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Monday, May 31, 2004

True story...people read this blog.

After reading my weblog, Stephen Morrissey, a "Vehicule poet" back in the day, sent me an email this morning to send his best wishes and also a recommended reading: a short story by Miriam Waddington's husband, Patrick, called "The Street that got Mislaid", 'which could be about some little street in the Plateau,' according to Mr. Morrissey. Sounds interesting. Consider this a mental note to look for this story. (By the way, Mr. Morrissey's web site is one of the cleanest and well organized web sites I have have ever seen. It is designed by Stephen's son, Jake. Worth reading: his bio and his selected poems offered online.)

As you probably know, poet Miriam Waddington passed away this March and a stanza from one of her poems now appears on the 2004 Canadian one hundred dollar bank note. Come to think of it, I have not even had possession of a $100 dollar bill in about 20 years, old or new. A hundred dollars for a stanza of poetry?! And when you think of it, each bill is a 'limited' edition, numbered copy, each one unique thanks to the serial number. Do retailers even accept bills in this denomination? Alas! This is another topic entirely.

In any event, to those who missed the Vehicule Poetry cabaret this past April in Montréal--you surely missed quite an entertaining musical retrospective. Cabaret Vehicule was performed by Step Dans Fuego directed by Liz Valdez Here is a group photo I took of the Vehicule poets, minus Artie Gold. Sitting in for Mr. Gold was Ruth Taylor--sitting, appropriately enough, front row first on left. A Canadian Vehicule Poet road show could be (re)started, perhaps? If this does not happen any time soon, you can always purchase a couple of books about the Vehicule poets here and here. Music not included. Reading is fun! Enjoy!

June 1st Update: After hearing from Stephen Morrissey, Vehicule poet vet Claudia Lapp also contacted me to send her 'smiles from the lush and flowery Willamette Valley.' Unfortunately, she was looking away during the group photo (above) I took. However, her husband got a couple of shots of this brief moment after the cabaret. It's nice to see there is some great communication among this diversely talented group of poets. This post leaves me wondering if anyone else has something to say about the event? I have seen a few articles online promoting the event but none reviewing the performance.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Morley Callaghan in the news...

Here is a brief exerpt from the Globe and Mail article,
"Pertinent context is provided by introductions by four writers: Alistair MacLeod, André Alexis, Anne Michaels and Margaret Atwood. Atwood's piece is the best short essay on Callaghan I've seen, as she explains succinctly who he was, as both artist and Canadian social phenomenon. And MacLeod's comment that, for Callaghan, "the aim of good writing" is "to simply reveal the truth" points up how anachronistic his project would seem to many today, when the idea of truth itself has become problematic, let alone the possibility of its being unequivocally revealed in fiction."

Friday, May 21, 2004

Friday comments on some readings

I went to rob mclennan's successful book launch last night. This marks his ninth book of poetry published. Every seat had a butt in it, so I must assume it was successful. rob has been touring on the road for almost a month now and is home briefly before the tour continues. I sat next to Oni 'T.H.S.' Joseph. (Listen to Oni and George Elliot Clarke here on CBC.) A treat as always to see her. She now working on CBC Radio One on Saturdays 5:05pm. She also proudly showed me the article that McLean's magazine (special sex ed. with Sue Johanson on cover - May 17) did on her teaching of AIDS awareness to children. I looked in a magazine store today to read more about it, but the issue was sold out the first day! Ottawa TV/Radio personality, Ken Rockburn's son even has a quote at the end the article. Nevertheless, I picked up a copy of the lastest ed. of The Walrus (June 2004). This particular copy is worth the money for the three pieces I read so far: The Literary Life: Gained in Translation by Wayne Johnston, the feature, Game Theories by Clive Thompson, and a brief essay called The Bookbinder.

Johnston shares with us the not so 'accurate' process of an author's journey into getting translated. A process that involved late night and early morning calls from the translators to the authors with questions of clarification and interpretation. Particularly hilarious moments Johnstons shares with us are: The initial German translation of his The Colony of Unrequited Dreams turns out to be The Territory of Unrelenting Nightmares: this was a literal translation of the German, Die Kolonie der unerfϋllten Träume which was the Enlish title quoted back to him by his team of translators...nice. Another funny moment in the essay is when the Dutch translators went to St. John's, Newfoundland to get a first hand impression to get their creative juices flowing - the author has not lived there for almost a decade at this point - unknown to the publisher who sent the two there. Here is the snippet of the conversation between the translators and Johnston:

"...I asked them, how was their "research" progressing?
"We have found Sheilagh Fielding," one of the women said. I assumed that she meant, that from staying in St. John's, the had "found" the essence of the main, non-histoical character in Colony.
"That's wonderful," I said.
"We found her in a bar called the Ship Inn," the poet-translator said. "She was sitting by herself just as we expected. She is just as you described her in your book."
I began to explain that Fielding was entirely fictional and that, even if she were real, it was unlikely that she would be frequenting bars, as she would recently have celebrated her one hundred and first birthday. Also, trying to imagine whom they had "discovered," I expressed my hope that they had not introduced themselves to her.
"Oh no. We would never speak to Fielding," the woman said. "She has such a sharp tongue."
"In the book, yes," I said, "but she doesn't actually--"
"We both agree that you didn't entire do justice to her face."
"But you will not change my description of her, will you?" I said.

The last funny bit in the article is his experience of getting translated in Japanese... and the six sex scenes added to spice up his book, The Bird Artist. "They increased the length of the book by about a third." Gained in translation, indeed.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

The Factory Reading Series

Thursday, May 20 Ottawa ON.

rob mclennan launches what's left as part of The Factory Reading Series at Gallery 101, 236 Nepean Street (1/2 block west of Bank Street), 7:30pm.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Bywords, Bywords, Bywords!

Here is a shameless plug for a superb little journal that I buy everytime I see it in the magazine store where I shop!
From their web site:

"Bywords publishes on a monthly basis poems on the web, a Calendar of Literary Events, and the Bywords Quarterly Journal. Its aims are to publish emerging and established poets who reside, study or work in Ottawa. Bywords will reflect Ottawa's rich multicultural diversity.

Bywords was founded in the Fall of 1990 by a group of editors, staff, students, and alumni of the University of Ottawa. The group was brought together by Heather Ferguson of Agawa Press, Seymour Mayne of the Department of English, and Gwen Guth, a doctoral graduate in the Department.

The team is a dedicated group of motivated volunteers who would like to make Bywords a strong literary force in Ottawa. Our goal is to turn into the focal point for Ottawa poetry, literary information, and events.

The editors of Bywords welcome all submissions. No one approach or group of writers is given preference. Instead, Bywords is open to all practitioners of the genre and attempts to reflect the diversity of practice in the Ottawa area."

...Did I mention they added a link to my web log on their page too? That's just darn nice of them. I must submit some of my post-post-modernist poetry some day to enlighten the Ottawa poetry reading public. I guess I better re-think this idea. Hmmmm... Poetry.