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.
The year 2020 began with the very good news in January that David Zieroth’s Alfred Gustav Press has accepted a chapbook of mine for publication in December 2020. The collection, entitled The House Dreaming in the Snow, brings together nine poems all set in B.C.’s Slocan Valley where I live. As the title suggests, many of them are wintry in nature.
Zieroth, 2009 Governor General’s Literary Award winner for poetry, started the micro-press in 2008, and since then has issued four small chapbooks approximately every six months. Over the past dozen years, the press—named for Zieroth’s father—has published such poets as Victoria’s Patricia Young, and two former writing students at Nelson’s David Thompson University Centre: Gerry Hill (a past Saskatchewan poet laureate) and Calvin Wharton (formerly head of the writing program at New Westminster’s Douglas College).
Two launches will be held to celebrate my new collection of poems, Watching a Man Break a Dog’s Back: Poems for a Dark Time. Both in Nelson on April 1, and in Vancouver on June 1, I’ll be partnering with musicians I performed with to launch previous books in 2017 and 2018.
In Nelson, Vernon singer-songwriter and author John Lent will be joining me for the launch reading at the Oxygen Art Centre, 320 Vernon St. (alley entrance) at 7:30 pm on Wednesday, April 1. Performing with John will be his brother Harry, who also has enjoyed a long career as a guitar player and singer. (more…)
Harbour Publishing, I’m excited to report, will release my new collection of poems in spring 2020. The book is called Watching a Man Break a Dog’s Back: Poems for a Dark Time. The poems arise, as the subtitle suggests, out of how the 21st Century feels so far: tainted by lack of empathy, unashamed lying by officials, pursuit of personal gain at the expense of family, community and the natural environment, and the pitting of groups of citizens against each other.
The title is taken from a line by Santa Cruz, California, poet Joseph Stroud, whom I write about in a blog connected to the June 2019 issue of Poetry. A poem in the new collection which uses his line as an epigraph, “O Calgary,” first appeared in that issue. (more…)
I was delighted to learn March 22 that If You’re Not Free at Work, Where Are You Free?: Literature and Social Change has been named a finalist, accompanied by a $1,000 US award, in the Poetry Foundation’s 2019 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism competition. The Pegasus Award “seeks to honor the best book-length works of criticism published in the US in the prior calendar year… that consider the subject of poetry or poets.”
The Poetry Foundation is the publisher of Poetry magazine, (more…)
Keith Liggett, Workshop Director for the St. Eugene Writers Conference, has invited me to lead a multi-genre workshop Feb. 22 to 24 at the St. Eugene Resort just north of Cranbrook, BC. I’m calling the workshop “Literary Building Supplies,” based on the idea that although the workshop is open to writers of either prose (fiction or nonfiction) or poetry, certain elements are common to constructing all good stories, and these elements are what we’ll focus on besides participants’ own work. Among the aspects of narrative we’ll consider that are necessary to craft effective stories are plot, setting, character creation, and employment of all five senses.
More information on the Writers Conference, (more…)
Everything happens someplace. And on Saturday, Feb. 9, I’m going to be conducting an all-genre workshop in Nakusp, BC, on the importance of the setting, of the local, in people’s fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. The workshop runs from 1 to 4 pm, is open to all, and will be held in the same building as the Nakusp Library (in the back), 92 – 6th Ave. NW. Cost is $25.
To register, please contact (more…)
As part of the promotion for my new collection of selected essays and interviews 1994-2014, If You’re Not Free At Work, Where Are You Free?: Literature and Social Change, I’m going to be reading from the new book on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at Vancouver’s Book Warehouse Main St., 4118 Main St.
Events at the store tend to start at 6:30 pm. Reading with me on Nov. 6 will be If You’re Not Free at Work’s publisher, Michael Mirolla of Toronto’s Guernica Editions. (more…)
Vernon singer-songwriter-author-educator John Lent will be joining me on Tuesday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson, BC to help me launch my new collection of selected essays and interviews 1994-2014, If You’re Not Free at Work, Where Are You Free? Literature and Social Change (Guernica Editions).