Monday 28 April 2008

Homeless poet robbed, poems stolen

Is nothing inviolable? Here's a sad story from yesterday's Ottawa Citizen:

"Homeless poet, sorry no poems, everything stolen while I went to eat. Nice city we live in, eh."

So read 'Crazzy' Dave Dessler's sign after he returned from dinner Friday to find his possessions had vanished.

For two years, Mr. Dessler has been a poem-writing fixture at George Street and Sussex Drive. In the winter, he shovels his stretch of pavement. Recently, he hauled garbage bags full of litter from the shrubs growing opposite his post.

Yesterday, he sat on a blue milk crate next to a few of the poems he'd managed to remember, written on cardboard in marker.

He's had his stuff stolen before, but never his poems. He had hundreds of them on pieces of cardboard and in notebooks.

"It's the poetry, it's my art -- that's what hurts," he said.

Fortunately, Mr. Dessler's friend, Guy Bérubé, director of La Petite Mort gallery on Cumberland Street, kept a few dozen poems. Mr. Bérubé sells Mr. Dessler's work; buyers can pay what they like. They fetch anywhere from $2 to $40, but they're off the market until Mr. Dessler can copy them.

Read the rest of the story here.

Sunday 20 April 2008

Dani Couture, a.rawlings, and me.

Dani Coutute, a.rawlings, and myself have been profiled by Lisa Young in the local arts online magazine Gadzooks!

Check it out here.

Tuesday 8 April 2008

Two nominations for Insomniac Poets!

As poetry editor for Insomniac Press, I'm very pleased at how the year is shaping up so far. Two of our poets have recently been nominated for two very wonderful awards. First came the news that Olive Senior is a finalist for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award for her collection Shell. The Pat Lowther Memorial Award is given for a book of poetry by a Canadian woman published in the preceding year, and is in memory of the late Pat Lowther, whose career was cut short by her untimely death in 1975. The award carries a $1,000 prize. It is presented each year at the League's Annual General Meeting in May or June, with the shortlist announced in April. Congratulations to Olive. Click here for the official announcement.

And just this morning it was announced that David McFadden has been selected to the shortlist for this year's Griffin Poetry Prize for his book Why Are You So Sad? Selected Poems of David McFadden. The winners, who each receive C$50,000, will be announced on Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at the eighth annual Griffin Poetry Prize Awards Evening. I was lucky to work with David on this book, and also with Stuart Ross, who did the bulk of actual selecting and editing and who also wrote the introduction. Congratulations to David, and to Stuart, too. They both worked hard to make this book a success. Click here for the official announcement.