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.

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