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    Slam Team, Flywheel, Griots, and James Franco

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    It's not like poetry hibernates for the winter, and it's not like winter is anywhere near being over, but the season for poetry is now upon us. Here's a few ideas for maximum poetic indulgence:


    The 11th annual CSWF is a week-long celebration of the poetic life from April 1 - 6. A gathering of languages, voices, stories, and song. A week full of slams, workshops, open mics, featuring edgy women and smart men. Here's the full program.

    Don't miss the pre-festival 'Slam Finals' where poets will go head-to-head for a position on the 2014 Calgary Slam Team to go an compete in Victoria for the Canadian title! Finals start Monday, March 31, 8pm, at Wine-Ohs (811—1 Street SW).


    Thursday, April 10, 7:30 PM

    Pages Books on Kensington

    filling Station's monthly reading series will feature readings by local authors Carmen Derkson, Samantha Warwick, and Erina Harris launching her first poetry collection, The Stag Head Spoke!

    SprinstART - Griots of All Time

    Friday, April 4 - Banff Centre

    "Griot (pronounced GREE-OH) is a French word that refers to the West African keepers of oral history. They are the poet, storyteller, genealogist, historian, adviser, spokesperson, diplomat, mediator, interpreter, translator, musician, composer, teacher, entertainer, exhorter, warrior, witness, praise-singer and ceremony participant. Join us for a night of great social force as faculty griots Emilie Zoey Baker, George Elliott Clarke, Tanya Evanson and Jean-Pierre Makosso bear witness to the past, interpret the present and oracle the future." (It's a free event!)

    Directing Herbert White: Poems by James Franco

    James Franco's debut poetry collection is set to be released on April 19, published in Canada by House of Anansi. Watch him talk about it on The Tonight Show.


    The Calgary Project Book Launch

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    THE CALGARY PROJECT: A City Map In Verse & Visual is a beautiful coffee table anthology presenting a vibrant and diverse snapshot of Calgary’s visual and literary arts, and the book launch is going to take place right here at Central Library on Sunday, March 30, from 2 - 4 p.m in the John Dutton Theatre.

    Published by Frontenac House in collaboration with the RE:act Collective and House of Blue Skies, the collection celebrates the 2-year term of our inaugural Poet Laureate, Kris Demeanor, who co-edited the book with Dymphny Dronyk - founding member of the RE:act collective and author of Contrary Infatuations.

    So what does a city map written in verse look like?

    Dronyk describes it best on the book's front flap:

    "How do you get to know a city? What can you learn from a map?

    The Calgary Project reflects this moment of time: being the Culture Capital, having our very own Poet Laureate, surviving the Flood that redrew the City. It offers a glimpse into the artists' and poets' perception of Calgary right now. The voices of our city include poets and songwriters, rappers and sculptors, painters and fibre artists, photographers and children. The artists featured here are not just the best in our city - they are indeed some of the finest in the world."

    The selections include work by nationally (and internationally) prominent poets such as Sheri-D Wilson, Christian Bök, Micheline Maylor, Fred Wah, Anne Burke, and Tom Wayman, and artists such as Jeff de Boer, George Webber, Mandi Stobo and Tina Martel, as well as pieces by newer and younger writers and artists. And even an impressive piece from Mayor-poet Nenshi!

    For more information on all the upcoming launch celebrations for this beautiful book, go to the Blue Skies Poetry website.

    And if you can't wait for Sunday to get your hands on a copy, The Calgary Project is available at your local library. The waiting list continues to grow, but we always have a copy on the shelf in our Community Heritage & Family History Room (4th Floor, Central Library). Or find a copy from your independent bookseller: Owl’s Nest Books, Pages on Kengsington, and Shelf Life Books.

    Tweet by Tweet

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Thanks to everyone who followed along with our little #TwitterFiction Festival experiment last week. For those that missed the story tweets as they ran from March 12 - 16, here's what a team of library writers put together for the festival, using the hashtag #CPLtf.

    Working alone. Sunday morning. Listening to the book chute open and close as people return their items.
    But then a new sound. An unexpected sound. I turn to look. My eyes widen.
    Something is coming down the chute. Like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
    Blob-like and jellyfish-transparent, it rolls over itself, and leaves a shiny dry trail.
    I poke it with a pencil. It goes right through like a drill through butter.
    A puff of colorless vapor steams out of the opening.
    Thick smoke rises slowly upward and spreads across the ceiling forming...numbers?
    A “1” appears then quickly poofs away—regrouping into a “2.” I wait, expecting a 3, craning my neck to the ceiling...
    The cloud forms a “5”.
    125. What does it mean? Part of an address? Or—perhaps a call number?
    What is 125 in the Dewey Decimal system? I quickly look it up.
    Dewey number 125: “125 No longer used—formerly Infinity.”
    I’m confused. Infinity no longer has its own Dewey Decimal number?

    I run through the empty library to check the 125s, my mind spinning.

    Arriving at the shelf, the cloud is already there, hovering, like it's waiting for me.
    Why does it just hover there? What is it doing? What does it want?
    I look at the shelves—a huge empty space sits between ”7 Simple Steps to Personal Freedom” & “The Undiscovered Self”.
    I cup my hands and gather it the same way I would pick up a bird, expecting it to spill between my fingers like sand.

    It’s light as air, yet it takes all my strength to keep it intact.

    I will myself not to blink, thinking maybe my eyes are keeping it together.
    It morphs into the shape of a candle, as if telling me to slow down. A white flame kicks & licks, but doesn’t go out.
    I kneel down in front of the epistemology section, draw my hands away, and finally allow myself to blink.
    Glowing brightly, the shape moves into the empty space on the shelf.
    For the first time since it came down the chute, I take a deep breath.
    They will find you here, I think, my spirits lifting inexplicably.

    Turning, I head back to the book chute, my head clear. Just another day at the Library.

    The Dark Side

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    A thrilling and mysterious tour of writers is coming to town and the library is thrilled to be hosting. On Tuesday, March 18, come down to the Central library's John Dutton Theatre for The Dark Side, featuring authors Deryn Collier, Craig Davidson, and Andrew Pyper. After Calgary the tour heads off to Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, and Waterloo. Register for this unique triple-bill here. The show starts at 7pm.

    ANDREW PYPER was born in Stratford, Ontario, in 1968. He received a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from McGill University in Montreal, as well as a law degree from the University of Toronto, although he has never practiced. Kiss Me, his first book of short stories, was published to in 1996. His first novel, Lost Girls, was a national bestseller in Canada and a Globe and Mail Notable Book selection in 1999 as well as a Notable Book selection in the New York Times Book Review and the London Evening Standard in 2000. Lost Girls won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel. Pyper's second novel, The Trade Mission, was published in 2002, and was selected by The Toronto Star as one of the Best Books of the Year.

    CRAIG DAVIDSON was born and grew up in the bordertown of St. Catharines, Ontario, near to Niagara Falls. He has published two previous books of literary fiction, Rust and Bone (Penguin Canada), which has been made into a major feature film of the same name, and The Fighter (Penguin Canada). He is a graduate of the famed Iowa Writers' Workshop, and his journalism and articles have been published in The Globe and Mail, Esquire, GQ and the Washington Post, among other venues. He lives in Toronto, Canada, with his partner and child. Craig also writes under the pseudonym Nick Cutter.

    photo by Laura Wilby

    DERYN COLLIER is the author of Confined Space, which was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for best first crime novel. Originally form Montreal, she is a graduate of McGill University. After a short career as a federal bureaucrat she ran away to the mountains of British Columbia where she has been ever since. She has worked in a log yard, a brewery, as a doctor recruiter and a communications consultant.

    Deryn lives in Nelson, BC with her family and welcomes visitors to her website at

    #TwitterFiction Festival

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Storytime on Twitter image

    If you come across some odd-looking, more-interesting-than-usual content in the world of Twitter tomorrow, don't be alarmed — it might be fiction. Starting March 12, right at the stroke of midnight, the #TwitterFiction Festival invites the world to celebrate storytelling 140 characters at a time.

    While the proposition may seem a bit limiting at first, it's really a great way to sharpen those short stroke writing chops and maximize efficiency.

    And since we love stories and storytime, we'll be telling a short story, one tweet at a time. Follow us on Twitter (@calgarylibrary) and use our story's #TwitterFiction hashtag #CPLtf to read along. Let the storytelling begin!

    Want to write your own #TwitterFiction? Here are some books to inspire...

    (also available in ebook format)

    Several Short Sentences About Writing Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction:
    tips from editors, teachers,
    and writers in the field

    Loft 112

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    If you pay attention to Calgary's writing community, you've likely already heard of the exciting new center for writers almost ready to open in the East Village, Loft 112. Even before the official grand opening the loft is well on its way to becoming the creative hive it's designed to be. The 'Nook blog recently had an opportunity to connect with Lisa Murphy-Lamb, leader of the Loft team, and we asked some questions...


    Lisa Murphy-Lamb
    derek beaulieu

    NOOK: In Calgary, the concept of a center for writers and artists of all kinds to meet and develop ideas seems long overdue and essential. What is it about Loft 112 that allowed you and your team to make it a reality?

    LISA: The idea has percolated in my mind for about four years now. I used to be a classroom teacher and when I left the CBE I missed having a space of my own to work with students. I have felt welcomed in Calgary’s coffee shops, libraries and independent book stores like Pages and Shelf Life, but sometimes noisy discussion or asking students to take chances needs a less public space. I often got requests to help nonprofits or other teachers find spaces to hold events that didn’t cost a lot to rent. During a CADA discussion about Calgary’s creative spaces a few people talked about opening up a community writing centre, a private donor stepped forward and a few months later Loft 112 opened its doors (unofficially). We will have a grand opening when the place finishes some renovations like an accessible bathroom and an apartment within the loft for visiting writers and artists and we get an official sign on the exterior.

    NOOK: I’m a big fan of derek beaulieu’s work and saw in Loft 112’s schedule for March that something called a ‘Typing Pool’ was coming up, with details not yet released. Very curious. Any chance we can have an exclusive teaser?

    LISA: As part of derek beaulieu's ENGL214 class at ACAD, he has gathered antique typewriters from all over the city. Students have been exploring the poetic possibilities of outdated technology in poetry and prose, text art and assignments. On MARCH 9th, a number of those strange old devices will be available for exploration. Derek proposes by using dead technology we are in fact learning how we interface with the tools we have now.

    6-8 typewriters (manual and electric) in working order will be set up at LOFT 112 for writers to use from 1-3pm. Go to derek beaulieu's wordpress site for complete details, and check out derek's books at the Library.

    NOOK: The upcoming Scrawl-A-Thon fundraiser sounds like a lot of fun - basically a writing marathon with pledges coming in for this summer’s WordsWorth writing residency. How can Calgarians get involved?

    LISA: We have writers who have signed up to participate in this fundraiser for The Writers’ Guild of Alberta summer youth writing residency. These writers, in order to participate in the Scrawl-A-Thon need to each raise $200 in pledges. On March 15 we will write for six hours in support of this fine youth residency. The public can help out in these ways:

    Go to our bio page and pick a writer (or 15!) and support their efforts through pledges.
    We need food and drink to keep us fueled. If you want to sustain the writers, please contact me at to make arrangements.
    Inspire us. Ideally I’d like a poet, musician, tap dancer, juggler, masseuse .... to inspire us on the hour every hour. If you would would to provide inspiration, please contact me at
    Learn more about the Scrawl-A-Thon. We even have room to take on more writers.
    Send a young writer our way. Find out what WordsWorth is all about and who our instructors are this year.

    A 'Nook tip - stay in touch with all of Loft 112's busy action by joining their Facebook page.

    March Flywheel

    by Phil

    Every month, on the second Thursday, filling Station magazine puts together an exciting showcase of literary talent for their Flywheel Reading Series. While supporting the work of local writers, emerging and beyond, Flywheel also hosts accomplished poets and authors from all over the world. This month, the Flywheel will land on Thursday, March 13, and the lineup of readers is rather exciting.

    It all takes place at Pages Books on Kensington, starting at 7.30pm, featuring readings by the U of C's 2013-14 Writer-in-Residence Sara Tilley, debut novelist Carrianne Leung, and 3rd place winner of the library's Just Write! contest, April Tian. You can read April's winning story on our Teen Zone blog.

    For more on the wonderful work of filling Station, there's no better place to start than the upcoming launch of issue #58. The launch will take place this Friday, March 7, at Shelf Life Books. Visit the filling Station for complete launch details.

    And find the books of Flywheel readers on the shelves of your local library...

    Skin Room, by Sara Tilley The Wondrous Woo, by Carrianne Leung