Archive for the ‘poems’ Category

New poem online: “Exercise: Prospective Verse”

The EcoTheo Review has been kind enough to publish and share a humble poem of mine online, which can be read, here.

Despite our best efforts, a recording of the poem I made wasn’t posted along with the poem; therefore, I share that recording, here:

“Exercise: Prospective Verse”

“Poetry is news…” &c.

Two decades back, in the shadow of the 9/11 attacks, when the United States and its allies were rattling their sabres mobilizing to invade Afghanistan, many were critical of such an ill-advised adventure, including myself. I cast around for a way to articulate this critical unease, happening, finally, on a column from The Globe and Mail (as described below) that provided the material and impetus to compose a work of verbal art (a “poem” or, in this case, more properly, a “text”) that answered my need.

As I wrote in way of preface at the time:

Saturday 22 September 2001 The Globe and Mail published an essay article by John Barber ‘Wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains’ (F4). Despite its critical stance toward the then impending invasion, the terms of its discourse were so pedestrian my frustrated and bored eye wandered across its six columns. The article read thus, against the grain, oracularly clear, and the experience of that reading what I want to communicate. The sense it made to me leaves its trace in minor editorialisations (where the text has been stepped on). This vision into the essence of our imagination of Afghanistan is as forbidding as the country itself: a land of glacierous and desert mountains and sandstorms and tire-melting heat that swallows whole armies. “Cut the word lines and the future leaks through.” Here, English speaks this vision: in dead or obscure words, new compounds and coinages. Syntactically, at root (or so Norman O. Brown told John Cage) the arrangement of Alexander’s soldiers in a phalanx (the Great, too, stopped in Afghanistan), the language has been demilitarized.

Some stanzas of the resulting poem, Seventh Column, were published in The Capilano Review, in an issue devoted to poetic responses to 9/11. The entire poem was issued in a very limited edition, hand-stitched chapbook, long since sold out. On the occasion of the withdrawal of western forces from Afghanistan, the time seemed ripe to share the poem in its entirety, readable in the PDF, below.

Solace for staycationers

A lot of folks aren’t able to travel as has been their wont these days. One new acquaintance and partner had been planning a short tour of Germany and Italy last summer, a plan put off until at least next summer.

To help them suffer their enforced staycation, I offer this poem from Ladonian Magnitudes, “European Decadence in medias res” to remind them of what they are missing and offer some solace. A recording of the poem follows.

 

 

European Decadence in medias res

 

They’re cutting the gelato in Sirmione

with pure azure lakewater.

In Siena City Hall two old pigeons hunched

on the bitch-wolf’s back trickle lime down

to her teats suckled by the twins.

In the Old City they serve una vera grappa

senese I’ve always passed over at the S.A.Q..

In Otterndorf the Matjes Dutch sushi

raw herring is swimming in salmonella.

In Charles de Gaulle Theseus a clochard

begs our last cents. “If we miss our connection

I’ll strangle somebody!” I said when we finally

found our flight home and remembered I’d said it

arriving. Air France dejeneur croissant et eau de source.

 

“Why scribble in lingo 3 peoples reads?” up at “Poetry Pause”

The League of Canadian Poets has kindly included this fourteen-line poem in its “Poetry Pause” series, which you can read, here.

Synchronicity-invoked Dangerous Supplement

By “meaningful coincidence,” the day I downloaded and taught myself the software I needed to make the raw Zoom footage of the launch for my latest chapbook at least a little more presentable, a Canadian poet-critic shared he’d just published an essay on “‘counterfactual’ poetry anthologies, ” a topic essayed by one of the poems from that chapbook‘s Toronto Suite: “Literary Life in the Capital””

“Literary Life in the Capital” from Toronto Suite

“As on a holiday” launch, for your poetry viewing pleasure…

The March 24, 2021 launch of my latest chapbook is now up online: if you missed the event, you can catch it here.

As on a holiday: teaser #3

https://www.cactuspresspoetry.com/

My latest chapbook, As on a holiday, launches Wednesday 24 March.

It’s a challenging book to present orally/aurally, as the poems are all very short. The reader, too, therefore, is faced with the question of exactly how to connect all these short poems. In the tradition of postmodern poetry, such as that of Homer, Dante, and Cervantes, the collection includes a poem that suggests an approach, the first of Farnad Songbook, read here:

from Farnad Songbook

Looking forward to seeing you all at the launch!

As on a holiday: Teaser #2

https://www.cactuspresspoetry.com/

The launch of my new chapbook, As on a holiday, is getting closer. Today, I offer as preview (pre-hear?) two poems from the section “Made in Germany”.

Everything you need to tune in you should find here.

from “Made in Germany”

As on a holiday: Teaser #1

https://www.cactuspresspoetry.com/

I launch my chapbook As on a holiday (Cactus Press) in just over a week. Between now and then I’ll be posting short readings from the book to pique your interest if not whet your appetite.

The first is part of the “London intermezzo” from the section “Made in Germany”.

from “London intermezzo

The FB Event page for the Zooom launch Wednesday 24 March is here.

“Does Anybody Buy Books Today?”

“Developers” are changing the face and character of cities all over the globe, no less in Montreal, Canada.

The city’s Plateau / Mile End neighbourhood has been undergoing gentrification for years, but a recent flashpoint has been the threatened eviction of a longstanding used bookstore, S. W. Welch. The landlord’s jacking the rent caused such an uproar that locals organized a “read-in” in support.

https://www.facebook.com/events/252390853101086/?acontext=%7B%22event_action_history%22%3A[%7B%22mechanism%22%3A%22your_upcoming_events_unit%22%2C%22surface%22%3A%22bookmark%22%7D]%7D

The story was widely covered in local media, including a number of telephone interviews with one of the landlords, Danny Lavy, quoted in the poster, above. Lavy’s words struck me as so representative of a certain mindset (like those that inspired Basil Bunting’s “What the Chairman Told Tom”) I quickly cobbled them together into a poem of my own.

You can hear the poem, here:

The Developer Defends the Rent Hike that Would Evict a Longstanding Fixture of the Neighbourhood

(You can read another poem about the changes in Mile End, here.)