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
BUILDING A BETTER BLOG
With George Murray

Poet, editor and bookninja.com 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
POETRY CABARET #1
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
WRITING LIFE #1
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, GarcĂ­a'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

TUESDAY, APRIL 17 @ 8:30 PM
WRITING LIFE #1
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

DAY FOUR

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18 @ 6:00 PM
BOOK LAUNCHES:
EVERYTHING IS MOVIES by Nicholas Lea
TATTOO THIS MADNESS IN by Daniel Allen Cox

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.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18 @ 8:30 PM
POETRY CABARET #2
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

THURSDAY, APRIL 19 @ 8:30 PM
WRITING LIFE #3:
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
BOOK LAUNCH:
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
THE EXCRUCIATING CHOICES OF EVERYDAY LIFE
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
POETRY CABARET #3:
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@maxmiddle.com

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:

http://pearlformance.livejournal.com/52274.html

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.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Radio Interview with Readings Weds 7 March 2007 - Max Middle, Sandra Ridley & Hugh Thomas

Ahead of a March 10th reading that local literary superhero rob mclennan is organizing, host of Click Here, Mitchell Caplan will be interviewing Sandra Ridley, me & Hugh Thomas starting just after 5:30pm this Wednesday, March 7th on CHUO FM. We'll each give brief readings as well. The interview will be broadcast on CHUO-FM, 89.1FM in the Ottawa area. With Real Player, you can listen online.

The most recent Puddle leaflet that I've published is of a poem by Sandra Ridley. Poetry by Hugh & myself was included in Shift & Switch: New Canadian Poetry.

The readings will take place upstairs in the Carleton Tavern right in the Parkdale Market, a block north of Wellington on Parkdale, doors at 7pm, reading at 7:30pm, Saturday, March 10th. Hugh Thomas is visiting from Fredericton, New Brunswick & he'll be giving the feature reading - Sandra & me are reading as the "local openers".

rob mclennan has been appointed writer in residence at the University of Alberta for the 2007-2008 academic year. It won't be the same in Ottawa while he's away. After the readings, you can toast his appointment with a drink.

If you can make it, it'll be great to see you there.

SEEKING SOUNDPO SUBMISSIONS

i'm still seeking sound poetry submissions for a soundponent to main editor Jessica Smith's 2008 Anthology:

http://poetry2008.blogspot.com/