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Ron Romanowski -- Night Table Recommendations

Thursday, Feb 09, 2012 at 6:25pm

stretching a tripping line from ginsberg to muldoon

when the withering hand raises its statues chiseling Moloch-granites

The Israeli writer Amos Oz remarked on Charlie Rose's PBS interview show recently that he walks in the desert among the ancient stones near his home every morning to "put things in perspective". To me Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl" is one of those lasting touchstones. With it I judge the quality of my own work and that of other writers. Editor Jason Shinder's twenty-six essay collection The Poem That Changed America: "Howl" Fifty Years Later (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is a book that I have kept on my night-table for a long time because it is fascinating to read how others value Ginsberg's 1956 poem, or not (the book is not all panegyric).

Click *More* to read further...

Categories: Reviews, Poetry, Discussions, Authors, Winnipeg, Night Table Recommendations


Fred Wah Named Parliamentary Poet Laureate

Wednesday, Dec 21, 2011 at 4:16pm

Many congratulations to Saskatchewan based poet Fred Wah for his recent appointment to the position of parliamentary poet laureate. This is just another achievement in a remarkable career that began in the early 60's. Not only has Wah's own poetry been enormously influential, he has also served as mentor to a generation of some of Canada's most exciting poetic voices. This is an extremely well deserved honour indeed.

You can read more about the appointment and the position itself on the Winnipeg Free Press website here.

Categories: Awards, Poetry

Governor General's Literary Award Shortlists Announced

Tuesday, Oct 11, 2011 at 1:34pm

Patrick deWitt and Esi Edugyan continue their dominance of Canadian award lists by being among this year's fiction nominees for the 75th year of the Governor General's Literary Awards, .

The Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction

For a complete list of nominated works, click ***more*** below.

Categories: Awards, Poetry, Publishing News, Literature


Diana McIntosh -- Night Table Recommendations

Thursday, Mar 17, 2011 at 4:26pm

A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman (Vintage)

I'm enjoying re-reading Diane Ackerman's fascinating book about the fives senses, called A Natural History of the Senses. She explores, with humour and poignancy, each of our senses. Several years ago I wrote a music/theatrical piece using quite a lot of text from Ackerman's book, having gotten permission from her publisher. I've enjoyed performing my piece, which I've titled "In a Sense" to several different audiences, all of whom loved the text. My piece is for spoken text, a thumb piano, wind chimes and movement. It's fun to be re-reading this delightful book.

The Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein by Gertrude Stein (Vintage)

Another book I'm reading for the second time is The Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein. I've used several sections of text, particularly from her Tender Buttons, in a major multi-media theatrical work. Of mine which combines piano, percussion, live electronics, spoken text and movement. My one-woman piece is called "McIntosh, the Stein Way"! (But I've often performed it on a Baldwin or Yamaha piano!) Stein loved using words for their rhythm and sound rather than for their meaning, and I play with this idea in my piece. Re-reading this book by Stein, I'm again astonished at how original and fresh it remains today - considering it was written in the middle of the last century. It's a big book with several chapters. My favourite are The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Tender Buttons and Three Portraits of Painters. It's best read out loud!


Diana McIntosh is an acclaimed Winnipeg-based musician with a long history in performance and composition, and one of the founders of the GroundSwell new music series. She joined us at our Grant Park location on February 24th to launch her most recent recording Pinnacles.

Categories: Reviews, Poetry, Music, Winnipeg, Night Table Recommendations

Canadian Speculative Poetry Getting Its Due

Thursday, Jan 27, 2011 at 11:42am

I've never thought too hard about science fiction and fantasy poetry. I knew it existed. I knew that Robert J. Sawyer's wife Carolyn Clink was one of the form's noted practitioners. But like many fantasy readers, I've been guilty of skipping the poems or the songs that inevitably find their way into fantasy epics.

So why am I talking about it now?

In October 2010, I attended the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, Ohio. At one of the many parties, this one hosted by Canadian publisher ChiZine, a poetry reading broke out amidst the launch of Paul Tremblay's In the Mean Time and Robert Boyczuk's Nexus: Ascension.

Sandra Kasturi, ChiZine co-publisher declared we would listen to a poem because "she'd bought the beer". She read a poem from her first collection The Animal Bridegroom called "Frankenstein's Monster's Wife's Therapist."


Now, lo and behold, one of Canada's two major SF&F awards, the Prix Auroras, have added a poetry category. Both Clink and Kasturi published numerous poems in 2010, also notable is Helen Marshall's "Waiting for the Harrowing". Even the "Dean of Canadian Science Fiction", Robert J. Sawyer has an eligible work; his prose poem, "The Transformed Man".

No longer a category I'll be ignoring.

A list of 2010 publications

Nominate for the Auroras

Categories: Awards, Poetry, SciFi & Fantasy, Horror


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