amongst books

amongst books

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Book of Saints now available

my latest chapbook is now available through above/ground press. A Book of Saints is an excerpt from a longer work entitled Saint Ursula’s Commonplace BookIt is the third  chapbook from the work to be published. After Ursula (AngelHousePress, 2008 – limited edition 26 copies) (expanded from a single poem published by Vancouver's Pooka Press) and A Book of Miracles (Dusie Press, 2015), which was published in a limited edition of 60 copies for Dusie Kollektiv 8.

I offer my heartfelt thanks to rob mclennan of above/ground press for publishing A Book of Saints, my fourth chapbook with the press after Eleanor (2007), The Sad Phoenician’s Other Woman (2008), Sex First and Then A Sandwich (2012).

What rob does with above/ground press & his other initiatives is heroic, publishing the unheard of, the established and the obscure in large quantities, sending these copies to all and sundry, and giving poets an opportunity to read our work at launches in Ottawa, promoting the work tirelessly and supporting us with fervour.

A Book of Saints is part of a journal or commonplace book, a type of scrapbook where people compiled information such as recipes, observations about life, quotations and poetry.

The Breton princess Ursula lived in the fourth or fifth century. There are variations of her story. In one version, she was travelling by ship with eleven thousand virgins before meeting her groom, a Pagan. The ship was attacked by Huns, who killed all the virgins, including Ursula.

One day I encountered a homeless woman who was speaking to herself in the form of what sounded to me very much like religious prophesies. Thoughts of this homeless woman stayed with me. For some reason I thought of Ursula.

When I was hospitalized in 2009 in the Intensive Care Unit, I developed ICU psychosis. It was a frightening experience that led to severe delusion and paranoia. It made me concerned for those who have to go through such experiences as part of their daily lives. Part of the scope of this work is to explore and incorporate the delusions I experienced into the poetry.

In the manuscript, a woman prone to wandering finds the journal of the homeless woman, who believes that she is Saint Ursula. The journal is full of art, poems and descriptions of her dreams and quotations, bits of detritus and flowers she has gathered…

In A Book of Saints, our modern day Ursula writes her journal entries as poetry on saints days.

My sources for the saints days were the online Catholic encyclopedia and Saints, a Year in Faith and Art by Rosa Giorgi (Abrams, New York, 2005). Both of these rely on the Catholic Church's liturgical calendar. Names of feast days are taken directly from these sources. In some cases there were differences. I chose the ones that resonated the most for Ursula.

My process was straight-forward. On a particular day when I was writing the work, I opened up Saints to the day and used the saint of that day to inspire the work, to inspire Ursula’s preoccupations. I have been fascinated with this imaginary woman, my homeless character for seven years. She haunts me in the way that she herself is haunted by the saint.

Saint Ursula’s Commonplace Book consists of six sections: INTERSTICES, these are poems written by the wandering woman; A BOOK OF SAINTS; A BOOK OF MAGIC; A BOOK OF MIRACLES; A BOOK OF HOURS; and A BOOK OF URSULA.

Some of the poems have appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine, the Peter F. Yacht Club, , and Jacket2, an online magazine from Australia.

The patron saint of this work is bpNichol. In the course of writing the manuscript, I read and was influenced by his master work, The Martyrology, a long poem in 9 volumes published by Coach House Books. 


I am grateful (not at all a strong enough word to describe what joy I felt) for funding received by the City of Ottawa in 2014 for the creation of Saint Ursula’s Commonplace Book.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

one thing: dalton derkson

hell may very well be other people but
it seems more likely to be held in the pits
of squashed summer cherries            dead in
the alley         mingling with wasps nd rocks.

dalton derkson
(who is participating in the Worst Case Ontario Tour)


Your Invitation: 

tell me or show me one thing. it doesn’t have to be profound. it could be visual or written or a combo of both.  it could be about your work; it could be about some film or tv show you’ve watched or a coffee place you like. it could be short or long. i’ll post it along with a link of your choice to your work or somewhere else. disclaimer: i might choose not to post if it doesn’t suit me.
your reward? send me your mailing address & i’ll send you something whimsical…
it’s getting a tad quiet out there this summer & i think we need an injection of whimsy.
so fire away. svp. amanda at angelhousepress dot com

Friday, August 07, 2015

One Thing: rob mclennan

It never really is one thing, is it? One thing connects to another thing, which connects to a further thing.

Anything I write falls into the same category: occasional poems begin to pool, and group together; are occasional no longer. I compose occasional poems, composed for what may or may not actually be an occasion, that live alone for only the briefest time. And poems might group for the most tangential reasons—a shared cadence or structure, or the briefest shared content—but once they touch, they begin to bond with subsequent poems. Poems group, share information, and become larger.

One might say it can’t be helped. To write long and wide enough, the connections will make themselves visible, even through the most tenuous of examples. Poems connect to poems, and books connect to books.

It is never simply one thing. The goal of the artist is to expand as much as possible, while allowing for those connections. One might say that the most human quality of artwork is narrative, however arbitrary or constructed. The mind sees patterns, even where there might be none at all. And once we think we recognize these connections, the prophecy self-fulfills.


Your Invitation: 

tell me or show me one thing. it doesn’t have to be profound. it could be visual or written or a combo of both.  it could be about your work; it could be about some film or tv show you’ve watched or a coffee place you like. it could be short or long. i’ll post it along with a link of your choice to your work or somewhere else. disclaimer: i might choose not to post if it doesn’t suit me.
your reward? send me your mailing address & i’ll send you something whimsical…
it’s getting a tad quiet out there this summer & i think we need an injection of whimsy.
so fire away. svp. amanda at angelhousepress dot com

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

One Thing: Gary Barwin

THREE

balance the sugar packets
three storeys high perfect
like this poem

Sir, do you need Police, Fire or Ambulance?
Sorry? Police, Fire or Ambulance?
Police, police. What's going on?  What's going on?

floating on my back in the river
ears immersed
the sound of my own heart










Your Invitation: 

tell me or show me one thing. it doesn’t have to be profound. it could be visual or written or a combo of both.  it could be about your work; it could be about some film or tv show you’ve watched or a coffee place you like. it could be short or long. i’ll post it along with a link of your choice to your work or somewhere else. disclaimer: i might choose not to post if it doesn’t suit me.
your reward? send me your mailing address & i’ll send you something whimsical…
it’s getting a tad quiet out there this summer & i think we need an injection of whimsy.
so fire away. svp. amanda at angelhousepress dot com

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

summer sandwich : Chaudiere Books’ month-long sale!

my darling publisher, Chaudiere Books is having a sale. i can make so many double entendres about sandwiches, as you, faithful readers, already know...but forget about that...just buy these wonderful books, which are on sale.

To make space for our upcoming fall titles (Andy Weaver, Jennifer Londry and Chris Turnbull), we’re running a summer sale! From August long weekend through to the end of Labour Day.

Summer sandwich: pick your toppings! Pick a bundle from our 2007-2014 backstock titles,

3 for $40 plus $10 mailing
5 for $60 plus $15 mailing
10 for $135 plus $20 mailing

OR: our entire backlist (18 titles; up to and including 2014 titles) for $300

Kiki, by Amanda Earl (poetry, 2014)
Singular Plurals, by Roland Prevost (poetry, 2014)
Garden, by Monty Reid (poetry, 2014)
The Uncertainty Principle: stories, by rob mclennan (fiction, 2014)
Ground rules: the best of the second decade of above/ground press 2003-2013, ed. rob mclennan (poetry, 2013)
Casemate Poems (Collected), by Joe Blades (poetry, 2011)
The Lizard and Other Stories, by Michael Bryson (short stories, 2010)
Been Shed Bore, by Pearl Pirie (poetry, 2010)
Soft Where, by Marcus McCann (poetry, 2009)
A Long Continual Argument: The Selected Poems of John Newlove (poetry, 2007)
Old Winter, by Anne Le Dressay (poetry, 2007)
The Ottawa City Project, by rob mclennan (poetry, 2007)
Decalogue 2: ten Ottawa fiction writers (2007)
Everything is Movies, by Nicholas Lea (poetry, 2007)
The Desmond Road Book of the Dead, by Clare Latremouille (novel, 2006)
Disappointment Island, by Monty Reid (poetry, 2006)
movement in jars, by Meghan Jackson (poetry, 2006)
Decalogue: ten Ottawa poets (2006)

Payable via cheque:
Chaudiere Books
2423 Alta Vista Drive
Ottawa ON K1H 7M9

or via paypal, to rob_mclennan (at) hotmail.com


And of course, keep appraised of our activities through the Chaudiere Books blog at www.chaudierebooks.blogspot.com! Any of our books can also be ordered via All Lit Up at https://alllitup.ca/publishers/C/Chaudiere-Books

Friday, July 31, 2015

One Thing: David Menear

Happy Trails

I know one thing. We are up against a vast and empty void of 6,000 miles of birdless sky, wind flattened fields, barren rock and bitter snow. The distance between us that can never be travelled is more than 20 years.

“I didn’t steal your heart just to go off somewhere and break it.”

“You didn’t steal it lover, I gave it to you.”

Still though, in my soul’s haunted darkest corner I see myself, as if I’m astral-travelling, watching without responsibility, from far above, as I stumble, juggling your love clumsily, until it finally falls and shatters, bleeding sticky on the filthy sidewalk, in front of the liquor store over near the stripper bar.

Her eyes shrink and harden into slits of doubt and dread, disappointment and inevitable recrimination.

“The past need not euthanize the present or vilify the future.”

“You know that I want this to work.”

“Because it does?”

“Because we do."

"It does.”

David Menear
Good Reads Author Page
CBC Music Page

One Thing: Lillian Necakov

When I Die…

A man is climbing out the window
bare legs

and a cemetery under his arm.


Lillian Necakov