It’s alive

And here’s the link to the listing for my second book, The things I heard about you, out this fall from Nightwood.

Many thanks to Jen Currin and Larissa Lai for the blurbs for the book — both describe the project so well, better than I could have. Both are writers I hugely admire.

“Prose poems, soundtracks, mini-fictions–the lyrical, multi-faceted pieces in The things I heard about you record the ways in which language makes and unmakes us. ‘Between a tooth and safety,’ bodies, weathers, genders inhabit and are inhabited by histories of loss, institutions of violence. These stories don’t shrink even as they grow smaller; each is distilled to a potent drop that sinks into the mind like ink into skin: ‘I, not here, write.'” 
-Jen Currin 

“To hear everything available for the hearing is still to misperceive, but to enter the condensation is to enter an entirely different world. In Alex Leslie’s brilliant new collection, The things I heard about you, melodies seem to repeat everywhere, with the slightest of variations. What is easily fixed becomes easily refused. The most succinct articulation may be the most beautiful, but what it captures of the original utterance is the palest, most ghostly glimpse of the original, and often its opposite.”
-Larissa Lai

Best Canadian Poetry + a reading

Publishing in literary journals is a long, slow process so I’m always glad when a piece makes its way into an anthology and has another life. I was really happy to learn this week that my poem ‘Vancouver for Beginners #1: Rainforest Paradise’ will be published in the 2014 edition of Best Canadian Poetry In English. The anthology will be out with Tightrope Books in Fall 2014. The anthology brings together many different styles of poetry from different regions of the country (initially I mis-typed that ‘different regions of the poetry’ which works too) and I’m honoured to be included. ‘Vancouver for Beginners #1: Rainforest Paradise’ was first published in Descant‘s Hidden Cities special issue and was nominated by the editors for this anthology. My thanks to the editors, who are generous but also sneaky because I had no idea about the nomination.

The poem is part of a long series of prose poems I’ve been working on on-and-off for two or three years now called ‘Vancouver for Beginners.’ Poems from this series have been in EVENT, Dreamland, The Capilano Review‘s experimental fiction issue and filing station‘s issue devoted to experimental writing by Canadian women. A series of prose poems is really one long poem and full of setbacks, confusions and detours — so I am grateful for this vote of confidence at this point in the process/journey/hellacious trek/”learning.” Oh god.  Best Canadian Poetry has a blog you can follow here and  they will be posting poets’ commentaries on their poems.

Things are pretty quiet for the rest of the summer. I’m working away on a story collection and looking forward to my book of poems, The things I heard about you, that’s out with Nightwood in the fall.

I have one reading in late July, at RC Weslowski’s Mashed Poetics series. It’s on July 25th at the 7 Dining Lounge, the old Kozmik Zoo. This series goes a bit outside of my comfort zone, which is why I accepted — it’s a mix of literary and spoken word artists (not that you have to be invested in that distinction!) and each artist is assigned a song from an album. This time the album is The Violent Femmes’s debut album. All the info about the event is on the Facebook page here. All are welcome.

In June I was invited by Vancouver’s KSW experimental poetry collective to present on a work of my choice. I chose Y. Madrone’s prose poem ‘Personal’ from the incredible anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poeticsthe first anthology of its kind, released this year by Nightboat. I write and publish continuously and am influenced deeply by what I read, but I almost never am in the position to present an official interpretation of my influences, so this was exciting and daunting for me. I chose a piece from this anthology because I decided that the best use of my time would be to present on the work of a contemporary, who would likely have had little or no critical responses. I then learned that a poet in the audience knew Y. Madrone and I had the privilege of conveying the perceptive, warm discussion of ‘Personal’ to the poet themself. Life’s odd and wonderful little gifts — the conversations we don’t know we are part of.


New work + upcoming readings

A few pieces from my book of prose poems that’s out in the fall with Nightwood, The things I heard about you, are in the new issue of online journal The Rusty Toque. You can read them here.

A couple readings are coming up soon in June:

I’m reading with Cecily Nicholson and Christina Cooke to celebrate the launch of Christina Cooke’s chapbook l’appel du videThe event is on June 12 at 7 PM at the Our Town on Knight & Kingsway. All the details about the event are here.

A bit about Christina: Christina Cooke’s work, creative or otherwise, centers on queer feminine perspectives from the Jamaican diaspora attempting to find solace, to find community, to find home. Her short fiction appeared in Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society (CA) and Sou’wester (US); her creative non-fiction and poetry appeared in HYSTERIA: A Collection of Feminisms (UK). She is also an editorial collective member of the feminist journal Room Magazine (CA). To learn more about her writerly endeavours, follow her on Twitter: @cjctlc.

A bit about Cecily Nicholson: Cecily Nicholson is the administrator of Gallery Gachet and has worked with women of the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood since 2000. Her work, both creative and social, engages conditions of displacement, class, and gender violence. Nicholson is the author of From The Poplars (Talonbooks, 2014), Triage (Talonbooks, 2011) and is a contributor to Anamnesia: Unforgetting (VIVO Media Arts, 2012).

I’m also reading on June 19 with Amber Dawn as part of the Thursdays Collective’s LETTERING project. You can read all the details about the event here. The event is at 7 PM at the Lost & Found Cafe at 33 W Hastings. The Thursdays Collective has been in operation at the Carnegie Centre at Main and Hastings for years, having put out many chapbooks and the Arsenal Pulp Press anthology V6A. At this event, Amber and I will read letters to the collective and they will respond.

A bit about Amber Dawn: Amber Dawn is a writer from Vancouver, Canada. Author of the memoir How Poetry Saved My Life and the Lambda Award-winning novel Sub Rosa, and editor of the anthologies Fist of the Spider Women: Fear and Queer Desire and With A Rough Tongue. Amber Dawn was 2012 winner of the Writers’ Trust of Canada Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT writers. Until August 2012, she was director of programming for the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. She currently teaches Speculative Fiction writing at Douglas College.

Second book forthcoming in the fall

Glad to say that my second book, a collection of prose poems entitled The things I heard about you, will be published by Nightwood Editions in the fall. The manuscript was shortlisted this year for the 2014 Robert Kroetsch Award for innovative poetry, judged by Ken Babstock. I’m thrilled to be publishing with Nightwood. Thank you to everyone who has supported my work.

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Reading coming up — Vancouver poetry showcase

I’m reading again soon. The event is the Literary Press Group’s Vancouver showcase for poetry month. The lineup is pretty amazing — I’m excited to read andrea bennett’s first book Canoodlers out from Nightwood soon, I’ve heard great things about Jennica Harper’s book What It Feels Like For a Girl, and I’m a longtime admirer of John Barton’s writing. I’ll be reading some new work.

The Literary Press Group is running poetry showcases in other cities across Canada throughout April, with independent publishers from all over the country participating.

Here’re the event details:

April 28th, 7 PM

Cottage Bistro (4470 Main Street)


Alex Leslie

Jennica Harper

John Barton

Dennis Bolen

Sarah de Leeuw

Lawrence Feuchtwanger

andrea bennett

Jacqueline Turner

All are welcome!