2016 Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest

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I’m thrilled and humbled to pass on the news that the kind folk at The New Quarterly have announced me as the winner of their 2016 Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest. I have admired TNQ’s Occasional Verse contest for quite a few years and I’m incredibly excited to count myself among its winners. I love occasional verse of all types!

The poem chosen, “Wedding Anniversary,” is from my current working manuscript about birds, for which I am pleased to (belatedly) announce I was awarded a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts in support of its writing. If you were curious about what I’m going to be doing this fall, that’s your answer–writing poems about birds!

Fun, sun, and books at the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts

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I had the huge pleasure of being part of the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts from August 11-14 in gorgeous Sechelt, BC. It was definitely one of the highlights of my summer (and that’s including the glimpse I got of lazuli bunting at the end of July–such gorgeous birds!).

On Saturday, August 11, Lorna Crozier led Rebecca Hendry, Janine Alyson Young and I in discussion about Boobs and all four of us read from the anthology, too. Over 400 people showed up to be probably the best audience for which I’ve ever had the privilege of performing. I was really moved by the thoughtfulness of the audience member’s questions during our Q & A session, and even more moved by the number of women who found me after the presentation to share their own stories with me.

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At the author signing table, from left to right: Lorna Crozier, Rebecca Hendry, Janine Alyson Young, and Ruth Daniell. Photo credit: Alexander Laidlaw

Once again, a huge thank you to everyone at Caitlin Press (Vici! Mike! Jake!) for believing in the book, and a huge thank you to the remarkable Jane Davidson and all the organizers of the SCFWA. The festival was an enormously positive experience.IMG_9223

I was able to be an audience member for the majority of the festival other events, and also had the delightful opportunity to hang out and get to know a number of my fellow authors. I loved Lorna Crozier’s other event with wildlife photographer and environmental advocate Ian McAllister, in celebration of their collaborative book, The Wild in You: Voices from the Forest and the SeaMark Winston’s talk on Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive was also just as wonderful as I had anticipated it to be (bee)! I’m also still feeling incredibly grateful to the warmth of all the more established writers with whom I got to spend time, including Laurence Hill and Madeleine Thien, both of whom also had very thought-provoking and generous presentations on their work.

And Sechelt is a beautiful place. I love the west coast. I left the place feeling renewed, inspired, and excited to get back down to the practice of writing.

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Photo credit: Candace Johnston

Boobs at the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts

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I’m so excited to arrive in Sechelt tomorrow for the beginning of the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts.

I’m looking forward to sharing the stage at the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Word with Lorna Crozier, Janine Alyson Young and Rebecca Hendry for the Boobs event on August 13 at 1:00!

Sunshine Coast Festival 2016

Interview about Boobs anthology on CBC Radio One

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I had the opportunity to talk to Candy on her CBC Radio One program, The Candy Palmater Show, on Wednesday (July 13, 2016). I had a blast! If you didn’t catch it on air, you can listen to it from the CBC website!

The Candy Palmater Show July 13 2016

My thanks to everyone at CBC for their interest, and for all the listeners who tuned in!

Boobs Anthology Reading at UBC Vancouver was empowering

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What a fantastic turn-out to the Boobs celebration at UBC! Thank you to Caitlin Press, for believing in the book right away. Thank you to Sara Graefe and Nancy Lee of the UBC Creative Writing Department for helping to organize this, and for Francine Cunningham and the UBC Alumni Association for collaborating.

A huge thank you to the UBC-affiliated Boobs contributors who came out and shared their pieces with us: Sara Graefe, Miranda Pearson, Francine Cunningham, Laura Ritland, Dina Del Bucchia, Esther Griffin, and Nancy Lee. We also had a lively and empowering panel discussion about what it means to have breasts. I felt so moved to be part of a community of such strong writers and strong individuals, and buoyed by the fantastic thoughtfulness of the audience, too. Thanks for making this a wonderful, memorable event.

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The writers with their copies of Boobs: Women Explore What it Means to Have Breasts (Caitlin Press, 2016)

 

 

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Boobs Anthology Reading July 13th at UBC Vancouver

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Boobs UBC reading

Two Poets with Four Portraits in Saskatoon

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Once upon a time Laura Ritland and I co-wrote and co-illustrated Four Portraits, a chapbook of poems and drawings. Then—with support from the wonderful folk of JackPine Press—we spent hours and hours making the 75 limited edition chapbooks by hand. This process involved a lot of gluing and folding, and scoring and folding, and cutting out of a lot of circles. Here are some pictures of that process.

With finished chapbooks in our luggage, we hopped onto a plane to Saskatoon. On Saturday, June 25, we gathered at The Woods Alehouse for the JackPine Press launch. James Pepler (poet) and Tom Boyko (artist) launched their video game-inspired chapbook, Side Quest. Wendy Donawa (poet) and Terry Ann Carter (paper expert and book designer) launched their book, The Gorge. Lovely people, all! And, of course, Laura and I read from our book, too. You can find copies of the book through the JackPine Press website. Our thanks to the JackPine Press collective, for their support through the book-making process, and to Lisa Johnson, for welcoming us so wholeheartedly to the city (and making sure we found the ice cream stand that’s run out of an old British double-decker bus).

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Laura Ritland & I pose with the Saskatchewan River & copies of our chapbook, Four Portraits 

Laura and I had an amazing time exploring Saskatoon. We admired, especially, the white pelicans fishing by the weir, as well as the many songbirds we saw beside the river. We similarly were delighted by all the delicious things we ate, but none more than the raspberry creme cruffins we discovered at Little Bird Patisserie & Cafe. We are true cruffin believers.

We also had a wonderful time (read: an entire afternoon) browsing and buying books at McNally Robinson, where I was pleased to find copies of Boobs on the shelves, and where Laura and I posed with the JackPine Press poster for the chapbook launch because we could. We are so grateful to everyone who supported us as we pursued this project, and are completely charmed by Saskatoon.

One more special thank you to Elise Marcella Godfrey, a dear friend and poet who returned to the West Coast this year but who spent the previous six years in Saskatoon and graciously provided us with a “to do and eat in Saskatoon” list that we may or may not have followed exactly. Poets like plans!

Be sure to visit the JackPine Press website to learn more about Four Portraits and get your copy of our handmade book!

 

 

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I’m thrilled to finally announce that together with my amazingly talented collaborator Laura Ritland I have a chapbook coming out with JackPine Press. We’re launching the limited edition chapbook at the JackPine launch next weekend in Saskatoon. Come say hello! (Click on the poster to take you to the event listing on Facebook.)

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Four Portraits is a suite of co-written poems and pen and ink drawings, bound accordion-style and wrapped with a windowed cut-out cover.  The project began as a kind of conversation—”Hey, we could write something together!”—and ended with a lot of scoring, folding, gluing, and cutting windows into gorgeous cardstock. Our thanks to JackPine Press for the opportunity to hand-make these books. It’s been a true joy.

See you soon, Saskatoon!

Boobs reading showcased moving work at Trees Coffee on Granville

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Thanks to everyone who came out to Trees on Saturday night to join us in a celebration of Boobs: Women Explore What it Means to Have Breasts. And my sincerest things to Zuri Scrivens, Lynn Easton, Christina Myers, and Jane Eaton Hamilton for sharing their work with us. The cafe was vibrant with sincere emotion, and I was—as I think everyone was—very moved.

Thanks to Trees for hosting! Trees is the usual home of  Swoon: A Reading Series on Love & Desire. Keep in touch, because co-host Sierra Skye Gemma and I have some wonderful things planned for the fall 2016 event.

Here are a handful of photos of the Boobs reading. What an amazing group of writers! In the final group shot (from left to right): Lynn Easton, Christina Myers, Ruth Daniell, Jane Eaton Hamilton, Zuri Scrivens. I’m so grateful for these voices.

 

Boobs reading in Vancouver June 18th at Trees

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Join us for another celebration of Boobs: Women Explore What it Means to Have Breasts in Vancouver on Saturday, June 18 at Trees Coffee downtown on Granville St. RSVP to the event on Facebook. Details below!

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