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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Book Thugs Disturbing the Peace

Okay, so the diplomatic corp didn't show up last night. There was no red carpet, just red wine. But Ottawa's finest did show up - at least for part of Gustave Morin's reading in the park just across the street of Richard Fitzpatrick's Books. I don't know if it was the large, assembled crowd standing together ominously in the middle of the night, the vociferously shouted poetry, or it just may have been the fireworks set off on the sidewalk. It's events like this that urge me to be a Book Thug Dead Head and follow this troupe to their Kingston show this evening, but like the responsible adult that I am, I have to do my taxes tonight. I'm just a wuss that way.

I am sure that rob mclennan and Amanda Earl will have a few comments about Jay MillAr's roving band of poets. Looking forward to reading them. Also, I will post some photos (surprise) from the event. Hope they turn out alright.

I picked up some awesome publications last night: DfB handed out the latest delicious issue of fhole number 8 which I have a couple of photos from the bill bissett reading at jwcurry's place. jwcurry, who also performed a david uu piece, sold copies of his latest Industrial Sabotage #62. Incidentally contains a piece by Krafty Karnal aka david uu. In a bit of poetic excess I also picked up three separate editions of david uu's Before the Golden Dawn: The Weed/Flower Press signed edition; Daniel f. Bradley's re-issue care of jwcurry's curvd h&z imprint, and also the hard covered, numbered and signed limited ed. A nice set.

Morin's copy of sun kissed oranges caught my eye on the book shelf, too. He produced this note pad style book with Sergio Forest back in 1995. I noticed that his 'derail' piece is in there, which also makes an appearance in Shift & Switch (poetry anthology launched last winter). Like some of the pieces that appear in the anthology, it's better reproduced in the original work. Forest's accompanying text is:

laugh track
train track

Finally, I received up my hand-delivered subscription package of Jay MillAr's lastest Book Thug publications. They are beautiful productions and aesthetically very pleasing to the eye.
And I now get the reference to Gustave Morin's white pins that he gave out last night... teb as in The Etcetera Barbeque which has the punctuation images of ". / / ." dot slash slash dot. It's Gus's latest publication and has Homage Volker Nix on the page following the full title page. You can view some more of Volker Nix's visual pieces on D. Ross Priddle's bentspoon weblog. According to one post found on the net, 'Volker Nix' is a pseudonym of Gus Morin...

Gregory Betts' Haikube also a Book Thug publication is particularly pleasing to the eye. It's an interesting production derived from a cubed haiku block. I particularly like:

these voices fill
poems like tongues
in open mouth

but... you really have to see the image on the printed page.

Book Thugs milling about

Gustave Morin disturbs the piece/peace.

Gustave Morin's fireworks


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Things like this make me really hate my job and wish that my evenings were free.

Looks like such fun!

Thursday, April 27, 2006 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger Amanda Earl said...

It was fun. John, your photos are great as usual.

Friday, April 28, 2006 8:45:00 AM  
Blogger John MacDonald said...

Thanks! I would like to see Charles' photos too.

Friday, April 28, 2006 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John I have that same moment from another angle. Spooky.

Friday, April 28, 2006 2:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, you should post more pictures. Wish I could have been there. Missing my Spadina apartment!


Saturday, April 29, 2006 2:13:00 AM  
Blogger John MacDonald said...

Posted one photo the other day here:

more photos of the event will be here:

Saturday, April 29, 2006 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Clifford Duffy said...

john thanks for sending the link to taking the Brim sounds and looks like the evvent was a happening a real poem a moment of art .

Sunday, April 30, 2006 2:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


some excellent snaps, mr. macdonald. you've really got the decisive moment cornered. thank you doubly for your interest and infective enthusiasm in we bookthugees. we all greatly enjoyed ourselves as guests of the town.

on behalf of myself, i will say that pyro is fun, albeit gimmicky (a fact for which i refuse to apologise.) i've noticed that i fall back on cheap tricks with very good reason: much of what we've come to know as 'poetry readings' can have an abysmal tendency to be dreary, dull affairs. all i'm trying to do is my small part to combat that. there is for me something beautiful in the ephemeral nature of firecrackers that i will always love (and my exceedingly generous nature compells me to share with others that which i love, with or without their cooperation and consent.) and of course, context is everything -- i was reading the poems of august stramm, and august stramm was a proto-concrete (anti) war poet from ww1, killed in a skirmish in 1915. the m-88 salutes i triggered for each of his poems were my attempt at a public salute to the lasting (if forgotten) legacy of the man and his art; fragile, ephemeral and intensely explosive. that these words, nearly 100 years later, remain as potent as they ever were, indeed testifies to the power of stramm's gifts as a word artist. that these same words can summon the police (-- it was the words that drew the cops, not the noise!) is why i have endeavoured to involve myself in rehabilitating stramm's tiny cannon.

thank you ottawa, for humouring this, my whim.

the bookthugees shall return !

23 skidoo !

gustave m.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006 4:32:00 PM  
Blogger John MacDonald said...

Thanks for the August Stramm reference. I should have asked you later after your performance what you read from but I was too caught up in the poetic hijinx at the time. Thanks for dropping by to commment on my weblog. I admire the visual work you have created as I derirve much pleasure and value from reading, viewing and possessing it.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006 8:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


august stramm is important to remember in the case of the ottawa poetic hijinks and pyrotechnics that spilled out into the street last wednesday. i don't blow things up needlessly.

toronto poet, publisher and translator Marshall Hryciuk (he of Nietzsche's Brolly, et al) has furnished me with these poems, and, as i made mention of in the reading itself, i've been taking them for public spins in an effort to dwell a bit in stramm's voice BEFORE i complete my portion of the book -- which will be killer if i have anything to do with it. that i promise to stramm and to myself...

if you're interested in this sort of thing, keep your ear to the ground for the finished results due out just as soon as i wrap my head, heart and hand around what is to be done. 25 poems by august stramm, et cetera. the last time such appeared in english was in 1969 (in england...) its time for a revisitation, methinks. writers must put those books in the library that they themselves cannot find. all i want here is a book of poems by august stramm and since there isn't one, i have to make my own fun. see?

again, thanks for the vote of confidence. i'll get your mailing address from jwc and add you to my p.card list.

23 skidoo!

gustave m.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006 12:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

reasons to miss ottawa , my friends richard fitzpatrick and jw curry :), thinking of you all


Wednesday, June 21, 2006 6:38:00 PM  
Blogger John MacDonald said...

Ottawa will always be here, Simon. Visit again as time, money, circumstances, (insert excuse) permit.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 7:09:00 PM  

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