I was happy to receive the good news that Harbour Publishing has accepted a new collection of my poems, Out of the Ordinary, for publication in 2023 or, more likely, 2024. The book’s poems are direct or indirect responses to how life during the 21st century generally and the years of the pandemic lockdown specifically have felt anything but usual.
On June 21, at the Vancouver Public Library’s main branch, I spoke at a presentation ceremony for BC’s 2022 George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for the literary arts. The same ceremony presents the province’s George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature.
Here I am with VPL chief librarian Christina de Castell (centre) and 2022 Ryga Award winner Alexandra Morton, honoured for her book Not on My Watch about the danger posed to BC’s wild salmon by open-net fish farming.
You can read my talk here, along with an assessment of my work by George Woodcock himself from the 1990s.
An account of the inspiration for, and writing of, a poem of mine is featured on the website for the Waterloo, Ontario-based literary magazine, The New Quarterly. TNQ’s website includes a section called “Finding the Form”, and in June the magazine posted there my tale of how I came to write “Papyrus,” a poem published in TNQ’s issue no 162 (Spring 2022).
I will be part of the ALL-STAR READING on Saturday evening, June 25 at Nelson, BC’s Elephant Mountain Literary Festival. The event, 7:30 to 9:30 pm, also features Fernie, BC novelist and memoirist Angie Abdou, Vancouver, BC fiction writer Shaena Lampert, and UBC tree biologist Suzanne Simard. Lampert is the 2022 EMLF writer-in-residence.
The ALL-STAR READING will be held at the Prestige Lakeside Resort, 701 Lakeside Drive.
Admission is $20. Tickets are available on the EMLF website, emlfestival.com
On March 11, I was delighted to learn that I had been given BC’s 2022 George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award.
Since 1994, the prize has honoured an outstanding literary career in the province. The award, which comes with a $5,000 honorarium, is presented jointly by the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Public Library, and BC BookWorld, partnered with the Writersʼ Trust of Canada and Yosef Wosk.(more…)
The Spring 2022 issue of Eastern Washington University’s literary magazine, Willow Springs, includes a long poem of mine, “Poems in Winter.”
Along with accepting the poem, the editors asked for a recording of me reading it, plus a written discussion of it for their website. Formerly, they also asked authors what they are currently reading. Their new question asks writers to talk about a favourite thing under the heading “Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.” I wrote about how good a snack tastes at the top of the Nelson cross-country ski club’s Clearwater trail, which is 7 km of relentless climbing.
The Willow Springs material can be accessed HERE.
In September, I was pleased to be asked to help celebrate Winnipeg’s Turnstone Press’ 45th anniversary by participating in an online reading series.
In the video, I read brief excerpts from my two books published by Turnstone.(more…)
I was pleased to learn in late August that a suite of my poems was one of five finalists for ELQ/Exile Literary Quarterly’s annual Gwendolyn MacEwan Poetry Prize. My entry, titled “Papyrus Requiem” consisted of a series of elegies for my long-time close friend and fellow writer, the California poet Dennis Saleh, who died in November 2020.
Winner this year was Yvonne Blomer, the fourth Victoria BC poet laureate, 2015-2018.
I had won the Prize in 2015 with a long poem on some aspects of the Grail myth, “The Question.” The following year my entry was shortlisted in the competition’s Best Poem category.
On May 30 at 1 pm PDT, I’ll be one of five readers presenting our work on Sheri-D Wilson’s Dogwood Rose Reading Series. Sheri-D started the series to encourage literary connections between BC and Alberta.
Reading with me also representing BC will be Joseph Dandurand, who was the 2019 Vancouver Public Library Indigenous storyteller-in-residence. Representing Alberta will be 2016-2018 Calgary poet laureate Micheline Maylor, current Calgary poet laureate Natalie Meisner, and Lethbridge editor and author Yvonne Trainer.
After the May 30 reading, the event will be archived on the Dogwood Rose Reading Series YouTube channel.
On May 13, I was interviewed by Calgary author and professor Aaron Giovannone for his podcast “Sweater Weather”. The interview covered material arising from my 2018 essay collection, If You’re Not Free at Work, Where Are You Free: Literature and Social Change (Guernica Editions). Aaron had me read two poems: “The Country of Everyday: Literary Criticism” from my 1974 poetry collection, For and Against the Moon (Macmillan of Canada), and “O Calgary” from my latest collection, Watching a Man Break a Dog’s Back: Poems for a Dark Time (Harbour, 2020).
Video and audio of the interview is available here. (The interview is available on many platforms.)(more…)