Just a note to let you know this site is on a break. I’m concentrating efforts these day on my photography site at www.dondenton.ca/blog. Check it out.
Billed as his first reading in 16 years, Stephen Reid treated the crowd to a variety of writing including his fiction (his first novel Jackrabbit Parole) and a poem.He also shared the stage with a number of students from his very popular Camsoun College classes.
Here’s a few photographs I took of Jack Hodgins last week for an interview that ran in the Oak Bay News. I hadn’t seen Jack in a couple of years so it was great to have a few minutes to chat. His latest novel The Master Of Happy Endings is just out.
Finally posting my last images from the Vancouver/Olympic trip and these were taken when I first got there. I saw an ad for the Real Vancouver Writer Series a the W2 Culture + Media House on Hasting Street and thought I’d check it out. There were four evenings in the series and I was only able to stay for a short time at the second event in the series but had a chance to hear Charles Demers, Jenn Farrell and Chris Walter. I couldn’t stay to hear him read but had a nice chat with Kevin Chong who I hadn’t seen in several years. Oddly enough I then passed him on Broadway a week later while rushing to an appointment (it’s not that small of a city). Actually I also saw Chris Walter and his family walk by a week later as well while I doing a photo shoot with DOA in East Van, again it’s not that small of a city. Event was hosted by Sean Cranbury, bookman about town. I also noticed a man there with grey hair, someone aside from myself, who I had no idea who he was until I was looking at the Real Vancouuver Writers site checking for ID’s tonight and it turned out be Ian Weir who I haven’t seen since my first photography job a hundred years ago at the Kamloops Daily Sentinel. Wished I’d known that at the event. I must say it was great to see the place jammed with people out for a reading.
Chris Walter again, one tall dude
Jen Sookfong Lee being interviewed
High Ground Press (Theresa Kishkan and John Pass) have announced the publication of their Companions Series of poetry broadsheets. The series was launched at the Alcuin Society’s Wayzgoose Fine Print Fair in Vancouver last fall and are available now to libraries and collectors.
Twelve letterpress sheets feature poems by contributing poets written in response to poems they have chosen by their contemporaries or from the canon. The companion pieces are printed en face . Each sheet is signed and numbered by the contributing poet in a limited edition of 60 copies. Approximately 40 sets are available for sale at $150 CAD. Sets include title sheet, colophon and folder.
Most of the contributors’ poems make their first appearances in print in the Series.
Please see the prospectus attached for comprehensive information regarding contributors, typefaces, paper, etc.
The Companions Series: Prospectus
The Companions Series of broadsheets features poems by contemporary poets written in response to poems they have chosen by other poets, printed face to face on classic laid papers using High Ground’s treadle-driven Chandler & Price platen press. Most of the contributors’ poems make their first appearances in print in the Series. Sheets are signed and numbered by the contributors in limited editions of 60. Approximately 40 signed and numbered sets are available for purchase. Each Companions Series set includes 12 broadsheets, as specified below, with additional title sheet and folder.
1. William H. New’s Glossing Footnotes in response to John Clare’s Emmonsail’s Heath In Winter. Handset in Goudy Old Style and Spectrum.
2. Sue Wheeler’s Understory in response to Don McKay’s Stumpage. Handset in Goudy Old Style.
3. Lori Maleea Acker’s An Inner Regard in response to an excerpt from Wallace Stevens’s Things Of August. Handset in Goudy Old Style.
4. Theresa Kishkan’s A Version in response to Sappho’s Fragment 58. Handset in Cloister.
5. Joe Denham’s Abandoned Orchard in response to John Thompson’s Apple Tree. Handset in Goudy Old Style.
6. George McWhirter’s Good Friday, 2003. Driving West Into Point Grey in response to a selection from John Donne’s Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward. Handset in Cloister.
7. Russell Thornton’s A List in response to his translation of Juan Ramon Jimenez’s I Am Not I. Handset in Goudy Old Style.
8. Christopher Patton’s Via Negativa in response to an excerpt from Ezra Pound’s Canto LXXIV. Handset in Cloister.
9. John Pass’s En Route in response to Duncan Campbell Scott’s poem of the same name. Handset in Goudy Old Style.
10. Anik See’s Yes, Give Us Some in response to William Carlos Williams’s This is just to say. Handset in Spectrum.
11. Gillian Wigmore’s Vanderhoof Girls in response to Charles Lillard’s Vanderhoof. Handset in Goudy Old Style and Cloister.
12. Cornelia Hoogland’s After Meeting The Wolf, Red Arrives Home in response to an excerpt from David Harsent’s Marriage. Handset in Spectrum.
The Companions Series sets are available for purchase at $150 CAD. Some singles are available at $15 each. Contact: High Ground Press at 15211 Sunshine Coast Highway, Madeira Park, BC V0N 2H1. Ph. 604 883-2377 email: email@example.com
High Ground Press, run by John Pass and Theresa Kishkan from their home near Sakinaw Lake on BC’s Sunshine Coast, specializes in the letterpress printing and publication of poetry broadsheets and chapbooks in limited first edition. High Ground has published poems by many of Canada’s finest poets including GG Award winners Don Domanski, Don McKay, bp Nichol, Michael Ondaatje, John Pass, David Zieroth and Jan Zwicky. Its publications are held in the Special Collections of libraries in Canada and the US.
While in Vancouver I came across this unusual little store, The Regional Assembly of Text (3934 Main Street) stocks cards, postcards, zines, artists’ books, kits to make zines and books, t-shirts, all made by the shop owners. They also have a tiny reading room full of artists’ books and zines. They hold a regular letter writing evening on the first Thursday of every month supplying the goods to write your letters. All very cool. More info at their site www.assemblyoftext.com.
In the reading room
The electrical plug in gives you an idea of the size of some of these books
Zine/books for sale
Back counter with typewriter collection
Not sure if this is literature or visual art, a combination of both I guess, but these words from a poem by Liam Gillick adorn the outside of the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel at Burrard and Cordova in Vancouver. The window washers were a nice touch on a wet Vancouver day.
I’ve been away in Vancouver covering the Olympics and have a few things to post regarding things literary but for now will just post this photo I took on Main Street.
Liam Shaw is a writer, photographer, stand up comedian and former Edmontonian living in Ireland. Here’s a couple of selections from his Postcard Press and a short story. If you want more of the Postcard Press stuff email him at: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hello. Welcome to Postcard Press International, currently based in Galway, Ireland.
I have worked for Graham Ogilvie and Conrad Black.
Inspired by many of my heroes who started Magnum or any other such agency I have started my own. This is is it.
My goal, aside from the complete and utter annihilation of Rupert Murdoch (or the opportunity to meet him face to face and ask him why he needs to ruin everything), is to see stuff and take pictures and play football. Also, I’d like to learn to play cricket. It seems important.
I get easily sidetracked. I am fluffy like a dandelion gone to seed or a heavy-weight after losing a lot of weight. I float like a bumblebee and sting like a moth.
If you like my stuff I’ll keep on posting. I am making a retreat from facebook and other such things. I am working on having a website of my very own to post to. In the meantime I will send out this old-fashioned style mass/spam email to any and all who happen to be in my address book. Anyone who wants out please feel free to email back with fuck off in the subject line. Or be polite. Either way is fine. I’ve been reading Roddy Doyle again and he has such an eloquent way with the word fuck. I love it.
Updates are likely to be sporadic and may be ill-thought out.
I hope you like it.
President and lifetime member,
Liam J. Shaw, n.q.
aka. Liam Leroux
1. Zatoichi the blind photographer (obviously it’s just me with my eyes shut.)
2. Some swans
3. A bird or two, of some kind
Last night I saw the late showing of the Road. A film adaptation of the book by Cormac McCarthy.
Opposite the ticket counter at the Eye cinema there is a bulletin board with reviews and interviews and other press about the films on current release.
An interview with Viggo Mortensen was titled, ‘One for the Road.’
I walked back to the counter and before I could stop myself I asked for….
I cannot repeat this. I am too ashamed.
The film itself is not as terrible as the headline. It is good. Not amazing. Not as good as the director’s previous effort, the Proposition, but good.
It is standard zombie apocalypse fare but intended to be realistic and serious.
The thing is, I simply cannot take the idea of mass cannibalism seriously. I mean, certainly people behave gruesomely towards one another in times of disaster as all previous and current events of mass destruction will attest to but mass cannibalism just doesn’t ring true.
Nevertheless, this is the scenario so the father and son are on a quest to find a safe place to live free of cannibals.
Along the way they encounter continuous danger and hardship and occasional moments of niceness and hope. Like a piano still in tune. Or a wonderfully unsubtle product placement for Coca-Cola brand cola.
And, of course, because this movie is so American it causes me physical discomfort, the relationship between the father and son includes the gun. The central theme of the movie, near as I can tell is, besides faith in each other, we must always have faith in the gun.
I think if you are on the road against a horde of psychotic cannibals you would want a gun. That’s probably true. But how, in America, do you end up with one handgun and only two bullets. Could they not have found at least a rifle somewhere? Handguns are hideously inaccurate at distance making one of the scenes very unlikely and….
oh nevermind, I don’t know anything about guns. I can’t maintain an extended rant about guns.
The Road is good. The music is great. The kid is annoying. American children usually are. Allowing prejudices to surface in a film review seems unprofessional. Molly Parker is hot even when she is worn out looking and covered in apocalypse dust.
There is no photo to accompany this. They made me leave my camera bag behind the ticket counter during the show.
Postcard Press International
crawling across the globe like a rash
The Day My Ex-Girlfriend Decided to Leave Me
by Liam J. Shaw, n.q.
The day my ex-girlfriend decided to leave me was a normal day. A regular, normal day like any other.
It would take her another two or three weeks to tell me. The reason she gave me at the time? I’ll come to that in due course but it was more than that from the start.
I know she didn’t like my drinking or smoking habits but she smoked tobacco and we met over pints of beer so I wasn’t too bothered by this. She also told me she was an alien from the planet Zoltar using a human body to infiltrate society and study human consciousness so…
Of course I believe in aliens, or extra-terrestrial life. I just don’t believe they would bother visiting us. We are primitive and boring and could not possibly have anything anywhere on the planet to interest a visitor from outer-space. Our weapon technology is absurd. Space lasers! Ha! Fucking Ha! The Americans named the airport in their capital city after the joker that came up with that plan. Holy shit! I love them but, well, you know…
Anyways, there were some previous heavy drinking moments that set the bar pretty high but the event on the day in question was my Coupe de Stanley as it were. I sang Karaoke Kylie Minogue at Rosario’s Bar and Grill. They take karaoke very seriously there. I really had no idea. I am 6’3″ (or 191 cm) and weighed just under 14 stone. (After she left me I dropped to 11. This frightened me considerably at the time but I am feeling much better now, thanks for asking.)
For two or three weeks there is silence between us. Not perpetual actual silence of course but only no conversations. Stuff like, “Do we have any milk?” or “Are you watching this?” I assumed it was nothing more serious than the karaoke incident. Because sometimes a man has to be a man, take the first step and apologise even if he doesn’t know what is wrong but can deduce what is wrong through careful and deliberate examination of the previous weeks and make a best educated guess and thus solve the problem. Sometimes. But not this time. I will never apologise for this night, to anyone, ever. I was in fine form. I don’t drink like that anymore but every old pro hangs up their gloves eventually.
The night of the conversation I cooked her spaghetti bolognese. I like to cook and so I often do. It wasn’t an especially special thing but I did light candles and chop fresh parsley and coriander for garnish.
“We need to talk…” she said as I sat down at the table, with plates on place-mats and cutlery organised correctly and candles gently flickering.
This is the worst combination of words in the English language.
When she said “we” she meant “I” as in her. No discussion. No alternatives. She was a fascist, like Thatcher. “THE LADY IS NOT FOR TURNING!” etc. Maybe that’s why I loved her so, I really don’t know.
“Six weeks ago at the Corb Lund show you looked me right in the eye and told me you have no soul. We can’t be together anymore.”
I remember that night. I was trying to watch the band and she was babbling about one of her out of body experiences. Never date a mystic fascist. They are more confused than most. It wasn’t the time or place for discussions on infinite space. And my soul, if I have one, is intrinsically bound together with my organic nature and does not escape the confines of my mind. In my imagination the furthest reaches of the universe are only a periscope view away but in real life I am here on this earth just like her. I love to distinguish between the real and the imaginary. I’m good at it.
I think the night I gave her the proof she wanted, was looking for ever since we started, was the cold November night at Rosario’s Bar and Grill. She loved her karaoke. I’m not a big fan myself but every once in a while I will get up and do a death metal growl version of a popular chart hit just to ruin the night for everyone else and drag them down to my level.
Her favourite was the Janis Joplin version of the Kris Kristofferson classic, Me and Bobby McGee. I hate that song.
So I signed my name on the sheet and wrote down the numerical code for Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head and even planned to play it with a straight bat. I wanted to have one of those beautiful cinematic moments where, as you sing for the whole room you can’t tear your eyes away from the woman you love and everyone can see you are meant for each other like a famous storybook or a painting, to hang for all time in the collective museum of our minds.
So there I stood, in front of the room, not too drunk to stand up but way too drunk to know better. I wore a cheap, ill-fitting suit jacket from a charity shop to cover my slouched and stooping posture and began to sing with only a couple members of the audience paying attention, my girlfriend not being one of them.
A good karaoke singer needs a rudimentary knowledge of the song. You do read the words on the screen but to really sing well you must know the rhythm and the timing of the thing. Rosario’s does competitive Karaoke. They could compete in Tokyo. They ran Saturday night like a live version of the X-Factor where everyone gets to be Simon Cowell and Will Gates.
The problem is, I really only know the chorus and the la la la la bit. I didn’t realise there is more to the song than that. Whole verses of lyrics for Kylie to sing and dance to and when they appeared on the screen I panicked. I didn’t know what to do so I did what I do best, I tore it apart.
“Who the fuck wrote this shit! Where did all these extra words come from? What are all you people staring at me for!? I didn’t write any of this crap. Jesus Christ! This is terrible!!! oh, here’s the good bit again….la la la! la la la la la! la la la! la la la la la! I just can’t get you out of my head…” etc. all the way to the end.
I sat down at the table in triumph. She wouldn’t speak to me and no one else could bear to look at my majesty. So I grabbed my coat and stumbled out the door to do the drunken shuffle home. To attache a physical pain to the mental trauma which was soon to come I slipped and fell on the ice in the middle of the road. Falls like this can KILL old people. Instead it only barely crippled me. I crawled into the snow bank at the side of the road and lay there, quivering, until I could stand again. It was before hypothermia set in. I got home, took a shower and crawled into bed shivering and spinning in time. Only time, not space. I was certain of this as I grabbed the sides of the bed until my knuckles were white and desperately clung on until morning.
We did not have sex that night. In fact we would never have sex again though I had no inclination as to the severity of the situation at the time. I woke up with a normal hangover and she had already gone to work. It is never the best time to have the discussion slash argument while the hangover gnomes are still on the clock. They get more and more industrious as you get older. Mining the backs of your eyeballs for longer, searching deeper and deeper for whatever it is they need to keep driving the pickaxes and hammers. When they pack up tools and go home, that’s when you want to talk about it.
But she didn’t and I wasn’t backing down on this one. I hadn’t come home covered in my own sick or lost my keys and after exhausting a book of matches as an alternative set tried to break into her truck for a place to sleep. I hadn’t even drunkenly hit on her sister as her family looked on in horrified fascination at an out of town wedding.
All I did was an awesome version of a catchy pop hit and do it better than she could ever have managed.
So in the end I learned absolutely nothing. I am a total fucking douchebag when I am drunk. And the earth is always spinning, whether I care to stand up or not.