Friday, April 29, 2005

Friedrich Von Schiller

I am better than my reputation.
Johann Friedrich Von Schiller

I received a package in the mail this morning from Germany. My darling Eva sent it from Berlin. A lovely gift of a Von Schiller play, Love and Intrigue. I'm not familiar with his work at all, and so welcome the indulgence of absorbing his aesthetic and closing the gap of time zone and distance between myself and my dear red-haired siren friend with said personally inscribed gift. V.Shiller appears to enjoy the occasional flit with philosophical ideals, as seemed fashionable for the intellectual man of his time, (they had no television I suppose; but more precisely, seemed of stronger moral character) and proves particular judgement toward basic concepts of goodness, truth, freedom. Pleasant to read, but not sure I'll get a whole lot out of it. I've already appeased these directions through Satre, Camus, Kant and Hobbes, among others. But, I'm likely being too hasty. Have read very little so far. The crux of his work is said to "all express a yearning for escape from tyranny." Can't say I feel particularly oppressive today. Maybe I'll read him tomorrow.

Apparently he was pretty good lookin too.

Keep true to the dreams of your youth.
Happy [is] he who learns to bear what he cannot change.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Wow. There is a reason Sharon Jones has been likened unto James Brown. I'm betting there's nothing like this live experience. Check out some pics from a recent live performance. The band was lifted straight of out 1940's motown complete with horns that kept us moving for 3 solid hours. These guys have some unknown source of wild energy. Must be voodoo.

Sharon pulled me up on stage even. Got to shake my thing with the great SJ. Cool. She even signed the little 45 record I bought after the show. Says she loves me. hee.

One of the best live shows I've been to. That little 4 foot somethin lady is a powerhouse. Rush out and see them soon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

If you're in Ottawa, check out the sure to be wicked Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings show tonight at Babylon. While you're at it, visit the Birdman for more great rawk in the OT.

Monday, April 25, 2005

As I drove Netherland poet Erik Lindner to the train station (part of my Writers fest duties for the week) he remarked on how Ottawa reminded him of his birth home in The Hague. Looking out my 11th floor window of my day job as I write this, I see a newly unfrozen flowing river, trees seemingly gathered and crowding to get a good look at things, ant sized cars along the parkway...nothing at all like what I remember from my incredible Hague visit from a couple years ago, in which my travelling partner and I set up tent on the shore of the North Sea (and right beside the large 'tent with an x through it' sign - ha). Still, something to be said about government towns all being somewhat alike...which is essentially what he was getting at. Also during that visit of mine, and just after my visit to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam (very moving exhibit), I discovered a homeland version of how Canada liberated the Dutch from a guy selling me a hot dog. Still a very powerful connection over there to us folk. And a great bunch of people from what I experienced. Everyone should move to Holland. Yay!

In other news, you should know that the rock an roll band Mooney Suzuki is pretty great -- Here's a sample.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Poem: hills, boroughs

Following a stamped impression   destiny destined     something like
fruit and a stand, the end of a driveway and selling
emptied filled old tin cans tapped sugar from spines of trees the
liquid turned cold cash made money made time made a

To entrances and frames and farms and houses of
hills and boroughs and roads and graves to
points of grammar, lofty, air stove fires lead to
sentences burning
wood food love
dug from the earth

Our presumptions inventions lesions to distances
drawn underneath the creek togethered delineate the loss of
a life

boots from rubber once something else
purchases from old necessity
what use in a city
how does

and when

followed suit
weight gain in appropriate spots cause reaction
force and

fuel for stored up energy

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Poem: of, or within a mold/ing

specious expression of inference
casing housing casing
a/that     /an
application can

station delusory, conceit
aware of one's own

   a place     or locked in time    ;variance
that is

vague stimulance

         purchase an armoire and put things away.
      close doors.

conciliate the anger of
assuage light, the sage of a scale

a thinness

duty in a foreign place
growth in dark roots

flaked earth      another thing to watch out for

hairs, even
left on the head for counting.

to end well is one thing.
a thesis to prove.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Poem: the winds indulgence

the winds indulgence teaches us nothing
a sentence will fall through, still,

an opportunity to stand on its own

what is hidden under
  not knowing how the brim of a thing can entice or enduce a labour

minimalism: how one prepares for a day
packs purpose into meaning

sits on the edge of a bed.      folds ideas into heated things

the light that survives consumes the next step

Monday, April 18, 2005

Ottawa International Writers Festival

I'm at home with a terrible bout of back pain, a reminder of an unfortunate car crash over a year ago. I still have time to sue...but they seem to make it so tricky that you needn't bother. Thirty thousand dollar deductible. Yeesh.

This week in Ottawa is the Ottawa International Writers Festival, spring edition. There are some neat poets making their way to read in the "Poetry Cabarets", and a few interesting sessions of "The Writing Life". There will also be a long awaited launch of local taxi driver/poet William Hawkins collected poems from Broken Jaw Press. Come out and support the local scene.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Factory Reading Series Photos

And some pics of the Factory reading series from April 8th w/Rachel and Mark all the way from Toronto. We also got Mark's darling wife Lisa, Suzanna, rob mclenny, and some other folk in the mix. 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 (thanx for taking them, Max Middddddle)


When I was home in Hillsborough at Christmas I snagged some shots of old photos of my gram, Reta. Recently found out she's been writing memoirs for years. How cool. No other writer interests in the family. I'm it. There's really no need for it in the stix (or even a high school diploma). Probably have a few kids if I'd stayed. Isn't that always the story. Might have been w/that cute little freckled boy who became pres. of the 4H club. He had a crush on me in grade 4. And wrote me a letter once in high school. I'd sure have a lot of cows. Love this pic of her particularly--taken in O'Leary, PEI where she grew up. Second one in from the left. Not sure what they're holding in their hands. Anti-cigarette pose? Maybe they got paid in gum for it. The girl on the right seems to think it's cool to smoke. Wonder how she's doin.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Bunting's Advice to Young Poets

I will never write a poem about cats. There. It's been said.

On the Buffalo Poetics list a recent mail makes mention of a poet Basil Bunting's advice to young poets. Fantastic earth moving things a poet should take on, and be brave brave brave about. For how else is one to further their own movement and embrace that which is unknown to them unless the challenge is there. And so, I embrace this:

Bunting's advice to young poets


1. Compose aloud; poetry is a sound.
2. Vary rhythm enough to stir the emotion you want but not so as to lose impetus.
3. Use spoken words and syntax.
4. Fear adjective; they bleed nouns. Hate the passive.
5. Jettison ornament gaily but keep shape

Put your poem away till you forget it, then:

6. Cut out every word you dare.
7. Do it again a week later, and again.

Never explain - your reader is as smart as you.

So, I had a play with the Bunting bit. Oh it's fun to play:

's advice
to s

      I S

   1. Compose loud; poetry is sound
Vary stir
    you want
    not so

lose    i    us

  3  .    Use

words    and     .

bleed nouns


ornament    keep

away till

, then:

        Cut out

Do it
, and

- your reader is



Friday, April 08, 2005

Woody Frenzy

Very important notice: April 9th -- all day Woody Allen movies on Bravo. How cool is that?

Factory Reading Series April 8

Friday, April 08, 2005
I'll be reading with Toronto's Rachel Zolf and Mark Truscott, lovingly hosted by rob mclennan
at Gallery 101, 236 Nepean Street, Ottawa
Readings begin at 7:30pm

Mark Truscott has had poems published in a number of magazines, including filling Station, The Literary Review of Canada, The Malahat Review, Peter O'Toole and This Magazine. His first trade book Said Like Reeds or Things is with Coach House Books. He lives in Toronto.

Rachel Zolf is an alias for a writer with several past identities,including: bartender, documentary producer, office cleaner, sax player,crisis worker, corporate copy hack, university dropout, Toronto Year 2003 West Nile Virus Case #22, activist, analysand and shortstop. The title long poem from Zolf's first book, Her absence, this wanderer, was afinalist for the CBC Literary Competition. She lives in Toronto with herpartner Lisa and two furred quadrupeds, Sheba and Huck, and also serves as poetry editor for The Walrus magazine. Masque is her second book.

The lonely city of Ottawa adopted Wanda O'Connor about 10 years ago. She's also lived in other places, like Edmonton. Most recently her work has appeared in Shampoo Poetry, Yawp, ALBA, and above/ground press. She also writes book reviews for the Ottawa XPress. Her second chapbook, If the skin is CRISP: eat it, has just been released. She is currently hosting POATTICA, a poetic Series held in her attic, and hopes to one day film the remake of the cult classic Forbidden Planet with polaroids and/or webcams.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Poem: rideau St.

thirty six dollars for make up
tear in the panel of a car
   too close together

4 dollars for an hour
   ,for a walk down

16 left in the bank.

12 minutes at the record shop,    10 thinking about _____

more time and more time
until there was nothing left
but a loan given, then

I tell him:

even the rain knows my name.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Poetics and Public Culture: Poem: park lane

Finally getting around to adding some film from the Frank Davey retirement/Poetics and Public Culture Conference held in London ON recently--located here. The pictures turned out awfully, unfortunately.

A poem, then, for the lovely hotel I stayed at, The Park Lane:

park lane

a room trapped in itself
a door opened once, then
a second time

lets in the outside
a stir w/in like a constant occupation

room 4.1.2.

no writing paper, pen or china cup
but a fridge, two beds
   too many towels

the carpet, shower mat

one good station worth listening to


a cup of tea takes work
hot drops on the knee
ruins a laminate, softens or precedes
a preoccupation


men reading papers
eggs spilled over toast, jam
no conversations here
breakfast at King’s

they all are


there is a reward for listening

these are the days I can not eat
absence placed in the mouth

a phone call to start the day

the room is
but for steam

Listening to The Stranglers. A rainy Monday eve.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Poem: while driving southeast, a strip of road

while driving southeast, a strip of road

the heaviness of a line
weighs like a kiss

a long engagement

the highway widens
a wide stretch of highway

curves, but does not break in half


she tells me about urban sprawl
and how it affects her judgement

a voice that is fused with the colour of a

a crack in the mirror, the wall
cellular tears in what seems

often words will (is this all we have
I know it already, says ,    in the back, stays
the length of a life or what it appears

confuse, the idleness of small change


I have been there, or, have reached its limits

law and order, the hotels you’ve been in

takes a dime to move on


can’t judge the distance but
it takes me so far

not what love is
but what it isn’t

how does summer arrive, then
the end of a day
how to survive it


the things no one knows how to do

knowing everything but
the language

a pound of weight to carry on
a feeling of stopping
at the knees

to speak the things we can not feel

Wanda's 33rd Birthday Extravaganza


Birthdays are fun. A night of bowling (took over the place w/4 lanes @ the rock'n bowl), eating (so much cheese and cake!), and drinking at the Carleton Tavern. Who could ask for more. But I DID get more. The live band took it upon themselves to sing me a birthday song. One of those 3 piece drummer-as-singer outfits (just wrong). At one point the guitar dude jumped on the table in front of me and got all Led Zepplin. Something about a strangers crotch inches from your face to stun you for a few seconds.


Funny story. Friend Kent showed up with a pizza, less two slices. The bugger left my pal Jena's house and took a cab to my place (4 blocks away) and couldn't hold on til he got here. Told us he'd sue the bastards for selling him an eaten pizza...the evidence.

Got some lovely gifts. My friends are terrific. Two neat spiral bound ready-to-be-filled journals (love turning the book in on itself), pretty bunch of flowers at my door after work from friend Karen, many bottles of red wine (yay!), a funky purple hand-knit hat from Mel, a very cool self-powered wind-up flashlight for those dark nights at the camping, a watercolour painting of my two cats watching the northern lights as seen through the creative eyes of my pal Tony, and a fabulous purple wig--I love wigs, don't know what it is.

Taking time now to do absolutely nothing. Will celebrate (a little) tonight with my friend Julie. It is also her birthday. Time for our ritual of kareoke and amaretto sours.

Tomorrow I will drive to Montreal to partake in a literary tour given by my current Prof of creative writing, Seymour Mayne. There are rumours that L.Cohen is in town....

Friday, April 01, 2005

Things that have/not changed

Today is my birthday. It's always a time for reflection for me, and today I'm placing myself absolutely nowhere. And I rather like it. I'm not supposed to be anywhere, anyone, or do anything at this point in my life. Just being is good enough. But I have managed to establish a few things I enjoy and a few friends I love, and hell, that's just livin'. Rilke wrote once about not knowing a life fully until that moment just before you die. But perhaps simply knowing as we go is just as filling. Like my yummy lunch today, complete with extra helping of sweet pickle.

33 is a wierd number. Like two pairs of sideways breasts staring you in the face. Which may likely never happen to me....or anyone...but the day isn't over yet.

Things that have/not changed. I'm not any taller. I like pink. I hate to admit it, for years I turned my nose at the colour. I still swear by the VW, although it costs me a fortune in repair. I am sporting pigtails today. But that's not new. Tonight I will cook for my friends and drink a lot of anything. And enjoy every minute.

Today I will buy myself everything I want. Until I have no money left. Which shouldn't take long. It sucks to have a birthday on a rent day.
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