Monday, December 3, 2018

Arc Poetry Walk: The Byward Market on Dec 8


Arc Walk Ottawa #6 : Byward Market : curator/guide: rob mclennan

Arc Walks Ottawa is a series of guided walks based on poetry themes and capitalizing on the rich poetry history of Canada’s capital. Residents and visitors alike are welcome to join in on the walks to learn and revel in Ottawa’s poetry.

The sixth and final walk of this series will take place in the Byward Market on Saturday, December 8th. This walk, led by rob mclennan, will showcase the poetry of this historic neighbourhood, including sites significant to Susan McMaster, Diana Brebner, Stephanie Bolster, William Hawkins, Neil Flowers, The Vanilla Reading Series and The Vogon Reading Series, WORDFEST 1983, John Bart Gerald and Capital Slam, among others.

http://robmclennansindex.blogspot.com/2018/05/arc-poetry-walks-ottawa-2018.html

The walk will begin at 3:30PM outside of the National Gallery of Canada on Sussex Avenue. During the hour-long walk, participants will visit locations where they will hear about some of Ottawa’s contemporary poetry history, and hear from a special guest poet or two. Come prepared for rain or shine!

Special guest poets include slam poet Danielle K. L. Grégoire and longtime Ottawa scribe Colin Morton.

Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa, where he is home full-time with the two wee girls he shares with Christine McNair. The author of more than thirty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2010, the Council for the Arts in Ottawa Mid-Career Award in 2014, and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012 and 2017. In March, 2016, he was inducted into the VERSe Ottawa Hall of Honour. His most recent titles include the poetry collection How the alphabet was made (Spuyten Duyvil, 2018) and the forthcoming Household items (Salmon Poetry, 2019) and A halt, which is empty (Mansfield Press, 2019). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics (ottawater.com/seventeenseconds),Touch the Donkey (touchthedonkey.blogspot.com) and the Ottawa poetry pdf annual ottawater(ottawater.com). He is “Interviews Editor” at Queen Mob’s Teahouse, editor of my (small press) writing day, and an editor/managing editor of many gendered mothers. He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at robmclennan.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

CBC Radio Interview Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology

You can listen to Meaghan Strimas and myself being interviewed about the Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology (Mansfield Press) on CBC Radio's All in a Day with host, the ever-gracious Alan Neal. Launch is tonight, 7pm, The Sawdust Reading Series.

The link is here, and here - https://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/all-in-a-day

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Why I Am Launching the Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology

Tomorrow night (Wed.), at 7 pm at The Sawdust Reading Series, I launch Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology edited by Meaghan Strimas and the late Priscila Uppal, from Mansfield Press

I use I, but I'm far from alone. I read with Anita DolmanRob McLennanBlaine MarchandSusan McMasterRusty PriskeBarbara Myers, Montreal's James Hawes and Cora Sire, and two other Ottawa poets.

I owe a huge thanks also to anthology editor Meaghan Strimas, Sawdust's director Jennifer Pederson and Mansfield Press publisher/editor 
Denis De Klerck for making all this possible.


Why do the launch? Cancer affects all of us, whether we see it or not.

My piece is about J.P. Craig, a chum of mine whom I hung out with extensively after university. I never even knew he had passed until about a few years later, told by a close friend, who also learned late about J.P.'s passing. My poem "At the corner of Pitt and First, where I Last spoke to J.P." .is an attempt to say goodbye. I dedicate my poem to him, fellow drinker and idea-seeker of truths. We were hanging out in post-university days, doing illicit things, trying to be ourselves or, alternatively, trying to find ourselves.

I've lost very special people to cancer, from my mother-in-law, Jacomina Iet Dolman (cancer of the esophagus, that spread quickly; her death and suffering I still grapple with through the lens of my fiction); to my high-school chum, Helen  (vulvar cancer) this Feb. 9 (sweet Jesus, what a bad day-before-my-birthday that was, a loggerhead to my stomach and soul). 

S.A. Baz Collins, for whom I recently did a beta reading of his speculative-fiction manuscript, Beware of Mohawks Bearing Gifts, after going through the gamut of chemo treatments, has been declared NED (No Evidence of Disease) by his doctor for a few months now. For this, I'm thankful.

As well, my older sister was diagnosed about two years ago with a rare form of lung cancer that non-smokers gets. It's incurable but treatable. For the treatable aspect, I am also grateful.

It is hard, and difficult to make sense of, so I fight it, with words, however I can. Because I must do something.

That's why I stepped up to launch the Mansfield Press anthology. My effort is also a tribute to late co-editor, poet, novelist and playwright Priscila Uppal who passed away Sept. 5 2018 after a long battle with synovial sarcoma, a rare disease she once called “the Kick in Your Face Cancer.”  (The Toronto Star, September 5, 2018). She was 43. 

Priscila Uppal, of  admirable work ethic, prolific writing, feistiness, and zeal to live and enjoy life, no matter what the future held, would, I think, approve of the launch.

And I'm happy to say that ten other anthology contributors, from Montreal and Ottawa area, are also joining me.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Arc Walk Hintonburg on Friday, November 9

Arc Walks Ottawa is a series of guided walks based on poetry themes and capitalizing on the rich poetry history of Canada’s capital. Residents and visitors alike are welcome to join in on the walks to learn and revel in Ottawa’s poetry.

The fifth, and penultimate, walk of this series will take place in Hintonburg on Friday, November 9th. This walk, led by rob mclennan, will showcase the poetry of this historic neighbourhood, including sites significant to Diana Brebner, Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeebar, The Dusty Owl Reading Series, Dennis Tourbin and Anita Lahey.

Guest poets Blaine Marchand and Claire Farley will also be on the tour.

The walk will begin at 5:30PM at the corner of Wellington Street West and Holland Avenue. During the hour-long walk, participants will visit five locations where they will hear about some of Ottawa’s contemporary poetry history, and hear from a special guest poet or two. Come prepared for rain or shine!

About your guide, rob mclennan:
Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan lives in Ottawa, where he is home full-time with the two wee girls he shares with the brilliant and utterly delightful poet and book conservator Christine McNair. The author of more than 30 trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he won the CAA/Most Promising Writer in Canada under 30 Award in 1999, the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2010, the Council for the Arts in Ottawa Mid-Career Award in 2014, and was twice longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012 and 2017. He has published books with Talonbooks, The Mercury Press, Black Moss Press, New Star Books, Insomniac Press, Broken Jaw Press, Stride, Salmon Publishing and others. His most recent titles include notes and dispatches: essays (Insomniac press, 2014), The Uncertainty Principle: stories, (Chaudiere Books, 2014) and the poetry collection A perimeter (New Star Books, 2016). His next poetry title, Household items, is out this spring from Salmon Publishing.
http://robmclennan.blogspot.com/

About Claire Farley
Claire Farley is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at the University of Ottawa and co-founder of Canthius, a feminist literary magazine. Her poetry has been published in several Canadian literary magazines and in 30 under 30: An Anthology of Canadian Millennial Poets. She is the 2016 recipient of the Diana Brebner Prize.

About Blaine Marchand
The author of eight books, six of which are poetry, Ottawa writer Blaine Marchand’s most recent books are Aperature (poems, prose and photos of Afghanistan, 2008), and The Craving of Knives (2009), both of which were nominated for the Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry. A chapbook, My Head, Filled with Pakistan, was published in 2016. A young adult novel, African Adventure (translated as Aventure africaine) was published in 1990. His work has been published in Canadian and American literary journals and in Pakistan.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Halloween film, 2018: Hello, Jamie Lee Curtis

You know, the new Halloween film is a marked improvement over 1998's H20: 20 Years Later, ignoring all other franchise films since 1981's Halloween II (Call it the Highlander-II Syndrome, ignoring previous installments to fit the diegesis of the new movie?). Works in its favour, however. Many tips of the hat to not only Rob Zombie's reboots of the franchise, but also the 2009 Friday The 13th reboot and, of course, many ironical nods to the original Halloween of 1978. Perils abound, including clever uses of depth of field, lack of music. Tough story, too, in the sense that no one, of any age, nearly, is safe, and the Michael Myers character is oddly selective in his psychotic assaults. Some outré character decisions also try the viewer's common sense. However, solid jump-scares abound and a return to director John Carpenter's creepy vibe permeates the story. Moreover. Jamie Lee Curtis remains the bomb, her acting raising all ships, as the saying goes.
Trailer's here.

Hallowe'en Night, 2018


Down through the foggy night streets, on All Hallows’ Eve, a devil and the Riverman caroused. The devil was ten, so the ferryman was unsure how more magical nights they would have like this. In my hooded cloak and shawl (with backpack hidden underneath, giving an unsightly hump) and with my staff, I encountered many reactions.
“Are you dressed as a hobo?”
“Maybe he’s wizard!”
“He’s a hunchback!”
Reactions to the devil, with his burgeoning bag of treats, however, were uniform praise.
“Great costume; I saw you coming. And who’s he?”
“He’s the Riverman, who everyone pays to get into hell.”
One thing to remember about clunking along with your staff on a rainy, leafy, damp night. If you say “hi” to an older woman, whether to impress or seem collected, you may put your staff (a rake with the forks removed) into the holes of the top of a manhole cover. Then, while attempting to remove the wooden post, you may land your feet in a significant puddle, soaking your shoes.
Last night, the fog lingered in the glow of the lamplight like a John Carpenter shot.
Among the sporadic flocks of disguised children, and brightly coloured creatures who seem in vogue this year, we saw a teenage girl who was Freddy Krueger, a woman who answered the door with some sort of demon mouth opening in her torso, a hole that looked untoward, and a grinning skull face that offered candy on the threshold.
My favourite, though, was a darkened figure sitting by the bowl of the candy by the front door as Mike-Oldfield-esque music played. The Crow-beaked thing with glowing eyes moved as we reached for candy. Raised an arm. Looked upward. Whether alive or not, we could not say until we said, “Happy Halloween.”
“Happy Halloween,” they intoned, startling us.
And I hope everyone else had one, too.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

25th Anniversary of above/ground press

25th Anniversary of above/ground press
with Sandra Ridley, Gil McElroy and Sarah Mangold
Hosted by Stephen Brockwell
as part of the ottawa international writers festival
"The impact of above/ground press has been so great, some authors can’t remember a time without it."
— Apt. 613

Tuesday, October 30, 2018
FREE EVENT
7pm, Christ Church Cathedral • 414 Sparks Street Ottawa


As part of its silver anniversary year, the above/ground press has produced a limited edition set of single-poem broadsides by an array of above/ground press authors.

Curated by publisher/editor rob mclennan and designed by Christine McNair, the series will be launched by Sarah MangoldGil McElroy andSandra Ridley, who will be joined on-stage by rob mclennan for a conversation on the press’s twenty-fifth year. Moderated by Stephen Brockwell.

More details on the broadsides to be announced very soon! Copies will, of course, be available at the event;

See Sandra Ridley's bio here ; Gil McElroy's bio here ; Sarah Mangold's bio here

for further information on the event and the festival, check out the link here.