Tuesday 30 September 2008

Sadly, Hayden Carruth has passed away

August 3, 1921 -- September 29, 2008
Carruth, who suffered a series of strokes toward the end of summer, passed away in his home late yesterday. No eulogies just yet, just news in brief from these sources:
Vermont Public Radio
AM New York
Associated Press

Here is his poem "Endnote."

I was an admirer of both his talent and his conviction for what he believed was best in poetry. I will remember him by reading his books.

UPDATE: OCTOBER 3rd, 2008.

The Eulogies:

The New York Times:
The tension between the chaos of the human heart and the sublime order of nature imbued his best work with a sense of momentous struggle, “a Lear-like words-against-the-storm quality,” as the critic Geoffrey Gardner put it. Mr. Carruth wrote: “My poems, I think, exist in a state of tension between the love of natural beauty and the fear of natural meaninglessness or absurdity.”
The Washington Post:
Through years of isolation and neglect, he doggedly continued to write, gaining belated recognition for his more than 30 books. A 1996 Virginia Quarterly Review article described him as "certainly one of the most important poets working in this country today."
At Syracuse, his students included Haxton and acclaimed fiction writer George Saunders.
"I used to sit at the end of the table farthest from Hayden, because he was so terrifyingly brilliant," Saunders said. "You'd spout off about Ezra Pound and then he'd say, 'Now, what I remember about Ezra was. ...' I don't think I said a word all year. Just sat there quietly and soaked it all in."

Monday 22 September 2008

Griffin jury announced

Press Release:

Toronto, ON (September 22, 2008) The trustees of the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry are pleased to announce that Saskia Hamilton (USA), Dennis O'Driscoll (Ireland), and Michael Redhill (Canada) are the judges for the 2009 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Saskia Hamilton is the author of two books of poetry, As for Dream (2001) and Divide These (2005). She is also the editor of The Letters of Robert Lowell (2005) and a co-editor of Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell (2008). The recipient of a Bunting Fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Saskia Hamilton teaches at Barnard College, Columbia University, and lives in New York City. (Click here for additional bio details.)

Dennis O'Driscoll was born in Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland. His eight books of poetry include Weather Permitting (1999), which was shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Prize; Exemplary Damages (2002), and New and Selected Poems (2004). His latest collection of poems, Reality Check (2007), was shortlisted for the Irish Times / Poetry Now Prize in 2008. A selection of his essays and reviews, Troubled Thoughts, Majestic Dreams was published in 2001. He is the editor of The Bloodaxe Book of Poetry Quotations (2006) and its American counterpart, Quote Poet Unquote (2008). He has received a Lannan Literary Award (1999), the E.M. Forster Award (2005) and the O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry (2006). O'Driscoll's new book, Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney, is scheduled for publication in November 2008. (Click here for additional bio details.)

Michael Redhill is a novelist, poet, and playwright, as well as the publisher and one of the editors of Brick. His most recent novel, Consolation, was longlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize, won the Toronto Book Award, and was the Toronto Public Library's inaugural One Book One City choice in 2008. His 2005 play, Goodness, won the Carol Tambor Prize in 2006 for the best play at the Edinburgh Fringe and has since played in New York, Vancouver, and Girona, and will open later in 2008 in Barcelona and Helsinki. Michael Redhill currently lives in the south of France with his partner and their two sons. (Click here for additional bio details.)

All three judges understand the importance of the Griffin Poetry Prize’s international reach and may consequently call in books of English language poetry from around the world.

Submissions for The Griffin Poetry Prize are accepted up until December 31, 2008. The shortlisted books (four International and three Canadian) will be announced on April 7, 2009 at a press conference in Toronto, Canada.

For more information, contact:

Press Relations and Publicity

June Dickenson
E-mail: publicity@griffinpoetryprize.com
Elana Rabinovitch
E-mail: press@griffinpoetryprize.com

General Inquiries

Ruth Smith
Griffin Trust Manager
E-mail: info@griffinpoetryprize.com

Thursday 18 September 2008

I have some readings coming up

Free Speech Reading Series: Tuesday, September 23, 2008.

When: 7pm

Where: Tinto, 89 Roncesvalles

Who: Me, novelist Russell Smith, poet Erin Robinsong, and singer-songwriter Treasa Levasseur.

UPDATE: I'm told Smith has had to cancel. Robert Everett-Green will appear instead.

Hosted by Johan Hultqvist. DETAILS

Pivot Readings at the Press Club: Wednesday, October 15, 2008.

When: 8pm

Where: The Press Club, 850 Dundas Street West

Who: Me, Alex Boyd, Leigh Nash, and Rebecca Rosenblum.

Hosted by Carey Toane. DETAILS

This is will be the inaugural reading event in this new series! See below.

PS. There's another great reading happening this Tuesday at the Art Bar Poetry Series, featuring Jason Camlot, Sharon Thesen and Iggy McGovern. Decisions! Decisions! Jason Camlot will be reading from his new book The Debaucher, which I can assure you is well worth it, so if you're not coming to Tinto this Tuesday, why not check out Camlot and company at the Art Bar. I'm sorry I can't be in two places at once.

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Like the Phoenix from the flames, the I.V. Lounge Reading Series rises again...

...but it's changed, altered. It looks... even better! This is EXCELLENT news.

The I.V. Lounge is no more, and so is the I.V. Lounge Reading Series, but not really. The reading series and its traditions will continue in a new home, with a new name and a new host.

I'm very pleased that Carey Toane, an energetic up-and-comer on the literary scene, has taken up the torch from the previous host (and my successor) Alex Boyd. You can think of it as the same old reading series, but with a bit a of a makeover and a transfusion of new blood. It's been renamed Pivot Readings at the Press Club, incorporating the name of the new venue at 850 Dundas St. W. and the letters "iv" in the word pivot, a tip of the hat to the series' origins.

I will always feel fondly nostalgic for the ten years we had at I.V. Lounge, but I have to say I love the new location. It's a cozy bar with great atmosphere, a fantastic beer selection and a nice back patio. Even its name, The Press Club, evokes a culture of letters. Sounds perfect to me. Here's a bit of what it says on the series new website:

When the I.V. Lounge closed its doors at the end of August (*sniff*), the series was left without a home. We have moved west down Dundas to the Press Club, located in an East Berlin-style, up-and-coming strip at 850 Dundas Street West, just three short blocks west of Bathurst on the north side of the street. We are very excited about the new location with its warm, art-filled space and great drink menu served with style by owners Mikael and Andrew Hickey. The bar also features a back patio for outdoor readings on warm summer nights.

You can visit the website here, where no doubt they will soon have details about readings, writers, and dates. I can't wait.

Tuesday 2 September 2008

Evie Christie's new blog about writers' desks

I'd like to introduce you to a new blog by one of Canada's most talented young poets, Evie Christie. It's called Desk Space. Evie is grilling writers on their work space and writing habits.

My interview appears today. Here's a sample:

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book (or when are you publishing your next)?

PV I can never answer the question about when I started writing. I think people who have a definite answer to that question are bullshitting a little bit, or self-mythologizing. It’s always something cute or profound or interesting. They’ll say things like they read Pushkin when they were eight and then they knew what they wanted to do with their lives, or they’ll have some story about publishing their first poem in a local paper before they could walk. When I was a kid, I wasn’t in touch with high culture at all. I read corny adventure stories, if I read anything at all, and I wrote funny (to me) rhymes and verses, but even then I was more inspired by novelty songs than by Ogden Nash or Robert Service. Mostly, I watched cartoons and the Three Stooges....
You can read the rest of the interview here, complete with a picture of my desk and my somewhat anti-social cat Milosz.

So far, Brenda Schmidt and Zachariah Wells have also participated, and more interviews are on the way.