to the editors.) I revised these stories and books, I was serious about them, but they lacked something. I wasn't obsessing. I wasn't driving myself crazy. I was treating the writing like a product, which needs a certain amount of work and is done.

In other words, I didn't care. I cared; I wrote the story, I got inside its characters, I worked on every sentence and every line. But I didn't care so much that I would walk twenty miles barefoot through the snow to bring it to an editor's door. I took the manuals' advice about rejections too. When something got rejected, I shrugged. There was plenty more writing where that came from.

In the last year or so I have begun to understand the importance of waiting with a piece. Of considering it, reconsidering it, obsessing over it, allowing it cycles of staleness and freshness and hopelessness and resurrection. The writing of mine that I am most excited about is the writing that I have simply stared at for a long time, doing little aside from invest it with a kind of psychic energy. Not much changes on the page. A comma, move this section after that. But I feel an intentionality build in the pieces I spend this kind of time with, a solidness that earlier work didn't have.

When these manuscripts are rejected, I have trouble taking it in stride. Emotional investment, as it turns out, causes pain.

The easy thing would be to say that this pain is worth it, given the associated joys. I'm not sure this is the case. I would be a better, happier person if I didn't feel the need to write. But I do, and in responding to that need I have to remind myself over and over that there is something more than typing and revising, a spirit hovering between and around those two processes and buoying them. I've heard other writers say not-writing is a form of writing. Gestation is part of the process. But having written, and staying stuck to what's written, is another form of writing I wish I'd known about earlier on. It's unhealthy, not nearly as Buddhist as I strive to be, but that stuckness often feels like a saving grace. With it, the writing ferments. It begins to become something.

Dennis James Sweeney's hybrid fictions have appeared in The Collagist, Crazyhorse, Five Points, Indiana Review, and Passages North, among others. He is the Small Press Editor of Entropy, the recipient of an MFA from Oregon State University, and a recent Fulbright fellow in Malta. Originally from Cincinnati, he lives in Colorado, where he is a PhD student in creative writing at the University of Denver.

Monday, September 04, 2017


for William Pittman Lett (1819-1892)

September 9, 2017 : 12:30pm
James Bartleman Archives and Library Materials Centre
100 Tallwood Drive, at Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa

Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Rick Chiarelli, Centrepointe Community Association President Ron Benn, William Pittman Lett III, Ottawa Chief Archivist Paul Henry and Ottawa City Clerk Rick O’Connor

Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke
Ottawa Poet Laureate Andrée Lacelle
Ottawa Poet Laureate Jamaal Jackson Rogers
Susan McMaster
Armand Garnet Ruffo

Friday, September 01, 2017

We Who Are About To Die : O Mayeux

O Mayeux ( is an artist and linguist.

Where are you now?
a monastery on Lesbos, island home of Sappho

What are you reading?
last night: The Adults in the Room by Yannis Varoufakis

this morning: Anne Carson's translations of the Sappho fragments ; Julian Talamantez Brolaski's 'Of Mongrelitude' ; poetry-in-progress by my partners-in-crime Tanner Menard ( and Jack Westmore. we send each other fresh poems most days.

What have you discovered lately?
a secret spot to stargaze with just the sounds of grass

Where do you write?

in my mind ; a desk in the sun ; old receipts ; phone ; notebook beside the bed (for dreamt poetry)

What are you working on?
putting the finishing touches to a chapbook of poems in English and Louisiana Creole, an endangered language which is the topic of my doctoral research and also my own heritage language

Have you anything forthcoming?
a couple of poems, including one in 'Strange Horizons'. it's very exciting to be published in a journal you have been reading for a long time. speculative/sci-fi/fantasy poetry is seducing me and more and more every day. i am also thrilled that my first full-length collection--'Artefacts', a computer-generated asemic cycle--will be published this autumn by Michael Jacobson's Post-Asemic Press (

What would you rather be doing?
really couldn't think of anything at all


SEVERAL MOVED COLOR                       

40°38′13.4292" N
74°4′36.84" W

A several moved color, wrestled
to the ground color and taken ri
ghtly tightly at the neck with grip

At this moment cervically an interr
uption: gentle convex-forward arch
jugularly decided violently garroted

As if by law a just complete occlusion
of the carotid arteries, call up skyward,
remembrance of the market at Badagry

Appeal to authority that it might descend
and find a sense when callous shades cut
at each other: urbanized, raw & jealously

Attack attack attack the walls and raise
the bloodied flag, the flag which looks
down starry-eyed from high as a kite

Allow streets to heave with sweaty
misunderstood or bad-mannered
bodies to rut against the Column