Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Some Thoughts on the Max Middle Sound Project in the Test Reading Series 25 October 2007

some of the apple varieties read as part of the performance piece 'Apples'

Two weeks ago now, we performed in Toronto's Test Reading Series, a series graciously curated and hosted by the able Mark Truscott. This is the note that appears for the Max Middle Sound Project on Test's web site save for a one word revision:

the Max Middle Sound Project presents a dryer, drummer, bubble wrap beats, an electric razor, a compact vacuum cleaner, polished halos. all donated anonymously. a composting demonstration. perfected composition lessons. questions aerated. form without detectable odour. absence of live materials. worms employed after. confessions. on tape. machinery without noise. listening to listen. with music, noise, oysters. body percussion. live frying. l'oignon fait la force. chanting between breaths. several varieties of potato & apple. with the lights on 'Peter Piper & the Fiery Fireflies', The Progress Egarag Hguanavak begins.

It wasn't quite like that though the acoustic environment was close to ideal for the performance, no microphones required! The floor space worked well with one half of the gallery taken up with a car chassis converted into a quadracycle: four seats, freewheels & chains; the other half of the room housed the audience. Apparently, they'd opened the exhibition of the quadracycle work by biking it down Queen Street that afternoon & they were ticketed. Seems the authorities didn't have sufficient humour to let it pass. The artwork the car chassis represents is titled Shared Propulsion Car & the artist is Michel de Broin.

We were able to move about the room easily as we read. This performance was the result of working on our repertoire & investigating new reading strategies & that has led to some successful developments in the performance practice. The group has been through several recent transformations. Anne Davison made a huge contribution to the ensemble but now she has left Ottawa to set up home in rural Nova Scotia, our great loss. In our current incarnation, it appears that John & me performing as a duo works extremely well. Lavery is a very adept reader & musician; I've learnt a lot from him & he's added incalculably to the project's performance practice. It's been a lot fun working with him; you know, like, usually we laugh at the same jokes... He's not only a very smart cookie but he is the clean feller.

Trevor Joyce arrived in time to see us perform fresh off an airplane. He read in the 2nd half of the evening's program after a short break. By the time the q&a rolled around after Trevor's reading, I was beginning to atrophy. It had been a long day of travel & preparation for the performance. Think I said somethings that were funny during the q&a; seem to recall people laughing. Believe I said something about collaboration being good for you & something about apples. There was commentary about "sensuality" (which turned into) "embodiment" & mention of an Abram quote from Trevor's Test note: "Genuine art, we might say, is simply human creation that does not stifle the nonhuman element but, rather, allows whatever is Other in the materials to continue to live and breathe." The commenter referred to the sound project performance as an embodied one.

I was delighted to meet in the person for the first time Jordan Scott, Kate Sutherland, Jenny Sampirisi & Aaron Tucker. It was great to see Shannon Maguire who I first met at & haven't seen since the Shift & Switch launch in Montreal on 14 January 2006. Also was pleased to see Paul Dutton again; before the performance, Paul told Lavery & me an anecdote involving him, John Newlove & David McFadden. Saw John Barlow far too briefly; met John for the first time in person at last summer's Scream main stage event in High Park. I know John's email persona from the Riverspine & Mailsnail email lists. It was great to see Daniel Tysdal who was in Ottawa the Sunday before reading from The Next Big Advertising Breakthrough Using a Potentially Dangerous Method as part of the ReLit 2007 awards ceremony held as part of the Ottawa International Writers Festival. It was great to see Rob Read again. It was excellent meeting Camille Martin who is guest hosting CKLN's 'In Other Words'. Also excellent to meet & be hosted by Dave Dyment of Mercer Union, the artist run centre where Test takes place. I talked to Sam Kaufman who joked that our 'Moon Potatoes' piece sounded like a minimalist version of Moby Dick as a result of the book being fed through a computer program to extract the words ending in -ip, -it, -ish. A very pleasant Rebecca was in attendance & had lots to say about ours & Trevor's readings.

Mark Truscott & Lisa Heggum's four month old son Sam was in attendance for his second Test reading. He was quiet for the whole event save for one brief & very tasteful outblurt.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Announcing The A B Series

The A B Series #1

A new literary reading/performance/lecture series produced and hosted by Max Middle.

The inaugural reading in The A B Series takes place at 7:30pm on November 1st in the Art Gallery on the main floor of Ottawa's City Hall with readings by three book touring Calgarians. Poets Natalie Zina Walschots and ryan fitzpatrick launch collections of poetry from Montreal's Snare Books. fitzpatrick launches FAKE MATH and Walschots, Thumbscrews. They are joined by writer William Neil Scott whose first novel is Wonderfull.

Natalie Zina Walschots recently completed her MA in Creative Writing at the University of Calgary. Her first book, entitled Thumbscrews, comes out from Snare Books this fall. Natalie is the current Managing Editor of filling Station Magazine. Her husband is a Systems Analyst and a very good sport. Natalie's next book hijacks the aesthetic of video games.

William Neil Scott was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, but spent the majority of his life in Calgary, Alberta. Scott completed a BA Honours Degree in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing, at the University of Calgary. Wonderfull is his first novel.

ryan fitzpatrick lives and writes from his home base in Calgary where he is a past-editor of filling Station magazine and the publisher of MODL Press. FAKE MATH (Snare Books, 2007) is his first book.

The A B Series #2 takes place two days later!

8:30pm on November 3rd with performances by:

BuffFluxus & kevin thurston

BuffFluxus is a performance ensemble composed of musicians and poets that realizes verbo-visual sound poetry and Fluxus and sound events. Based in Buffalo, the ensemble regularly presents original and traditional experimental works.

kevin thurston is happy to be out and about reading and performing. it is much better than his day job. sometimes poetry and performance can be a job too, but he stays out of most of that. here, 'credentials': poems published in lost and found times, fHole, yt communications, O Outbreak a chap from furniture_press 2005 & he has a cd coming out with narrowhouse recordings kevin is running late but will be in. he barely still lives in buffalo, ny where he helps curate readings and organizes the buffalo small press fair.

The A B Series #3
14 November 2007

Ottawa launch for Booty: Hurricane Jane and Typhoon Mary published by the Mercury Press []

Readings by authors Brea Burton and Jill Hartman

SPECIAL VENUE: The Avant-Garde Bar at 135 1/2 Besserer Street [downtown Ottawa]

Booty: Hurricane Jane and Typhoon Mary
In disjunctive treatments of popular slang and unpopular attitudes, Calgary collaborators Brea Burton and Jill Hartman take on gendered sexuality, reconsidering the sensual, the physical, and the feminine in colloquial language. Riding the wave of burlesque and piracy, this sexually-charged poetry is booty call — and response. Jane and Mary play woman as force of nature until it is played out — encountering gendered slang and violently sexualized language, Hartman and Burton dance around it then run it through with a very pretty cutlass.

Originally from Edmonton, BREA BURTON moved to Calgary to seek her fortune. Instead of the ocean, she found the Calgary writing community, which turned out to be just as salty and fluid. She has participated in numerous literary events, produced a few chapbooks, and finished her MA in contemporary Canadian literature. Calgary poet JILL HARTMAN performs sleight of tongue across Canada, and her writing's appeared in the anthologies Post-Prairie: An Anthology of New Poetry (Talonbooks, 2005) and Shift & Switch: New Canadian Poetry (The Mercury Press, 2005). Her first book of poetry, A Painted Elephant (Coach House Books, 2003), was shortlisted for both the Stephansson and Lampert Awards.


More readings to follow in December 2007 and early in 2008.

Further information, Max Middle (613) 859 8423

Many thanks to the City of Ottawa for their generosity in providing a venue for The A B Series.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

ATTA : Rudiments #2

Following 'ATTA : Rudiments' published as Puddle leaflet #13, 'ATTA : Rudiments #2' is being published by Calgary's NO Press as a leaflet. It's number 2 in the sequence: I used scraps from making Puddle #13 plus a couple of the published leaflets to make 'ATTA : Rudiments #2'. There's an August 26th, 2007 note on Ross Priddle's Bent Spoon blog about the new leaflet:

Max Middle Sound Project performs in the Test Reading Series [Toronto] October 25th

The Max Middle Sound Project, consisting of members John Lavery, Max Middle & Ja Sonier, performs in the Test Reading Series on October 25th.


Cottage 2007

i posted a photo album of cottage life 2007:

with a picture of my grandmother, 96 years young.

recently in the mail

Out of Character by Geof Huth, Paper Kite Press 2007

by jenny sampirisi, Thornburg Press, 2006

by andrew topel, NO PRESS, 2007

fractal economies
by derek beaulieu, Talon Books 2006

Flatland 25-35 by derek beaulieu published, 2007

from Rust Belt Books magazine shelf

Covers of four very cool things I picked up at Rust Belt Books in Buffalo, NY when I was there last July 12th: Processed Words was published by Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, in 1990 as Morning Coffee Chapbook 27. It was designed by Allan Kornblum who just happened to have edited , handset and printed Dental Floss Volume I Number III.

stained paper archive tract 10

the new chief tongue #4

Friday, July 27, 2007


The trip to Toronto, St Catharines & Buffalo earlier this month was really excellent save for the border crossing. On July 9th, caught the better part of The Scream Literary Festival mainstage with Anne Davison -- we left John Lavery at my aunt & uncle's place. Afterwards, I met in the person for the first time many that I have been corresponding with for some time.

In St Catharines at the Grey Borders Reading Series, Gregory Betts read several Lawren Harris poems in between sets. Before the reading over dinner we were discussing the notion of the avant-garde. Greg's argument being that it has traditionally been centred around the idea of progress; the idea that revolutionary change is necessary & important, a theme that identifies avant-gardists be they surrealists, situationists or Lawren Harris...

Speaking of apples: Jordan Fry read a Jonathan Ball poem with mention of apples -- during the open set after we'd read a piece having to do with apples as part of the Max Middle Sound Project performance that evening. The next day after we saw Anne Davison off on the bus, John Lavery & I went to a graveyard that was the site of the first apple orchard planted in the Niagara region by a man by the name of MacMickley. It was thanks to Andrew at the Niagara Falls Public Library that we were informed of the existence of such a site.

Upon returning to Ottawa, I attended Monty Reid's birthday party, which was a blast. A highlight was hearing Monty & John Lavery play Gordon Lightfoot's 'Early Morning Rain' on guitars.

I've been very busy & largely offline since returning from the trip earlier this month; means I haven't been the best correspondent or blogger.

Heard about bill bissett being sampled by The Chemical Brothers on their latest album? bill's contribution has been widely noted in the international media. I saw one article from India. Here's a link for one from New Zealand:

Hoping the Holy Beep fundraiser went off well in Calgary. I've yet to hear any reports about it or Messagio Galore take III, the latter which took place in Calgary with readers, jwcurryPeter Norman, Ross Priddle & Laurie Fuhr. How did it go? I'm off blissfully in the middle of nowhere so haven't been paying much attention to things internet.

Photos by John W. MacDonald from take II:

Anybody know anything about sound poetry ensembles active in the United States today? I was fortunate enough to see a scaled down version of Buffluxus, consisting of Don Metz & Michael Basinski, in Buffalo on July 12th.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Max Middle Sound Project in the Grey Borders Reading Series -- St Catharines 10 July 2007

The only photos I during the week's road trip, 9-13 July, to Toronto, St. Catharines & Buffalo were at Grey Borders host/organizer Gregory Betts' house after the reading late at night.

Where I [& apparently Gregory Betts too] thought the brain had Brendan.

Anne Davison at the Grey Borders Reading Series, 10 July 07.
Photo: Gregory Betts

John Lavery reading as part of the Max Middle Sound Project in the Grey Borders Reading Series, 10 July 07.
Photo: Gregory Betts

Max Middle reading as part of the Max Middle Sound Project in the Grey Borders Reading Series, 10 July 07.
Photo: Gregory Betts

Gregory Betts & TV screen figure.

John Lavery & Anne Davison

John Lavery

Jordan Fry, founder of the Grey Borders Reading Series

Holy Beep!! [tomorrow in Calgary]

Sunday, July 15, 2007

crossing the border

i dont what to say abt the border crossing... i was mistaken for a criminal... it was very scary... i dont like the idea of borders... especially the one between canada and us... me no nationalist... i just happen to live on this beautiful turtle island of a continent... we're so lucky... we suffer... something about turtle island shields us somehow.... citizen of planet earth i am.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Readings in St Catharines July 10th & Buffalo July 12th

Thanks to the gracious organizational efforts of Gregory Betts & kevin thurston & with a Tree Reading Series performance on June 26th behind us, we [the Max Middle Sound Project] are preparing for a couple readings next week, one in St Catharines & one in Buffalo. It looks like John Lavery & I will be representing a truncated Sound Project. We're hoping Anne Davison might be able to join us. In any event, such a format will allow John & I to give individual readings from our respective work. If you happen to be able to attend one of those readings, it'd be excellent to talk to you during the course of the evening. & hey, if you're in Toronto for the Scream Literary Festival's mainstage event on Monday evening, we'll be there. Hope to talk to you then. Very much looking forward to reading with Alexandra Leggat, Michael Basinski & Don Metz.


Grey Borders Reading Series
10 July 2007

John Lavery, Alexandra Leggat & the Max Middle Sound Project at the Grey Borders Reading Series, the Merchant Ale House, St. Catharines, Ontario, 7:30pm,10 July 2007

Grey Borders on the web:

more info: Gregory Betts <>

Venue details:
The Merchant Ale House
98 St. Paul Street
St. Catharines

Buffalo, NY, 12 July 2007

Readings by:

Michael Basinski, Don Metz, John Lavery & the Max Middle Sound Project at Rust Belt Books hosted by kevin thurston, 7pm, 12 July 2007

more info: kevin thurston <>

Venue details:
Rust Belt Books
202 Allen St
Buffalo, NY 14201
(716) 885-9535

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Max Middle Sound Project presented by the Tree Reading Series 26 June 2007

left to right: Jason Sonier, Max Middle, John Lavery, Anne Davison



Feature Performance in the Tin House Courtyard

26 June 2007

The Max Middle Sound Project consisting of members Anne Davison, John Lavery, Max Middle and Jason Sonier, executes multi-vocal performance poetry works in a one-time outdoor program presented by the Tree Reading Series. The ensemble enacts work from an artistically advanced and entertaining repertoire.

The Tin House Courtyard is located between Clarence and Murray Streets, just east of Sussex Street. See map link below.

NB In the event of rainfall, the Black Thorn Cafe, 15 Clarence Street, will provide space on their covered patio for the Max Middle Sound Project performance at 8pm.

The feature performance in the Tin House Courtyard is followed by, a block east on Murray Street, at 9:30pm, the Tree Reading Series' open stage at Chez Lucien, 137 Murray Street at Dalhousie.

Telephone: Max Middle 613 859 8423

Max Middle Sound Project Video on YouTube:

Max Middle Sound Project Photo Album:

'Poets sound off in ByWard Market' in CITY JOURNAL: Ottawa's Urban Newspaper

The Max Middle Sound Project is an interdisciplinary collaboration committed to the integration of poetry, sound poetry and music incorporating elements of theatre and performance art as ancillary expression. The ensemble consists of four prominent Ottawa artists: Anne Davison, Max Middle, John Lavery and Jason Sonier. Davison is a concert cellist and music composer who performs in the realm of classical music and in dance projects. Lavery is an accomplished writer of fiction, a literary performer par excellence and a guitarist. Middle is a poet working in verse, visual and sound poetry; he is also a micro-press publisher. Sonier is a highly versatile multi-instrumentalist musician and an established creative force within the ensemble. Each member is an accomplished and dynamic literary reader as well as a musician.

The Max Middle Sound Project continues its performance practice with engagements across Ontario this summer and fall. A tour of the Toronto area and southern Ontario will take place in October centered on a performance in Toronto’s Test Reading Series, October 25th 2007.

In September 2007, watch for the first readings in The A B Reading Series, a new literary reading series curated by Max Middle to be held in the Ottawa City Hall Art Gallery.

See map with coordinates for the Tin House Courtyard and Chez Lucien here.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Trillium Book Awards

Ottawa writer Mark Frutkin won the English-language Trillium Book Award today for his novel Fabrizio's Return.

Toronto's Ken Babstock was named winner of the $10,000 Trillium Book Award for Poetry (English-language) for his collection Airstream Land Yacht.

The corresponding French-language prize was a tie between Ottawa writer Daniel Castillo Durante for La passion des nomads and Toronto poet Paul Savoie for his poetry collection Crac.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Simplex 17

Recently in the mail from publisher derek beaulieu arrived contributor copies of Simplex 17, a portfolio with works by seventeen poets/artists. As noted below, each of us received a single sheet of Letraset with which to create a one page work. The results are diverse & fascinating. I've posted a digitized version of the work I created for the project to:

On December 7, 2005 derek beaulieu sent the following invitation:

"this is an invitation to participate in a collaborative / constraint-based concrete poetry portfolio. Letraset was created as a business tool for the standardization of lettering in technical drawings and blueprints. Although it has fallen out of favour due to the proliferation of computers in technical drawing, letraset continues to be used in concrete poetry. By assigning the same material to a variety of international concrete poets and artists, this project examines how content and form interplay in concrete poetry, and will be an insight in to the malleability of language and materiality through different visual compositional structures and styles."

Seventeen poets and artists agreed to participate. Each received a full sheet of Simplex letraset dry-transfer lettering (every participant received the same typeface, although the size of the face varied due to difficulties i had in finding enough sheets) and were restricted to using only the material supplied (i.e.: no additional materials), and responses had to fit on a single sheet of 8 ½" x 11" (or A4 if international) paper.

Simplex 17 contains work by: Bruce Andrews, Jonathan Ball, John M. Bennett, Christian Bök, Nicole Burisch, Jason Christie, Craig Dworkin, Geoffrey Hlibchuk, Matthew Hollett, Frances Kruk, Donato Mancini, Billy Mavreas, kevin mcpherson-eckhoff, Max Middle, Rob Read, Pete Spence, Dan Waber

Unfortunately, the portfolio is out of print. It was published in an edition of 60 copies, 20 of which were for sale.

For information on derek's other publishing activities:

derek beaulieu at:

Monday, May 28, 2007

Events, News etc...

Toronto's Scream Literary Festival has announced its lineup. The Festival runs from July 3rd to July 9th this year.

The English-language finalists for the Trillium Book Award for poetry have been announced [amongst them Ottawan Anita Lahey]:

* Ken Babstock for Airstream Land Yacht
* Adam Dickinson for Kingdom, Phylum
* Anita Lahey for Out to Dry in Cape Breton

Amongst the nominees for the principal English-language Trillium Book Award are Ottawans Mark Frutkin nominated for Fabrizio's Return & Charlotte Gray nominated for Reluctant Genius.

CBC story on the Trillium nominations here.

Hazard by British Columbia poet Jake Kennedy & published by Toronto publisher BookThug has been awarded the bpNichol Chapbook Award. There's a CBC article on the award here.

Yesterday, Christian McPherson launched Six Ways to Sunday, recently published by Nightwood Editions, at Patty's Pub in Ottawa.

Greg Frankson aka Ritallin performs on Tuesday, May 29th at the Avant-Garde Bar. It starts at 8pm & I believe no cover but check in with Avant-Garde Bar to confirm.

Rob Winger launches Muybridge's Horse, also published by Nightwood Editions, as part of the Plan 99 Reading Series at the Manx in Ottawa on June 9th at 5pm.

& another screening for Heard of Poets
A Documentary on Ottawa poets.
Host: Ottawa Shambhala Meditation Centre
Time and PlaceDate: Friday, June 1, 2007
Time: 8:00pm - 11:00pm
Location: Ottawa Shambhala Meditation Centre
Street: 984 Wellington St. West. Where Somerset turns into Wellington.
Ottawa, ON

& Grant Wilkins is having a birthday...

& I might just be starting up a reading series this autumn!!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Reading on the eve of the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair: 15 June 2007

upstairs at the Carleton Tavern in Ottawa
doors 7pm, readings 7:30pm
15 June 2007

Organized jointly by the small press action network-ottawa (span-0) & Griddle Grin Productions.

Pennsylvania poets Jennifer Hill-Kaucher & Dan Waber will feature in a reading to take place on the eve of the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair; other readers to be announced by span-o.

Jennifer Hill-Kaucher is the author of four books of poetry: Questioning Walls Open, Nightcrown (a crown of sonnets in a limited edition lotus book), Book of Days, and A Proper Dress. A Pennsylvania Council on the Arts roster poet, Jennifer conducts poetry workshops and residencies throughout the state and also in Ireland. Among her other writing exploits, she is editor of Paper Kite Press and owner of Wordpainting, a studio devoted to creative writing and visual art.

Stuart Ross is most recently the author of the poetry collection I Cut My Finger (Anvil Press, 2007). His other books include Hey, Crumbling Balcony! Poems New & Selected (ECW Press, 2003), Confessions of a Small Press Racketeer (Anvil, 2005), and Henry Kafka and Other Stories (The Mercury Press, 1996). Proprietor of Proper Tales Press, co-founder of the Toronto Small Press Book Fair, and Fiction & Poetry Editor of This Magazine, he teaches writing to adults and children at schools and through his Poetry Boot Camps. He lives in Toronto, but his online home is

Dan Waber is a visual poet, concrete poet, sound poet, performance poet, publisher, editor, playwright and multimedia artist whose work has appeared in all sorts of delicious places, from digital to print, from stage to classroom, from mailboxes to puppet theaters. He is currently working on "and everywhere in between." He makes his online home at

See also the Ottawa Poetry Newsletter.

Ottawa Small Press Book Fair: 16 June 2007

I'll be behind a table at the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair for the first time ever this June 16th between noon & 5pm, upstairs in the Jack Purcell Community Centre. If you make it to the fair, come say hello -- I'll have free Puddle leaflets to distribute as well as some stuff for sale.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Kommunist Manifesto or Wot We Wukkerz Want

At the Ottawa International Writers Festival, 20 April 2007, Chris Jennings photocopied (& annotated) this excerpt by Steve McCaffery from Imagining Language: An Anthology edited by Jed Rasula & Steve McCaffery for Simon Armitage, the latter both Yorkshire men. It appears that it was left somewhere & i just happened to find it & annotate with my own chicken scratch as you see at bottom left.

Listen on Penn Sound

Friday, April 27, 2007

Book Launch tomorrow

Ian Roy launches Red Bird at the Manx in Ottawa at 5pm as part of the Plan 99 Reading Series.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

OIWF photo by Suzy Juneau

Writing Life #3 - 19 April 2007 - left to right Kate Heartfield, Andy Brown, Tanya Chapman & M.A.C. Farrant


Three Puddle leaflets for the Ottawa Intl Writers Fest - #15 by Adam Seelig #14 by Nico Vassilakis & #13 is one I made with the image below & is titled 'AT TA : Rudiments'. I was talking to a scientist yesterday who was struck by the resemblance it bears to the termination signal in a DNA sequence. This is pure coincidence since my knowledge of DNA science is limited to say the least. Hmm...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ottawa International Writers Festival * photos by Suzy Juneau *

left to right: B.W. Powe, Sandra Alland & bill bissett at the Poetry Cabaret 18 April 2007

bill bissett at the Poetry Cabaret 18 April 2007

left to right: George Murray, rob mclennan, George Bowering, Stephen Brockwell
Poetry Cabaret 15 April 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Premier Screening of Documentary about Poetry in Ottawa

Posting this on behalf of documentary filmmakers, Josh Massey & Ben Walker

Heard of Poets
by Josh Massey & Ben Walker
Documentary Film Screening
Saturday April 21st @
Library and Archives of Canada

395 Wellington Street, Ottawa
Ottawa International Writers Festival
Spring Edition
A free event

Heard of Poets takes a look at poetry as it happens in Ottawa. Featuring a wide array of poetic performance and discussion from a multitude of poets, several of whom currently work in Ottawa, others have worked in Ottawa & yet others have visited the city to perform as part of reading series & festivals:

Seymour Mayne, George Elliott Clarke, Susan Robertson, Mark Frutkin, Max Middle, Shane Rhodes, Oni the Haitian Sensation, AJ Levin, Jim Larwill, Pauline Michel, Kabriya Coghlan, Heather Taylor, Terry Ann Carter, John Akpata, Drew Bernard, a.rawlings, Nicola Volpe, Melissa Upfold, Stephen Brockwell, bill bissett, Paul Muldoon, Gustave Morin, Michael Dennis, Becky ‘Big Red’ McKercher, Christopher Levenson, Danielle Gregoire, Jason Sonier, Anne Davison, jwcurry, Gregory Betts, Greg ‘Ritallin’ Frankson

The documentary traces the site of poetic expression from the thundering cataracts of Hog’s Back to a serenely calm Buddhist mediation centre; from Archibald Lampman’s grave to Glebe Collegiate Institute. The resulting documentary uncovers a vital literary heterogeneity belying Ottawa’s underfun reputation. The bold experimentation undertaken by these writers, many of whom are central to the Ottawa literary scene, is a testament to the creativity & vigour of contemporary poets working in Canada.

Friday, April 13, 2007

aprés Puddle

Puddles #13 & #14 printed today

'Thought Though' by Nico Vassilakis & 'AT TA : Rudiments' by yrs truly hot off the photocopier today, Puddles #14 & #13 respectively - yes i took on the #13 & spared other contributors any association with that number. One more on the way - will let you know when it's published.

Thanks to Grunge Papers papers publisher Grant Wilkins for continuing to provide such excellent assistance in the production of these leaflets.

& documented above are leftover paper parts from the printing process.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Four Horsemen Project

On March 28th, I went to see The Four Horsemen Project at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. It was an excellent treat to visit the Great Canadian Theatre Company again; it's been far too long - next thing you know they'll be in their new digs on Wellington at Parkdale. My first attendance at the GCTC was in high school when I went with a drama class to see a musical theatre production - all I remember now is a song performed by Ian Tamblyn with the lines "somebody find me a job / and you better do it quick". So it was great to be back there to attend a performance: this time I was accompanying Gwen Guth, a poet who also happens to teach English literature at the CEGEP Heritage College, and one of her students, Al. A couple of excellent Brocks joined us - Stephen Brockwell and Barbara Brockmann. Stephen and I both did workshops with Gwen's class; mine was on the subject of sound poetry hence the relevance of the 4H show. Barbara teaches at the elementary school that I attended so long ago. David O'Meara and John W. MacDonald just happened to be there for the same performance - coincidence or not? The Four Horsemen Project had been built up for me by blog coverage from Gary Barwin and Angela Rawlings (see my earlier post) + there has been much buzz on various literary listservs.

The piece that initially captured co-creators Kate Alton and Ross Manson's imagination was 'Allegro 108' which they heard on Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe on CBC Radio in 2000. I was listening to the same broadcast in Edmonton (guess I would have heard it a couple hours later with the time difference). It's a highlight in the performance - clearly a virtuoso thing to perform with the memorized reading coordinated with some pretty sophisticated movement. "The arrangement is the Four Horsemen's, with a few custom tailorings by us [the Volcano theatre company] and musician Bill Brennan - who helped decode the original recording." from the program for The Four Horsemen Project, 13 March - 1 April 2007 at the Great Canadian Theatre Company

After seeing the production, many avenues of thot have been opened - new knowledge about the Four Horsemen, ideas about how to conduct sound poetry performance (alas, not on the same scale, ah budgets).

If they come to your town, go see them! I believe they'll be performing in Victoria and Vancouver later this year - check in on for details.

In the meantime, have a listen to the 4H recordings on PENNsound:

It's excellent that the recordings of the Four Horsemen are available on PENNsound and Ubu Web. It may eventually be possible to hear, over the Internet, a recording or two by the canuck soundpo ensemble of the same era, Owen Sound.

John Sobol happened to be there the same evening according to his blog. I've never met John - hence I didnt recognize him in the crowd. Here's a link to his post about the show:

Poetry Vids

Lots of views of the Max Middle Sound Project video I posted to YouTube recently:

Wharton Hood for Mayor

unfortunately, the campaign for Wharton was unsuccessful in last November's municipal elections. he was running in Ottawa. anyone know what Wharton's doing now?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ottawa International Writers Festival

The Ottawa Intl Writers Festival Spring Edition schedulue was announced today: the first six days in any case. Apparently, a documentary film about poetry in Ottawa will be shown on the seventh day, Saturday the 21st; although, this is, of course, a secret.

I'm especially excited about the Poetry Cabarets. It'll be my first chance to hear Sandra Alland, Dennis Lee, B.W. Powe, Barbara Nickel, Simon Armitage and George Murray read. The hosting to be done by Stephen Brockwell, David O'Meara and Alan Neal will surely add an extra element of excellence to the Poetry Cabarets.

Two new releases from Chaudiere Books will be launched.
EVERYTHING IS MOVIES, a first book by Nicholas Lea, and the Ottawa City Project by rob mclennan.

An abbreviated schedule follows - for a complete one see the Writers Fest web site.

See ya there!


SUNDAY, APRIL 15 @ 6:00 PM
With George Murray

Poet, editor and founder, George Murray talks about building an international online literary community. Bookninja is described as the premier Canadian literary site, and one of the top literary sites in the world. How did George Murray's blog become a nexus for literary news and opinion? Will blogs and discussions forums make traditional magazines and journals obsolete? And for those of us who still haven't mastered the interweb, what exactly is a blog anyway?

Tickets: $5 / Free for Festival Members
Day Pass: $30

SUNDAY, APRIL 15 @ 8:00 PM
Featuring George Murray, rob mclennan and George Bowering
Reading and in conversation with Stephen Brockwell

The Spring Edition's feast of poetry begins with readings by Newfoundland's George Murray, whose fourth collection, The Rush to Here, combines what he calls "thought-rhyme with the structured sonnet form"; Ottawa's rob mclennan, described in the Danforth Review as a poet who "doesn't so much push against boundaries, as deny boundaries," launches his thirteenth collection: The Ottawa City Project; and Canada's first Poet Laureate, George Bowering, arrives from British Columbia with Vermeer's Light, a work that, in the words of the Quill & Quire, "walks the tightrope of sentiment without falling into sentimentality." After the readings, all three poets will join poet Stephen Brockwell for a conversation on the craft, with plenty of opportunity for audience questions.

Tickets: $15 General / $12 Student or Senior / $10 Festival Member
Day Pass: $30

MONDAY, APRIL 16 @ 8:30 PM
featuring Liam Durcan, Scott Gardiner and Barbara Gowdy
Readings and discussion with Charlotte Gray

We inaugurate our second decade of the Writing Life with three huge Canadian talents; Liam Durcan, whose debut novel, García's Heart, tackles terrorism, bioethics, and the age-old dilemmas of loyalty and betrayal; Scott Gardiner's much-praised second novel, King John of Canada, is a biting political satire that dares to explore Canada's future after Quebec's separation; and international bestseller Barbara Gowdy's stunning novel Helpless, is the story of a child's disappearance and a mother's love. All three authors will share brief excerpts and discuss their work with author Charlotte Gray.

Tickets: $15 General / $12 Student or Senior / $10 Festival Member
Day Pass: $20

Featuring Neil Smith, C.S. Richardson and Lawrence Hill
Readings and discussion with Phil Jenkins

The Writing Life continues with three of the most critically acclaimed authors of the season. Neil Smith's debut collection of nine riveting stories, Bang Crunch, is an international phenomenon announcing a major new writer; C.S. Richardson, a multiple recipient of the Alcuin Award for excellence in book design, delivers his debut novel, The End of the Alphabet, a magical story about an everyday life defined by an extraordinary love; and Lawrence Hill's novel, The Book of Negroes, is a sweeping story that transports the reader from a tribal African village to a plantation in the southern United States, from the teeming Halifax docks to the manor houses of London. All three will share a brief excerpt and discuss their work with Phil Jenkins.

Tickets: $15 General / $12 Student or Senior / $10 Festival Member
Day Pass: $20



Join us for two exciting book launches featuring poetry from Ottawa's Nicholas Lea and prose from Montreal's Daniel Allen Cox.

Was it a manufactured hologram or the fog rising from a lake? In Nicholas Lea's first collection of poetry, the question coalesces in an obvious yearning toward surrealism and a supreme interest in aesthetics. Everything is movies wrestles with the myth-making of mass culture and high art, but the collection - accidentally? - rolls off the bed and onto the floor, a heap of laughing limbs.

Also: an Ottawa launch for Tattoo This Madness In, which was a Finalist for the 2nd Expozine Alternative Press Awards. "Daniel Allen Cox unravels the twisted truth in the heroic rebel yell of queer youth." - HOUR Magazine

A free event. Donations welcome.

Readings by B.W. Powe, Sandra Alland and bill bissett
On-stage conversation with Alan Neal

Our poetic celebration continues with work that challenges and entertains: the lyric samplings, notes and reveries in B.W. Powe's The Unsaid Passing is a bewitching spell of reflections, ecstasies and longings; Sandra Alland's Blissful Times explores how many ways there are to say one thing, and how much of herself the translator inserts by featuring 63 poetic "translations" of text by Samuel Beckett from the play Happy Days; and bill bissett, whose charged readings never fail to amaze, incorporates sound poetry, chanting and singing in a performance from his latest collection, Ths Is Erth Thees AR Peopul.

Tickets: $15 General / $12 Student or Senior / $10 Festival Member

Readings by Andy Brown, Tanya Chapman and M.A.C. Farrant
On-stage conversation with Kate Heartfield

The Spring Edition's final Writing Life features three of Canada's most innovative scribes. Montreal's Andy Brown, writer, editor and publisher, follows his acclaimed collection of stories I Can See You Being Invisible with his debut novel, The Mole Chronicles; filmmaker Tanya Chapman, winner of This magazine's Great Canadian Literary Hunt shares her first novel, King; and M.A.C. Farrant, the acclaimed author of seven previous collections of short fiction, returns to the Festival with The Breakdown So Far, her eighth volume. All three cutting-edge storytellers will read brief excerpts from their work and discuss their craft with The Ottawa Citizen's Kate Heartfield.

Tickets: $15 General / $12 Student or Senior / $10 Festival Member
Day Pass: $35

FRIDAY, APRIL 20 @ 6:00 PM
MISSING THE ARK by Catherine Kidd

Missing the Ark is the highly anticipated first novel from acclaimed spoken word artist Catherine Kidd. This is a novel about memory and perception, exploring the thin line between what is inside and what is out, what is seen and what can't be known.

A free event. Donations welcome.

FRIDAY, APRIL 20 @ 7:00 PM
Heather Mallick in conversation with Sarah Dearing

Spend time with one of Canada's most popular columnist and author, Heather Mallick, always sure to provoke and delight. Her latest bestseller, Cake or Death, is a no-holds-barred riposte to the mess we've made of things. Author Sarah Dearing talks with Heather, uncensored from the restrictions of her Globe and Mail column, about the complicated state of our lives and our world today.

Tickets: $12 General / $10 Student or Senior / $8 Festival Member
Day Pass: $20

FRIDAY, APRIL 20 @ 8:30 PM
Readings by Barbara Nickel, Dennis Lee and Simon Armitage
On-stage conversation with David O'Meara

Our feast of words continues with an evening of internationally acclaimed poetry that is sure to remind us why poetry must be read aloud. Children's author and Pat Lowther Memorial Award winning poet, Barbara Nickel's second collection, Domain, explores the search for meaning and love in a world where "home" must be constructed; one of Canada's most beloved poets, Dennis Lee's latest Yesno is a continuation of his urgent poetic project to grapple with the question of humankind's future, simultaneously embracing pessimism and hope; while Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid, the latest from England's Simon Armitage, engages some of the most pressing oppositions of our time - man versus monster, conflict versus conversation, age versus youth and humanity versus the environment. The performances will be followed by a discussion with renowned poet and Artistic Director of the Plan 99 series, David O'Meara.
Tickets: $15 General / $12 Student or Senior / $10 Festival Member
Day Pass: $20

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Four Horsemen Project at the GCTC

This Wednesday, I'll be attending The Four Horsemen Project at the GCTC here in Ottawa. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the production. I've heard many good things about it. There's been much commotion about the production in poetry circles and lots of press, both in Toronto where it first showed and more recently in Ottawa where it's on til April 1st. See Angela Rawlings' comments here & here. Gary Barwin's comments are here. Colin Morton has posted a review of the production to the Ottawa Poetry Newsletter. Whether attention paid to The Four Horsemen Project will translate into a wider audience for the current wave of sound poetry practitioners remains unknown. That the possibility exists is very encouraging.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Moon Potatoes

You can watch the Max Middle Sound Project video on an Other Clutter C-Cells page & submit a comment there as well.

Rideau Street Looking West

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

soundponent deadline approaching

& the deadline for the soundponent i'm putting together for main editor Jessica Smith's Outside Voices Poetry Anthology is Saturday, March 31st - enthusiastically welcoming submission til then. if you might have trouble meeting the deadline, let me know:

Max Middle Sound Project - Summer 2007 Tour

The excellent news for the Max Middle Sound Project is that John Lavery has decided to join us for a series of 2007 summer/fall performances we'll be launching on June 26th in Ottawa's Tree Reading Series, followed by appearances in Toronto, other Ontario centres and Buffalo, NY.

On June 26th, as part of the Tree Reading Series we'll be launching the tour with an outdoor performance in the Tin House Courtyard (in between Clarence & Murray just off Sussex) in Ottawa's Byward Market at 8pm. Thanks to the adventurous spirit of Tree's organizers, the open stage, rather than preceding the feature performance will follow at 9:30pm in the very hospitable & nearby Chez Lucien!

Upcoming Readings + Writers Fest

This Thursday at the Factory Reading Series in the Ottawa Art Gallery, Angela Carr launches Ropewalk, a poetry collection, with Melissa A. Thompson who launches the novel Dreadful Paris. Both books are published by Montreal's Snare Books.

Shane Rhodes will be launching his third poetry collection The Bindery on April 14th as part of the recently (Roy Miki on March 18th) launched spring schedule in the Plan 99 Reading Series at the Manx in Ottawa. On April 28th, Steven Ross Smith will be in town to read, presumably from the fourth book in the fluttertongue series. Readings and book launches by Mark Frutkin, Ian Roy and Joanne Proulx are scheduled later in the spring. More info about Plan 99 can be found on the Ottawa Poetry Newsletter.

The Ottawa International Writers Festival is gearing up for what looks like a very exciting schedule. David Suzuki is set to speak on Earth Day, April 22nd. The full schedule is to be released fairly soon. The first day of the festival, April 15th includes a Poetry Cabaret with George Bowering, rob mclennan and George Murray. More on that event can be found on rob's blog. Apparently, there'll be a film screened about Ottawa poets at some point during the fest, hmm.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

How the Readings Went

Pearl Pirie's comments/photos on last night's readings:

Arrived just in time to hear most of Hugh's reading - to my surprise since I was slated to read before him & Sandra had already finished her reading. Was glad to have been there to hear Hugh read - hope to hear Sandra read again soon.

I've been enjoying reading Hugh's chapbook Joyce's Walking Stick. The naive translations suggest a form of universal linguistic communion rendered in English. In some of the poems, I get the sense of the mundane, familiar conversational statements, becoming highly aestheticized by their transformation into something ambiguous as in the opening poem: "I do not understand you/(because I do not speak Japanese)./This is a beautiful city."

It meant that I read last, which was somewhat awkward: tho in the end as the ender, it seemed appropriate for us locals to support as sandwich material both sides of Hugh's reading. Some excellent folks, who happen to be related, arrived soon into my reading. It was great that they were able to be there for some of my reading & then hear Hugh read as he gave an impromptu post-reading reading at table side. We should have asked Sandra if she would have given a brief post-reading reading tho it seems likely & hopeful that she'll be reading again soon in this here Ottawa... & there was supposed to be a great, big old fashioned musical jamboree afterwards but only one of the jammers showed up.