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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween! II

Daddy wants some candy...I wonder if they're handing any out at Collected Works Bookstore during John Metcalf's Biblioasis/Signature Press reading event?
Matthew put on another pound since I first posted the original trick-or-treat photo, but you'd never know it from the costume. He hides it well. Not like his old man.

Tonight (of all nights)

Terence Young, Patricia Young, Scott Randall, John Metcalf read at Collected Works - 7:30 p.m.

Patricia Young is the author of eight books of poetry. She is a two-time Governor General?s Award nominee, in 1993 for More Watery Still and in 2000 for Ruin & Beauty. She has won the Pat Lowther Award, the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, the CBC Literary Competition, and the League of Canadian Poets' National Poetry Competition.

Scott Randall was born and raised in Toronto and currently lives in Montreal, where he teaches at Concordia University. His work has been published in Quarry, The Dalhousie Review, The New Quarterly, The Antigonish Review and many other journals in Canada and the US.

John Metcalf, writer and editor, was born in Carlisle, England, and was educated at the University of Bristol. He emigrated to Canada in 1962. In addition to his own writings (novels, stories and essays), he currently holds the unsalaried post of Senior Editor of the Porcupine's Quill of Erin, Ontario and is the editor of Canadian Notes and Queries. He resides in Ottawa with his wife, Myrna.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Smile Baby!

Matthew is coaxed into a smile for a photo from grandpa and his aunt.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ottawa's Best Photographer?

He's good. And he likes the Hilotrons. Vote.

Best of Ottawa Readers' Poll

Here's an interesting link: Ottawa XPress is currently taking submissions for its (huge) 11th annual "The Best of Ottawa Awards". It purportedly "recognizes the people, places and things that make the National Capital a great place to live."

Dress Warm

Can't make it but I would love to pass on the news that on October 29 at 2:00 pm there will be a tour of Ottawa's beautiful and historic Beechwood Cemetery given by Steven Artelle. The cost is a nominal $10. Hot chocolate is promised after the tour. Rain or shine I believe but dressing dry is the order of the day. Sunday is Matthew's baptism. One day he will make a tour of the cemetery grounds but that'll come later... much, much later.

Friday, October 27, 2006

While we were out...

... celebrating the launch of Chaudiere Books at Pubwells, Amanda was writing about the event on her weblog.

Clare Latremouille holds the rarest book in Ottawa - her novel, The Desmond Road Book of the Dead. As of the reading on Thursday there were only two advance reading copies at the launch. More, thankfully, were to be printed as of today.

Monty Reid not only launched his newest book of poetry, Disappointment Island, he also gave away illustrated posters which feature his poetry. I had the opportunity to photograph Mr. Reid at his Gatineau office of the Canadian Museum of Nature a week before my son was born and my author photo of Monty is featured on the rear cover.

Meghan Jackson, one of the three who were among to be published by Ottawa's newest publishing house Chaudiere Books, read from her collection, movements in jars.

Here's a team photo that was included in the October issue of Quill & Quire magazine. At the time the mag went to press, editor Carmel Purkis (back right) was part of the core team of Chaudiere Books along with rob mclennan and Jennifer Mulligan.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Good Luck Miss Vicky!

Smallman on ... Community safety Thursday Oct 26th from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Chaudiere Books Launch

Thursday, October 26 @ 7:00 pm with Meghan Jackson, Monty Reid and Clare Latremouille
[A Free Event]

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Four Montreal Facts

Fact # 1: Food always good at home or in restaurants
Fact # 2: People never come to complete stop at stop signs
Fact # 3: There are a minimum of four lost hubcaps strewn about on Champlain Bridge
Fact # 4: The orange and black traffic cone industry is booming

There you have it. It's science.

Friday, October 20, 2006

David Cation & friends

October 20th at 7:00 pm. Galerie la petite mort, 306 Cumberland St.
readers: rob mclennan and Nichole McGill.


see also:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Arrows of Desire

Michael Dennis launches Arrows of Desire.
Time and Place: October 19 at 8:00 pm. Venus Envy, 320 Lisgar St.

One of the great things about blogging is its immediacy. The downside of course, is the lack of time for bloggery reflection. Poetry should be allowed to sink in. Period. However, I must jot down here and now the fact that Michel Dennis' reading was just beautiful. As he was reading the many pieces from Arrows of Desire I was wondering if there were any duds. You know, poems that either just did not work or felt flat. Each poem he read aloud was, indeed, better than the last. He delivered each one as a polished and cherished, deeply felt piece of work. The readings were honest and sincere, erotic and funny. And even as I write this post there is an irony to the poems and how I feel poems should be read.

I still believe that there should be reflection on the reader's part - the irony is in the content. Most if not all these poems are very much 'of the moment' and especially the lustful moment. Sex is rarely planned (that's an understatement) and there is often little time for reflection "in the moment", therein lies its excitement and the passion. This reading was easily a highlight of book readings I attended this year. Very glad I went. His book should be on the top of your list to pick up and digest at your leisure. The full title is very playful, Arrows of Desire: Eros of Desire: A Rose of Desire: Lust Poems, as are the simple linocut illustrations by artist Eliza Griffiths. Because you may see yourself in these poems, it is wonderful.

Be sure to also read rob mclennan's August 2006 essay on Micheal Dennis here. rob wrote the foreword to Micheal's collection This Day Full of Promise: Poems Selected and New (Fredericton NB: cauldron books / Broken Jaw Press, 2001). Additionally, see the May 19th 2006 comments written by David Scrimshaw if you need any more convincing. Amanda Earl also wrote about Micheal's All Those Miles Yet To Go this past January 2006.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Alcohol-Free Baby Wipes

Water, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, propylene glycol, polysorbate 20, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, tocopheryl, acetate, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, quaternium-15, potassium sorbate, disodium edta, citric acid.

Thank God they're alcohol-free. God forbid there be any "alcohol" in the baby wipes. Phew! I feel much more safer with rubbing his butt with methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone...

Monday, October 16, 2006

New and Improved Baby Smell

Friday, October 13, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Matthew is eager to show off his new halloween costume! Isn't he the cutest 12.5 pound pumpkin...ever?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Robin Robertson's £10,000 Richer

The £10,000 Forward Prize for Poetry has been won by Robin Robertson for his collection Swithering. David O'Meara and Plan 99 invited Robertson to read to a sell-out crowd at the Manx Pub last April 9th in Ottawa. Somehow I believe his reading in our town was the swing vote he needed. Perhaps not.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Writers Fest Wrap

Another fest comes to an end. Sorry for the big block of text in this post. Here are some some notes that I wanted to jot down. I left early on Saturday evening. I just could not make the last of the readings which featured Wayne Johnston and the chit chat about his latest novel. But I did stay a little longer after the Ottawa Magazine's Fiction issue event to chat with the charming Clare Latremouille, who will be launching her debut novel, The Desmond Road Book of the Dead, at the end of October with the new Ottawa publisher, Chaudiere Books. Did you know that she knows her Ottawa Public Library card number by heart? Also expect to see Monty Reid's Disappointment Island and Meghan Jackson's movement in jars at this launch. It was nice to see so many authors in one place where a 'fan' can have one-on-one chats. I am exited to hear about Jen Whiteford's new novel in progress. Nice to see Paul Glennon and wife, Tracy, after meeting them earlier this year at his book launch. In contrast, I was disappointed to hear that Marnie Woodrow's writing workshops didn't draw that many people to attend. Bumped into Nairne Holtz at the transgendered reading event and said hello; she was in Ottawa earlier this spring with a trio of Montreal writers. It was great to see Stuart Ross whom I found equally enjoys the music of Andrea Simms-Karp as much as I do. I was one of the lucky people to snap up a copy of her promotional music CD, Gallery Sessions, at the fest. I also took home Ross' little surrealist poem A Thrush which he published this week. A few minutes chatting with Mark Frutkin, John Lavery, and Pearl Pirie is always treat for me. John Metcalf came up to ask me about my new son when he was in attendance to see Danielle Schaub present her book of author photos. rob mclennan circulated a card for tons of people to sign to give to Kira Wilson who could not make it to the festival because she was babysitting the little one. This was a kind-hearted gesture. All alone, Carmel Purkis worked incredibly hard at the booksellers table, as usual. I finally met Barry's son, Michael Callaghan. However, I forgot to tell them that I especially loved that they reprinted Lynd Ward's Vertigo: a novel in woodcuts (1937) You have to see this. Awesome work. The first part of Ward's novel came out in their Exile: The Literary Quarterly Volume 30 Number 1 (Spring 2006) if you're interested. Incidentally, Kenneth J. Harvey has an excerpted appearance in this issue with his novel, Inside. Inside was one of only three books I picked up at the fest - the other two being Sean Virgo's collection of stories, and Melissa Upfold's brilliantly written chapbook. My book buying was very conservative this season. Amanda Earl wrote about the poetry events over on Check out her insightful comments. Also, Charles Earl took some fabulous headshots of many of the authors on his website, More photos to come this week I presume. I was disappointed to miss Betty Warrington-Kearsley's reading. I was actually there that evening but had the baby with me and did not want to have a crying infant disturb her reading. Amanda writes, "My main reason for attending last night was to hear fellow Bywordian, Betty Warrington-Kearsley read from her first poetry collection, Red Lacquered Chopsticks (Tsar, 2006). Betty's poems were spell binding and exotic. She has a magical way with words." Incidentally, the cover for Betty's book features a beautiful photograph by Ottawa's premier political photog, Jean-Marc Carisse (whose photos are also included in Eddie Goldenberg's latest book, The Way it Works. And that's about it. Now's time to take some more regularly-scheduled baby photos.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Ottawa Magazine Contributors

Nichole McGill read from a novel yet-to-be-published. Always a treat to hear her read in any genre and in any venue. She gave, what I think of, is the perfect reading (if there is such a thing) - I wanted to hear more.

...Same with poet and columnist Anita Lahey. Perhaps I have seen her read from her debut collection of poetry more than any Ottawa poet this year, but it's funny, I've never gotten tired of listening to her crisp style, intelligent comments and complex imagery delivered simply. There's something timeless about her work that I can read any time and find something new with each read. She's a class act.

Not Your Parent's Chaucer

MC Baba (Erik) Brinkman in character during his hip-hop take on Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (This photo from 'The Wife of Bath's Tale').

If I can compare this show with something I've seen about ten years ago, it surely is in the vein of Rick Miller's MacHomer, the one-man Homer Simpson rendition of MacBeth. However, Brinkman relates the modern rap musical phenomenon and 'culture' to that of Chaucer's classic texts and therein finds timeless themes to riff off. He is a one man show that is definitely worth checking out if you get a chance.

Good Times

Billed as "a sinfully sexy and gender-bending evening of transgressive writing" Friday evening's reading event was surely highlight this week. The fantastic line-up consisted of Sky Gilbert, Ivan E. Coyote, Matthew Firth, and Marnie Woodrow. Brilliant performances all around. Wish I could write more, but I have to dash out the door to catch MC Baba Brinkman. Baby's fed and in great hands.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ladies Night

Matthew must have picked up another twenty girlfriends last night at the Ottawa Writers Festival. Matthew would like to say that he enjoyed every minute of the attention lavished on him by all the lovely ladies. But mommy is the only girl in his life right now, sorry.

Clarification: (This post in reference to Matthew, my son. Not a reference to Matthew Firth who also was in attendance at the Ottawa International Writers festival. Although I am sure his mommy loves him, too - despite his potty mouth.) hehehe

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Giller Prize Five

TORONTO (Reuters) - Five authors were shortlisted on Tuesday as finalists for the country's top literary award, the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Rawi Hage was nominated for his novel "De Niro's Game," while Vincent Lam got a nod for his short story collection "Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures."

Pascale Quiviger was recognized for her novel "The Perfect Circle" and Gaetan Soucy for his "The Immaculate Conception." Carol Windley was nominated for her short story collection "Home Schooling."

The finalists were chosen from 101 books submitted by 36 publishing houses.

This year's jury includes former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and authors Alice Munro and Michael Winter.

The prize purse is C$50,000 with C$40,000 going to the winner, and C$2,500 being given to each of the four finalists. The winner is to be announced on November 7.

Monday, October 02, 2006

red, white and booze

Natalie MacLean sent along an email, too -- a savoury informational one. (If you have not subscribed to her wine newsletter already, just say that johnny mac sent you. It's the best newsletter I've read in any genre, and I am sure you'll agree.)

CBC radio's Talking Books with Ian Brown will be discussing Natalie's book this Saturday at 4:30 pm.

A reading and (wine) tasting will be held October 19 at Chapters at 47 Rideau Street. Natalie will be reading from her book and signing copies for attendees afterwards. She will also be hosting an informal wine tasting. Admission is free. Natalie will be at the Ottawa Wine and Food Show Saturday, November 4 at the Ottawa Congress Centre. In her session from 2:30 to 3:30 pm, Do Wine Critics and Their Scores Have Too Much Power? More info can be found on her fabulous web site.

A multi-course dinner and wine tasting with the Opimian Society will be held Tuesday November 14 at Juniper Restaurant (please note venue change) in Ottawa, Ontario. Natalie will be speaking to the group and sign copies for attendees. A copy of the book will be included in the ticket price. More copies will also be on sale for holiday shopping. Admission is $100 per member and first guest; $110 per additional guest. For information, contact Wayne Selci at or visit Opimian Society.

A reading and tasting will be hosted by The Savvy Grapes Thursday November 16 (please note recent date change) at the Nicholas Hoare book store at 419 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, Ontario. Natalie will read from her book and sign copies for attendees. She'll also host an informal wine tasting. Admission is $59 ($55 for designated drivers). For information, contact Debbie Trenholm at, call 613-851-1785 or visit The Savvy Grapes.

A reading and book signing will be held in November 21 at 5 pm at Indigo on 259 Princess Street in Kingston, Ontario. Natalie will be reading from her book and signing copies for attendees afterwards. Admission is free.

Bidini Black Sheep Bound

From an email from Dave Bidini:

Dear beloved ones. You are receiving this message because
acclaimed citizen of the Earth, Dave Bidini, will be continuing on to
Ottawa from the Patch Cup to read and sing in a JUST ANNOUNCED RARE
solo engagement at

WAKEFIELD (just outside of Ottawa)

3 pm

for an afternoon
of sonic storytelling (whatever that means).

See you there or suffer his wrath (which is to say, my wrath)


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Madame Clarkson

Clarkson was in conversation with Ken Rockburn at the regal Fairmont Chateau Laurier this Sunday evening. The event was sold out and the line up for the book signing was the longest I've seen in a long time. She was promoting her autobiography, Heart Matters, "that traces a remarkable journey, from her family’s escape in 1942 from Japanese-occupied Hong Kong to her often controversial time as Canada’s head of state." I was telling Dr. and Mrs. Steven Artelle, whom I bumped into, my son Matthew will making his debut at the festival later on this week. (On the the 5th of October I believe.) Coincidentally, from a 2005 Ottawa International Writers Festival event, I have several other photographs of Madame Adrienne Clarkson in conversation with José Saramago (in English).