Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Tour Notes, part one

Another tour, another box or four of publications mailed back to my doorstep. This time, it was six weeks from Vancouver to Charlottetown, from mid-April to the end of May. I’m probably buying more books on these tours than I’m selling, but there you go. Here are a few of the highlights, scattered across the floor of my apartment.

Victoria, British Columba: Jason Dewinetz’ greenboathouse books always does lovely publications. In Victoria (April 18), he gave me copies of the most recent broadsheets, printed especially for subscribers, contributors & friends. The first, a poem by John Lent, aint exactly my thing, but the design is gorgeous. Lent is one of the driving forces behind most things happening in Vernon, B.C., including the rumours of the return of Kalamala Press. The other, “Voyageur” by Sina Queyras, is a thing to die for. The more I read of her work, the more I want to, starting

It started early
thinking the river
a conveyor belt,
trees step ladders,
clouds a possibility
who says feet
are for walking, wings
only for flight?

It’s been a few years of silence after her first collection of poems from ECW Press, but finally, another is due this fall from Nightwood Editions. Also, greenboathouse books has a new sequence of poems by Sina appearing as a chapbook this fall, as well as a chapbook by Ottawa resident Shane Rhodes, and a broadsheet by Marita Dachel. Check out updates and their variants series at www.greenboathouse.com

Calgary, Alberta: Andy Weaver & I drove down from Edmonton to participate in two nights of readings around dANDelion magazine and Truck Gallery’s +15 Disaster opening (April 22 & 23). With some fine, fine readings by nathalie simpson, Dorothy Trujillo Lusk, Aaron Vidiver, David Fujino, Brea Burton (& us), the event included a number of publications, including the Disaster! issue of dANDelion, the chapbook anthology disaster (produced in conjunction with dANDelion magazine), the chapbook anthology HEY MOM I’VE BEEN CENSORED (published by ryan fitzpatrick through filling station), and a broadsheet by Dorothy Trujillo Lusk (published by One Great City Press in an edition of 32 copies). Some of the highlights of all of this included nathalie simpson’s reading (she really has to start publishing more, so I can read it), the Vidiver/Fujino collaborative reading (of their piece in the dANDelion issue), new work by Fred Wah in the disaster chapbook, & the fact that Andy Weaver decided to start referring to himself by the nickname “Mustang.” Although that by itself is hard to beat, check out one of the Fred Wah pieces from the chapbook (There are rumours of him (finally) having a new poetry collection from Talonbooks (now that he’s moved back to Vancouver) maybe next year):

isadora blew and blew the sea the sand the blue boards sky
high waves smashed broke and splintered shutters white walled
water over roof (it’s true!) and filled the floor with beach roar
blues but you’d be too to start the day as blue sky-blue could
fool you too now look at the misery you can see right through
poor sad and lonely one she knows you’ll spend your nights
alone and never know how much nobody’s missed somebody’s
blue yeh! ain’t this storm come through my door tellin’ you

There was a closing reading as well, but I wasn’t there for that. Enviable readings by Ryan Fitzpatrick, David Bateman, Susan Holbrook and Fred Wah. For any information on their publications, check out their website at www.english.ucalgary.ca/dandelion

Another important part of any trip to Calgary is spending time with derek beaulieu, who recently ended his housepress with (as it’s called) “the last publication from housepress,” the poem “Squarely” by Kyle Schlesinger. The notion of “last” is always sad, especially with a press as entertaining & consistently interesting as housepress. What I love, though, the colophon that includes “published in an edition of 75 copies (on stock donated to the press by Fred Wah).” I just think that’s neat.

for L.P.G.

Squarely arch
tracks heist
dreaming figures
nude zeal
socialism drains

a more pliable
tomorrow again
successions step
carnations for
plausible thaws

forgetting disclosure
stepping through
one tires of
someone else

always here we do
not know the water
with water

Kyle Schlesinger

I’m not sure how long this will last, after years of beaulieu’s involvement with his own housepress, & the magazines filling station & dANDelion & forthcoming Open Letter. After a while (a rest, perhaps), I do think he is going to miss it. At least I’m hoping.

Edmonton, Alberta: Staying a week with Andy “Mustang” Weaver (one of my favorite humans), I got to read with him at a special for their Olive reading series (April 27), which ended its fourth year of monthly readings (Weaver also recently had a first poetry manuscript accepted by NeWest Press, to appear in spring 2005). Produced as both reading & chapbook series (but only during the school year), they have produced monthly events & publications by various poets, including Dennis Cooley, Douglas Barbour, derek beaulieu, Sina Queyras (there she is again!), David O’Meara, Tim Bowling, myself, Stephen Brockwell, Louis Cabri, kath macLean & plenty others. Get a hold of them through oliveseries@hotmail.com

More to come. As soon as I finish unpacking.

rob mclennan, Ottawa

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