March 31, 2020

RHONA MCADAM AND SWEET WATER AT THE POETRY PARTY


Rhona McAdam
BY THE GLASS

Free for the taking

through all my childhood,

crashing into glasses bouldered with ice,
poured thickly from the sides of plastic jugs,
the unremarked and neglected

sentry at the top of place settings,

sweating on formica,

seized to cure fits of coughing

or moments of spice, replenished

unasked and endlessly.

When the costly bottles came,

in thalassic greens and fluvial blues,
the taps still turned for the frugal,
and we got what we paid for,

tepid, swirling with mist, fragrant
with swamp, or sold for 10 p a glass at
a parsimonious caff in Cornwall.
We drank each chlorinated drop
and spared the tip.

In New Mexico restaurants,

cards propped on the tables

invited us to value even this, the stuff
of dishpans and swimming pools,
while all afternoon in the Hilton

the self-flushing toilets

thundered their copious refrain

in unoccupied stalls.

A friend has returned from Africa.

We sit on the beach in clothes the colour of sand,
watching clouds gather

on the undrinkable blue horizon.

Sweet Water editor Yvonne Blomer

Rhona McAdam's poem is from the anthology Sweet Water: Poems for the Watersheds, edited by Yvonne Blomer. It was meant to be launched March 18, 2020. Republished with permission from Caitlin Press. Copies may be ordered from the press.

March 30, 2020

ERIN WILSON AT THE POETRY PARTY - AND A GIVEAWAY

Erin Wilson's first poetry collection, At Home with Disquiet, was released with Circling Rivers Press on March 24, 2020. She would have been sharing this poem in Sudbury, Ontario, the day the first case of COVID-19 was announced there.

Erin Wilson
MARE

    “When is it we come to the realization that all things are wandering away?”
                                        Charles Wright

i.

I am driving by, watching.
Things like this always happen
inside the momentum of other things.
Time is like a waterfall,
someone says.

ii.

In the centre of a green pasture
four corpulent mares have gathered
in a circle to confer.
What they are discussing
is the listless colt
lying like a sable fur
upon the dew-lit grass.
One mare, probably the mother,
is stomping her hoof,
tearing up divots of soil.
Certainly, she thinks,
if I translate this angst
through this body—!

The four of them stare,
one unblinking eye
staring into the green eye of earth
which doesn't blink either.

This is how my grief for you works.
This is how it changes nothing. 

Erin Wilson offers free Advance Reader Copies to the first three writers/readers who write to her at thetinyleaf(at)gmail(dot)com

March 28, 2020

TYLER PENNOCK AT THE POETRY PARTY


Tyler Pennock writes: This poem is the opening to Bones - and is a part that took me quite some time to settle on. The book itself is set in winter, and I really wanted to capture the season in the first poem. I remember the image of snow in "the dead" by James Joyce.  Don't get me wrong -- I've never read it. But I remember being told about it by a former partner, some time in 2002. He described it with such detail and admiration. At the time, I, too was listening to him, such detail and ... admiration. 

Given how I write, I thought snow would be the perfect vessel for the opening of this book. What I love about snow is its gentleness, and beauty. It signals the death of so many things, but can still hold light above a forest floor (the same way some flowers do). This, the circle-nature of seasons, relationships, and memory are all brought forward in this poem. A wonderful start, and one I'm very proud of. 

Tyler Pennock
from BONES

Under the moonlight
the softness that night gives us –
    the earth rising to meet
    in snow, or the glow of trilliums
where there is enough sound in a breath –

in here
I speak

gently step
    and story-weave
sending out a thread of me           

like a foot’s condensation
drying on a summer floor

hoping the memory of me
    survives
        in the eyes of others

I’ll speak
of blood
and wounds and beauty
in terrible things

the way the wind pulls a thousand leaves
    down an empty street 

and when they settle –   
        we look up
        to trace the direction of the wind 

    *
Tyler Pennock was set to launch Bones at First Nations House, University of Toronto May 8 2020. The launch and a reading scheduled for April 15 in Toronto have been cancelled. Copies can be ordered through Brick Books.

March 27, 2020

AMY LEBLANC AT THE POETRY PARTY

 Amy LeBlanc writes: The Calgary launch of my debut poetry collection I know something you don’t know (Gordon Hill Press) was meant to be on March 31st, 2020. I’ve also had to postpone an Edmonton event in April and I will probably postpone my Toronto launch in May.


Amy LeBlanc
The storied life of Grace Poole

    She dangled striated 
    scarves from the window
    rattling her head as I 
    held her waist.

He told me to keep her 
quiet, to keep her safe, compliant—
this significant 
paranoia 
that she might be
    vaulting
    purging
    dancing
    like red fiber from rafters. 

    She tells me
    my hair reminds her 
    of a fox. My brush is 
    a signal to enemy lines: 
    her lips parting
    on a stolen glass
    of honey soaked wine. 

She and I 
watch the tree, 
as it splits and succumbs
in the orchard, a slit 
where the tree was licked
with a voltage charged tongue.

She says that it will never 
be the same again.  

We are both behind
the lock and chain, but 
I can abscond 
to the halls and gates.
    She lingers behind
    the latch— 
    her fingers
    entwined in a lock 
    of my red hair. 

We are curious bedfellows
with sweetness on our thighs,
    the topographical curving
    of bones and banks. 
She is hers and I am mine.

I will never ask 
for more than the chill 
of her hands that cool me 
until I drown.  
    She won’t jump with someone 
    to hush the light. 

Buy Amy LeBlanc's book directly from Gordon Hill Press or these bookstores:
Shelf Life Books, The Next Page, Pages on Kensington



March 26, 2020

LAURIE D. GRAHAM AND SWEET WATER AT THE POETRY PARTY


Laurie D. Graham
ANTLER RIVER

Pigeon waltzing the trail on one foot and one little nub. 
Mallards and their escaped domestic kin and the bright,
rasping horns of Canada geese in false spring, in glacier-
turquoise water. Hundreds and hundreds of sharps sinking 
into the banks. Nests of clothes. Tents. Tarps. Broken trees 
helped down the banks with chainsaws. Water rainbow-slicked. 
The salt-spackled ground. The farmed transplants, the white-
bread crumbs. Up the bank: courthouse, hockey arena, 
brutalist government tower, city museum, wind.  
               Down here, the fork in the river. The sacred.


Laurie D. Graham's poem is from Sweet Water: Poems for the Watersheds, edited by Yvonne Blomer. Republished with permission from Caitlin Press. The anthology was meant to be launched March 18, 2020, at Munro's Books in Victoria, BC. The launch was cancelled. Copies may be ordered direct from the press.

March 25, 2020

FOUR POEMS FOR FOUR CHILDREN, PLUS ONE: EMILY GROSHOLZ

Fragment of a Susie Osler ceramic plate
Snowdrop

Snow fell so early this year, just after Allhallows,
We never finished the ritual of raking clean
Livid grass and cushions of stricken moss.
The yard's still matted with leaves, oak, maple, walnut,
Visible once again as the snow recedes,
Tatted lace unravelling, going wherever the snows
Of yesteryear retire to, heaven or hellward.
Under the mat of crisscrossed mahogany
And black gold crusted with ice, one snowdrop rises.

She stands already in the outmost bed, bordering
Woods, though it is only February, turned,
Dear Mary-Frances, less than a week ago. I laid
The coverlet of leaves aside and there she was,
Furled on herself and bowed, but blooming hard,
Sober, exquisite child of an uncertain season.

March 24, 2020

JAMI MACARTY AT THE DESERT POETRY PARTY

Jami Macarty
Desert Distances   

From vine, devil’s 
claw                from coyote
jackrabbit            Gila monster 
from its inching        from jojoba
slough wind            from owl
bone pellet            cactus wren
from the darkling hollow 
of its saguaro nest        cactus arms 
raised in surrender        there 
she steps through a door    creosote 
                volatilized by rain
Jami Macarty was going to launch The Minuses on March 22 (Tucson) & April 19 (Vancouver).
Order her book here

March 23, 2020

BRIAN BARTLETT AT THE POETRY PARTY


Brian Bartlett
From Safety Last

 (inspired by the silent-screen films of Harold Lloyd)


  Two men fight
on a heap of rope until,
   tangled, they fight the rope


                 He keeps all he has
            from their one meeting—
                her dog’s biscuit-box


   From sleeping-car curtains
horrors of the dark—
  strangers’ jutting white feet 


              After the mouse-trap
            bites his searching fingers,
              he eats the cheese


   Silent movie—
the shy stutterer
   is spared sound 


                After she’s named
            the stranger Trouble, she says,
              “Trouble, don’t change”

Brian was going to read from his new Gaspereau Press chapbook at The Words & Music Show: It Will Be Summer in Montreal Sunday, March 22.

Copies of Safety Last can be ordered here