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    New in the 'Nook: Poets' Edition

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Winding down our month dedicated to the inexhaustible, indispensable art of poetry, we bring you five exciting new and upcoming releases already here or on their way to library shelves. This small sample is 100% Canadian, proving not only that the future of poetry in our country is in strong, capable hands, but also that Canada produces some of the most energetic, profound, and brilliant poets you'll find anywhere in the world.

    Unknown Actor, by Jason Christie

    When poetry meets theatre in the mind of Jason Christie, a smashing performance results! Then as the curtains close, Christie sneaks off the stage, through the scenery, and out into the wilds of the Internet — and straight into the footlights and teleprompters of human experience. Like a method actor in character long after the credits have rolled, off set, off his rocker, Christie runs wild from Goethe’s Faust to Burton’s, through 1984 and B movies from the ’80s and back again. Beneath his offerings to the actor — questionable acting lessons, dubious plot treatments — lurks a deep unease at our accepted practices of looking at each other, kid. Get out the popcorn and turn on your mobile device. This is going to get dramatic.

    - excerpt from Insomniac Press

    (Unknown Actor is On Order. Not yet available.)

    The Hottest Summer in Recorded History, by Elizabeth Bachinsky

    With her signature eye for irony and sensuality, Elizabeth Bachinsky's latest book of poetry, The Hottest Summer in Recorded History, balances a youthful playfulness with observational maturity. Bachinsky strings together seemingly non-sequitur images, capturing in these poems the commonality of raw intimacy, dark humour and a sense of immediacy. Her vision is unapologetically bold, finding the erotic in everyday moments and keenly capturing the complicated truths of life in a powerfully candid style.

    - excerpt from Nightwood Edtions

    Whirr & Click, by Micheline Maylor

    "Micheline Maylor's many-textured poems explore the liminal space where finite life and infinite time expand and contract into one another. In a duet of contrasts, memory, coming of age, danger, the erotic, and love twine into elegy and wonder. Time plays a featuring role and acts to freeze moments exactly as they arrive and simultaneously stretches experience into ungraspable infinity. Whether fierce or tender, direct or oblique, the poems in Whirr and Click are bold in their exposures and generous in their doorways. The final long poem, "Starfish," is one of the most moving and memorable elegies I have read. One finishes the poem, and the book, feeling one has come to know many people, including oneself." - Stephanie Bolster

    -Frontenac House

    Whirr & Click is On Order. Not yet available.

    The Politics of Knives, by Jonathan Ball

    ('Nook Note: Okay. So this one is not exactly hot off the press, released in September 2012, but it recently enjoyed its Calgary launch at filling Station's 20th Anniversary Collective Retrospective on April 25th, so let's call it new!...)

    If David Lynch crashed into Franz Kafka in a dark alley, the result might look like The Politics of Knives. Moving from shattered surrealism to disembowelled films, these poems land us in a limbo between the intellectual and the visceral, between speaking and screaming. Finding the language of violence and the violence in language, Jonathan Ball becomes the Stephen King of verse.

    - excerpt from Coach House Books

    Under the Keel, by Michael Crummey

    Michael Crummey’s first collection in a decade has something for everyone: Love and marriage and airport grief; how not to get laid in a Newfoundland mining town; total immersion baptism; the grand machinery of decay; migrant music and invisible crowns and mortifying engagements with babysitters; the transcendent properties of home brew. Whether charting the merciless complications of childhood, or the unpredictable consolations of middle age, these are poems of magic and ruin. Under the Keel affirms Crummey's place as one of our necessary writers.

    -excerpt from House of Anansi

    Click here to read the Quill & Quire book review.

    The Poems We Turn To

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Like a good song, poetry sticks with us. Whether for nostalgic comfort, inspirational drive, sheer marvel at a poet's ability, or an intangible emotional response that only a certain combination of words can evoke, we need poetry the same way we need food - for fuel, for growth, for indulgence.

    In the light of National Poetry Month I've been hassling friends at the library to find out which poems they turn to first. So here's the 2013 Staff Picks for Poetry!

    Yasna's Pick - Jacques Prevert

    from "Blood & Feathers"


    Lark of memory

    dead bird of mist

    you should not have come

    to eat from my hand

    the grains of oblivion.

    Christine's Pick - e.e. cummings

    from "somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond"


    (i do not know what it is about you that closes

    and opens; only something in me understands

    the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)

    nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

    Sarah's Pick - Rosemary Griebel

    from "Silence Broken"


    I believe a poem is the only way

    to save life's silence

    from being all it leaves behind.

    Accompany me, and when I open

    my mouth may the sloshing ocean,

    deaf Beethoven, and the gods in their balloons

    overhead, lean forward and inhale.

    Julia's Pick - Emily Dickinson


    "Hope" is the thing with feathers -

    That perches in the soul -

    And sings the tune without the words -

    And never stops - at all -


    Get your hands on any of these poets' work by clicking the book covers above. Happy Poetry Month!


    Wordfest is Calling for Submissions

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    The Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival, also known as Wordfest, has got quite the exciting literary competition going. The Anne Green Award, named for the festival's founding director, will go the "artist whose project explores and challenges the traditional form of story and narrative". If you're a Canadian, you are eligible, and if you win you get $3,000, you get to present your award-winning work at Wordfest, and get pampered as a festival artist with airfare and accomodation.

    So what is a project that explores and challenges the traditional form of story and narrative?

    The criteria leaves a lot open to interpretation and that's exactly how Wordfest wants it. The committtee is hoping to receive "a wide range of submissions in varying formats and languages". Rather than have me skew an interpretation of the details and lead everyone down some mistaken path to oblivion, go to and get the full picture.

    There are two more things I can say for sure: 1) the deadline is May 15th, and 2) last year's Anne Green Award winner (in its inaugural installment) was Edmonton poet Kath MacLean. Click here to watch her award-winning video poems "Doo-Da" and "There Was A Young Man". You can also get into Kath MacLean's work by checking out her book 'Kat Among the Tigers' available now on library shelves. Click the book cover above to place a hold.

    While we're on the subject of submissions calls, don't forget the June 30 deadline for the Alberta Views 2013 Fiction Contest.

    And also the annual deadline to submit to FreeFall magazine for their Fall Open Issue is April 30. Click here for FreeFall's submission guidelines.

    Hot Mixed with Sizzle

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    With more than 40 events throughout April it can be a bit daunting trying to choose which Calgary Spoken Word Festival events to go to, but the lineup for Thursday, April 18th's 'Hot Mix of Sizzling Poetry' is pretty much irresistable.







    As well as a performer who somehow managed to win the title of Nerd Slam Champion AND Erotic Slam Champion in the same year!... Chris Gilpin. And rounding out the lineup is captain of the 2011 Edmonton Slam Team, Mary Pinkoski. It's hard to imagine a more diverse lineup of performers sharing the same stage for a single event, ever.

    Almost all CSWF events are taking place in the intimate performace space of Festival Hall in Inglewood, located at 1215 10th Ave SE.

    It is Officially National Poetry Month... Now What?

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Does the mention of National Poetry Month send you running in the opposite direction, fleeing from nightmarish visions of sweating over a Robert Frost poem to finish high school english? Would you rather read a pile of owner's manuals than this year's Griffin Prize nominees? Is poetry misunderstood and underappreciated, or impossible to understand and intended only for the highest of high brow academics?

    Before we start wishing for April to fly by so we can get to Asthma Awareness Month, STOP, take a deep breath, and consider getting excited about poetry. Here's three reasons why:

    "I am amazed that poets will continue to write about their divorces, even though there is currently a robot taking pictures of orange ethane lakes on Titan." Christian Bok's Xenotext. I cannot possibly expand on how Bok is inserting verse into a strand of DNA for it to generate new lines, literally bringing poetry to life, but a recent article in Maclean's does a pretty good job. The work is being accomplished right here in Calgary. Read the article from a January edition of Maclean's - "Creating the Poetry Bug".

    The 10th annual Calgary Spoken Word Festival is already underway. Not only does this festival bring in poets from all over the world, it also offers poetry workshops, giving us a chance for hands-on learning from some of the masters of the craft. Take a look at the cover story of this week's FFWD for an in-depth look at this year's festival

    On April 9 McSweeney's will release Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry. Featuring essays, interviews, and lesson plans "Open the Door will be useful for first-time and veteran teachers, as well as parents, babysitters, MFAs with no job, and anyone else with an interest in poetry’s place in the lives of our younger citizens". If McSweeney's is excited about producing a book about enthusing poetry into the next generation, then the future looks bright. The four titles already released under the McSweeney's Poetry Series are some of the most beautiful book you'll ever lay eyes on.

    April or not, the world of poetry is in good hands. Stay tuned to the 'Nook all month for recommended reads, local event highlights, poet profiles, and please leave a comment below to let us know how you'll be celebrating National Poetry Month. But remember that April is also Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so put the poem down when you get behind the wheel!


    Writing in the Works, Spring 2013

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Next Thursday don't miss an opportunity to get up close and personal with a full handful of Calgary authors. It's Writing in the Works Spring 2013, where some of our city's finest wordsmiths will gather to share their work, whether from books-in-progress, books about to be published, and books looking for publishers.

    Started in 2008 by Rona Altrows and Lori Hahnel, this event showcases Calgary writers at various stages in their process, presenting a wide assortment of literary flavours, providing several angles of inspiration and an all-round good time.

    As you can probably gather from the bright, nearby poster, the Spring 2013 edition of 'In the Works will feature readings from Ken Cameron, Lori Hahnel, Steve Passey, Inge Trueman and Roberta Rees. Emceed by Susan Calder.

    Thursday, Apr 11

    7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

    Memorial Park Library

    1221 2nd Street SW