For Thin Air 2020 (The Winnipeg International Writers Festival), I’ll present a 90-minute Writing Craft Session entitled “A Taboo Is For Breaking: Writing About Daily Work.” The event will run Sat. Oct. 10, 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm Central Time, 11:30 am to 1:00 pm Pacific Time.
The Zoom session will consist of examples of contemporary job-based writing in several genres: poetry, fiction, non-fiction (memoir), and graphic novels. A writing exercise or two will hopefully also serve as a prompt to encourage people to add employment (including our work’s effects on us, both on and off the job) to literature’s traditional themes of love, death, and nature.
I was flattered to be invited in August to participate in this fall’s 24th annual Winnipeg International Writers Festival, known as Thin Air 2020. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the festival this year will consist of a website accessible from September 20 to October 12.
I’ll be contributing an audio reading from Watching a Man Break a Dog’s Back: Poems for a Dark Time, and possibly taking part in a pre-recorded Zoom book chat with a moderator. The festival’s interactive component includes plans for some authors to engage with readers in a scheduled virtual Q & A.(more…)
Wednesday, September 16 at 7:30 pm, I’ll be taking part in a “virtual live reading” online hosted by the Vancouver monthly reading series “POETS CORNER”. The Zoom reading will begin with an online open mike segment, and then myself and Gabriola Island poet Mark Warrior will each read for about 20 minutes.
Theme of the event is “poetry and work”. Mark is an old friend and former fellow member of the Vancouver Industrial Writers’ Union (1979-1993). His new book is a selected poems, Disappearing Minglewood Blues, published Spring 2020 by Salt Spring Island’s Mother Tongue Publishing.
You can hear my reading HERE.
I’ve been asked by the Slocan Lake Arts Council to convene a workshop on Writing About Community, on Sat. Aug. 15 and Sun. Aug. 16 at the Slocan Lake Arts Centre, 421 Lake Ave. (Highway 6 and 4th St.), Silverton BC.
The workshop will be limited to 6 people, due to pandemic health guidelines, as social distancing will be observed. Our focus will be on the people around us, in fiction, memoir, family history, or poems. The workshop will run from 9 am to 12 noon each day. (more…)
CBC Vancouver’s “North by Northwest”, the province-wide weekend morning radio arts show, ran an interview with me on Aug. 1. The interview, about Watching a Man Break a Dog’s Back: Poems For a Dark Time, includes me reading such poems from the collection as “Leaflets”.
North by Northwest with Sheryl MacKay – Saturday August 1 episode – 1:18:25 (after the 7:30 am news)
Talking with host Sheryl MacKay is always a delight, partly because of her boundless enthusiasm for what’s happening in the BC arts world, and partly because she’s such a fan of the West Kootenay. Long ago, the show was even broadcast live a few times from venues in Nelson, including the Capitol Theatre.
University of Toronto professor Robert McGill has developed an online anthology of Canadian poems, short fiction, and essays, published in English between 1964 and 1975, that respond to the Vietnam War. Canadian Literature of the Vietnam War went live in late April and includes four of my poems from that era.
Dr. McGill, a novelist and former Rhodes Scholar, is the author of War Is Here: The Vietnam War and Canadian Literature (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2017), which considers Canadian writers’ literary engagement with the war.
“Shift Happens,” the long-running Kootenay Co-op Radio show from Nelson BC, has transitioned to a weekly podcast. The inaugural offering is an interview with me based on my new book of poems and focused on what the society that emerges after the current virus pandemic eases might be like.
Tag-team interviewers Jeff Pilsner and Ana Bokstrom of New Denver BC, the podcast’s originators and hosts, aim to continue the program’s goal of exploring ideas not always considered in the “national conversation” or by the standard media outlets. Their concern is to explore which values are helpful and which detrimental to our human and biological communities.
Two planned book launches for my new collection of poems, Watching a Man Break a Dog’s Back: Poems for a Dark Time, have been indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The launches, April 1 in Nelson and June 1 in Vancouver, featured different musicians. I was very much looking forward to performing with them.
Whenever we emerge from lockdown, and people feel they can assemble again in groups without fear, I’ll reschedule these events. Speed the day!
The Ormsby Review, an online BC book review journal, has now posted an interview with me about my new book of poems from Harbour Publishing, Watching a Man Break a Dog’s Back: Poems for a Dark Time.
The interview is by Fredericton NB author and books publicist Nathaniel G. Moore. He emailed me with six questions covering the book’s title, the role of humour in literature, and the function of elegies, among other subjects. My favourite question was his request to describe “a good writing day”.
I was very pleased to learn that Helpless Angels, my 2017 title from Thistledown Press, has just been shortlisted for the Lohn Foundation Prize for Poetry, one of the 2020 Western Canada Jewish Book Awards. Originally, the winner was to be announced April 23, but due to the virus lockdown, the announcement has been postponed until “later in the fall.”
The Awards are presented biannually, but no poetry award was given in 2018 (covering books from 2016 and 2017). So this year, books in contention are from 2016 to 2019. In 2016 my book of Slocan Valley short fiction, The Shadows We Mistake for Love (2015), won their inaugural prize for fiction.