“between a protest and prayer”


The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.”

JAMES BALDWIN The Creative Process

On Friday night,

while the U.S. is inaugurating a new president, and with many feeling that the simple fact of their body or their faith imperils them, a small group will gather to voice something between a protest and prayer. Join us at Knife Fork Book at Rick’s Cafe in Kensington (281 August Ave), 7-9 pm, for a full-length reading of “Operations.” It will likely take about two hours to read all of the names of war from 1945 to 2006, with different guest readers reading each year. Dionne Brand will read 1983. Tasleem Thawar from PEN Canada will read 1951. Liz Howard will read the names in 2004. But there will also be a few readers who won’t physically be in the space. Johanna Skibsrud will read the Vietnam heavy 1967 from Tuscon, Arizona. Erin Wunker will read 1955 from Halifax. Eduardo C. Corral will read 1969 from Raleigh, North Carolina. Monique Truong will read 1957 from Brooklyn. These readers will voice their year where they happen to be, without streaming or phoning in, and their portion will be “heard” in the cafe as an appropriately lengthed silence.
The full list of readers will be posted in the next day or two, but thank you to those who are taking part, and to Kirby at Knife Fork Book who approached me/BookThug with this idea. This is durational, so if you’d like to come, you don’t have to stay for the full reading. Also, if you’d like to read a year, you can show up and ask one of us or backchannel me.
One of my favourite pieces I’ve read recently is James Baldwin’s The Creative Process. One line, in particular, stayed with me because of its balance of humility and idealism: “The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.” MOEZ SURANI 
Photo: JAMES BALDWIN (source unknown)

Everyday is like


Sunday. In January. And it feels like it, beneath her mother’s quilt. Does she even want to? (no, it’s Sunday… and she does) 506 High Park to Augusta and the shop greeted by C.J., Aaron, and Takatsu and their glorious new arrival, APPARATUS, an anthology of emerging writers on their own imprint, Inspiritus Press. And it’s a beauty. And she’s gifted with one of the first copies we front rack, set an official launch date (FEBRUARY 9TH).

And there’s no place she’d rather be.

Gentle poets. So lovely of you. Thank you for the honour.  knife | fork | book

This week’s menu



CLAIRE CALDWELL Invasive Species

LAURA K. McRAE Distributaries

MICHAEL PRIOR Model Disciple

Doors 6:30PM  Poetry 7-ish

Claire Caldwell is a poet and editor living in Toronto. Her first book is Invasive Species, part of the Buckrider Books imprint at Wolsak and Wynn. Claire was the 2013 winner of the Malahat Review‘s Long Poem Prize, and her work has appeared in many magazines and journals, including This Magazine, Maisonneuve and Prism International. She also runs SmallPrintTO’s Rhyme Stew, a rap-poetry workshop for kids. Claire holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Find her on Twitter @cpmcaldwell or send her an email at clairepmcaldwell (at) gmail (dot) com.
Laura Kathryn McRae is a teacher in Toronto, Ontario where she lives and writes. Her debut chapbook, Distributaries (Frog Hollow Press, 2016).  Her work has appeared in The Antigonish Review, PIF Magazine, Northwind Magazine, and Room Magazine, and is forthcoming in Emerge Literary Journal and in Contemporary Verse 2. 
Michael Prior‘s first collection is Model Disciple (Vehicule/Signal, 2016). His poems have appeared in many publications across North America and the UK. Winner of The Walrus‘s Poetry Prize, Matrix Magazine’s LitPop Award, Grain’s Short Grain Contest, Magma Poetry’s Editors’ Prize and Vallum’s Poetry Prize, Michael currently resides in Ithaca, New York, where he is an MFA candidate in poetry at Cornell University.




MOEZ SURANI  Operations

knife fork book & BookThug present a global reading of the epic list poem in its entirely. In/outdoors (dress for the weather)

Moez Surani earned a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Biology and English Language and Literature from Queen’s University. He moved to Montreal and earned a Master of Arts from Concordia University in English Language and Literature and Creative Writing. Following these degrees, he travelled and worked abroad and his writing was published in journals and anthologies across Europe and North America. His first poetry collection, Reticent Bodies, was published in 2009. One critic assessed the book’s impact: “Reticent Bodies is that rare book that has the power to be a lynchpin, a hinge in the history of Canadian poetry.” Another critic focused on the book’s voice: “he is capable of shifting effortlessly from a terse, monosyllabic, style to enormously complex syntactic compositions resulting in a very expressive language.” Later in 2009, he won a Chalmers Arts Fellowship that supported a research stint to India and East Africa. He walked the Camino Santiago across Spain and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and attended artists residencies in Italy, Finland, Canada, Latvia, Switzerland and Taiwan. In 2012, he published his second poetry collection, Floating Life, which was praised for its “stunning, simple images.” He’s now working on collaborations and on interdisciplinary art and performance art pieces.

knife | fork | book @ Rick’s Cafe | 281 Augusta Avenue | Kensington Market

A circle of intimates


“Come one come all to the Egyptian Hall.”

“Here, boys. Come, brothers.” 


A circle of initmates at Thursday Night Poets last evening, celebrating the launch of CHAD CAMPBELL Euphonia and DANI COUTURE Black Sea Nettle from JIM JOHNSTONE Anstruther Press.

Photos: KIRBY