A couple of June readings

It’s been a little quiet, which is something I’m not great at. BUT that means it’s something I probably need sometimes, right? Anyway, I’m doing a couple of readings in June, and will be reading some newer/different/better? work (you can decide):

June 8, 2015
Shane Neilson, Marc Di Saverio, and me // hosted by Jacob McArthur Mooney
This is for the launch of Shane Neilson’s new book, On Shaving Off His Face
The Steady, 8pm

June 12, 2015
Taddle Creek Issue 35 Launch
Reading: me, JonArno Lawson, and Lana Pesch
FB event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/954868794535557/
Jet Fuel Coffee Shop (I know it says ‘coffee’ and coffee at night only makes so much sense–this event will be licensed, breathe out!)



“Here’s a secret: Everyone, if they live long enough, will lose their way at some point. You will lose your way, you will wake up one morning and find yourself lost. This is a hard, simple truth. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, consider yourself lucky. When it does, when one day you look around and nothing is recognizable, when you find yourself alone in a dark wood having lost the way, you may find it easier to blame it on someone else — an errant lover, a missing father, a bad childhood — or it may be easier to blame the map you were given — folded too many times, out-of-date, tiny print — but mostly, if you are honest, you will only be able to blame yourself.”

– Nick Flynn

Authors for Indies, May 2nd, 2015


Have you heard about Authors for Indies? It’s a new, national (actually, international) initiative to bring attention to the amazing work that independent bookstores do in terms of supporting regional authors, hand-selling books, hosting events, and building communities—for starters.

I don’t talk about it much (yet) but I used to co-own an independent bookstore, so this is a cause not only close to my heart, but a longstanding part of me. Authors for Indies takes place Saturday, May 2nd, 2015. On that day, authors will be in stores doing everything from reading and signing work to very likely recommending books for Mother’s Day. I’ll be at Book City Bloor West Village May 2nd, from 2:30-4pm. What will I be doing? I DON’T KNOW! But it’ll beat having been snowed in, reciting the parts of a Eukaryote to myself.

In advance of the event, the organizers asked me to supply a list of books I would recommend, with the intention that they might order some in. And I thought, hey, why not post my list with some comments?

But you know, also get out on May 2nd and visit your local independent bookstore!


Saeed Jones: Prelude to Bruise

Saeed Jones calls himself “the ferocity” online, for every reason you can imagine. He is a force of nature—not only in this, his multiple award-nominated first book of poetry, but also in his work for Buzzfeed LGBT, his creation of their groundbreaking paid writing fellowships and forthcoming literature section, and a number of recent essays that slay. He’s unstoppable, and can break fools with glance. Jones grew up in the American south (mostly Texas), and his writing captures the spectrum of southern atmospheres—parchedness giving way to lushness, community ebbing into threat, and back again. The nameless “Boy” of the book (that ancient, loaded condescension) could be anyone, but reading this book your heart will race as if you are the first person:


In a four-legged night,

clouds sink into the trees,

refuse me morning

and mourning, but I pass

what I thought was the end

of myself. To answer

your rifle’s last question:

if you ever find me,

I won’t be there.


— from ‘After The First Shot”


CA Conrad: The Book of Frank

CA Conrad is one of our most fearless and original poets, and I’d recommend anything he has written. When I got The Book of Frank, I read it three times in a row in one sitting. “Frank,” is a character without a plot, a boy whose learned sense of self-worth is reminiscent of that Sexton line: “I was stamped out like a Plymouth fender into this world.” BUT. Aimless Frank has a surrealistic vision and the distance of a wizard, both of which help him transcend his chaotic environment.


Ken Babstock: Methodist Hatchet

Methodist Hatchet is a masterpiece. Each poem is its own world, each line its own breath. In this book, there’s urgency, there’s resignation, there’s scoffing, there’s pleas—but never prayers. Lines will inhabit your mind like destabilizing mantras, like koans: “No one occupies me like me. And no one/makes me lonelier.”

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