Tuesday 26 February 2008

I love Tom Bendsten's book art

Tom Bendsten is a Canadian visual artist. His work consists mainly of installations, films, sculpture, etc. My favourite works of his are his "Conversations" and his "Arguments" which use books as both physical building material and subject matter.

Argument #6(b) is shown here. These tend to be monumental in size, large breath-taking architectural works. In these works, the textural (as opposed to textual) qualities of the books themselves, and the way that light falls on them, help to create much of the beauty. Have a look at an interior shot of Argument #4(b).

His Conversations are equally beautiful, but usually less imposing. For instance, Bendsten has arranged books in a library according to colour, rather than by author or title. Although this work seems sedate, do not be lulled into a false sense security, because Bendsten's Conversations also include the wily Bookhawk, and it will swoop down on the unsuspecting.

Saturday 16 February 2008

Al Purdy to be honoured with statue, film

It has taken seven years, but Scott Griffin and Dennis Lee have weathered the seas of bureaucracy and managed to make it happen. A monumental sculpture honouring the great poet Al Purdy will finally be unveiled in Queen's Park this coming May. The Globe and Mail reports that Mr. Griffin said, "Al Purdy is recognized as a giant in terms of Canadian poetry. There was absolutely no doubt that this was the guy, if you were going to do it at all." And I couldn't agree more.

Pictured is a detail of the clay sculpture created by sculptors Veronica de Nogales Leprevost and Edwin Timothy Dam. Their studio is called Dam de Nogales Sculptors. The finished statue is currently being cast in bronze. Here’s more from the Globe and Mail story:

The finished product will be a 2.7-by-2.7-metre statue (that's life-size and a half) weighing about 1,000 kilograms, that has Mr. Purdy seated on a rock, a book dangling from his right hand as he twists around to look over his left shoulder.

sIts planned placement at Queen's Park will have him gazing toward pedestrian pathways and northbound traffic on the east side of the legislature. The statue will be facing, and seemingly listening to, the passing world, facing away from the formal civic luminaries around it.

Read the whole story here.

In other news, Al Purdy will be brought to the small screen this spring in a television movie starring Gordon Pinsent (pictured). Harbour Publishing, Purdy's last publisher, reports the story on their website:
Yours, Al starring Canadian icon Gordon Pinsent, is an evocative film that captures, interprets and celebrates the life and work of one of Canada's most significant poets and literary geniuses Al Purdy (1918-2000). Actor Gordon Pinsent movingly captures the essence of the poet in this drama set in a metaphorical, abandoned house, which comes to life as Al returns to read, write and remember his favourite poems. CBC Television, “Opening Night”, Thursday April 13, 8pm (local across Canada).

For the whole story, visit Harbour Publishing.

Thursday 14 February 2008

Tom Sleigh wins $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Award

Tom Sleigh has won this year's Kingsley Tufts poetry award for his book Space Walk. Past winners include Lucia Perillo, Rodney Jones, and Campbell McGrath, which, for my money, gives the KT Award one of the best track records going. I will be ordering Sleigh's book today.


Tuesday 12 February 2008

Sina Queyras interviews Stuart Ross

Sina and Stuart talk about:

- his excellent book covers,
- editing anthologies,
- humour in poetry,
- the elusiveness of fame,
- why Billy Collins really isn't so shit hot,
- who Razovsky really is,
- the evils (and uses!) of Facebook,
- the awesomeness that is David McFadden,
- Erik Satie's bathing rituals,

Read the interview on LEMON HOUND today.

Monday 4 February 2008

Poetry reading breaks ticket sales records.

Beloved poet Mary Oliver has made my day. Her recent readings in Seattle and Portland created ticket buying frenzies, selling out large, 2000-plus seat theatres, and sending fans into a tizzy looking for tickets on Craigslist and demanding a return engagement. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Here's a Seattle popular culture quiz. Pick the item that doesn't belong:

a) Seattle's 2,500-seat Benaroya Hall sold out in record time.

b) The box office besieged with requests for more tickets.

c) Anguished fans seeking tickets on Craigslist.

d) A reading by a poet.

Smart money would be on D), but smart money would be wrong. Poet Mary Oliver's appearance Monday at Benaroya Hall is the fastest sellout in the 20-year history of Seattle Arts & Lectures. It is sparking ticket action on the local Craigslist, where tickets to rock concerts and sports playoffs are regularly bought and sold, but rarely to poetry readings.

Take that, Minneapolis. The Twin City may have supplanted Seattle as the country's "most literate city" in an annual survey but the Oliver sellout demonstrates that Seattle still has its zealous literary enthusiasts.

So does Portland, which did not merit inclusion in the top 10 literate cities. Oliver's appearance there on Tuesday is also sparking a ticket frenzy. The 2,700-seat Schnitzer Concert Hall for Portland Arts & Lectures has already sold out.

Read the whole story here.