Another Poem Featuring a 1994 Toyota Tacoma, Arc, Arc Poetry Magazine, BC, Canlit, Colossal, Daily Bread, fiction, Jeremy Stewart, poem, Poem Featuring a 1994 Toyota Tacoma, poems, poetry, Prince George, short fiction, short stories, short story, Sorrow Halved, Synaesthesia Magazine, Vending Machine Press
I’m excited to announce that I have work forthcoming in Arc Poetry Magazine! Look for “Sorrow Halved: Parts I & II” in issue 77 this summer. Arc is one of the best and most-respected lit journals out there, and I am absolutely over the moon to have work published by them!
I also have a couple newly-polished poems coming out in issue 5 of Dreamland, a new journal based out of my hometown of Prince George, BC, and edited by Jeremy Stewart. Have you ever wanted to read poetry about old trucks? Watch out for “Poem Featuring a 1994 Toyota Tacoma” and “Another Poem Featuring a 1994 Toyota Tacoma.”
It’s an astonishing early spring here in Vancouver. My crocuses and tulips are poking out, my hydrangeas have new green, and my daffodils have already bloomed! I am particularly delighted that it looks as though my young blueberry bushes will bear fruit this year.
Book of Alternative Services, Christmas, Christmas 2014, Dappled Things, depression, faith, gratuitous bird photos, Hedgehog in the Fog, I'm suffering from depression and you, Josh Nadeau, literary magazines, literature, Natalie Morrill, photos, poetry, Prince George, publication, snow, Vancouver, winter
I’m pleased to let you know that you can now order copies of the Christmas 2014 issue of Dappled Things, an American literary journal that has published two of my poems.
“Book of Alternative Services” and “I’m suffering from depression and you” are both from my working manuscript and I am incredibly excited that they are now out in the world! I am especially proud that these specific poems—which explore ideas of spirituality, faith, death, fear, and love—found a home at Dappled Things, because the magazine does such a fine job of fostering a critical, artistic, and literary exploration of faith.
If you aren’t familiar with Dappled Things, I encourage you to check it out. The journal defines itself, in part, around a Catholic engagement of the world, but they do so in a very broad, un-stuffy—and, most importantly—loving way (or else this feminist, queer ally princess wouldn’t be reading it!). They regularly feature some truly gorgeous visual art, and the literature is frequently very moving. You can access sample content from each issue online, and to view the full content you can buy an issue individually or treat yourself to a digital and/or print subscription.
They also have a regularly-updated blog that features some provocative ideas about faith, culture, and how to be in the world. It is an interesting, well-curated blog. Among the blog’s many merits is that it has introduced me to “Hedgehog in the Fog,”a gorgeous, disconcerting, and adorable Russian cartoon short—via this post by one of their frequent blog contributors, Josh Nadeau.
(My other favourite hedgehog-themed thing on the Internet, if you’re interested, is this picture of a mama and baby hedgehog, in which the baby is flailing its limbs upwards as if it is on a rollercoaster and saying “Whee!”)
My gratitude to Natalie Morrill, who introduced me to Dappled Things. I encourage you all to check it out, too! Click on the (very pretty) banner image below to visit the Dappled Things website and see more very pretty images and discover some great literature. And, of course, to buy the issue and read my poems!
I hope that you are having a wonderful, wonderful 2015 so far, and that your winter holidays have left you feeling relaxed, ready, and more connected to your loved ones. As you know from my last post, I spent Christmas in my hometown of Prince George, BC, where I was delighted by snow. And then more snow. And then some more snow.
That last photo is a view of the old CN Rail Bridge over the Fraser River. I snapped it when I went for a walk along the Cottonwood Park trails on New Year’s Eve. It is gorgeous there.
I’m back in Vancouver now where there is, sadly, no snow, but there are lots of other good things. Someone needs to tell my tulips that it is only January, though, because they are trying to poke their green heads out of my garden already…
Ann-Marie MacDonald, Anne Kennedy, birthday, books, Canlit, Days of the Unicorns, Echolocation, fairy tale life, fairy tales, Garth Martens, glow-in-the-dark nail polish, Halloween, Jeffrey Ricker, Joelle Barron, magazine, nail polish, Neverland, Phyllis Webb, Poetry Bash, Prince George, Sina Queyra, Swoon, teacup, Vancouver, Vancouver Writers Festival, writing process
I can’t believe it’s already November! What a whirlwind fall’s been so far. I’ve been so busy, but having so much fun, too!
First up, the Vancouver Writers Festival happened at the end of last month. Due to my work schedule, I took in a bunch of events concentrated into just a couple days, but they were all lovely events. (Besides, if I went to all the events that I wanted to, and bought all the books I wanted to, my wallet would be whining inconsolably.)
I went to Pure Poetry on Friday morning, where I got to hang out with Garth Martens, who was in town to catch some of the Festival’s events. I remembered to bring my copy of his book with me, too, so that I finally got my copy signed. (Garth read for Swoon back in April.) At Pure Poetry, six poets read from varied and fascinating work: Kris Demeanor, Eve Joseph, Christopher Levenson, Anne Kennedy, Katherena Vermette, and Sina Queyras, whose performance of her quasi-found poem “Elegy Written in a City Cemetery” convinced me to buy her new book, M x T. When I met her after the reading as she signed my copy, Sina Queyra complimented me on my dress. Yes!
On Saturday morning, I went to the reading of Ann-Marie MacDonald‘s new novel, Adult Onset. I mostly went to the event because I was introduced to her work in my first year of the English Honours program at the University of Victoria, in the same class where I met my sweetheart, James. Some of our first conversations about literature and the world began with discussion of Ann-Marie MacDonald’s work. On Saturday, MacDonald was a good reader–very funny, but also honest about the gravity of some of her subjects. I haven’t read the book yet and I’m not sure when I’ll get around to it because I have such an intimating stack of books in my “to read” pile, but I do intend to read it!
In the afternoon, I went to the celebration of Phyllis Webb, which was also a little bit sentimental for me because I grew up reading her poetry and performing it in speech arts festivals. The event was well-curated, I thought, with video and radio clips of Webb interviewing other writers and reading her own work interspersed with very felt and moving tributes to her by a bunch of other talented poets. Phyllis Webb was also in attendance, and spoke a couple words at the end, and signed books. I got my copy of her collected, Peacock Blue, signed, and got to tell her that I performed her poetry as a kid. Have you read her poem “Days of the Unicorns” before? I’m in love with that poem (I’m also in love with the man who hasn’t ever requested that we take my unicorn blanket off our shared bed).
Finally, I went to the Poetry Bash in the evening on Saturday, an event that I haven’t missed since I moved to Vancouver. It was enjoyable, as always. Billeh Nickerson is always such an energy onstage, and it was lovely to hear readings by other poets I’ve heard read before and those I hadn’t. I enjoyed Sina Queyra and Katherena Vermette again, and it was good fun to hear Patricia Young’s poems about the mating rituals of animals and insects.
And now I interrupt your regularly-scheduled blog-reading with an excerpt from my real fairy tale life:
The other thing that happened that weekend was that I celebrated my birthday on Sunday (that’s October 26, if you’re taking notes for next year). My amazing parents actually surprised me by showing up on Saturday afternoon (right before the Phyllis Webb reading, so, because I had two tickets, I brought my mom as my date instead of my husband). Inbetween Festival events, we all spent the day together and it was wonderful.
On my birthday, I worked all day, and then met up with them for dinner. I had had a day full of thoughtful messages, little gifts, and kind words from dear ones near and far, but none from my brother, which occurred to me was strange but I was not suspicious and so completely flabbergasted to see my brother at the restaurant table. He drove all the way from Prince George (10 hours) so he could surprise me for my birthday, even though he just had to leave again first thing the following morning.
After dinner and dessert, I opened up presents from my family, and among them was a beautiful set of fine teacups from my sweetheart.
I exclaimed over how much I love them and said, “Ah! And I was just admiring the pretty teacups at Neverland!”
This sentence was too much for my brother to take (“Neverland?”), who laughed, snorted, and then proceeded to choke on the pink (!) sparkling wine that we served with the cake.
The rest of my family laughed too, and James commented, “Yup. That is an actual sentence that describes Ruth’s real life.”
It’s a good life, guys. Love is good.
Speaking of Neverland–which is an amazingly pretty little teashop in Kitsilano–I want to remind you all of Joelle Barron. She’s the one who introduced me to Neverland, over a year ago, and she’s also the amazing writer I tagged in the writer tag and blog hop in my post with all the photos of the robin. At the last Swoon event in April, Joelle brought Jeffrey and me each a single long-stemmed rose for being good hosts. Ah! Talk about swoony. Anyhow, on her blog post she wrote some fascinating stuff about her own writing process (writing in bed?! I really need to fuss up and get a laptop) that you should really go read. She also wrote some really kind things about me that make me blush a lot. Joelle is such a lovely person–if you don’t know her work, I really suggest you start following her now. I think she’ll change your (reading) life.
A few of my teenage students from The Bolton Academy of Spoken Arts are published on the CBC website right now with their entries in the youth category for the “True Stories of Belonging” writing challenge. I’m honoured that these students entrusted me to help them decide how to tell their stories, and so awed that they are brave enough to share them with the world. My colleagues and students at Bolton are doing all kinds of exciting things right now; check out the school’s website to find out more.
What else can I tell you? Well, I am very excited that my contributor copy of Echolocation arrived in the mail (just one day of shy of my birthday). I took some pictures of it this morning, looking all seductive against my rain-streaked window.
I also had a lot of fun with my family this Halloween, with one last spooky hurrah at my childhood home in Prince George, BC. It was appropriately foggy and atmospheric that night, which added to the fun of our hyperbolically haunted decorations. I had been planning for weeks to just dress up as a witch (I’d packed my carry-on suitcase almost exclusively with black clothing and striped tights), but then my mother re-discovered a really ridiculously frilly pink prom dress in our old costume boxes, so I went as a lady ghost. (It is always really hard to convince me to wear 1. anything pink or 2. frilly. 3. a dress.) I was pretty pleased with how my make-up worked out, all white and ghastly, and the fact that I finally got to wear glow-in-the-dark nail polish.
Don’t forget that Swoon is happening again soon, on Saturday, November 15!
It’s been a week since Swoon: A Literary Evening of Love, Sex, and Chocolate, and I’m still feeling silly with happiness! Thank you so much to everyone who came out and made Swoon such a lovely event. It was truly a privilege to host alongside Jeffrey Ricker, and to introduce the audience to such fine writers. The Swoon website will update with photos as soon as our intrepid Swoon photographer delivers us the oodles of fun pictures he took for us! In the meantime, you can always check out the photos that I took on my iPhone and tweeted at @swoonvancouver.
What have you been doing to celebrate National Poetry Month? I gave myself the challenge to write a new poem every day for the entire month of April. I’m on day 11 and I’m having lots of fun. Especially on work days, when I don’t have time to sit and craft a poem for a long amount of time, it’s interesting to see what kind of material emerges when I am working with a time limit.
In the spirit of National Poetry Month, I’ll recommend a poem to you! I noticed that today’s Poem of the Day Podcast at Poetry Foundation is Robert Hass’s “Misery and Splendor,” which is from one of my favourite books of poetry ever, Human Wishes. You can listen and read to the poem here.
Speaking of poetry and poets… Gillian Whigmore, a poet who lives in my hometown of Prince George, BC, recently launched her first book of fiction. Last Saturday I went to the Vancouver launch and heard her read from Grayling. The novella is set in northwestern B.C.’s Dease River, and follows Jay along a canoe trip that gets more emotionally complicated when circumstances force him to take on a companion. It’s beautiful writing, and I can’t wait to read it. It’s on my nightstand along with a select few other books from my “to read” list. Also on this list are two Swooners: Garth Martens with his debut collection of poetry, Prologue for the Age of Consequence, and Jeffrey Ricker with his new YA novel, The Unwanted.