Excellent news in December that the prairie road trip I took with musicians John Lent and Mark Nishihara last June in support of Helpless Angels is going to continue. We’ve now been invited to perform at the Saskatchewan Festival of Words, the provincial literary festival in Moose Jaw July 19 to 22.
Festival executive director Sarah Simison says that besides our show, John and I will each be doing additional readings, and John and Mark will also be playing at a brunch event on the Sunday. Details to follow!
As Willie Nelson says:
On the road again:
like a band of gypsies we go down the highway.
We’re the best of friends
Insisting that the world keep turning our way
And our way is on the road again.
The new year started most enjoyably with an invitation to participate in Vernon, BC’s Spoke Literary Festival, August 10 to 12. Sponsored by a local writers’ group, the event, now in its third year, features eight writers, mainly from the Thompson-Okanagan region. One author is invited from outside the area, which this summer I guess would be me.
Each writer runs a two-hour workshop on the Saturday and again on the Sunday, and participates in a group reading on the Saturday evening. I’ll post here later the focus of my workshop.
I was very pleased to learn that Arc magazine has awarded me their Confederation Poets Prize for 2017, given for the best poem published in the magazine during 2016.
Arc, which is published in Ottawa, says the $250 prize “is named in recognition of a group of Canadian poets who were born around the time of… Confederation” (Charles G.D. Roberts, Bliss Carman, Archibald Lampman, and Duncan Campbell Scott are mentioned).
My poem, “Literally,” appeared in the Winter 2016 issue. (more…)
As part of the St. Eugene Writers’ Conference, I’ll be offering a poetry writing workshop at the St. Eugene Resort just north of Cranbrook BC, Nov. 10 to 12. The Conference is directed by Fernie’s Keith Liggett, and also features three-day workshops in finding one’s voice, screenwriting, and fiction. A four-day manuscript evaluation workshop and a one-day self-publishing workshop are also part of the conference.
I’m calling my workshop “The Sea, The Forest and the Open Field,” with the idea that contemporary poetry, (more…)
Late in August, Harbour Publishing head Howard White asked me, together with Harbour’s Emma Skagen, to edit an anthology of poems honoring the 100th birthday of Canadian poet Al Purdy, who died in 2000. I was delighted to accept this request, since I had a long history with Purdy, and in fact owe him a lot.
I first met him when he was a guest in an undergraduate poetry writing workshop at UBC I had taken, conducted by Earle Birney. (more…)
I was very pleased to hear last month from Guernica Editions, publisher of my forthcoming selection of essays and interviews 1994-2014 entitled If You’re Not Free at Work, Where Are You Free?: Literature and Social Change, that the book will now be published in spring 2018 rather than spring 2019 as originally planned.
Guernica put me in touch with cover and book designer David Moratto, and after we considered a number of possible cover concepts he came up with one we both liked.
The Summer 2017 issue of BC BookWorld contains a nice account of the background to, and contents of, my new Thistledown Press collection of music poems, Helpless Angels. The article mentions the gist of the book’s introduction regarding the technological changes over the decades that have resulted in us now being the first people in history to be able to listen to any music we want, any place we go, at any time of the day or night we choose. A defense of Bob Dylan’s 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, which was awarded after the introduction was written, is also part of BC BookWorld’s look at Helpless Angels.
To launch my new collection of poems about music, Helpless Angels, I’m happy to say that a series of events is planned for May and June across Western Canada, in Calgary, Nelson, Vernon, Vancouver, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton. All but the first one celebrate the book’s theme by involving performances by a variety of musicians presenting several musical styles. The initial reading features a former writing student from my days teaching at the U of Calgary, who has just had his first book published.
Here is the lineup… (more…)