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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Exile Editions 30th Anniversary Celebration

Author James Bacque answers a question from the audience while Barry Callaghan listens on stage.

One of the first books I purchased at this year's festival was of Seán Virgo's collection of stories, Begging Questions.

Sunday, October 1 @ 2:00 pm
featuring Barry Callaghan, Priscila Uppal, Seán Virgo, Janice Kulyk Keefer and James Bacque
A Free Event
Celebrate 30 years and 300 books! Join Exile’s founder, acclaimed writer Barry Callaghan, and Exile’s publisher, Michael Callaghan, for an afternoon with four Exile authors as diverse as they are acclaimed: Priscila Uppal investigates the emotional and philosophical struggle fundamental to notions of being in the 21st century in her collection Ontological Necessities; Seán Virgo’s collection of stories, Begging Questions, takes an intense gaze at a universe full of malevolence as well as beauty and dreams; Janice Kulyk Keefer’s Midnight Stroll explores physical and psychic terrain of four personal moments in history; and James Bacque’s novel, Our Father’s War, explores lives on both sides of World War II.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Fundraiser for the Ottawa Slam Team

Sunday, October 1 - 7:30 p.m.
Bytown Tavern (292 Elgin Street, below Hooley's)
featuring Festrell, Kevin Matthews and Ritallin
hosted by Steve Sauvé with music by DJ IronPhoenix
plus special guests you'll only hear if you come by and see the show!
$5 at the door - donations graciously accepted

Monday, September 25, 2006

jwcurry at it again - this time in toronto

Geof Huth comments on curry's actual invitation to the celebration (with visuals) here.
Greg Betts makes note of the event, too, along with links to Coach House Books.

The Wave Books Poetry Bus Tour Hits Ottawa

The Typing Explosion is a hit in Ottawa. (Another photo on Brim-Broom Blog)

September 24 at 6:30 pm. @ Blink Gallery, Header House, Majors Hill Park
featuring: Joshua Beckman, Kate Hall, Matthew Zapruder, Anthony McCann, Richard Meier, Lisa Fishman, Mark Bibbins, Damian Rogers and Monica Fambrough and the performance art troupe The Typing Explosion with Canadian poets David O'Meara and Kevin Connolly

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Chaudiere Books sneak peek

New Ottawa literary publisher Chaudiere Books will be launching three of their first four titles on Thursday, October 26, 2006, 7pm at the National Library & Archives Building, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa as organized by the ottawa international writers festival. The titles launching will be Ottawa writer Clare Latremouille's first novel The Desmond Road Book of the Dead, Toronto-area Meghan Jackson's first poetry collection movements in jars, and former Alberta poet Monty Reid's first Ottawa poetry collection Disappointment Island.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Anybody else like Google Earth?

Read this blog for more info. Also see: Google Maps Mania - An unofficial Google Maps blog tracking the websites, mashups and tools being influenced by Google Maps.

Recently, we had a pleasant visit from my uncle Ian R. MacDonald who came to Ottawa to see us and also to take in the Canadian War Museum for the first time. If you remember from a few years ago I had scanned and created a CD of the war letters that he had written home during his internment in a German prisoner-of-war camp from 1943 to 1945.

Ian traces the flight path south towards Stuttgart that fateful night in 1943. Note the distance flown into enemy territory.

As he expressed an interest in Google Earth, I had asked him about the morning he and his crew took off in his Halifax bomber from Leeming, North Yorkshire airbase on a bombing run over Stuttgart, Germany. Ian was a bomb-aimer and his position was looking out the nose of the airplane and relay the information. It must have been quite a site flying at 19 thousand feet and see the earth ablaze with nothing but a convex dome of glass between him and the hell below. We used Google Earth to measure the distances and re-trace his route southward, over the English Channel and then eastward to the mission's target.

Ian reminisces with a fellow vetran at one of the exhibits.

It was amazing to use the Google Earth program in this way and virtually fly to where his plane was eventually shot down over Saint Quentin, France - after being chased a full 275 miles from the target city being shot at by a Junkers 88 and also from ground anti-aircraft fire. One by one, three of the four engines were shot out and the plane eventually succumbed by fire. All but one of his crew survived the bailout. Unfortunately, this poor fellow was presumed drowned in a canal in Saint Quentin. If being shot down, evading the SS for several months afterward, eventually being interred in a prison camp wasn't enough - Ian had survived 13 bombing runs by "friendly fire" during his imprisonment in German camps. Humorously, he claims now that it's no wonder he's partially deaf from all those blasts at close range.

This past July Ian R. MacDonald turned 84 and is alive and well.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Gray on Bell

Charlotte Gray pleased typically Canadian reader's sensibilities by not only writing about the huge legacy of Alexander Graham Bell but also engaged readers with a charming love story of his relationship with his wife, Mabel Hubbard Bell. Seemingly, American publishers wanted only topical books on 'sex', 'thin French women', 'Iraq' and 'George W. Bush'. Oh well. Gray was in Ottawa September 14th for the Canadian launch of her latest biography Reluctant Genius: The Passionate Life and Inventive Mind of Alexander Graham Bell.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The World's Largest Telephoto Lens

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Alan Cumyn Reading

Alan Cumyn reads from The Famished Lover at Library and Archives Canada - Wednesday, September 20 @ 7:30 p.m.
From Collected Works bookstore:

"In The Famished Lover, Ramsay Crome has emerged from the World War I prisoner of war camps barely alive and desperately hungry for life and love. Within months of his return to Montreal, he impulsively marries Lillian, a deeply conservative farm girl. But marriage doesn't begin to fill the void inside him. He can't escape the horror of the camps, and thoughts of Margaret, his idealized wartime sweetheart, torment him. Through the Depression, Ramsay struggles to provide for his family by painting pinup girls for a small agency, where passions inevitably flare. Finally, a visit from Margaret shatters Ramsay's sense of himself: why is he alive, and how will he continue to live? Alan Cumyn's most mature and accomplished novel explores a traumatized man's struggle for love and meaning in the face of unspeakable violence.

Alan Cumyn was born in Ottawa, and studied at Royal Roads Military College and Queen's University before earning an M.A. in Creative Writing and English Literature at the University of Windsor. He is a former English teacher and freelance writer. He has won the Ottawa-Carleton Book Award in 1999 and was a Torgi Award Finalist, as well as a Trillium Award Finalist in 1999."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ottawa Utne Salon

The next two Utne Salon meetings are scheduled as follows:

Date: Monday, September 18, 2006
Time: 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Place: Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Wellington St.

Date: Monday, October 16, 2006
Time: 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Place: Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Wellington St.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Philobiblon Heaven

Google Book Search: What's it good for?
Reading books about books of course. Old school style.

Poet's Hill Event

(from Ottawa Poetry blogspot)

The Directors and Members of the Beechwood Cemetery Foundation and thePoet's Hill Committee are pleased to invite you to participate in the officialdedication of POET'S HILL on Wednesday, September 13, 2006, 5:00-7:00 p.m., at Beechwood Cemetery, 280 Beechwood Avenue. This free event will feature areading by the Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Pauline Michel. A reception will follow.

Beechwood is the resting place of many writers of national significance,including the poets Archibald Lampman and John Newlove. The dedication of Poet's Hill fulfills a vision first expressed by an Ottawa writer in 1896: "Itis about time that we in Canada should consider keeping alive the memories ofthe many men and women who, by their literary or other gifts, have added in somedegree to the development of our culture and intelligence. Should there not besome place in the Dominion--and what more fit place than Ottawa--where memorialsof them might be preserved?"

To confirm your attendance please call 613-741-9530. We look forward to seeing you at Poet's Hill.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Poet H. Masud Taj

When: Sunday, September 17, 2006
Location: Dusty Owl Reading Series @ Swizzles Bar & Grill, 246-B Queen St., Between Kent and Bank Streets
Time: 5:00-8:00 p.m.
UPDATE 5 March 2007
H. Masud Taj interviewed architect Arthur Erickson in Ottawa.

Anita Lahey appearance

On Tuesday, September 12, 2006, poet Anita Lahey will be the featured reader at the Tree Reading Series.

Anita Lahey's latest collection is Out to Dry in Cape Breton (Véhicule Press, 2006)
Tree Readings are every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at the Royal Oak II Pub at 161 Laurier Avenue East in Sandy Hill. Open-set commences at 8:00 p.m., with featured reader to follow. Admission is free.

Friday, September 08, 2006

An Evening with Charlotte Gray

Celebrating the publication of Reluctant Genius: The Passionate Life and Inventive Mind of Alexander Graham Bell
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Members Only Reception at 6:30 pm
Public Event: 7:30 pm
Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington StreetA Free Event

Monday, September 04, 2006

Die by the Pen

Last week I got an envelope from The Porcupine's Quill press that contained four chapbook-sized publications. Nice of them. Didn't know I was on their mailing list. The sampler included:

W.J. Keith has undertaken the re-editing the Canadian Literature of English: Volume One. Last time this was pulished was in 1985. The book is due out this December if you're interested. Wayne Clifford has a published new book of verse. It's called The Book of Were. Sharon English's short story contribution in the envelope is called Zero Gravity. The sample story caught my eye - 'The Cosmic Elfs'. Funny, I thought the plural form was 'elves'. And anyway, since this piece is excerpted from the full-length story, I still don't know what the Cosmic Elfs are. Poet J.D. Black's book is Black Velvet Elvis...replete with an Elvis impersonater on the front cover. One poem inside that struck me was 'For Richard Outram'. You'll remember that the Mr. Outram who was so heartbroken that he sat outside on a cold winter day and froze to death.

For Richard Outram

He, light plundered,
his lucent planet
Struck off-axis
to stricken stasis,
Sees seasons freeze
to emptied silence.
In that endless winter
life's will ends
Slender motion
slows to nil
And vital flow
is fixed in crystal.

If you remember (ha!) back in May of 2005 I blogged about DA (The Devil's Artisan) #56 where I first mentioned that Wayne Clifford also wrote a small poem for the late poet:

One Richard Outram froze to death.
He chose that end, from evidence.
Fitting, perhaps, that that last breath
Should seep unseen as heat's last dance.

Speaking of deaths, sadly, I saw the obituary for Brian Nolan who battled lung cancer and who finally passed on August 31st. In the last few years I had the pleasure of meeting him several times. The first time was at the book launch for the late Gordon Sheppard (HA! A Self-Murder Mystery) in 2003 and also during Mr. Nolan's own book launch, for his biography of Donald Brittain: Man of Film (2004). He was also friend of newsman Peter Jennings who also recently succumbed to lung cancer. You can do a search on the following linked page to read Nolan's obit.

Live by the Sword...