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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

rob mclennan poetry workshops

at Collected Works Bookstore, Wellington & Holland, Ottawa, happening Wednesday nights: January 25, February 1, 8, 22 & March 1,8, 22 & 29. $200 for 8 weeks. 7pm to 9pm.
for information, contact rob mclennan at or 613-239-0337

Bad Sex - Always a Good Read

The Guardian talks about the longlisted books in the race for the 'bad sex award' this year. Be forewarned; it's horrific.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

García Márquez's Wan Novella

"Wan novella" is probably how one editor of The Guardian attibutes Alberto Manguel's take on Gabriel García Márquez's latest effort, Memories of My Melancholy Whores. Wan is being polite. Specifically, Manguel uses phrases such as, "...never seems to extend beyond the mere smutty story", "Even García Márquez's in these pages flat and conventional", "incomprehensible or banal", "Edith Grossman [translator] has competently rendered García Márquez's simple Spanish into simple English, and generously bettered at times certain uninspired words".

Manguel's competent review concludes with "In Memories of My Melancholy Whores, García Márquez allowed his old Charon to forget, and the resulting memories are not melancholy, not even sad, but merely pitiful and disappointing."

Not wanting to be dissuaded by Manguel's compelling commentary, I bought the book off as I much prefer their unadulterated and unbowdlerized image of a detail from Rebecca by H.A. von Behr on the dust jacket than the U.S. edition. I received the book in the mail this evening and I finished the book by 10pm. I only wish I had the decades of reading under my belt to challenge Manguel's insightful review. I did enjoy the story for what it was, however. I was not moved beyond the thrill I had for the old man who got to recall his past lovers and still getting it at 90.

Monday, November 28, 2005

An Evening With Frances Itani

Monday, November 28, 2005, 6 pm at the Canadian War Museum

Frances Itani is the prize-winning local author of Deafening (2003) and Poached Egg on Toast (2004). Click here to read more about Frances. Cocktails and a silent auction will begin at 6 p.m., Followed by a sit-down dinner at 6:45 p.m. After an informal on-stage interview by a media personality, Frances will take questions from the audience.

Ottawa Mayor Bob Chiarelli talks with author Frances Itani. Ted Itani in background.

[Left to Right] Scott Taylor, Andrew Cohen, Richard Gwyn, Frances Itani, and Pat MacAdam

Ottawa Public Library Foundation’s Literary Gala raises awareness and money for important library services

Ottawa (Nov. 28, 2005) - The 10th annual Literary Gala at the Canadian War Museum, featuring renowned Canadian author Frances Itani, raised approximately $30,470 for the Ottawa Public Library Foundation (OPLF). The funds will help support Library services and tools used for adaptive technology and outreach such as Daisy players, Braille books, Daisy CDs, and the Homebound Service which provides books for people of all ages who may be isolated due to health and mobility issues.

Hosted by the OPL Foundation and presented by TD Bank Financial Group, the Gala was quite a success with more than 320 supporters in attendance. Many business and community leaders, including Mayor Bob Chiarelli, Honorary Chair, were on hand to celebrate outstanding Canadian literature and to enjoy an evening of gourmet food along with a silent auction, author reading, interviews and book signings.

“This event illustrates the community’s significant support for our library system.” said Honorary Chair, Mayor Bob Chiarelli.

" For the past several years, the annual Literary Gala has been the centrepiece of the OPL Foundation's fundraising efforts,” said OPL Foundation Chair David Daubney. “The dinners have been fun, informative and financially successful. This year's gala featuring local author Frances Itani promises to continue that tradition. On behalf of the thousand of library users who will benefit from the proceeds of Literary Gala 2005, I would like to thank the dinner committee, other volunteers, sponsors and of course attendees whose generosity will help us strengthen the public library system in the Nation's Capital,” he added.

The 2005 Gala was organized by the OPL Foundation under the direction of Executive Director Mona Forrest, and with the support of numerous volunteers including well-known author Charlotte Gray.

"The Literary Gala raises funds for meaningful literacy programs and services," said City Councillor Rick Chiarelli, Library Board Chair. "The funds raised benefit the Library but target the user with special needs. We believe that Library services should be equal for each resident and the Ottawa Public Library Foundation helps us attain this goal."

Co-sponsors included: Canadian Musical Odyssey, Canadian Video Services Inc., Confersense Planners Inc., Emond Harnden, Mosaid Technology Inc., the Ottawa Citizen, the Phoenix Group of Companies, Real Decoy, TD Bank Financial Group, and Whitehots.

The Ottawa Public Library Foundation:

Contact: Al Roberts , Manager, Community Partnerships and Programming
Ottawa Public Library
580-2424 ext. 41240



On Thursday December 1 Ottawa Storytellers will host a story swap at the Library and Archives of Canada.

Everyone is invited to come and tell and / or listen to stories.

If you want to tell a story, just register with the Host for the evening. In order to give as many people as possible the chance to tell, stories should be limited to about 10 minutes.

The swap will take place in Room 156, Library and Archives of Canada (395 Wellington St.) from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided at the break (8:30 – 8:50).

Free parking is available in the lot just east of the Library and Archives Building (entrance opposite Lyon St.)

As always, admission is free.

Further information: 722-2606 or

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Today's blog brought to you by...

Manx Ketchup. Always fresh and red.

In other news, The Globe and Mail put out their annual top 100 books. From a quick glance, I can live with it this year.

Blogging in Ottawa

Many years ago, when I was a high school teacher, I made my students write in their journals every day. Some groaned at the thought of the strenuous act of writing. You would think I asked them to wash their clothes on the rocks down by the river. Many, thankfully, liked the routine. They could write about what ever they wanted for 20 minutes. Some liked the vagueness and some preferred structure. My English teachers encouraged me to keep a journal when I was their age and I quite enjoyed the task. My entries, however, were so ephemeral and the pages were eventually tossed. I kept nothing.

Times change. With the increasingly available internet technology, more weblogs or online journals are started every day. The word "blog" was the Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year 2004. 'Democracy', incidentally was the previous year's word. And it's this online democracy that allows for millions of people writing, linking, creating and sharing thoughts anonymously or publicly.

Blog: noun [short for Weblog] (1999): a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer., a popular indexer of blogs, currently lists over 21 million of them. announces that it provides the ability of international writers with alphabets or character sets other than the western iso-8859-1. This is important communications feature in a global blogosphere. And it seems that the web space given to host your documents and photos are ever increasing into the gigabyte range. There are news blogs, literary blogs, personal blogs, promotional blogs, and even blogs about blogs (they're called meta-blogs).

The photograph that I bought for my wife's birthday present came from photographer and Ottawa blogger, Lana Stewart. If that name's familiar it's because Lana's photoblog,, was voted Ottawa's Best Blog by Alex Munter in the spring of 2005 in the Ottawa Citizen. Photoblogs, a sub-category of a blog, are usually frequently updated.

I also enjoy the photojournalistic style of Alex Cairncross's photographs. He has a photoblog at to complement his own web site. Cairncross says, “Blogging has changed my photography in the sense that I’m able to get my stuff out there more quickly and easily. It also inspires me to take photos more often for myself and also so I can share them with others and receive feedback.”

Feedback seems to be an important part of the process of blogging. Pearl Pirie of says, “By writing in a public interactive forum, I can see what resonated, fell flat or how people interpret differently than I intended, unlike when one of my articles is published in print. With publishing online I am more conscious of my impact on particular readers so look for a positive outlook when I am living, not only when I am writing because I found it's true: [almost] Nobody likes sad songs. I can see the readership go up or down so it's like biofeedback training for writing.”

People may have mixed feelings toward the internet in general, let alone placing their thoughts down for the anonymous public to gawk at. Despite the ease of creating your own space, there may be too many choices. It might be simply that people just don't know where to start. Or if they have started writing the question might be, "How do I get people to read my blog?" Reading, linking to other like-minded sites, and leaving comments may be the best way to get noticed if that option is available.

This column that you are reading is the very product of my weblog. I was initially inspired by my mother's kitchen calendar. She has a collection of calendars going back decades with neatly printed notes pertinent to our family life. I similarly got the urge to carry on my own recording of daily events - online. Blogging provides the opportunity to view another person's life unfold in their own blog or see a snapshot or moment in time of an event that one could not necessarily get to.

There is plenty of activity online in Ottawa. Like the works of James Joyce, or Samuel Beckett? You then might want to read Stephen Rowntree's blog, Stephen's gorgeous and sometimes painful writing reminds me that there is also a very literate side to blogging - that a blog is not just a place to complain about daily aggravations and posting photos of one's cat, but it can be a place to be inspired, to learn, and be challenged. He feels that writing should be evocative, “that it should evoke thought and that there is no one meaning to poetry.” Writing, for Rowntree and probably many others, is therapy. Want to create your own blog? Students, take out your journals and
This column originally appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on December 4th, 2005


The Golden Star Lounge bridges language and culture by VERSING THE SOLITUDES:

Thursday, December 1, 2005 East African Restaurant 376 Rideau Street 7:30 PM - 10:30 PM Admission $7.00

Featuring, from Montreal, FORTNER ANDERSON

Fortner Anderson poems are found on several CD compilations on the label, and have been published in Poetry Nation (Vehicule Press, 1998) and the Short Fuse anthology (Rattapallax, 2002). His own CD “sometimes I think” and his brand new release, "six silk purses." He as a feature performer at the Banff Centre (Alberta), The Rivoli (Toronto), St-Mark's Church (New York City), Festival des Voix D'ameriques (Montreal), the Monde Parallèlle 50 Festival de littérature in Lille, France, and in Genoa, Italy where he opened the 8th edition of the Genoa International Poetry Festival.

Also featuring the dynamic stylings of reknowned Outaouais poet, EDDY GARNIER.

Along with the powerful spoken words of poet extraordinaire, MARCEL JOSEPH

With OPEN MIC hosted by the NTH DIGRI.

More details on the GSL site at further info, contact or (613) 720-9156

Friday, November 25, 2005

Ottawa Independent Writers Book Fair 2005

Saturday, November 26 & Sunday, November 27
Assembly Hall at Lansdowne Park, 1015 Bank St., Ottawa.

I'm gettin' ready for holiday reading! See you there.
Also in town at the Manx Pub:
Plan 99's End or Autumn Reading Series host David Seymour and Karen Solie today, Saturday, November 26 at 5pm

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Haddon's PG Poems

The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea is Mark Haddon's follow-up to his zanily popular Curious Incident of the something in the some time or another. This is another multi-word title that will certainly be forgotten and or ridiculed among his readership. This slim 60 page book is not a novel, however. Figuring I would like anything that Haddon would produce in the future, from reading his autistic sleuth story, I made the purchase. I was 'curious' to read of Haddon's poetic side.

I was unimpressed at most of the pages that I flipped about, till I landed on "This Poem is Certificate 18". I laughed. It's sort of a ironic poetic mini-manifesto which describes what constitutes suitable reading material, i.e. for those under 18. (Don't ask me what a ironic-poetic-mini-manifesto is... it just sounds right.) To be precise, the inside flap describes the poem as an example of a "wry postmodern shenanigan" what ever the heck that means. Definitely written for a "mature" audience and not for the little 'uns - unless you want to explain what happens in a McDonald's restaurant en route to the airport, or what the baby-sitter does on the kiln fired tiles of her employer's bathroom. Otherwise, I would pass up on this book and stick with the maudlin memories you had when you read his doggie mystery.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Governor General's Literary Awards 2005

Poet, critic, and anthologist Anne Compton won the Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry with her book Processional.

Author and journalist, David Gilmour, sits for a spell after winning the prize for his latest effort, A Perfect Night to Go to China.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

See you at the GG Awards!

Last year I would have never thought that just buying and reading books would get me into Rideau Hall. Tomorrow I'll be there covering the Governor General's Literary Awards - taking notes and photos. How cool is that? Nigel Beale, who reminded me of the event, will be interviewing GG award winner, David Gilmour, A Perfect Night to Go to China.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Existing Here: a very short foreword

This is entirely a work of non-fiction, but its characters and events are wholly fictional. Any dissimilarity to past or present characters - especially future ones - is purely by design, and all identification with any character or event is intended.

(apologies to Jerzy)

Poet for Doctor

Poet shortage has worsened, OPA report says Province in the midst of a deepening poet resources crisis

TORONTO? - The stability of Ontario's poet care system is "at risk" due to the shortage of poets -- especially family poets -- according to a new study prepared for the Ontario Poetry Association.

The Canadian Poetry Press obtained a copy of the report, prepared by the OPA's human resources committee, which said the poet shortage in Ontario had become much worse since it first warned the problem represented a "looming crisis" in 1999.

"The year 2005 finds the province in the midst of a deepening poet resources crisis," it concludes.

"Family poetry in particular has deteriorated into a dying specialty and requires urgent resuscitation."

Last Thursday, the Poet Minister announced an additional $33 million in government funding for poetry schools to create 141 new family poetry positions in the province next year. The Poet Minister said that means there will be 337 more family poets ready to read by 2008.

The OPA's report acknowledged the government's efforts to address the poet shortage, but gave the province an overall grade of C, and said much more must be done.
"The government has taken a number of steps to increase the number of poets trained in Ontario, and certifying those who trained abroad...(and) to make Ontario more competitive with other jurisdictions," The OPA president said in an e-mail exchange with The Canadian Poetry Press.

"Unfortunately there remains more to do before we will see real improvements in the ability of poetry readers to access the necessary poems that poets provide in our communities."

The OPA report said the province needs at least 2,100 poets. It estimated there are 1.2 million Ontario poetry readers without a family poet -- 10 per cent of the population -- and warned that number would grow to 1.4 million in 2006.

Ontario now is seventh in Canada for the population per poet ratio, ahead of only the much less populous provinces of New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island.

The report also warned the number of poets working in specialties with long waiting lists -- such as Rhyming Services, Alliteration, Synecdoche and Haiku (Basho-Style) -- is also declining.

"Even worse, OPA projections indicate a further deterioration of the poet supply over the next five years, despite the efforts taken to ease the shortage."
Writing from Sault Ste. Marie, Professor Poet said he heard about the problem in every one of the 22 Ontario communities he's visited in the last few months to meet with municipal leaders, poets and poetry readers.

"The Number 1 concern in each of those communities remains the poet shortage," he said.

The report warned that statistics alone "don't adequately describe the depth of the problem," noting that while the poet population is aging and putting more demands on the system, poets are getting older too.

It found 19 per cent of practising poets -- about 4,100 Ontario poets -- are over age 60, and 11 per cent -- or 2,300 poets -- are over age 65.
"Retirement alone will greatly impact poet supply over the next five years, while many other older poets will be scaling back their readings, adding to the overall shortage of poetry readings," it said.

The report provides a lengthy list of recommendations to address the shortage, and said the government should make it easier for poets from other provinces to work in Ontario and for the more than 10,000 Canadian-trained poets working in the United States to return and work here.

"Much more can be done to successfully and quickly recruit excellent poets from this pool," it said.

The OPA also wants the province to make family poetry a much more attractive option for students, with better financial incentives, and also give poets more opportunities to re-certify in another writing specialty.

(apologies to Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press) The original article appeared here.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Where's Margaret?

Are you there Margaret? It's me, John.

Wasn't Ms. Atwood supposed to be in Ottawa (virtually anyway with her unotouchit - formally called the "Unotchit") this week signing her Penelopiad book? Her event seems to have been removed from the author events in Ottawa this coming 23rd of November. However,, an affiliate site to Random House of Canada, still lists the event (as of today). The website does say on their behalf, "Please note that these dates and events are subject to change." (Just thought I would let you know.)

Author Neil Gaiman goes on the record stating unapologetically earlier this year,"...I think Margaret Atwood's remote mechanical book-signing apparatus is the work of the devil, or at least a really really stupid idea." And blogger Georganna Hancock, also reflecting on Gaiman's remarks quips,"Has Margaret Atwood lost her mind?" In Atwood's defence, she's quoted in the Guardian Unlimited, "Last time I did a tour in Britain it was pretty horrendous," she said. "This will mean a lot less angst, inconvenience, starvation, sitting in airports and eating out of minibars." Poor Margaret.

The article ends with a promising(?) silver lining, however, "Far from estranging author and audience, Atwood said, the machine was 'a democratising device' which could help authors who were not stars, and often missed out on signing tours. Her invention could change all that." Change what exactly? What are the actual publicists saying -- those who have to, among other important duties, schlep the non-stars around town to the venues? Where does this device leave them? (Some may just say, "Publicist? You have a publicist?!) Does this emperor / 'star' have no clothes?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Breakfast with the Dean

I and a handful of other fellow Ottawa Alumni of the Faculty of Education at McGill University met at the National Press Club with the Dean, Roger Slee. It was a pleasant opportunity to meet a variety of people in this interesting, historical location on Sparks Street.

'Roger & Me'

Jennifer Coutlee, Alumni Relations and Special Events Associate with Roger Slee, Dean Faculty of Education, and Anita Nowak, Development and Alumni Relations Officer.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Talented Tongues In Your Ear

You know you're at a special event when the venue reaches...and surpasses the maximum seating (fire) capacity. They were practically turning away the featured readers who happened to show up late. Yes, it's a trite remark to say that 'sex sells' and it certainly sells tickets in Ottawa on a cool November night. Yes, erotica ruled the night at Venus Envy's spacious new location Friday evening. Ritallin and a bevy of other talented writers: Suki Lee (Ottawa launch of With A Rough Tongue in which she has a short story), Sylvie Hill, Nichole McGill, Amanda Earl, among others performed at the new Talented Tongues reading series. The event was hosted by the whimsical pair, Lisa Slater and Mary Alice Elcock.

Ritallin a.k.a. Greg Frankson, the night's only male reader, gets randy on stage.

Sylvie Hill, a columnist in the Ottawa Xpress, is a great read in any genre.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Happy Birthday Archibald Lampman!

Dead Poets Live!
At Beechwood Cemetery, of course.

Mr. Lampman is 144 years old today, and we remembered him in a poetic and musical celebration as he rests at Beechwood this cold blustery evening in November. Congratulations to the Poet's Hill Committee (which is comprised of The Ottawa Literary Heritage Society, Beechwood Cemetery Foundation and the Greenspace Alliance of Canada's Capital) on hosting a fine evening. Thank you.

Steven Artelle, director of the Ottawa Literary Heritage Society with his wife, Margarita Garcia.

Gwendolyn Guth read one of Duncan Campbell Scott's sonnets, "For Remembrance", and "The Cave" by the late John Newlove.

[LtoR] Roger Boult (Beechwood Cemetery), Steven Artelle (Ottawa Literary Heritage Society), Daphne McCree (Greenspace Alliance of Canada's Capital), Mike Heenan, Vera Yuzyk (Beechwood Cemetery Foundation), Erwin Dreessen (Greenspace Alliance of Canada's Capital)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Little pleasant splashes

Seamus Heaney. website
a poem dedicated to his late mother [From Clearances - 3]. go to this link and hear the man read it himself.

In Memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984

When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other's work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives--
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

17 Nov Update.
- so far two emails from poets ready to share their books... thanks! But just looking for suggested titles, but anything of Heaney's is good I suppose.

See also:

David Gilmour wins GG Award for fiction

A Perfect Night to go to China : A Novel

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

STILL MY EYESORE: New Works by Andrew Farrell

Vernissage : Friday November 18th, 7:30pm - 10:30pm
Preview : Thursday November 17th, 2:00pm - 6:00pm

Artguise Fine Art Supplier and Gallery
590 Bank St.Ottawa, ON Canada

Monday, November 14, 2005

Deafened: a very quiet short story

Leslie appreciates her hearing. Thus concerned, six months prior, she began wearing ear muffs in the city. [Not just winter ear muffs, they were construction grade - the big plastic yellow ones.] At first she wore them on the bus and on lunch-time walks. She removed them during polite conversation.

Things progressed, however.

She started to wear them to bed. To work. At the swimming pool. As Leslie had not yet learned to lip read, she insisted others write down their messages on a whiteboard she kept. She even considered getting fitted with a (non-functional) hearing aid. Irritated by her incomprehensible behaviour, Leslie isolated herself from those she knew. Leslie sought and made new friends with the Deaf. She will attend her first all-Deaf cruise this February. Wan ears are easily sunburned.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Beechwood, 150 years of Ottawa

Sunday, August 28: I had to make a few decisions. The Rolling Stones Concert, the Nepean Museum or in-line skating. In the end, I did all three – sort of. Okay, it was not one of those life or death decisions. It was the last day of The Ottawa Literary Society exhibit which featured works of local poets as the museum celebrated the 110th Anniversary of the ‘war of the poets’. August 28 was the exhibit’s last day and a good opportunity to brush up on my poetic history (which I had been putting off since the exhibit with the catchy title opened in June.)

Also, my wife wanted to go in-line skating by the canal on this beautiful Sunday, and it would be good for me to get some much needed exercise for the upcoming book festival season. We parked at the corner of Colonel By and Bronson and set out. I preferred to walk as I had my camera with me and I did not want to take an unwanted spill. Besides, it gave me time to take photos along the way and write down notes for this column. A cloudy morning of the 28th which promised rain made way for a warm, sunny afternoon on the Rideau Canal. Athletic-looking people sped by me in their summer sports attire. I believe I was the only one walking. Even the Ottawa Queen of Paul’s Boat Lines passed me as it floated toward’s the mouth of the canal full of waving tourists. A half-hour later, I finally caught up with my wife who had preferred a much faster pace on wheels. Sympathetic to my solitary walk, she handed me her portable radio. I listened to the Rolling Stones who were playing on every radio station it seemed.

Fatigued from the walk, I eventually made it to the exhibit at the Nepean Museum later on that afternoon and quite enjoyed my time there. It was there I found out about the forthcoming event to be held at Beechwood Cemetery on November 17th. Plans are underway to build a memorial path dedicated to the many famous Ottawa writers and poets who are buried there. With this in mind, I had to pay a visit to the cemetery. It was a cheaper alternative to Stones’ tickets which I opted to watch for free along Bank Street that evening.

“Here the dead sleep – the quiet dead. No sound disturbs them ever, and no storm dismays.” Archibald Lampman composed these lines in August, 1894. As you arrive through the Beechwood Avenue entrance, it’s hard to miss the enormous split granite stone that displays a plaque with Lampman’s poem, “In Beechwood Cemetery”. You can find the poet buried in Section 25 – Lot 17. He was just 37 – my age – when he died in 1899.

Beechwood Cemetery (Est. 1873) is a National Historic Site and one of only four honoured cemeteries in Canada to hold such a significant designation. I visited the grounds a couple of weeks ago and Roger Boult, the cemetery’s Assistant General Manager, took me through a tour and pointed out the markers of some of the poets buried there. The historian in me liked the fact that the cemetery had a book of “Historical Profiles” which I could consult for reference.

There are three main groups involved in honouring Ottawa’s poetic history. The Greenspace Alliance of Canada's Capital, the Beechwood Cemetery Foundation and the Ottawa Literary Heritage Society. Hopefully, there will be more involvement and funding on a larger scale. The fundraising event this Thursday will certainly help, and Steven Artelle of the Poet's Hill Committee wishes to draw more attention provincially and federally. There is a feeling that it’s not just a local historical site, but it’s really Canada’s literary heritage. There are talks ongoing with the Ottawa Public Library who are planning to publish a series of literary historical maps to link up the sites along the poet’s path in the cemetery. Mr. Artelle says, “There’s a good sense of the poet's path site now if one visited the cemetery. People already jog, walk their dog through the grounds as it is a very beautiful space. The idea is to promote the cemetery and path as a place of literary heritage and culture for not just Ottawa and Ontario but for all Canadians and our visitors.”

The Poet's Hill Committee are currently asking "who Are Canada's Greatest Poets?” Feedback generated will determine the inaugural list of names to be inscribed at Beechwood Cemetery Poet's Hill. Eleven names will be included in the inaugural list - one poet to represent each province, and one to represent the North. For more information contact

"Dead Poets Live" – a fundraiser in support of the Poet's Hill project is Thursday, 17 November, 2005 from 7:00-10:00pm, at the Beechwood Cemetery Reception Centre, 280 Beechwood Avenue, Ottawa. Tickets are $20. To purchase tickets, contact the Beechwood Cemetery Foundation 613-741-9530 or email

Books and Brunch

Sponsored by Ottawa's Nicholas Hoare, the guest authors this morning were:
- Laura M. MacDonald, Curse of the Narrows (Collins)
- Ian Brown, What I Meant to Say (Thomas Allen)
- Louise Penny, Still Life (Headline)
- Juris Jurjevics, The Trudeau Vector (Viking)

Louise Penny's expression summarizes my initial reaction to Ian Brown's anthology, What I Meant to Say: The Private Lives of Men. The book is touted to be the male version of Carol Shields and Marjorie Anderson's Dropped Threads. Wondering if we should be expecting a sequel, What I REALLY Meant to Say?

Ottawa Independent Writers Book Fair

Saturday & Sunday, November 26 - 27 - Ottawa Independent Writers (OIW) Two Day Book Fair 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Free admission - Assembly Hall at Lansdown Park
Annual exhibition of this community's literary talents. French and English.
[thanks for the reminder, Nigel]

Friday, November 11, 2005

Canadian War Museum Architect

The Architect of the Canadian War Museum, Raymond Moriyama, was on location today at the museum for the ceremonies in Ottawa.

Thank You - Merci

Thursday, November 10, 2005

late night?

It must have been a late night as The Citizen printed the same article twice today in the City Section: once on page C9 and again on C19. One photo in colour and the same in black and white on p. C19. The title is slightly different. It's the first time I've seen this happen...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

David Bergen Wins 2005 Scotiabank Giller Prize

2005 Scotiabank Giller Prize Winner, David Bergen talks with Dave Dollin of Ottawa's Nicholas Hoare Bookstore during the Fall edition Ottawa International Writers Festival.

Jay Ingram in Ottawa

Theatre of the Mind: Pulling Back the Curtain on Consciousness
November 11 @ 7:30 Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street
$12 / $10 for Student or Senior / $8 for Members

Jay Ingram came back to Ottawa 7 March 2007 to guest lecture at Carleton University. Click here to see more info.

Monday, November 07, 2005

If Jane Austen was a blogger

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good web site must be in want of a blog.
However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering weblog post, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding web visitors, that his entries considered as the rightful property of some one or other bloggers.

Twenty-five Years of Tree

Congratulations on a successful Sunday book launch of Twenty-five Years of Tree edited by James Moran and Jennifer Mulligan [Buschek Books, 2005]. Several of the book's contributors read to a packed room in the warm basement of the Royal Oak II: Jane Jordan, Susan McMaster and Ronnie Brown (honoured the late Marianne Bluger), Colin Morton, Karen Massey and John Lavery. The book's table of contents reads like a who's who of 20th and 21st Century Canadian poets. There is something for everyone in this diverse collection. The Tree Reading Series is one of Ottawa's main literary events. Always a good time. You can pick up the book for a mere $15. Money well spent.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Blog Around Town Dispatch

If you happen to pick up the Ottawa Citizen, I have a small article on the Rockcliffe Book Fair (pg C2). Today is half-price day on all books and the silent auction ends as well...Get yourself down there for a box-load of books.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Penelope times two

Atwood's Penelope in the news. From Guardian Unlimited:

When children's novelist Adèle Geras found that she and Margaret Atwood had both chosen the same subject - Odysseus' wife, Penelope - for their latest books, she looked forward to the chance to talk to her about it. She describes the seven-month odyssey that ensued.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Peter F. Yacht Club Regatta/Reading Thurs.

Regatta: [noun] a meeting for boat races
Peter F. Yacht Club Regatta: [noun] a meeting for readings of poetry & prose
When? Thursday, November 3, 2005. Doors open at 7:30pm / readings start at 8pm
Where? The Carleton Tavern (upstairs), Parkdale Market (at Armstrong)
Be sure to catch an interview online with rob mclennan on Sentinel Poetry #36 in conversation with writer in residence, Amatoritsero (Ama) Ede. The magazine also features a portrait of rob that I took earlier this summer at Mother Tongue Books.

Clare Latremouille has a novel coming out next fall...(Clare sometimes wears funny hats, but not tonight.)

Stephen Brockwell chats with Clare Latremouille.

Max Middle, Michelle April, & Anita Dolman

Jesse Ferguson in the audience at the Peter F. Yacht Club reading. Michelle, of the Carleton Tavern, in the background.

Stephen Brockwell reads with aid of Max Middle...who conveniently (?) has a flash light. The lights were turned out on purpose for one of Brockwell's poems.

Now you should know, I have other photos in this series, but who could resist our lil' sound poetry sailor, Max Middle, Canada's Sea Scout.

Anita Dolman shares a few of poems with the audience.

All eyes on James Moran. Vivian Vavassis [right] recently took over the managing editor position of

Carmel Purkis and Jennifer Mulligan

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Ottawa Storytelling Festival

The kickoff storytelling concert will be held at the Fourth Stage of the National Arts Centre Wednesday November the 2nd 7:30pm

All the other events will be at the Library and Archives of Canada, 395 Wellington St.

Highlights of the 2005 Festival include:

  • 150 Years of Ottawa Stories - Wed, 2 Nov 7:30 p.m.
  • Ottawa Storytellers Monthly Story Swap - Thu, 3 Nov 7:30 p.m.
  • Storytelling Workshops - Sat, 5 Nov 10:00 a.m.
  • Magical Stories - Sat, 5 Nov 7:30 p.m.
  • 24 Storytelling Sessions for Children, Families and Adults - Sat, 5 Nov and Sun, 6 Nov 1:30 – 5:00 p.m.
  • 6 séances de contes en français pour enfants, familles et adultes - Le Sam, 5 Nov et le Dim 6 Nov 13h30 – 17h00

Book Sorting in the Poetic Trenches

Fellow book chap, Nigel Beale, points me towards the poetry section that was in need sorting and shelving. Mr. Beale will be launching a book related radio show on Ottawa's CKCU-FM coming this November. Currently he is volunteering his time sorting, shelving and pricing books in the literature section at the upcoming Rockcliffe Book Fair. It's starts this Friday at 10am and runs till Sunday. He enlisted my aid in the poetry section at first. You see those pile o' books on the floor. They need to be sorted, priced and shelved. Ugh! Hopefully, you can read about my dispatch from the poetry section in the Ottawa Citizen this week.