Tripwire 12 * AKA Vancouver: Writings from the Unceded Territories

My long poem, THOT-J-BAP, appears in Issue 12, of Oakland, CA’s Tripwire (David Buuck, editor) in a feature on Vancouver writers, including…

Jordan AbelGeorge BoweringLouis CabriJeff DerksenAmy D’AthMercedes EngRyan FitzpatrickSonnet L’Abbe, Danielle LaFranceChristine LeclercDonato ManciniRolf Maurerrob mclennanCecily NicholsonLisa Robertson, Stephen CollisFred WahRita Wong, and others…

…along with a special tribute to Peter Culley. Thrilled to keep this company and Unceded.

Issue Available Here

Those Who Make Us – Canadian Creature, Myth, and Monster Stories

As a creative writing instructor, I’m always curious about the different genres through which we find expression, and I’m always learning from my students: no doubt about it, speculative fiction figures a lot in their imaginations. Here’s my debut into that world, a short story “Antony’s Arboretum” published this year in Exile Edition’s Those Who Make Us: Canadian Creature, Myth, and Monster Stories

those-who-make-us exile editions

Description:

“What resides beneath the blankets of snow, under the ripples of water, within the whispers of the wind, and between the husks of trees all across Canada? Creatures, myths and monsters are everywhere…even if we don’t always see them.

This is a unique and powerful collection of all-new, cross-genre tales that take the reader into real and imagined worlds, ranging from an encounter with the Metis creature Rugaru to trolls dissatisfied with modern life, to the demons who follow us from our parents’ countries, and to Anishinaabe myths about the creation of creeks. Eightteen emerging and award-winning authors explore the way we think about and interact with the unnatural ­ showing how much the stories we create can teach us about what it means to be human.” – 

Thanks to Kelsi Morris and Kaitlin Tremblay for putting together this amazing anthology.

Find It Here

The Book That Changed Your Life – Georgia Straight

slave-of-the-hunsHere’s a piece I did for the Georgia Straight back in September. These few hundred words took me three months to write, but I number them among my best work this year. Thank you for Brian Lynch for allowing me the time……

Slave of the Huns by the Hungarian writer Géza Gárdonyi, first published in 1901, brought out in English by Corvina Press in the late ’60s: the book as mysterious object, to hold, to divine. A red cover, with ink drawings by Victor C. Ambrus, the novel sat on a shelf in my father’s library up at the manse in the town of towns…”

Read the Rest Here

Touch the Donkey supplement #62 : 7 questions on Thot-J-Bap

An interview with rob mclennan in supplement #62 of Touch the Donkey around my suite of poems published back in July. Here’s an excerpt:

Q: Tell me about the suite of poems that appear in Touch the Donkey. What is thecanadaproject, and how do you see the work-in-progress volume 2 extending or expanding upon the work of the first?

A: The suite of poems that appear in Touch the Donkey are excerpted from a sequence, “Bartholomew in the compound, the bees” and this suite of poems lies nestled in the second completed series from thecanadaproject, which is a book length poem, the heart of this journey bears all patterns, commonly known as Thot-J-Bap. The Touch the Donkey suite contains pieces of a collaborative work I’ve embarked on with the Governor General award winning scientist, Dr. Mark Winston: he’s given me access to his scientific work on the honey bee and he and I are working on a set of poems and prose readings that we’ve performed in Vancouver.

Thot-J-Bap is populated by a vast connection of characters, a sampling of which you will see in the excerpt included. The journey of Thot-J-Bap, over the course of decades, indeed, even, eons, explores an imaginary territory, Pacifica, loosely based on British Columbia and the Pacific North West/ Cascadia, as well as the cities of Toronto, Paris, Baghdad and Ahmedabad, and that exploration includes an investigation of various shibboleths: East v West, Empire v other, description v representation, and language in translation, the syntax of the fragment.”

touch-the-donkey

Read the Full Interview

Ontario Poet Chris Turnbull creates visual art with THOT-J-BAP

Ontario poet and visual artist, Chris Turnbull, inscribes language into and on to objects, into the world around outside her rural home.

Here, a few photographs and comment-fragments about her process with poems from THOT-J-BAP: 

birch-back-in-perpetua
to discover and discover and think…COOL…text…
where-language_is-a-place-saklikar
–laid out on a couple of boards in the garage…
birch-back-in-perpetua
–ended up transcribing via handwriting onto the inner portion of piece of birch bark.

Chris invited me to read the entire Nous-Zot chapbook into an audio file, which Chris says “over time it will ‘replace’ the birch bark pieces, because they’ll erode and the text will change or the birch will drift in the cube.

Eventually, there’ll just be birch bark again, but your voice will be there in the qr-code format.”

Chris Turnbull’s work with THOT-J-BAP will be installed at the end of September 2016 at 4elementslivingarts.org

For more information about the Elements festival, please visit: http://4elementslivingarts.org/workshops-and-classes/2092/ 

More about the poetic and visual arts practice of Canadian poet Christ Turnbull:

thecanadaproject interviews Stephen Collis, Part 4

As a poet, I’m indebted to Stephen’s work on not only the long poem form, but in particular, the life-long poem. Here are a few notes from my conversation in this fourth and final instalment of thecanadaproject interviews Stephen Collis:

About life-long poems and The Barricades Project

SC: “Well, in a way, the journal is the poem: I’m always writing, doing docu-poetry/poetics by entering things into my journal, including words and sketches. I’m now onto Journal #89: yeah, I keep track of these, they are usually black, with bound hard covers: I’ve over 25 years of journal writing, a daily practice, and the last 50 of my 7 journals are this art book type, unlined black.”

And it is in our discussion of these journals that S.C. speaks of the life-long poems as a kind of movement toward… the “horizon”.

Stephen Collis End of july 2016SC:  “I guess … The Barricades Project is the horizon I write towards, and this is what a life-long poem is for me—you never get there, but it provides direction and impetus to your work. Again like a Venn diagram, there are poems and books that will overlap substantially with The Barricades Project, but it will also always remain substantially outside of any of the poems and books I actually publish. Anarchive, The Commons, To the Barricades—these all feel like The Barricades Project (See Part 1 of this interview). But so do parts of On the Material and Once in Blockadia. [It’s] about forms not about product, about in-forming, occupying journals, it is the process of living-writing the unbound life and the bound; [and it’s also about] exceeding boundaries into ‘the beyondery’ –”

Steve goes on to say “life-long poems hover outside poetry” and I add, …are perhaps intricately engaged with questions of inside/outside…in speaking about these things we speak about long poems such as Dante’s Divine Comedy, with its defined structure and form, and we speak about how the long poem often negotiates, contemplates, mediates notions of scale, of size, the “epic” or “the saga”…quite often made with elaborate structures (Milton’s Paradise Lost, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales) and boundaries, with limits. One example Steve laughingly recalls is William Morris’ The Earthly Paradise, which Steve describes as “ horrible “ (which makes me immediately want to read it, devour it): it’s about 40,000 lines in verse of rhymed end-stopped couplets…

(in my notebook, I write: The Rape of the Lock! Ugh.)

Going deeper: poets, fragments, and the life-long project

Steve and I speak about the influence/presence of the Romantic in this idea/ideal: that to be an artist is to live in opposition, to engage in social change…we share a laugh when I interject, “and then you met ‘CanLit’” and Steve responds, with a Bob Dylan quote, “to live outside the law, you have to be honest” and speaks about his work and reading of both Robert Duncan and Phyllis Webb, both of whom he describes as “anarchists…they wrote of an alternative/alternate world”…

Stephen Collis End of july 2016 007I’m surprised by Steve’s take on Robert Duncan and he reminds me of Duncan’s work: e.g. The Passages poem, fragments of which reoccur throughout Duncan’s oeuvre and Steve mentions a 1940’s essay Duncan wrote for The Nation, “The Homosexual in Society,” and how Duncan at that time outed himself as a gay man.

Steve also cites Phyllis Webb’s Kropotkin Poems, “it’s epic” and written by a woman and he sees it as a model for his idea of the life-long poem and the long poem and their inter-relationship with place/space…also with incompleteness which leads back to walking and of course to Wordsworth (The Prelude, being the only part of his projected “Recluse” that Wordsworth completed.)

Steve adds in a later note to me: “the Kropotkin Poems never were written – just fragments, some of which she published. It’s the idea of them, the intent and ambition, that draws me. Their “openness” in being incomplete, and the struggle Webb went through in (not) writing them. How do you write the anarchist epic? By not writing it, Webb’s experience seems to say.”

The horizon we write toward is the life-long poem, is the Barricades Project, writing toward, that is the life-long poem.”

We discuss the voice of the barricades, “problematic yet necessary” and Steve speaks about what I call the urgency of now, how will we live together…S.C. speaks with respect for other poets such as Cecily Nicholson, Jordan Abel,  in how these poets “track the we” and his own passion for writing toward an inclusive we, that trans-movement between self and other. 

My biggest desire is to be in conversation about a shared space, to be engaged.”

We end our afternoon exchanging ideas about how to make poetry out of the public sphere, out of the political and we discuss the documentary as a strategy of research, how to report and make voice, how to transfer, evoke emotion, how to compress, probe, excavate, remove, redact, destroy, subvert, and yes, how to make new, this language.

Stephen Collis’ latest book is forthcoming from Talon Books: Once in Blockadia. For more information about the book, visit Talon Books’ website.

Read the rest of the interview below:

Nov 20: We Are Newton Anthology Launch Party

we-are-newton

The Anthology contains 50 stories and poems about what it is like to live, work and play in the Newton neighbourhood. Submissions reflect a range of cultural and generational perspectives and literary styles. We are very proud of this community project, and we hope that you can join us in this celebration of community pride!”

The event is free, but space is limited. Registration is first come, first serve.

Click here for Registration Info