The rainy days of the mind

KFB REVIEW

RainSongs_Jacket_Spine-750x552

RAIN SONGS DUSTY NEAL

Permanent Sleep Press, 2018

First edition
6 x 9
94 pages
Velvet finish
Perfect bound
/200

In case you’ve been out of touch with the independent book scene in Toronto, last March, Parkdale gave us a new little gem of a bookstore. Permanent Sleep Bookshop now occupies a cozy corner of Capital Espresso (1349 Queen St. W) where the recent publications of Permanent Sleep Press are on sale among others.

Though I had never heard of Permanent Sleep Press prior to my visit, I naturally gravitated towards their raw yet hearty publications with minimalist design. I had not read a full-length poetry collection in a while, so I picked Dusty Neal’s Rain Songs off the shelves and spent the next few days with it. As luck would have it, I got trapped inside a pub because of the apocalyptic downpour, so I took the rainfall as a sign and picked up the book to spend time with what Dusty Neal describes as “The Rainy days of the mind”.

The poems vary in length, style and content, from minimalistic and anti-poetic to longer, metered verses, but as a collection it held my attention from start to finish. Having recently disposed of the majority of my possessions, a couple lines struck me harder than the rest:

“With the possessions you own
Do you know yourself more or less?”

It is in our Rainy Days that our possessions grow eyes, stare back at us begrudgingly, measuring our self-worth, Fleeting Rain that forces us to look inside for once, to realize how Canadian Rain is a metaphor for fleeting summers that flash by just to leave us in the cold arms of winter once again.

“Each warm week
Burns by quicker”

As the author mentions in the closing page of the book itself, we long for structure. The book weaves stories of Urban chaos, of masochism, death and boredom to the lonely hours of yearning for structure in the face of once-loved ones.

“The world was supposed to end in the year 2000
Jaded teens, 17 years old, we scoffed and welcomed it
But we knew it couldn’t possibly be reality
Our generation wasn’t lucky enough to watch the world burn”

We feel impotent faced with our inadequacies, faced with the profound sadness that comes with the acceptance of impermanence.

“do you still fail to see
All that is lost despite what you gain?”

We struggle with our daily lives, fitting into neat little boxes, “modeling ourselves into organized, well-wrapped presents” and in the process of doing so, we lose sight of all that was once precious.

This book made me nostalgic towards all that was once precious to me, it made me rethink my current relationship with the world around me, made me dig into the boredom of my day-to-day life for precious moments that I’ll one day yearn for. It’s a book with a lot of heart and sincerity, a no-bullshit approach to Canadian life that’ll tug at your heart strings with finesse and brevity.

When I finish the book, the downpour has ceased outside. I take my leave and spend the day ruminating, letting Dusty Neal’s Rain Songs play over and over in my mind. – Khashayar Mohammadi

HEAR DUSTY NEAL’S Workin’Nights Mix to accompany Rain Songs here. 

KHASHAYAR MOHAMMADI is an Iranian-born writer/translator based in Toronto, currently an editor at Inspiritus Press. Their most recent publication is Moe’s Skin (Zed Press, 2018). Dear Kestrel is being published by knife | fork | book Spring 2019.

Turn us on

We are now accepting proposals for poetry workshops, classes, reading/writing groups, publisher showcases, launches, special projects at our new KFB POETRY LAB both on site during shop hours and possible off site events.

This can be anything from a single two-hour time slot on a weekday or Saturday afternoon, to something monthly, bi-monthly or even weekly depending on the scope of your project, availability and approval.

We are especially interested in the ongoing growth/promotion of poetry readers and writers. Turn us on.

Proposals should include a clear [1 page] statement of: Course/Project. Ideal number of participants. How participants will engage. Half/Full day (2 hours or 4) Saturday or weekday (Tues- Sat 1-5:30PM) or off-site possibilities. Desired fees.

SUBMIT TO knifeforkbook [at] gmail [dot] com  SUBJECT: Turn us on

If you’re a publisher who would like to launch or showcase your [poetry] titles/catalogue, there’s a number of ways we can do this. Please contact Kirby at knifeforkbook [at] gmail [dot] com.

PLEASE NOTE: KFB / The Dark Side Studio is in no way a ‘rental hall’ and this should not be construed as such. Any/all KFB POETRY LAB proposals are subject to approval by knife | fork | book.

SEPTEMBER

sept 18 copy

 

KFB | SEPTEMBER

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 16TH BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 21
PAUL VERMEERSCH | KATH MACLEAN

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 28
KAREN MAC CORMACK | STEVE MCCAFFERY

knife | fork | book
at The Dark Side Studio | 244 Augusta Avenue | 2nd Floor | Kensington Market | Toronto

Doors 6:30 Poetry 7
Access: We are a second floor walk-up with two all-gender washrooms. Please remove your shoes upon entrance.
PAUL VERMEERSCH is a poet, professor, artist, and editor. He is the author of several poetry collections, including the Trillium–award nominated The Reinvention of the Human Hand (M&S, 2010)  Don’t Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something (ECW, 2014) and Self-Defense for the Brave and Happy (ECW, 2018). Vermeersch holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph for which he received the Governor General’s Gold Medal. His poems have been translated into Polish, German and French and have appeared in international anthologies. He edits Buckrider Books, an imprint of Wolsak & Wynn Publishers Ltd. He lives in Toronto. Photo by Justice Darragh.
KATH MACLEAN is a multi-media artist and author of three books of poetry, Translating Air (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2018), For a Cappuccino on Bloor and Kat among the Tigers. She lives in Toronto.
KAREN MAC CORMACK is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, most recently RECHELESSE PRATTICQUE (Chax Press, Tucson/Victoria, 2018). Other titles include AGAINST WHITE (Veer Books, London, 2013), TALE LIGHT: New & Selected Poems 1984–2009 (BookThug, Toronto, 2010) and Implexures (Chax Press, Tucson/West House Books, Sheffield, 2008). Her poems have appeared in a number of anthologies including Moving Borders, Out of Everywhere, Another Language, and Prismatic Publics. Her texts have been translated into French, Portuguese, Swedish and Norwegian. An extended interview with her appears in Scott Thurston’s Talking Poetics (Shearsman, 2011). Of dual Canadian/UK citizenship she currently lives in the USA and teaches at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Poet and scholar STEVE MCCAFFERY was born in Sheffield, England. He received his B.A. from Hull University, his M.A. from York University, and his Ph.D. in English from SUNY at Buffalo. He is a scholar, poet, and performer whose wide-ranging influence is especially present in concrete and sound poetry. His numerous books of poetry include the full-length collections Modern Reading: Poems 1969–1990 (Writers Forum, 1991), Seven Pages Missing: Selected Texts Volume One (Coach House Press, 2001) and Volume Two (Coach House Press, 2002), Verse and Worse: Selected and New Poems of Steve McCaffery 1989–2009 (Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2010). Together with bpNichol, he edited Sound Poetry: A Catalogue for the Eleventh International Sound Poetry Festival (Underwhich Editions, 1978) and Rational Geomancy: The Kids of the Book-Machine: The Collected Research Reports of the Toronto Research Group 1973–1982 (Talonbooks, 1992). He is acknowledged as one of the founding theoreticians of Language Poetry and his extensive scholarship is represented in numerous publications, including the books Imagining Language: An Anthology, edited with Jed Rasula (MIT Press, 1998), North of Intention: Critical Writings 1973–1986 (Roof Books, 1986), Prior to Meaning: The Protosemantic and Poetics (Northwestern University Press, 2001), and The Darkness of the Present: Poetics, Anachronism and the Anomaly (University of Alabama Press, 2012). Among his many rewards and acknowledgements, McCaffery has twice received the Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative North American Poetry, the Dora Mavor Moore Award in theater and has been nominated twice for Canada’s Governor General’s Award. He is currently the David Gray Chair of Poetry and Letters at SUNY Buffalo (a position previously held by Robert Creely and Charles Bernstein).
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