Posts filed under ‘News’

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

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

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

Another Spring – A Renga in 27 Parts

Thanks to Sachiko Murakami for including me as one of the 27 poets involved in creating Another Spring, a renga written in response to the earthquake/tsunami in Japan. You can watch the video below. 

April 25, 2011 at 12:06 am Leave a comment

An Interview with Patrick Connors

This past week, Patrick Connors interviewed both Julienne Lottering and I for in regards to our new book Sunday, the locusts. It was interesting to hear Julie’s take on our collaboration, since I’d never asked her formally.

If you’re interested, you can check it out here.

March 28, 2011 at 8:15 pm Leave a comment

Michael Lista, literary magazines and the future of MM

Michael Lista tackled a topic close to my heart on Friday, discussing the future of Canadian literary magazines in his latest column for the National Post. I’m passionate enough about literary magazines to have run one (Misunderstandings Magazine) for the past 7 years, and was pleased to see the drawbacks of the new Canadian Periodical Fund discussed as they relate to literature.

Of course, my own enterprise is much too small to have ever qualified for government assistance, nor have I sought it. The goal of Misunderstandings Magazine has been to straddle the line between zine culture and Toronto’s more mainsteam literary community, positioning itself as an alternative to what Jacob McArthur Mooney describes as the “beige standard of mainstream literary publishing“. From the outset, Ian Williams, Vicki Sloot and I envisioned MM as means to foster emerging writers alongside some of Canada’s best. It’s been a delicate undertaking, and I have no problem admitting that the quality of our publication varied significantly over the course of 15 issues – however we’re proud to have stuck close to our mandate.

I’m of the firm opinion that the quality of writing that Lista mentions in the Post is one of the lesser considerations as it relates to literary periodicals. To me they’re learning grounds as much as places to find a “comprehensive, concise survey of our very best and freshest work.” I do agree with his thesis however, and feel it’s time to scale back the number of literary publications that exist in Canada at the moment – or at the least the number of literary publications that do the same thing. Mooney is right when he espouses ripping the cover off copies of The Antigonish Review, The Fiddlehead and The Malahat Review to compare: you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between them.

All of this is a roundabout way of getting to the fact that as of June 2, I’m folding Misunderstandings Magazine. My decision has nothing to do with competition or the CPF, but more to do with what plagues all magazines that exist as labours of love: time. Instead of working with a large number of writers on an issue by issue basis, I’d like to put my time into fostering specific writers through Cactus Press, a chapbook imprint I run with Devon Gallant. So, I’m bidding literary magazinedom adieu for the time being. I do, however, hope that the mantle of the small and in-between continues to be held high in Canadian letters.

March 27, 2011 at 7:14 pm 4 comments

Not Anyone’s Anything

Ian Williams’ first collection of poetry, You Know Who You Are (Wolsak and Wynn, 2010), may be the most underrated book of poetry published in Canada in the past year. I suspect this has something to do with both the vast number of talented poets writing in Canada at the moment and the fact that Ian teaches in the States, however his work isn’t to be missed. I highly recommend catching him on April 19, 2011 at The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto where he’ll be launching a book of short stories titled Not Anyone’s Anything (Freehand Books).


Read. Dance. Repeat: launching And Me Among Them by Kristen den Hartog, A Description of the Blazing World by Michael Murphy, and Not Anyone’s Anything by Ian Williams

Time: April 19, 2011 – 7pm-11pm
Location: The Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West)

About Not Anyone`s Anything:

Ian Williams’s Not Anyone’s Anything is a trio of trios: three sets of three stories, with three of those stories further divided into thirds. Mathematical, musical, and meticulously crafted, these stories play profoundly with form, and feature embedded flash cards and musical notations, literal basements, and dual narratives, semi-detached. Roaming through Toronto and its surrounding suburbia, Williams’s characters wittily and wryly draw attention to the angst and anxieties associated with being somewhere between adolescence and more-than-that. They are disastrously ambitious, performing amateur surgery or perfecting Chopin; they are restless and bored, breaking into units of new subdivisions hoping for a score; they continually test the ones they love, and, though every time feels like the last time, they might be up for one more game.

March 16, 2011 at 3:41 am Leave a comment

CBC Book Club Awards

I’m firmly opposed to competitions like Canada Reads that require authors to hustle for votes to support their books. So it’s with hesitation that I post a link to the CBC Book Club Awards, where Patternicity has been nominated for Best Poetry Collection. Of course, I’m thrilled to have been nominated, I just don’t like the idea of pestering friends (who won’t have read the other collections) to vote. Here are the five shortlisted books:

Michael Lista: Bloom
Jon Paul Fiorentino: Indexical Elegies
Sharon McCartney: For and Against
Anne Carson: Nox
Jim Johnstone: Patternicity

Congrats to all the other nominees!

February 9, 2011 at 11:01 pm Leave a comment

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