Tuesday 29 June 2010

Upcoming readings: The Leacock Summer Festival and Hear/Hear

The Leacock Summer Festival presents:
Paul Vermeersch, Matt Lennox and Meaghan Strimas
Sunday, July 25 beginning at 12 noon.
Leacock Museum National Historical Site
50 Museum Drive, Orillia, Ontario
Tickets: $10.00
For tickets call: 705-329-1908


The Hear/Hear Reading Series presents
Paul Vermeersch, Devon Code and Colin Frizzell
August 11 beginning at 7pm (doors at 6:30)
The Free Times Cafe
320 College Street, Toronto

Wednesday 23 June 2010

I Want to Make Things Difficult Again: An Interview with Jeff Latosik

Over at Toronotoist, Jacob McArthur Mooney interviews Jeff Latosik about his new poetry collection Tiny, Frantic, Stronger. Mooney asks great questions, and Latosik's answers are sharp, insightful, and articulate. Here's a sample:
"I don’t want to label what other people are doing, but you could say what I’m doing in TFS is a poetry of doubt— its insights, pleasures, and dangers. The disassembling impulse you mention is just that: the attempt to move inward (or outward I suppose) and find some rung to grasp on to. What are the things that are fundamental, constitutive, in the world and in our own personal mythology? So, as you can see, this is a very first-book probing of identity.

"It seems, though, that one of the ideas we’ve inherited from the 20th century’s focus on destroying meta-narratives (God, morality, truth, etc.) is that anything is possible: I mean, that one can do anything they want, or be anything they want, that everything is bendable and flexible and, truly, anything goes. There are entire industries (self-help, cosmetics, some branches of medical science) that are devoted to selling the idea that you can have it exactly the way you want it, whenever you want it. This is the engine of modern consumerism, and, I feel, some part of me was cast in this fire. I suppose that’s what makes this personal.

"The book, then, is in many ways also a reaction to this idea, as I’ve self-defined it. I suppose what I see myself struggling against is a more general co-opting of language (in politics, marketing, news, etc.) for the purposes of making things easy. I want to make things difficult again. But I want there to be a rung."
-- Jeff Latosik

To read the whole interview, click here.

For more information about Jeff Latosik's collection of poems Tiny, Frantic, Stronger, click here.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Please help This Ain't the Rosedale Library!

Hey folks,

(I stole this from Jake's blog, but it's for a good cause, and the more places we post this, the better, so...)

As promised, here is the go-to information for how to donate to the grassroots cause of saving This Ain’t the Rosedale library and, if not quite doing that, at least recognizing that what Charlie and Jesse have been doing for the last thirty years amounts to a form of public service. If we can’t save the store, we should at least let our thanks be known to the owners. Donations of any and all sizes will be appreciated. I gave them a hundred bucks, which is an amount of money I routinely pay my bartender for what amounts to a hangover and a lingering sense of guilt. I won’t miss it as much as a bookstore. If you have more, you should consider giving more. Or less, whatever you can reasonably spare.
Here’s a link to paypal page. And, to pull the heartstrings, here’s Charlie’s personal message describing recent events at the store…

“Our situation, which could be told as a long story about the plight of bookstores in Toronto and in many North American cities, is really quite a simple one. At our new location in Kensington Market we found a space with lower rent and overheads which thus represented an enticing solution to the difficulty of inflated rents facing many stores of our kind. For a year we worked in this space happily, until the recession hit with full force and we began to fall behind with our rent. Our response to this situation was similar to that of any small retail business. We bought shrewdly, held regular events, did book tables for small press launches, conferences and author appearances, did not invest in advertising, fixtures, signage or renovations, kept only minimal staff (the store has one part-time staff person), and most importantly worked full-time or more with long store hours, while drawing the absolute minimum for our own rent and expenses. In this way we were able, albeit very gradually, to pay our back-rent, and maintain an amicable relationship with out landlord. While the space presented a number of challenges, including our basement flooding whenever there was heavy rain, and though we heard many stories of rent reductions in our own neighborhood we were not offered this option, but continued none-the-less to enjoy working at the store and feel inspired by our customers’ enthusiasm for the books that we were selling. Quite suddenly this changed. Our landlord became impatient with the rate at which we were able to pay her and made demands for large repayments, without providing a precise accounting of what was owing. In light of our workload and the proliferation of other causes in this city, a fundraiser remained only an idea. Instead we responded to these unrealistic demands with an informal proposal which would not have been profitable to us, but to our landlord. We received only further demands which we attempted to meet within our resources until the locks were changed on Friday June 19th. We are once again offering our landlord a choice which would be beneficial to her and allow us to re-open our doors, and are hoping that the outpouring of encouragement from the public might influence our situation. Along with this we are seeking help with organizing a fundraiser, and we are accepting PayPal donations. As we were living day-to-day, as many small business owners do for years after opening or relocating, our own livelihood has been erased, and our present situation is very uncertain. None-the-less we have seen that many people value what we do and are eager to help us, and thus remain hopeful that a resolution is around the corner.”
-- Jesse and Charlie Huisken.