Wednesday 24 December 2014

Postcards / Mail Art

Here's my new project for the new year. I'll be doing mail art. For ten bucks, I will send you an original hand-drawn postcard. See here for details. 

Wednesday 10 December 2014

What critics are saying about Don't Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something

"Vermeersch's writing is a fascinating example of what 21st century poetry could be, should be, or already is." 
-- CV2

"Demonstrating remarkable virtuosity and range, Vermeersch here assumes the mantle of the prophetic, post-apocalyptic poet, and the poems suitably offer a paradoxical mix of cynicism and hope." 
-- Jason Wiens, Quill & Quire

"Like Y2K survivalists and street corner preachers, Paul Vermeersch seems to insist the apocalypse has been upon us for a while, now... he brandishes a hallucinatory aesthetic, truly visionary, akin to controversial filmmaker Lars von Trier, and fashion wunderkind Alexander McQueen: morbid and glorious, extravagant, obscure, with an almost taxidermic fixation on the sublime and horrifying."
-- Diego Báez, Lemon Hound

"With the art references, architectural language, philosophical musings, literary hat tips, and found text, a multi-genre work like Don't Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something is a book I'm compelled to read with open window to Google... While the Academy led me to Atwood, Ondaatje, and Cohen, I'm happy to return--with a little context--to Vermeersch."
-- Domenica Martinello, The Town Crier

Monday 1 December 2014

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Short Review in CV2

My latest book Don't Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something gets a short review in CV2 alongside Erina Harris's The Stag Head Spoke and Stevie Howell's [sharps], two of my favourite debut collections of 2014. Here's what CV2 has to say about my collection:

Vermeersch's writing is a fascinating example of what 21st century poetry could be, should be, or already is.

Read the rest here.

Thursday 13 November 2014

I'm profiled at Open Book Toronto

Open Book Toronto asked me some questions about my poetry, and now my answers are up on their site. I talk about a manifesto I wrote when I was fourteen, what I do with failed poems, and my optimism about the state of the art form. Read it all here.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

The Afterword

From Tuesday, October 21 to Friday, October 24, I am the guest editor and columnist of The Afterword for the National Post.

The first column is about one of my important artistic influences -- Devo!
A Brief History of Devo, Part 1: 
On October 12th, Devo performed a free concert in New York’s Times Square for the CBGB Film and Music Festival in celebration their new film Hardcore Devo Live that premiered in the festival on Friday, Oct. 10. Filmed at Oakland’s historic Fox Theatre, the film documents a performance from last summer’s ten-city tour featuring the band’s “hardcore” material: avant-garde proto-punk songs originally recorded between 1974 and 1977, many of which hadn’t been performed in almost 40 years. 
Coincidently, in the author photo on the back of my latest book, I am wearing a Devo T-shirt. It’s not just an expression of my admiration for the groundbreaking — and often misunderstood — new wave band; it’s a tip of the hat to one of my important artistic influences. 
Read the rest here

The second column continues my profile of Devo. 

Last month, Neil Young premiered the director’s cut of his 1982 cult film Human Highway at the Toronto International Film Festival. Directed by Young under the pseudonym Bernard Shakey, the film stars Young, Dennis Hopper, Sally Kirkland, Russ Tamblyn, Dean Stockwell, and all five members of Devo as hapless inhabitants of Linear Valley, a small town about to be destroyed by nuclear war. 
Devo appear in the film as workers at Linear Valley’s nuclear power plant. It’s a compelling bit of casting as the band’s dark humour and foreboding philosophy of de-evolution dovetail seamlessly with the film’s odd vibe and apocalyptic premise.
Read the rest here

More to come.

Tuesday 21 October 2014

A Celebration for Gordon Lightfoot: Monday, November 17th.

On Monday, November 17th, I will be one of the poets reading a poem in honour of Gordon Lightfoot at Hugh's Room to celebrate Gordon Lightfoot's birthday and the launch of the anthology 50+ Poems for Gordon Lightfoot. Music by Jory Nash & Friends. Tickets available at Hugh's Room.

A review in Lemon Hound

Writer Diego Báez has written a review of my new book for Lemon Hound. Here's a snippet: 

"Like Y2K survivalists and street corner preachers, Paul Vermeersch seems to insist the apocalypse has been upon us for a while, now... he brandishes a hallucinatory aesthetic, truly visionary, akin to controversial filmmaker Lars von Trier, and fashion wunderkind Alexander McQueen: morbid and glorious, extravagant, obscure, with an almost taxidermic fixation on the sublime and horrifying." 

Read the rest here

Monday 20 October 2014

Did you know I also paint?

I've added a section to my website to showcase my paintings. I don't have a lot of time to paint, but I'm glad to be doing it again after a long hiatus. There are only two paintings there now, but I will add new paintings to the site as they come.

Thursday 16 October 2014

The Wilhelm Scream

I've written an ode to my favourite movie sound effect. "The Wilhelm Scream" is up on today.

And here is a compilation of the the Wilhelm scream in action:

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Review of Don't Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something in Q&Q

"Demonstrating remarkable virtuosity and range, Vermeersch here assumes the mantle of the prophetic, post-apocalyptic poet, and the poems suitably offer a paradoxical mix of cynicism and hope."
-- Jason Wiens reviewing Don't Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something in the new issue of Quill & Quire.

Thursday 9 October 2014

The Casual Optimist rounds up a bunch of birds!

I was very happy to see my book in Dan Wagstaff's round up of avian-themed book covers on the Casual Optimist blog recently.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

I've never been called a "Teen Idol" before. A report on my book launch...

I'm grateful to The Town Crier and to Domenica Martinello for a spirited review of my book launch and happy appraisal of the last ten years of my writing.

The first living Canadian poet that ever fascinated me wasn’t Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, or even my fellow Montreal-native Leonard Cohen; it was Paul Vermeersch. The year was 2007 and I was a bright-eyed 16-year-old. It was a time before I knew how to frame poetry as ‘contemporary’ or ‘lyrical’ or as anything other than straight verse. My boyfriend was taking an acting class where he was assigned a poem and asked to translate its emotional resonance into some sort of performance piece, and I was asked to take a look.
The poem was “Lambs"....

You can read the entire article here.

Thursday 25 September 2014

All Lit Up is an online retailer for independently published Canadian literature!

Do you want to buy my new book, but aren't near an independent bookseller and don't want to shop at a big box store or unethical online retailer? The solution is finally here: the All Lit Up bookshop!

This initiative of the Literary Press Group gives readers a much needed alternative to the big box and online bookselling monopolies. Check it out! 

Friday 19 September 2014

Monday 15 September 2014

I'm appearing at Word on the Street in Toronto on Sunday, September 21st.

Julie Joosten (Light Light, BookThug 2013) and I will be at the Great Books Marquee at Toronto's Word on the Street on Sunday from 3:15 to 3:45 pm. Here's the bumf:

Julie Joosteen and Paul Vermeersch are two writers who aren’t afraid to experiment with language and form. Join them as they present their newest poetry collections, which consider the past and its influence on the present and meditate on what awaits mankind in the future.

Sunday 14 September 2014

I'll be reading at the Ottawa Writers Festival on October 26th.

I'm coming to Ottawa for a reading in the Ottawa Writers Festival on October 26th. Here's the information: 

ARC POETRY presents Canada/Australia with Bonny Cassidy, Natalie Harkin, Paul Vermeersch, and Vera Wabegejig. 
Fox and Feather, 2nd Floor 283 Elgin St.  
6:30 pm.
Admission: Free.
For over 30 years, Arc Poetry Magazine has been bringing great poetry to readers in Canada and beyond. Don’t miss this exciting evening of acclaimed work from Canada and Australia. A poet and lecturer at RMIT University in Melbourne, Bonny Cassidy joins us with her latest collection, Final Theory Natalie Harkin is a Narungga woman, a member of the Chester family in South Australia, and a poet who has worked in the Indigenous higher education sector. Poet, editor and teacher Paul Vermeersch joins us from Toronto with his fifth acclaimed collection, Don’t Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something Vera Wabegijig, a Nishnaabe writer, blogger, media artist and mother living in Nepean, appears with her debut collection, Wild Rice Dreams.

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Sunday 31 August 2014

Happy Birthday, Dennis Lee!

Today is Dennis Lee's 75th birthday! Of course it's always a good time to read Dennis Lee's poetry, but today, why not look back and watch Dennis's appearance on 90 Minutes Live, Peter Gzowski's talk show in 1977?

Wednesday 27 August 2014

My book launch will be September 25 at The Steady Cafe on Bloor Street

ECW Press invites you to the launch of 

Thursday, September 25
7:00 -- 9:00 PM
1051 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON

Thursday 7 August 2014

A visit to the print shop

I don't read ebooks very often, so it's a comfort to me that print books are still made the old fashioned way. I have a new book (called Don't Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something) coming out soon with ECW Press, and today I went to Coach House Printers to see how it gets made. 

First, the pages are printed on these big Heidelberg printing presses. These huge machines are made in the Black Forest by dwarves who use magic hammers and exotic metals smithed in eldritch fire.  

Next, highly trained technicians named John operate the gluing machine. This is where the covers are affixed to the pages and where "critical acclaim" is added to author bios. 

This is what assembled books look like before they go the cutting machine. If there are still any typos left in the book at this stage, the cutting machine will remove them! 

The cutting machine trims the excess paper off the top, bottom, and side of the book. You need to use two hands to operate the blade, so you can't cut your own fingers off by mistake. Emphasis on your own. Emphasis on by mistake

As books come off the cutting machine, they are piled up on a shelf in the corner of the room so they can grow accustomed to how they will most likely spend the remainder of their existence in a shop or house somewhere. 

At this stage in the manufacturing process, each book is assigned an author who will be its mascot. I was very happy to be paired up with this lovely little number, and you will see me flogging it around the country very soon.

And that is how a book, like Don't Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something, gets made. If you would like to order this book, please contact your local bookseller, or visit my publisher ECW Press

Tuesday 29 July 2014

I'll be reading in St. John's, Newfoundland on Thursday, August 21st

I will be reading at an event called OUT-OF-TOWNERS AT THE SHIP on August 21st with Jonathan Bennett, Miranda Hill, Brian Panhuyzen, and Sandra Ridley. Hosted by Elisabeth de Mariaffi and George Murray. Hope to see you there.

Click here for details.

Wednesday 18 June 2014

I'm teaching the Poetry Master Class at U of T this fall.

I'll be back at the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies this fall, this time to teach the Poetry Master Class from September 23 to December 9. Registration is now open, and there are spaces open if you wish to enroll. If you haven't completed the Poetry II course already, then admission will be based on a portfolio of your work. Unlike the Poetry Intro and Poetry II courses, which are eight weeks long, the Master Class is an intensive twelve-week course. See you there?

Wednesday 11 June 2014

It has been quiet, but I am working away...

The blog has been quiet for a couple of months, but big things are in the works. The new book is almost ready to go to press, and an Advance Reading Copy has already been made for promotional purposes.

Lots of events are being planned for the fall, and of course there will also be a whole new season of Buckrider Books from Wolsak & Wynn, with poetry from Claire Caldwell and Jesse Patrick Ferguson, and a novel by Christine Fischer Guy. Stay tuned for more announcements!

Wednesday 23 April 2014

The Town Crier covers the Buckrider launch

Well, we launched my new imprint, Buckrider Books, with Wolsak & Wynn last week at the Gladstone Ballroom. The Town Crier's Kris Bone was there to cover the event. Here are some highlights:

On Erina Harris and The Stag Head Spoke

"Harris’s poetry was haunting and highly refined. Drawing on the traditions of a wide variety of forms (such as the sonnet and the fairy tale) to explore rhyme in new ways, Harris has created an atmospheric set of poems, delivered in an even yet ethereal tone."

On David James Brock and Everyone Is CO2:

"An expert combination of smart, snappy phrasing and interesting, offbeat subject matter made his poems exciting to listen to. Brock’s work continues to mutate and evolve, comfortable spanning multiple genres and conceptual divides as he moves into his first full-length publication, with his poetry stronger, stranger, and more fearless than anything we’ve seen from him yet."

On D. D. Miller and David Foster Wallace Ruined My Suicide and Other Stories

"Funny and well-paced, it marks a welcome addition to Toronto’s wealth of short fiction collections."

You can read the entire piece here.

Thursday 27 March 2014

The first Buckrider Books title is here!

D. D. Miller's new short story collection, David Foster Wallace Ruined My Suicide & Other Stories, is hot of the press and ready to launch next month. Here's what some have already said about the book:

"D. D. Miller's David Foster Wallace Ruined My Suicide and Other Stories pulls back the curtain on the tense and darkly funny world of post-millenial men. Tasked with negotiating a universe of amateur porn stars, chat room suiciders, and distracted derby girls, Miller's men are brazen, yet oddly disengaged -- and above all, sharply observed."
-- Elisabeth de Mariaffi, author of How to Get Along with Women

"A striking debut. With unwavering eye and mordant humour, these stories gently scrape the civil façade to reveal what’s awkward, raw and, sometimes, brutal in us. D. D. Miller is a writer to watch."
-- Bill Gaston, author of The World and Gargoyles

Saturday 22 March 2014

I'm teaching a poetry workshop for the QWF in Montreal on April 26

Hey Montreal, I'll be teaching a poetry workshop called Wreckage & Recycling in your beautiful city on Saturday, April 26, 2014. The workshop will concentrate on several forms, ancient and modern, that scavenge old texts in order to construct new poems from the fragments of the past. These forms include centos, erasures, glosas, text collages, and more. We will investigate the history of these practices, and examine their contemporary resurgence. Time will also be devoted to writing and work-shopping new poems using these techniques. To register, or for more information, please visit the QWF website.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

The Wolsak & Wynn / Buckrider Books Launch is April 16th at the Gladstone Ballroom!

I'm very excited about launching these three books next month. This is the inaugural season of my new imprint with Wolsak & Wynn Publishers: Buckrider Books. To celebrate the idea of new beginnings, all three books are debut collections.

The books we're launching are David Foster Wallace Ruined My Suicide and Other Stories, a short story collection by D. D. Miller; The Stag Head Spoke, poetry by Erina Harris; and Everyone is CO2, poetry by David James Brock.

And here are the details of the launch:

WHEN: Wednesday, April 16th at 7pm.

WHERE: The Gladstone Ballroom
at the Gladstone Hotel 
1214 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1J6
See map

RSVP via our event page on Facebook.

Sunday 16 March 2014

Watching UFC with poets.

Recently, I got together with some of my friends to watch a UFC event on pay-per-view. Jeff Latosik and Jacob McArthur Mooney have been doing this since we were roommates, and other friends often join us. In this instance, it was Natalie Zina Walschots and David James Brock. Normally, a group of friends watching sports on TV wouldn't be out of the ordinary, but the fact that we're all poets -- not stereotypical MMA fans, I suppose -- caught the attention of writer Nathan Whitlock, and he recorded the event for the Toronto Star. The Star included a new poem of mine, "The Palace of Eternal Youth", with the article. You can read it all here.

Me, Jake, Dave, Zed, Jeff.
Photo by Aaron Harris for the Toronto Star. 

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Want to learn more about writing poetry?

I'll be teaching an eight-week introductory level poetry writing course at the University of Toronto this spring. It's one night a week from April 15 until June 3rd. Do you know anyone with an interest in writing poetry? Perhaps this is the class for them. Click here for details.

Saturday 8 March 2014

I have events next month in Toronto, Richmond Hill, and Montreal

Hi everyone, just a few events coming up next month. I hope to see you there!

7 pm.

I'm launching my new imprint with Wolsak & Wynn. The imprint is called Buckrider Books, and in its inaugural season we're publishing poetry collections by David James Brock and Erina Harris, and a short story collection by D. D. Miller. The launch is at the Gladstone Ballroom. For more information, visit our event page on Facebook.

SATURDAY, APRIL 19, 2014     
1:00 to 4:00 pm.

Richmond Hill Public Library's Poetry Gala, hosted by celebrated poet Barry Dempster, is celebrating its tenth anniversary. I'll be one of several poets participating. The event takes place from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, and the library is situated on the southwest corner of Major Mackenzie and Yonge Street. Readers include Kimmy Beach, Barry Dempster, Jeramy Dodds, Elizabeth Greene, Ann Shin, and Paul Vermeersch.

7 pm.

Erin Knight and I will be reading in the Atwater Poetry Project in Montreal. The Atwater Poetry Project is an almost-monthly poetry reading series that brings the best local, Canadian, and international poets together with a passionate audience of poetry fans. The library is located at 1200 Atwater Ave., Westmount.

Friday 7 March 2014

What's a Buckrider?

The imprint I edit for Wolsak & Wynn is called Buckrider Books, but what is a Buckrider?

According to legend, the buckriders (or de bokkenrijders) were bands of robbers who terrorized the countryside around present-day Limburg in the 18th century. Having made a pact with Satan, the buckriders would fly through the sky on the backs of goats, stealing from travellers, farms and churches. Hundreds of suspected buckriders were rounded up and executed in a vicious crackdown that was part Salem witch trials, part Spanish inquisition.

Princeton University has a short encapsulation of the buckrider legend here, and for a slightly more detailed account, Dutch Ancestry Magazine has an article with links to a buckrider genealogy board here, and there's even a society of historians called the Buckrider Fellowship who are dedicated to researching and preserving the history of the buckriders.

The legend still has a lot of influence in the region today. Flanders Today published an article last year in its Mysterious Flanders series called "Uneasy Riders" about the effect of the legend on the community of Wellen and its overlap with the tragic fate of an early Flemish cycling hero. And today in the Dutch city of Roermond, sportsfans can cheer on the local rugby club the Bokkerijders!  I think I'll see if I can get my hands on one of their jerseys.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Get a free download of D.D. Miller's story "Son of Son of Flying Pig" from Wolsak & Wynn's Website

D.D. Miller's short story collection David Foster Wallace Ruined My Suicide and Other Stories is the first fiction title from the new Buckrider Books imprint. The book comes out next month, but while you wait, you can  download a sample story, "Son of Son of Flying Pig", for free from the Wolsak and Wynn website. 

Click here to find out more.

Introducing my new imprint: Buckrider Books!

I stopped acquiring new poetry titles for the 4 A.M. Books imprint after the spring 2012 season. At that time, I was in the process of starting my new job as senior editor of Wolsak and Wynn Publishers Ltd, where I was laying the groundwork on a new poetry and fiction imprint. That new imprint, called Buckrider Books, will launch in the spring of 2014 with three titles:

Watch this space for more updates about the books and authors of Buckirder Books and Wolsak and Wynn Publishers Ltd. For more frequent updates, please visit the Wolsak and Wynn website, or follow W&W on Twitter and Facebook.

NOTE: Information about the books published under my 4A.M. Books imprint with Insomniac Press will be archived here

Wednesday 22 January 2014

It's Hammer Time!

I'm heading to Hamilton, home of the redoubtable publishing house Wolsak & Wynn, for a couple of readings tomorrow.

In the afternoon, I'll be speaking to students and faculty at Redeemer College, and then in the evening, I'll be doing a public reading at Bryan Prince Bookseller, where I'll be joined by Hamilton's own Chris Pannell, author of A Nervous City (W&W 2013). 

The reading will be tomorrow night, January 23, 2014, starting at 7:30pm.

The reading will be at Bryan Prince Bookseller:
1060 King Street West
Hamilton, Ontario
L8S 1L7
Telephone (905)528-4508

Thanks to the Hamilton Poetry Centre for arranging this visit.

See you there!

Friday 10 January 2014

PURDY DRINKS! A Fundraiser.

WHEN: Monday, January 20, 8pm

The Monarch Tavern, 12 Clinton Street, Toronto

If you are in the Toronto area--Please come raise a glass with us to the legacy of famous Canadian poet Al Purdy at the Monarch Tavern (12 Clinton Street) in Toronto on Monday, January 20th. Purdy Drinks will be a casual night featuring readings by acclaimed poets Paul Vermeersch (that's me), Jim Smith, and Stuart Ross. And a few surprises, too!

PLUS the announcement of the inaugural writers-in-residence at the A-Frame, and music too!!!!

All proceeds from the evening will go towards the restoration, rehabilitation, upgrades, and general maintenance of the Al & Eurithe Purdy A-Frame in Ameliasburgh, Prince Edward County and the funding of the Writer-in-Residence program to be hosted there-in.

COVER: $10

RSVP via Facebook.

For more information about the Al Purdy A-Frame project, please visit

Also, please consider buying The Al Purdy A-Frame Anthology, a compendium of poems, remembrances,  essays, and other texts about the history of the Purdy home in Ameliasburgh. Proceeds from this book benefit the restoration of the house and the organization of the writers residency there.

Tuesday 7 January 2014

On Michael Ondaatje, the New Yorker, and a poem within a poem...

In the current issue of the New Yorker (Jan 13. 2014, pictured left), there is a poem by Michael Ondaatje called "Bruise". It mentions my name and quotes a few lines from one of my own poems.

I really love Ondaatje's poem, and of course I'm ecstatic to be associated with it. I knew about the poem beforehand, but I had no idea it was being published until mention of it starting appearing on Twitter this morning. I think I'm still a little shocked. The New Yorker has a lot of readers, and Michael Ondaatje has a lot of fans. There's no doubt that many more people have already read this poem before lunchtime today than who read my last book (which sold well for a book of poetry).

I've already received a few messages from people asking for the poem that Ondaatje quotes in "Bruise". It is from my 2010 collection The Reinvention of the Human Hand (McClelland & Stewart), and it's called "Lost Things". For those of you who asked for it, here it is:


Lost Things

There are many ways to understand the word
lost, my love. When you were born, the last
Pyrenean ibex, a tawny female named Celia,
had not yet lived to see the view from Torla
overlooking Monte Perdido, but her great-
grandsire stood on the cliffs of Ordesa,
positioned on hoof-tips dainty as dimes,
and he shook his impregnable skull, a coffer
of brass and nobility crowned with bayonets,
as though in defiance of all who dwelt
in the highlands from Catalonia to Aquataine.
Their kind is vanished now. Forever lost. Perdido.

And when you dressed in a Girl Guide’s
uniform of Persian blue on Tuesday nights,
my love, in the long-lost basement of Grace
United Church, to play indoor baseball
and make believe that faerie magic
could make you rich or important or happy,
pods of baiji dolphins still swam in a river
you’d never heard of and would not think about
until years later, when together we would learn
from the evening news that the baiji
were lost, at last, from the Yangtze,
and in their place there came a universal emptiness.

There are many ways to understand the word
lost, but it does not help to imagine a secret
place where lost things go. When last
I held you in my arms, my love, the West
African black rhinoceros was still magnificent
and still alive, but now the gentleness of your breath
on my bare neck is as lost as the dusty, confident
snort of that once breath-taking beast. Great strength
is no protection, and neither is love. We are born,
and our births are lost. We can’t go back to them.
Each embrace ends with an ending. When we become,
what we once thought we’d be is lost. We keep becoming.


To learn more about the book this poem came from, visit McClelland & Stewart.

If you want to read Michael Ondaatje's poem, you'll have to get it from the New Yorker.

My next book of poems, Don't Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something, will be published this fall by ECW Press.