Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

jought's blog

Call for Proposals: Harper is My Muse

Harper will be our PM for four years, and there's little we can do about that. However, we don't have to suffer in silence. Recent brain research suggested that "liberal" brains have a larger area for processing complexity, and "conservative" ones have a larger fear center. So let's challenge him with complexity by doing what artists and writers do best: fantasy, irony, allusion, parody. I challenge you to "Make Harper your Muse" by creating a poem, story, artwork, video mash-up, spoken word piece, etc. centering on our beloved PM. Even if, as he said, ordinary people don't care about art, we'll make him care.

Photo Show

Today is the opening of my first solo photography exhibit in Toronto, Interrogating the World. It's not officially part of the Contact series, although the timing is right.
Why is a writer showing photography? Actually, I've considered myself a writer/photographer for a while. I have had that title as a free-lancer and (briefly) full time employee of a small newspaper. I've a small claim to having at times been a professional in both fields, as I have done a few shoots on assignment, been paid for some pictures in magazines and newspapers, and won a few contests.

Forecast: a small flurry of readings

After somewhat of a hiatus, I once again will be haunting the stages at Toronto poetry reading series with my unforgettable poetry and intolerable jokes. Please join me at one or more of:

Sunday, Feb. 20
Plasticine Poetry Series
The Central,
603 Markham Street
Toronto ON
6-9 p.m.

Tuesday, March 29
Art Bar Poetry Series
Clinton's, 693 Bloor St. w,
Toronto ON
8 p.m.

Sunday, April 17
Fourth Annual Exhibition and Reading with the Studio Artists
Women' Art Association of Canada
(with the Long Dash group: Clara Blackwood, Merle Nudelman, Mary Lou Soutar-Hynes, Sheila Stewart, Elana Wolff)
29 Prince Arthur Ave., Toronto
2 p.m.

Thursday, April 21
National Poetry Month:
The Long Dash group (as above)
The Parkdale Library
1303 Queen St. West
Toronto, ON

Rubbin' Up Against Dub

When I tell you my friend and Centennial College colleague Chet Sing is launching his fifth dub CD, Recessionary Revolutionaries, Thursday night at the Smiling Buddha, 961 College St., at 8 pm, your probable response is "what's dub?"


About 10 percent of people are born with the left hand as their dominant one. We now know that this is controlled by a specific gene (which also appears to link to a tendency of schizophrenia), but for a long time left-handed people were viewed with suspicion. Some schools attempted to force the unfortunate few lefties to write and draw with their right hand. I remember this being done to my creative oldest sister, Libby. On the positive side, left-handedness is linked in folklore with creativity and intelligence(although this may be a result of figuring out how to cope in a right-handed world). Celebrated male members of the club include Michelangelo, Raphael, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Paul McCartney, Johnny Rotten, H. G. Wells, Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, and Albert Einstein.

The Joy of Burning Books

Many undeservedly famous people deserve ridicule – bimbos of both sexes, celebrated only for their substance abuse, flagrant overspending, run-ins with the law and disastrous relationship choices – or the reality TV “stars” who are ordinary in every way except for their overinflated egos.

Genesis of a book

Finally, I got to hold my new book. It's a little like cradling a new-born baby, although, from what women tell me, the work of birthing a book is considerably less painful. However, it often takes longer.
All books, once published, look more or less equal. Each occupies its distinct physical space, with an intoxicating whiff of fresh ink and paper providing a pheromonal come-on to potential readers. However, each also has its own story of conception and collaboration to tell, sometimes involving sojourns in the Desert of Rejection, or the vast time-space anomaly created when overloaded people volunteer their remaining time and energy to the often thankless task of running a literary press.

Debooking a Logo

Another telling blow in the fight to de-book the world has been struck. The Yellow Pages Group, well known for "Let your fingers do the walking" and its icon of a yellow hand patrolling a paper Yellow Pages, has booklessly updated its logo.

The Art of Poetry

When poetry and art hang out together, they rub off on each other. A few years ago, my poetry workshop -- The Long Dash, which includes Rosemary Blake, Clara Blackwood, Merle Nudelman, Mary Lou Soutar-Hynes, Sheila Stewart, and Elana Wolff -- began to collaborate with a group of nine visual artists who have studio space in the Women's Art Association of Canada (WAAC). A conversation between poet Mary Lou Soutar-Hynes and painter Marjorie Moeser raised the idea of poets and painters working closely together. The painters create their work in a historic Victorian duplex on Prince Arthur Avenue, near Bloor and Avenue Road.

Art and Budget

Several commentators (strangely enough, mostly artists and writers) noted that Flaherty's recent Canadian Federal budget contained nary a word about art.
This is somewhat intriguing, given that the Tory brain trust took two prorogued months off to come up with, like, a really state-of-the-art budget.
True, golf-playing guys who think a Lincoln is an economy car generally don't ascribe much value to artistic endeavours. This despite a number of well-documented studies like the Conference Board of Canada's 2008 inquiry into the economic value of cultural production:
“The Cultural Advantage: What do Canadian Creators and the Arts and Cultural Industries contribute to Canada?

* $46 billion to the economy
* 3.8 % of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

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