Wednesday 30 September 2009

Al Purdy's house on the cover of Filling Station

Check out the latest issue of Filling Station magazine... on news stands now! The cover story is about Al Purdy's A-frame house and the effort to preserve it as a cultural landmark and writing retreat for authors.

And while your at it, why not pre-order a copy of The Al Purdy A-frame Anthology. Proceeds are going to the The Al Purdy A-frame Trust. The anthology is great read (if I do say so myself), and the trust is a worthy cause.

It's great that word is getting out about this project, and kudos to the folks at Filling Station for getting on board.

Saturday 5 September 2009

What poetry are U of T students reading?

If I have less time for blogging these days, the opposite seems to be true for Jacob McArthur Mooney, who is this month's writer in residence for Open Book Toronto. In the back-to-school spirit, he's had a close look at what poetic fare students of the University of Toronto (pictured here the last time they updated their reading lists, apparently) can expect to find on their syllabi.

Here's a sample:

I don’t know what I expected, but I expected more. I went to an underfunded university at the far edge of the country, took exactly three English courses, and still got exposure to the likes of Solie and Babstock. What’s stopping the University of Toronto from doing the same?

And why is The Waste Land an introductory text, exactly? I’ve read The Waste Land twenty times, and there’s still stuff in there I can’t quite wrap my head around. What is it about the instruction of poetry that makes us begin with poems that are as distant and foreign to their students as possible, and slowly move toward things like Al Purdy’s Rooms for Rent on Other Planets (English 354Y)? I’m not talking about degrees of difficulty, you understand. Al Purdy can occasionally be a very difficult poet, but he writes about a life far more coherent to a crowd of 1991 births than a Spenser or Keats or even Eliot or Pound.

Read the rest at Open Book Toronto.

Friday 4 September 2009

Back to school

Starting next week, I am going back to school... not only as a teacher at Sheridan College, where I have been teaching since January 2007, but also as a student! I am enrolled in the creative writing MFA program at the University of Guelph. I have not been a student in any official capacity for over thirteen years, but I fully expect that this will be positive, challenging experience.

Right now, I am putting the finishing touches on my new collection of poetry The Reinvention of the Human Hand which will be published by McClelland & Stewart this coming March, and I'm also preparing for the October release of The Al Purdy A-frame Anthology, of which I am the editor.

Between teaching, studying, writing and editing, I will have a lot on my plate over the next several months, and this might leave very little time for blogging, but I do hope to update this site from time to time, especially with news about my new book, Insomniac Press's poetry titles, and the Al Purdy A-frame project.