Posts filed under ‘News’

Lit Live

On Sunday, February 6th 2011, I’ll be sharing the stage at Lit Live in Hamilton with some fantastic poets: Chris Banks, Chris Pannell, R. W. Megens, Kildare Dobbs and David Seymour. This excludes the evening’s MC Adam Getty (one of the most underrated poets in Canada) – so come and join us for 7:30 pm for what’s sure to be a terrific night.

Lit Live
The Sky Dragon Centre
27 King William Street

January 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm Leave a comment

Misunderstandings Magazine #15

Happy New Year! After a busy Christmas, Cactus Press is pleased to announce the launch of MM15 this Thursday (January 6, 2011) at the Black Swan Tavern. Come help us celebrate with readings from:

Greg Bell
Lisa Devries
Anya Douglas
Catherine Graham
Adrienne Gruber
Katie Jordon
Mike Lipsius
Elisabeth de Mariaffi
John Nyman
Brandy Ryan

The particulars:

Date: January 6, 2011
Time: 7:30 – 10:30 pm
Location: The Black Swan Tavern (154 Danforth Ave., Toronto, Ontario)

January 3, 2011 at 7:42 pm 2 comments

Darren Bifford’s Wolf Hunter Reviewed

Over the holidays, I was happy to stumble upon a review of Darren Bifford’s Wolf Hunter on Holly Luhning’s blog. Here’s a taste:

“Last week, Cactus Press launched its fall slate of chapbooks. I had the good fortune to read Darren Bifford’s accomplished and muscular collection, Wolf Hunter.

The chapbook begins with a sonnet sequence “Letters to Milosz.” Bifford’s language, as evident in the first few lines of the speaker to Milosz, is simultaneously taut and lush: “A circus swaggers to town. Its tents/flop down like the lopped-off ears of giants./Stink smears the air, spreads like a rash:/Elephant shit and elephant skin, smells/Of lions and tigers in caged dens.” Bifford fuses the fantastical world of giants and carnivals with unsettling corporeal elements of illness, feces, and caged (animal) bodies. This strategy of juxtaposing the fantastic with the base, the beautiful with the ominous is synergistic with the seductive rhythms Bifford builds, then releases into unsettling, often threatening turns of phrase. The sequence is populated with lines that court the reader with delicate repetition, as when the speaker says “you and I/find a corner table, drink a bottle/of scotch aged since the last ice age/near the shores of the North Sea so that you can taste the sea ebb/down your throat.” However, these lulling lines often resolve into a sparse, menacing point that’s all the more effective because of the rhythms and slant rhymes that precede it: “The ratty chair creaks on the porch and you don’t bother to note the croaking toads, whether they are/or are not like music, nor if occasionally he raises a rifle to his chin and aims and fires off a few shots.”

You can read the rest of the review here.

Wolf Hunter‘s title poem, which won The Malahat Review’s Far Horizon Award, can be found here.

January 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm Leave a comment

Winter 2010 Cactus Press Chapbook Cover Preview

Just a reminder that Cactus Press will be launching its Winter 2010 chapbooks tomorrow night at the Black Swan Tavern. In the meantime, here’s a preview of two of the covers:

Wolf Hunter
Darren Bifford

I don’t think I need to tell you
Sarah Teitel

December 1, 2010 at 6:45 pm Leave a comment

Great Canadian Literary Hunt, FTW

Late last week one of my poems, Evel Knievel Negotiates the Fountain at Caesar’s Palace, was named the winning entry in the poetry category of This Magazine‘s Great Canadian Literary Hunt. Needless to say I’m thrilled, and in good company with Jason Mathis and Medeine Tribinevicius, who finished second and third, respectively.

Check out the piece online or in the latest issue of This.

November 22, 2010 at 10:39 pm Leave a comment

Cactus Press Chapbook Launch

It’s my pleasure to announce that  livewords will host the winter Cactus Press Chapbook Launch on Thursday, December 2, 2010, with new chapbooks from:

Darren Bifford – Wolf Hunter
Edward Nixon – Instructions for Pen and Ink
Marc di Saverio – Sanatorium Songs
Sarah Teitel – I don’t think I need to tell you

+ Readings from Cactus alumni: Blair Trewartha, Andrew McEwen and Josh Stewart & future Cactus poet: Shane Neilson

The event will take place at the Black Swan Tavern (doors at 7:30 pm, readings at 8:00 pm): 154 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON.

November 18, 2010 at 4:55 pm Leave a comment

Governor General’s Award Winners Announced!

I’d like to congratulate Richard Greene, whose Boxing the Compass was announced as the winner of the 2010 Governor Gerneral’s Award for Poetry today. You can check out the rest of the winners here.


November 16, 2010 at 6:32 pm Leave a comment

Odds and Ends

All the talk surrounding today’s Governor General Award shortlist for poetry has finally prompted me to update my blog. I’ve been meaning to post for a while, but non-poetry related activities keep getting in the way.

I’m grateful, however, that one of my recent distractions was poetry related – I was invited to read at UNB’s annual Poetry Weekend, which Nightwood Editions graciously flew me out to participate in. Apparently Zach Wells will have audio footage of the readings uploaded on Career Limiting Moves soon, so I’ll post a link when he does. Suffice it to say, I enjoyed the weekend tremendously, and plan on going back next year (if Ross Leckie will have me).

But back to the GG’s. Earlier this week, Carmine Starnino posted a list of  GG recommendations on the Vehicule Press blog that I was honored to have been included on. Carmine’s opinion is one I value, and I felt strongly that his latest book, This Way Out, deserved to win last year’s award. So I was happy to see then, that two books Carmine edited for Signal Editions were included on this year’s official shortlist, which reads as follows:

Richard Greene, Boxing the Compass (Véhicule Press)
Michael Harris, Circus (Véhicule Press)
Daryl Hine, &: A Serial Poem (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)
Sandy Pool, Exploding into Night (Guernica Editions)
Melanie Siebert, Deepwater Vee (McClelland & Stewart)

Congrats to all the nominees!

October 14, 2010 at 3:20 am Leave a comment

Poetry Review Roundup

It seems Patternicity is getting a little bit of love these days. The latest counsel comes from Angela Hibbs, who reviewed Patternicity as part of Broken Pencil’s Poetry Review Roundup (an online feature that corresponds with Issue 48). The roundup also includes reviews of Jay MillAr’s Other Poems, Meaghan Strimus’s A Good Time Had By All, Priscila Uppal’s Traumatology, Jeff Latosik’s Tiny Frantic Stronger, Anna Swanson’s The Night Also and Sharon McCartney’s for and against.

Good company, to be sure.

Hibbs writes: “Johnstone communicates his vision of the world with sharp jabs, such as in “On Bohr’s Mode Of Atomic Structure” where the line “skull of a chandelier” reclaims the chandelier from the jewelry realm of comparison where it is most frequently found and shifts its resemblance adequately to that of a squid. The squid is seen afresh as well as the chandelier, all in four words.”  The rest of the review is linked above. 

September 15, 2010 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

The 2010 ReLit Award Shortlists

On August 31, the 2010 ReLit Award shortlists were announced. Founded to honour the best new work released by independent Canadian publishers, the ReLit Awards are refreshing for their celebration of literature on a small scale. 

So, without further ado, here are this year’s nominees:


Away From Everywhere, Chad Pelley (Breakwater)
Wrong Bar, Nathaniel G. Moore (Tightrope)
Overqualified, Joey Comeau (ECW)
The Beautiful Children, Michael Kenyon (Thistledown)
Holding Still For As Long As Possible, Zoe Whittall (Anansi)
The Plight House, Jason Hrivnak (Pedlar)
After the Red Night, Christiane Frenette (Cormorant)


Lisa Robertson’s Magenta Soul Whip, Lisa Robertson (Coach House)
A Nice Place to Visit, Sky Gilbert (ECW)
The Others Raisd in Me, Gregory Betts (Pedlar)
Always Die Before Your Mother, Patrick Woodcock (ECW)
Paper Radio, Damian Rogers (ECW)
Red Nest, Gillian Jerome (Nightwood)
The Last House, Michael Kenyon (Brick)


Men of Salt, Men of Earth, Matt Lennox (Oberon)
Buying Cigarettes for the Dog, Stuart Ross (Freehand)
The Moon of Letting Go, Richard Van Camp (Enfield & Wizenty)
What Boys Like, Amy Jones (Biblioasis)
Fatted Calf Blues, Steven Mayoff (Turnstone)
What We’re Made Of, Ryan Turner (Oberon)
Sentimental Exorcisms, David Derry (Coach House)

September 5, 2010 at 6:50 pm Leave a comment

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