Radical

And flowers for @knifeforkbook. What a special evening that was last night with @sadmuffin. I had something written down that I was going to say last night at @knifeforkbook and didn’t. So I’ll say it here, even though it usually feels inadequate to say something to the internet. Just because the internet is actually a lousy conversationalist. But. Here: last night me and @sadmuffin read Anne Michaels' poem, To Write, and we gave everyone at the event a flower. It was because I wanted to remind everyone of love. I wanted everyone to feel it. I wanted everyone in the room to remember that love can be unexpected and easily offered. I think love is the most radical, revolutionary act. And that nothing is more serious and important than acts of love. Making art is an act of love for me, and hope. I think we are all a bit dismayed these days. Everyone is shouting so much. And I’m thinking lots about the urgency of love. I dont know if I should duck or stick my head out with all the mudslinging! Anyways. Be revolutionary. Be love. And go to @knifeforkbook and buy books. Kirby is an institution of love and poetry, she's the radical we need.

A post shared by Jessica Joy Hiemstra (@this_moment_looks_like_this) on

Touched (and received).  knife | fork | book

Because we’re here

 

because the one who holds the pen, even if it’s too dark to / see the page and even if the ink is his own blood, is free*

There’s a story here, an ongoing one (thanks to you). Here’s but an excerpt:

Picture this, coldest winter on record, flu bug making the rounds, and we hold two of our biggest events ever, over the holidays.

Poets are a hardy bunch.

Then, an overnight trip to Ottawa, to read at Tree Series (with Margo LaPierre) a warm, remarkable house filled with poets, and Pearl, and love, as well as an amazing conversation with Amanda Earl, and drinks after.

Mid-week, a whirlwind, landing, catching up, prepping for our Friday’s reading, open this email:

There is so much ugliness right now. Perhaps we’re losing our humanity in our fight for it. And so – lovely you – I thought I’d send you this this morning, to give you courage if you need it. To remind you, if you need to remember, what we’re doing, we makers of things, we lovers, we hopers, we us. 
From Anne Michaels.
love,
Jessica

… including Michaels’ powerful poem To Write, from her new collection, What We Saw (McClelland & Stewart, 2017).

Mind you, this came completely out of the blue, much like most ‘tweets’ that drop like bombs (at rare times, blessings) from the sky.

She restoreth my soul.

This poet doesn’t know that I’ve only recently had the pleasure to be Anne’s bookseller at recent events (including this coming Tuesday). Michaels is the reason she writes.

When I first held/read Shannon Bramer’s Precious Energy (Bookthug, 2017), it was so recognizibly human, so tenacious and frail, so well done.

I don’t trust any system, order, that doesn’t allow for human failing.

And Shannon invited Jessica Hiemstra (The Holy Nothing, Pedlar Press) and we invited Catherine Graham (The Celery Forest, Wolsak & Wynn), and the evening, last night, came into being.

At this time, this place, a place that everywhere else I travel is envied. This tiny little poetry shop/haven in Kensington Market.

And dearest Catherine was ill, so the Radish Spirit read Oak. and Jessica read her bravest work. Shannon also reading the work that insists we remain flesh and blood, tenacious and true.

And the poets and publishers came, loved ones to hear, receive. And people marvelled at the beauty of such a place (kisses Audra).

This too, is humanly possible.

And Jessica and Shannon closed the night reading To Write by Anne Michaels.

And a bucket of flowers, each individually wrapped with a handwritten line from this poem was offered for each to take home.

And some ask, “Kirby, why are you doing this?”

And my answer is, “Because I am blessed that this is mine to do.”

 

We launch Garry Thomas Morse with Sonia Di Placido this Friday coming. Garry is here in residence from Winnepeg. Please come welcome him as we celebrate his new collection, Safety Sand from Talonbooks.

*ANNE MICHAELS, from To Write in WHAT WE SAW (McClelland & Stewart, 2017)

A whirlwind

black squirrel

good signage

“Kirby, would you come in January?”*

Okay, she fell in love with this place. A warm, welcoming evening at TREE READING SERIES (Ottawa) with PEARL PIRIE hosting a full house at BLACK SQUIRREL BOOKS & ESPRESSO BAR (a haven) with featured poets MARGO LAPIERRE  (Washing Off the Raccoon Eyes, Guernica Editions, 2017) & KIRBY (She’s Having a Doris Day, knife | fork | book, 2017) along with STUART ROSSCHRISTINE MCNAIR, CHRIS JOHNSON, MICHAEL DENNIS, NINA JANE, STEPHEN BROCKWELL, to name but a few, and a wonderful sit-down interview with AMANDA EARL for THE SMALL MACHINE TALKS (sadly minus a.m. kozak) over a pint and truffle fries at Patty’s Pub.
Photos: PEARL PIRIE. KIRBY.
* “Pearl, anytime.”

OTTAWA TONIGHT

NEW KFB imprint announced

fan wu wqr

I’m thrilled to announce a new chapbook imprint at knife | fork |book: wQr, What Queer Reading, with myself acting as editor and Kirby as publisher. We’re devoted to publishing queer poets of colour, and we’re looking for work in which queerness is expressed alongside but also beyond identity: in the shifting of selfhood into cosmic matter; in the cyborg animality of our species being; in the sharp turns of deviant syntaxes and semantics. We seek work that interrogates the systems upholding oppression & normativity; that engages with the infinite variety of language & world; that expresses the mutability of things & the complexities of living contradictions. We hope to release two chapbooks in winter 2018–of inventive, fresh, fierce voices that revel in all the possibilities of queerness.

If you are interested in publishing through the What Queer Reading imprint, please drop me a line at fanwu2@gmail.com.

Yours,

Fan

knife | fork | book ANNOUNCES NEW IMPRINT, wQr, WHAT QUEER READING, SET TO PUBLISH QUEER POETS OF COLOUR, EDITED BY POET, FAN WU

 

Gems

First of all, every publisher believes there’s is the best stuff out there this (or any) year. We’re no exception. Our first five, (one cleverly disguised as a ‘bon-bon’), all exceptional, stand alone. Good poetry in [very] pretty packaging with nods to our brilliant book designer, Norman Nehmetallah, and printer John De Jesus at Coach House. And, to poets, Elianna Lev, David Bradford, Jonathan Garfinkel, and Dale Smith, deep gratitude for your work. An extraordinary debut.

Then there are the bestsellers we can never have enough copies in stock (thank you for the trouble) Kaveh, Sam, Danez, Tommy, Morgan, Alex, Chen, CA, Hoa, anything at Wave, kicking it, all.

Which brings me to a list of books (and chapbooks) that remain cherished on my shelf this year, books I place in other reader’s hands. Poets that moved, brought me to a complete stop. Reading that delighted and surprised, poems, sentences, fragments, I read over and over again. What I call, ‘gems,’ (in no particular order). With thanks, Kirby


SARAH PINDER COMMON PLACE (Coach House Books, 2017)

CHELY LIMA (trans. Margaret Randall) LO QUE LES DIJO EL LICANTROPO | WHAT THE WEREWOLF TOLD THEM (The Operating System, 2017)

NIKKI WALLSCHLAEGER CRAWLSPACE (Bloof Books, 2017)

SHANNON BRAMER PRECIOUS ENERGY (BookThug, 2017)

TARA-MICHELLE ZINIUK WHATEVER, ICEBERG (Mansfield Press, 2017)

LYNN CROSBIE THE CORPSES OF THE FUTURE (Anansi, 2017)

ALEX DIMITROV TOGETHER AND BY OURSELVES (Copper Canyon, 2017)

JACK DAVIS FAUNICS (Pedlar Press, 2017)

CANISIA LUBRIN VOODOO HYPOTHESIS (Wolsak and Wynn, 2017)

TIMOTHY LIU KINGDOM COME (Talisman, 2017)

JENNIFER STILL COMMA (BookThug, 2017)


CHAPBOOKS

KATHRYN MOCKLER DAVID POOLMAN SOME THEORIES (ST Press, 2017)

ALLY FLEMING  THE WORST SEASON (Anstruther Press, 2017)

SONNET L’ABBE ANIMA CANADENSIS (Junction Books, 2017)

JAKE BYRNE THE TIDE (Rahila’s Ghost, 2017)

HOLLY MELGARD CATCALL (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017)

GEORGE OPPEN 21 POEMS (New Directions, 2017)

MARCUS MCCANN SHUT UP SLOW DOWN LET GO BREATHE (Invisible, 2017)

AIDAN CHAFE RIGHT HAND HYMNS (Frog Hollow, 2017)

SENNAH YEE HOW DO I LOOK? (Metatron, 2017)

JACQUELYN ROSS MAYONNAISE (Blank Cheque, 2016)

RYAN ECKES (traduccion Carlos Soto Roman) PATRIOTISMO (Libros del Pez Espiral)


EPHEMERA

STACY SYZMASZEK Slow Poetry in America Issue 8


BEST BOOK OF POETRY I’VE READ THIS YEAR

ALICE NOTLEY THE DESCENT OF ALETTE (Penguin, 1992)

NON-POETRY

ERIN WUNKER NOTES FROM A FEMINIST KILLJOY (BookThug, 2017) not to mention LEE MARACLE’s ‘Conversations’ and THE VIDEOFAG BOOK (day-ym, Bookthug!)