Meet the Presses

Despite folding the Toronto branch of Cactus Press at livewords last week, I’ll be making one more appearance for the press at Meet the Presses on November 17 at the Tranzac (292 Brunswick Avenue, Toronto).  

Come and check out our final chapbooks: Royal and Ringsend, both by Stevie Howell (who will be working the table with me). The 2012 bpNichol Chapbook Award winner will also be announced. 



November 9, 2012 at 1:31 pm Leave a comment

Help Zachariah Wells Present His Work in Mexico

Cactus Press has signed on to create a chapbook for Zach Wells‘ reading at the Linares International Literary Festival in March. The chapbook will feature Spanish translations of Zach’s poems by Lidia Valencia Fourcans, and will be available in both print and digital format.

Zach is attempting to raise money to offset the cost of his trip, and the chapbooks will be given to those who offer support. If you’re interested in acquiring one, click here.

February 11, 2012 at 10:34 pm Leave a comment

The Sleeper in the Valley and Other Translations

The first Cactus Press title of 2012 is Marc di Saverio’s Sleeper in the Valley and Other Translations. Marc was recently named one of Simply Haiku’s top-10 Living English Language Haiku Poets, and I’m thrilled to have him back after publishing Sanatorium Songs in 2010.

Copies are selling for $5.00. If you’re interested in purchasing one, email me at

Here’s a sneak preview of the title poem, translated from Arthur Rimbaud, and originally published in Maisonneuve:


It’s a green ravine with a river that sings
and madly clings to silvery tatters
on the grasses—a little valley bubbling
with beams of a sun that scatters

from the noble peak. A young soldier, helmetless,
open-mouthed, bathing his nape in the cool blue cress,
sleeps; he’s under clouds, pale, outspread
where light is raining down on his green bed.

With his feet in the gladioli, he sleeps. Smiling how
a sick kid smiles, he’s catching some zees.
Nature, cradle him closely, he’s

cold. Smells won’t make his nostrils quiver now.
One hand on breast, asleep in the sun, he’s pacified;
there are two red holes in his right side.

February 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

Play Chthonics

On Wednesday November 7 I’ll be in Vancouver sharing the stage at the Play Chthonics Reading Series with Cecily Nicholson. I’m looking forward to visiting friends I rarely have a chance to see, as well as meeting new ones. 

The details:

Venue: Green College, UBC (6201 Cecil Green Park Rd.)

Time: 5 pm


November 29, 2011 at 2:47 pm Leave a comment

Eulogy for the Quick

After a successful launch, the Fall 2011 Cactus Press chapbooks are now available for order online. If you’re interested, you can check them out under the Cactus Press tab on this site or email me at

Sample poems:

Eulogy for the Quick on the Vehicule Press Blog (from Stewart Cole’s Sirens

Walls at Encore Literary Magazine (from Greg Bell’s Better Locks and Daylight)


November 24, 2011 at 3:29 am Leave a comment

Fall Chapbooks

I’m pleased to announce that Cactus Press will be pairing with Karen Schindler’s newly founded Baseline Press to launch fall chapbooks from both presses on November 3, 2011. Here’s the lineup:
Cactus Press

Greg Bell – Better Locks and Daylight
Stewart Cole – Sirens
Shane Neilson – Love Poems in a Czech Winter

Baseline Press

Danielle Devereaux – Cardiogram
Andy McGuire – Sputniks
Christine Walde – The Black Car 

The launch will take place in association with Edward Nixon’s livewords reading series, and will be held at The Black Swan Tavern (154 Danforth Ave.) in Toronto. Doors open at 7:30. 

Below is a cover preview of Stewart Cole’s Sirens (designed by Pascale McCullough Manning)


October 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm Leave a comment

2011 Matrix LitPop Awards

On Thursday night I was honoured to receive a call from Jon Paul Fiorentino notifying me that I’d won the 2011 Matrix LitPop Award for Poetry. My congrats to Anu Jindal and Chris Urquhart, winners in the Fiction and Non-Fiction categories!

Here’s the press release: 

Pop Montreal and Matrix Magazine are thrilled to announce the 2011 Lit Pop Award Winners!

Jim Johnstone

Anu Jindal

Chris Urquhart

Congratulations to this year’s winners and thanks to all who participated! Special thanks to this year’s judges, John K. Samson, Mike Spry and Katrina Best!

August 1, 2011 at 10:08 pm 2 comments

Cactus Press Chapbooks Reviewed

The winter 2010 Cactus Press chapbooks got a little bit of press last week in the form of a review written by Jacob McArthur Mooney for Northern Poetry Review. It’s rare that chapbooks get such focused attention, so I’m very pleased for the four authors: Darren Bifford, Edward Nixon, Marc di Saverio and Sarah Teitel. 

About Marc di Saverio’s Sanatorium Songs, Mooney writes:

Di Saverio is a gifted guy. He can track the anarchy-seeking scent of our bastardized language with a singular bravery, but what makes his work resonate beyond simple Beat parlour tricks is his ability to narrate his instincts with poetry. The effect is chilling, disorienting, and a little embarrassing; like stopping to watch a car crash, then turning around to find that the driver has somehow repositioned himself behind you, and has watched you watching him die. Di Saverio is never not in control of Sanatorium Songs.  

You can read the rest of the review here.

May 26, 2011 at 3:03 pm Leave a comment

Last Gasp

After 7 1/2 years, Misunderstandings Magazine will celebrate its final issue on June 2, 2011. I’m happy to be going out with an issue that I’m especially proud of, and that Edward Nixon will be hosting the evening’s festivities.

Join us at the Black Swan Tavern for cake and readings from:

Claire Caldwell
Sam Cheuk
Mathew Henderson
Mat Laporte
Blaise Moritz
A.F. Moritz
Robin Richardson
Rob Taylor
Paul Vermeersch 

For the curious, here’s a cover preview:

May 25, 2011 at 2:48 am Leave a comment

Proofs & Equational Love: The Poetry of Jim Johnstone

Hot on the heels of Fatherhood: The Poetry of Wayne Clifford, Frog Hollow Press has released the second in an ongoing series of critical monographs: Proofs & Equational Love: The Poetry of Jim Johnstone. Within there are two separate essays (written by Jason Guriel and Shane Neilson, respectively) that explore the role of scientific equations / language in my first two books of poetry.

I’m honored to be the subject of this book, and that both Jason and Shane  would take such care exploring my work.

If you’re interested in a copy, you can order one here.

May 2, 2011 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

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