Thursday, April 16, 2015

Authors for Indies: May 2nd at Epic Books.

On May 2, for Authors for Indies Day (note: that's not Authors in Undies Day, I'll report on that another time…)  I'll be at Epic Books in Hamilton between 2 and 4 where I'll be writing a I will solicit the brilliant ideas of customers/passersby and together we will create, well, whatever it is that we'll create. A story. A narrative. A tale. A poem. An epic. 
There will be a monitor in the window so that the happy denizens of Locke St. in Hamilton can see the story, and indeed, be so captivated by its beguiling narrative and so invigorated by the power of literature, creativity, bookstores, and independent thinking, that they'll bring their strollers, lattes, children, golden retrievers and imaginative selves right into the bookstore feeling radiant with ideas and suggestions and participate in writing with me. And if not, I'll just write about that time when I was a teenager when I got my braces caught in my girlfriend's sweater while we were on a roller coaster. For the entire ride.
I also plan on posting the story-in-progress here on this blog.
Oh. And you want to know more about the Authors for Indies event?
To quote the blog Epic Books: Authors for Indies is
a new initiative that’s taking place Canada wide where authors will be volunteering to help sell books for the day. This is a huge event with over 100 bookstores and 500 authors signed up! Epic Books is one of those bookstores and as of this moment we have 6 amazing authors that will be joining us. There will also be goodies, giveaways and so much fun to be had.  We love a good party and that’s what this is going to be, a whole day filled with book love and we really hope you can join us. See more here
The schedule at Epic Books is below. The full national schedule is here. Epic Books is at226 Locke St. South, in Hamilton, Ontario. 
Epic Books Author schedules for Saturday, May 2:
11 – 1: Sally Cooper
11 – 1: Gisela Sherman
1 – 3: Sylvia McNicoll
1 – 3: Ariel Gordon 
2 – 4: Gary Barwin
3 – 5: Amanda Leduc

The Science of Poetry, the Poetry of Science

InterNaPwoWriMo: Autopsymbolic Autopsychology

Tuesday, April 14, 2015



What's there? Cloud. Fly. My square eye. Something something something. My dog. Warm, yes. Your round eyes. And soft as a cloud. but out of the about five things that I know for certain, you're only half. I walk far away from you. You don't get smaller, except to my eye. I move my face in close. Now everything is you but there are no trees or clouds. I wish you were something certain. Spelling for example. Something lookupable. What changes? 



Saturday, April 11, 2015

InterNaPwoWriMooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo: Werids Weirds Wireds











Saturday, April 04, 2015

InterNaPwoWriMo 8: #4 For Bob Grumman

Pwoermds for Bob Grumman 

grummarkable grummany grummemories bob

________  = Grummore


should've ry 



Friday, April 03, 2015

















Thursday, April 02, 2015

InterNaPwoWriMo8 #2





Wednesday, April 01, 2015

IntertentionalPwoermdRiddimMince 8



I will read autopsies.

Whose autopsy will I read?

I will read autopsies.

Each autopsy is always my own.

To whom will I read autopsies?

An unremarkable tree.

The chair. Its autopsy.

Humans. Their autopsies.


Who will listen when I read autopsies?

Who will weep?




Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Sleep of Elephants, a short film.

A short film based on my poem/story "The Sleep of Elephants" which will appear in my forthcoming book, I, Dr. Greenblatt, Orthodontist, 251-1457 (Anvil Press, 2015.) I wrote the text for an old high school friend of mine, Melanie Drane.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Michael Brown and reading Kenneth Goldsmith

I wrote this to Jacqueline Valencia in response to her thoughtful and insightful commentary on the controversy surrounding conceptual poet Kenneth Goldsmith's recent reading at Brown University where he read as poem which was a version of the autopsy report of Michael Brown (who was killed in Ferguson by a police officer). I first want to acknowledge and remember the pain and the outrageous racism that is at the centre of what happened to Michael Brown.

I wanted to thank you for your thoughtful blogpost regarding Kenneth Goldsmith. I'm glad of an engaged yet considered approach, one not ready to pillorize someone immediately.

I don't like how these things usually go down on social media. It disturbs me how quickly people judge simplistically and ungenerously. And how quick to ad hominem (or ad conceptualwriting) attacks and bringing in other things which, I think, aren't directly related. Even if what someone did was insensitive or misguided or ill-considered. Or even just plain wrong. And I'm not certain how I categorize KG's reading exactly.

I did want to share a couple thoughts with you. The first thing that I wondered about was the fact that it was an autopsy report. I asked my wife (a criminal lawyer) who often must read such documents what she thought. I'd mentioned how KG ended with the part about the penis. I thought that it was a foregrounding of the racist tropes about black men being primitive, oversexed, etc. Exactly the kind of thing that might have been on the mind of the cop who shot Michael Brown. My wife said that they always write about genitalia in reports and when she reads them she also finds a particular pathos and humanity when the report turns to the genitals. She is struck always by how humanizing this mention of this intimate and private part of the anatomy is. So I thought (and for the moment turning aside issues of appropriate and the "unracialized" narrator) actually, ending the piece with a turn to this trope and a turn to this very intimate detail was, I thought, inspired.

Of course the whole thing is ugly. The murder of Brown was ugly.

My impulse is to read the text as text and not to interrogate KG's intentions (though of course part of the text is to read his racialized body and privilege.)

I wondered if the text could be read exactly as a white guy appropriating the whole thing, appropriating the issue, appropriating the death and its representation. So KG was deliberately standing up their and usurping (erasing, eclipsing) from his place of privilege the representation of this act by people of colour. Indeed reading the report was an interrogation (a problematization) of how the discourse (media, court system, culture, police, etc)  privileges subject positions such as his (white, middle class, privileged) over people of colour.  When KG wrote on FB, "Ecce homo" meaning "show me the man" and referring to how Michael Brown was a Christ-like sacrifice, actually it could be read as KG doing that. He is representing himself as a white appropriator doing exactly what the autopsy and the system it is part of is doing, in order to engage in a discussion of appropriation, master discourses, erasure of racialized perspectives, etc.

I know that there are many things in the discourse that may have clouded such a reading, but I still think it is a worthwhile take. A more meaningful positive way forward. A way of trying to understand how it is possible to engage with this issue as someone who isn't a person of colour, a way of addressing the complicity and complexity of the involvement of white people.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Jazz, poetry, ponies, dogs, and teaching creative writing: Two upcoming readings/performances

David Lee are performing our dog (jazz) and pony (poetry) show together for the Public Humanities at Western University. We've performed text and music together a lot and it's always fun and very improvisational. David plays double bass and/or cello and reads his own text work. I play saxophone, flute, or other woodwinds and perform texts and/or do sound poetry. It's always a happy surprise.

In April, I'm performing and doing a workshop at Hillfield Strathallan College where I used to teach music as part of their national conference for teachers—and prize winning students—of creative writing. It'll be good to be back here, relaxed, unharried and with no obligation to mark anything. CITE 2015 is on April 11. I'm part of a bill with author Terry Fallis and Patrick Dean, president of McMaster University.