Friday, 1 July 2016

"Al Purdy's Star Wars"

Here's a little lark that arose out of an exchange with poet Kevin Spenst a few months ago. I don't see this poem going into a book -- or anywhere else, really -- so I'd thought I'd post it here, on Canada Day, just for fun.

AL PURDY’S STAR WARS


— say the names
Tatooine and Dantooine
Alderaan and Hoth
Coruscant and Mustafar
Geonosis and Naboo
On Tattooine they were moisture farmers
            scrap dealers and smugglers
desert men with senses welded shut by the sand
wandering the dunes, Jawa and Jedi
            dewback and bantha
            living on the verge of their thirst
            beyond the Jundland Wastes
On Hoth they froze
in their bunks
            toes curled so black not even
light could escape
but with the sun they laboured
against an empire while their sweat
turned to ice and the Tauntauns and Wampas
            remembered an age of lizards
that basked long ago
in subcellular sleep
— say the names
Tatooine and Dantooine
Alderaan and Hoth
Dagobah and Mustafar
Geonosis and Jakku
not the guttural names of the Hutt in Huttese
but in the beep and chirr of droids
in the startling whine
of a mynock
in an asteroid’s heart
On Dagobah the secret was kept
the darkness in the dark place that slumbered
in the thickness of its biomass
a long forgotten conscience
that roused to the laughter in the cave
— say the names
Dantooine and Tatooine
Hoth and Alderaan
Mustafar and Coruscant
Geonosis and Naboo
            a starfighter lands by the waterfall
in a hail of blaster fire
            and champions are fed to the wilds
of ceaseless appetite
            and the spies die like spies
and a lake of magma
boils and senators
vote on their own abolition
And Kashyyyk is distant and evergreen
And Mon Cala shines
like a disc-shaped orbital sea
There are drums that sound in the forest
            a city that waits in the clouds
            forgotten worlds
            forgotten republics
            a family scattered by war
            and reunited in the stars  

And Alderaan remembered. 





Tuesday, 31 May 2016

THE MODERNIST CANON (or, The Sanctioned Norm)

I have a new poem called "The Modernist Canon (or, The Sanctioned Norm) on George Murray's NewPoetry.ca website. Here is a clue as to what it is about:



Read the poem here.



Saturday, 21 May 2016

New poems, new Puritan

The Puritan, one of Canada's best online literary journals, has a newly designed website, and the new issue has two of my latest poems: "Immortality" and "Hit Me, Hit Me, Hit Me, Hit Me, Hit Me with Your Laser Beams."

You check it all out here.




Saturday, 23 April 2016

I recommend Even This Page Is White by Vivek Shraya

I've been thinking about Vivek Shraya's new book of poetry Even This Page Is White in the context of having read Claudia Rankine's Citizen. It's an over simplification to draw broad comparisons between these books, but they share a thematic concern about race, and they do so in ways that are original, timely, and without trying to fit into a canon. If you read Rankine's book and were compelled by it, then I urge you to get a copy of Shraya's book, too. Like Rankine's, it's a book that asks us to consider ourselves and our society in vital ways, and it is worth your time.


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

"Grendel's Mother" -- a new poem

Last weekend my poem "Grendel's Mother" was published in the Globe and Mail. You can read it here.

The poem is partly inspired by John Gardner's novel Grendel, a longtime favourite of mine. Telling the Beowulf story from the monster's point of view allows us to question the role of the monster in a narrative. I wanted to take that constructive revisionism one-step further and contemplate the mother's point of view. In Gardner's novel, Grendel's mother is a howling, mindless beast. In my poem, she is thoughtful and concerned about the mental state of her son.





Wednesday, 16 March 2016

I Got to Be a Guest on the My Summer Lair Podcast

I sat down with Sammy Younan at the Girth Radio headquarters in Toronto's Pacific Junction Hotel to talk about my poetry, publishing, and art projects, including my latest book, my visual art, and my "cryptoreligion" the Holy Order of the Sasquatch.

The series is called My Summer Lair and you can listen to it here.





Thursday, 25 February 2016

New titles coming from Buckrider Books this spring.

I'm looking forward to launching the new titles from my Buckrider Books imprint this spring.


Learn more about:

Death Valley by Susan Perly


Kids in Triage by Kilby Smith-McGregor


Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The Holy Order of the Sasquatch

As if I don't have enough on my plate -- writing a new book, editing books for Wolsak & Wynn, teaching here and there, various art and poetry projects -- I have started a new creative project: a cryptoreligion called the Holy Order of the Sasquatch.


Members of this benevolent Order are called Knights, and in accordance with our rites and traditions, they uphold the value of the human imagination in order to create a better world. Messages from the Holy Order will be released periodically in the form of Epistles, i.e. comic-strip pamphlets containing the teachings of Saint Bigfoot, our patron.

To learn more and become a Knight of the Holy Order of the Sasquatch, visit www.saintbigfoot.com.