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YAW

July 2, 2014

Here.

Ravine. Graffiti. Gone.

June 13, 2014

I’ve lived close to this ravine for almost two years. New graffiti layers over old graffiti. Well, until someone paints over all of it. Roughly a week left up here where the air is thinner and all that graffiti…gone.

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To find fault: carp: to find fault: carp: to find fault: carp: to find fault: carp: to find fault: fault: to find carp: fault: to find carp: fault: to find carp

April 17, 2014

Thanks to the Vehicule Press blog for posting my poem “Carp” this past Sunday. The poem is from my new collection, YAW.

 

Spring Previews

March 27, 2014

YAW was recently included in the Quill & Quire’s spring preview 2014 and the 49th Shelf’s Most Anticipated: Spring 2014 Poetry Preview.

 

YAW

January 14, 2014

YAW_Front-Cover

This spring, Mansfield Press will publish my third collection of poetry: YAW. I’m grateful for my editor, Stuart Ross, and looking forward to the publication date (April 15, 2014).

For more on the book, the back cover copy can be found here.

Here’s to the eventual spring coming in like a lamb, or leaving like one. Whichever you prefer.

 

Corrections

November 22, 2013

Thanks to Linda Besner over at Hazlitt for publishing my poem “Corrections.”

Diaspora Dialogues

October 10, 2013

Tonight, I’m hosting the second Poet’s Dinner at Grano in Toronto. An intimate dinner featuring readings, performances, and moderated conversations with Ann Shin and Linda Besner. The Poet’s Dinner series is curated by Zoe Whittall.

Catch Zoe’s interview with Besner, Shin, and I in the National Post.

Two New Poems

October 1, 2013

Two new poems can be found in Lemon Hound’s latest issue: “Red Crown” and “KIC 4862625.” 

(La) Lemon Hound

September 24, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

(La) Lemon Hound

I’m pleased to read at Lemon Hound’s one year anniversary party in Montreal on Friday.

What I Think About When I Think About Running (a half-marathon)

September 6, 2013

On October 20, 2013, I will be participating in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon (my first half-marathon!). I’m running to raise funds for for Assaulted Women’s Helpline, an organization truly deserving of support. My goal is to raise $1,000.00 (revised — see update below). I will dedicate a kilometre to each person who donates.

For 28 years, the Helpline has operated a free, anonymous and confidential 24 hour telephone and TTY crisis line. They provide crisis counselling, emotional support, safety planning, information and referrals in up to 154 languages for all women in the province of Ontario who are experiencing any form of abuse.

The Assaulted Women’s Helpline is an essential first point of contact for women especially:

• In communities without women’s shelters or other services
• For women who would not traditionally access shelters
• For non-English language callers
• For TTY callers, for the deaf and hard of hearing

Your donation goes a long way to help the crisis line help more women. All pledges $10 or greater will receive an official tax receipt (it is sent electronically so make sure to check your junk folder just in case!).

Please support me today and together can make a difference in the lives of women, their children, and our community. You never know who you’re helping…

To contribute to my fundraising campaign, click here!

Update (Sept. 24, 2013): Thanks to the generous support of friends and supporters, I not only reached and surpassed my first fundraising goal, but my second goal as well. I’ve since raised my goal to $1,000 and hope to meet this final hurdle. Thank you again to all who donated. A better and more detailed thank you will come after the race.

Belated final update (January 15, 2014): In the end, because of the generosity of others, I was able to raise almost $1,000 to support the Assaulted Women’s Helpline. And,  yeah, I ran the half marathon. It was amazing. On New Year’s Day, I registered to run the full Detroit Marathon. More info on fundraising to come.

What are you reading this summer?

July 10, 2013

The Walrus wants to know and has put together a survey of Walrus writers, artists, and readers. Read all the responses here.

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YAW

May 14, 2013

YAW

I’m pleased to write that my fourth book (third collection of poetry), will be published by Mansfield Press Spring 2014. Looking forward to working with the tireless Stuart Ross.

Poetry In Voices

April 25, 2013

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“Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie is a national poetry recitation contest for high-school students in Canada founded byScott Griffin, Chairman and founder of The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry, along with Trustees Margaret AtwoodCarolyn ForchéRobert HassMichael OndaatjeRobin Robertson, and David Young. The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry raises awareness of the crucial role poetry plays in our cultural life, a mission shared by Poetry In Voice.”

I have the pleasure of judging the competition on May 14th. For more information on the program, visit poetryinvoices.com.

Detours: An Anthology of Windsor & Essex County Poets

April 19, 2013

Detours: An Anthology of Windsor & Essex County Poets

Proud to be included in Detours (Palimpsest Press), edited by Susan Holbrook and Dawn Marie Kresan.

“Detours: an anthology of poets from Windsor & Essex County showcases the eclecticism that characterizes the region: the traditional and experimental, the academy and community, the established and emergent, the internationally renowned and promising apprentice. It excavates a rich literary heritage, paying tribute to such luminaries as Bronwen Wallace, Di Brandt, Joyce Carol Oates, Marty Gervais, and Phil Hall, while highlighting work by emerging poets such as Alex Gayowsky, Dani Couture, Darryl Whetter, Kate Hargreaves, and Robert Earl Stewart.”

Belated Resolutions

March 1, 2013

So, I just saw that my New Year’s resolution was posted in The Grid in January. Better to notice late than never. Update: concussion symptom free and running like a(n antique) machine.

The Grid: Resolutions

The Week Shall Inherit the Verse

February 27, 2013

The Week Shall Inherit the Verse is a wonderful, weekly project, curated by the indefatigable and talented Stuart Ross. What can you expect? One new poem curated by Stuart Ross every week.  Stuart posted my new poem “Interview with the country reporter” in this week’s installment of TWSITV.

 

 

Review

February 1, 2013

Why do we need the novel? Why among literary forms has it seemingly conquered the world? Algoma answers the question very well. Simply in human terms we need the novel in order to understand the family. And Tolstoy is right. We need it most of all to understand the unhappy family.

Reviewed by Susan Haley in the Winter 2013 issue of The Fiddlehead

For additional reviews of Algoma, click here.

 

Peace

December 20, 2012
tags:

A year is a long time and no time at all. Some things change. Some remain the same. Expected things happen. Some things catch us off guard. And some things change us permanently. All of this for better or worse. Sometimes both.

While time heals, some hurts never leave, only changing the first shape they took. Meanwhile, time also gives countless opportunities for happiness, to love and be loved, to reshape your world and the world around you. It’s all a choice. As a good friend of mine says frequently, “Choose your choice.”

For the new year, I wish for peace for those who have lost, and those who are lost and remain so.

A number of the gifts I’ve given this year have been charitable. If you’re so inclined, may I offer some suggestions for your end-of-year donations, if you’re able to, as these are ones I’ve supported in the past year:

Health and happiness for the holidays, for a new year,
Dani

Decemberist

December 14, 2012

Happy holidays, folks. It’s been an eventful year. For my pre-end-of-year-round-up, I offer the following:

  • Apologies to Robson Reading Series for having to cancel due to a nasty concussion. I’ll get back to Vancouver yet!
  • Hannah Sung put together a video of Canadian authors offering up their favourite books of 2012 for the Globe and Mail. My offering: Julie Bruck’s Monkey Ranch (Brick Books).
  • I have a new poem — “Tornado” — set to appear next summer in Arc. In addition to that, I have a new novel in the works…
  • If you haven’t already, Canadian books make great gifts. For my part, I’ve picked up Anything but Hank! by Zach Wells and Rachel Lebowitz (Biblioasis) and several others for friends and family. Need a suggestion? House of Anansi’s award-winning The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt was one of the best books I read in the past year. Or how about Elisabeth de Mariaffi’s How to Get Along with Women (Invisible Publishing)? Want some poetry? Monkey Ranch from Julie Bruck (Brick Books), The ID Kid by Linda Besner (Vehicule), or Doom by Natalie Zina Walchots (Insomniac Press) are great choices. Do you prefer magazines? The Walrus and THIS Magazine are always nice to see in the mailbox and even better to read (disclaimer: I’m the office manager for the first, literary editor for the second).
  • Need something to look forward to for 2013? Stacey May Fowles has a new book coming out with ECW Press. Read an excerpt on Taddle Creek’s website.
  • That’s all for now. Be safe. Take care. Health and happiness. Read books.

Halifax

November 12, 2012

Algoma is a ScotiaToday staff pick. And what perfect timing. I’m reading in Halifax at the Spring Garden Road Library on Sunday Nov, 18th @2:30.  All are welcome. (sponsored by The Canada Council for the Arts). Hope to see you there!

Falling

October 24, 2012

“Salvage”, originally published in The Walrus, was included in The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2012. The anthology, put out by Tightrope, was edited by Molly Peacock and Carmine Starnino.

A postcard review of Road to Valour by Aili and Andres McConnon appears in THIS Magazine’s September issue.

And I’ll be reading in both Halifax and Vancouver in November. Looking forward to it. See you for pints, perhaps?

(The Garden of) Eden Mills

September 18, 2012

I spent last weekend happily enjoying all the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival had to offer, which was a lot. The Festival and town (village?) was as good as past attendees and readers told me it was. Actually: better. Here are some photos from the events, including some from the “Hot, Young, and Local” reading at the Cottage where I read with Carrie Snyder and Tanis Rideout. Props to the host of our event who described readers in terms of hot peppers. Me? I was “crisp and merciless.”

Trevor Cole, Ami MacKay, Angie Abdou; Evan Munday; Michael Ondaatje; Mariko Tamaki

Tanis Rideout & Co; parade and Leon Rooke; pie; CSO; Carrie Snyder

Hanging out and catching some readings at Eden Mills.

Falling

September 5, 2012

The weather feels like summer; the calendar reads like fall. Almost fall. Falling.

A roundup:

  • Algoma, along with a many other amazing books, longlisted for ReLit award
  • Reading at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival on September 16th
  • Reading at Word on the Street – Toronto on September 23rd (Vibrant Voices of Ontario Tent at 1:00 PM – 1:15 PM)
  • Reading at the Rower’s Pub Reading Series in Toronto on October 1st (Victory Cafe, 581 Markham St @7:30 pm)
  • Reading at the Robson Reading Series in Vancouver on November 22nd
  • On Labour Day weekend, spotted three white-tailed kites, one kingfisher, three hummingbirds, and three freighters (Algocanada, American Integrity, and one unidentified ship). Well, I guess that’s not news, but it was a good weekend for bird and freighter sightings.

Caker Cooking

August 13, 2012

When I’m not writing I’m doing one of three other things: sleeping, running, or eating (I mean cooking). Today, my Amherstburgian peanut butter gems have the privilege of appearing on Brian Francis‘s Caker Cooking site, which I’m completely addicted to.

Care to tax your heart with tasty no-bake goodness? Click here.
Care to add a good read to your bookshelf? Click here.

Algoma

August 13, 2012

For information on Algoma, please visit www.blackbearonwater.com/algoma.

Readings at Word on the Street Toronto and Eden Mills are in the works for the fall. See you there.

I’m 5×5 about 10×10

July 6, 2012

10×10 started as 10 talented LGBT photographers who took a little time to shine a spotlight on some of the people who have made contributions to the arts over the years and captured the faces of rising new stars. It has grown into an an annual event with this years event being hosted at the Gladstone Hotel.

This year’s exhibition and book represent a celebration of some of the LGBT faces who have worked in the public eye and some who have worked behind the scenes to make our communities thrive. The book will be available of the portraits and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to The People Project, an arts initiative for queer and trans youth.

The 2012 10X10 exhibition runs from Thursday, June 28 to Sunday, July 15th , 2012 at the Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West, 2nd Floor, Toronto.

The talented Adamo de Pax photographed me for the project. I’m so happy to be part of this project even if I did just sit there while he did the work.

For more about the project, visit http://10x10photographyproject.com/about/.

The Fourth Month

April 20, 2012

Another round up of items for this, the fourth month of the year twelve twelve. Or something.

Algoma is reviewed (and I’m briefly interviewed) on Literary Mama.

I recently read my poem “Salvage” (June 2011 issue of The Walrus) for a spot on Walrus TV on eqhd. The spot appeared on eqhd in March and will eventually be viewable at Walrus TV. In the meantime, lots of great content and mini docs to look at there.

Also, this week, I read in the lovely town of Cobourg. Here is a photo of poet Sandra Ridley reading from her latest collection.

On Saturday, April 28th, I’ll be reading at the Richmond Hill Library Poetry Gala. Other readers include Barry Dempster, Brian Hendersen, Bruce Hunter, Maureen Hynes, and Priscila Uppal. The event is free and folks can register for the event online.

Art for Derek

March 21, 2012

Troops: Derek McCormack needs your help. Attend. Donate. Please.

For more details, click here.

Febforever

February 24, 2012

This month never ends.

But here, some things.

Open Book Toronto’s Grace O’Connell, author of the soon-to-be published Magnified World (Random House), asked me to complete OBT’s Dirty Dozen.

Book blog “Teena in Toronto” takes a look at Algoma.

Stay warm and dry. And looking to feel better? My recommendation? Read a book on Everest.

Love,

Dani

Janvier

January 7, 2012

Happy New Year. May you get what you want this year.

Algoma is reviewed in today’s Globe & Mail and the January/February 2012 issue of THIS Magazine.

For all Algoma-related press, click here.

In the meantime, work on a new book begins. Here’s my super fancy set up. The oven fries are an integral part of the process.

Decembre

December 3, 2011

Algoma was included as one of the books in the Toronto Star’s reviewers’ Top 100 books of 2011.

Also, the lovely Shawn Syms’ “Lakehead and Heart” profile can be found in the December issue of IN Toronto magazine.

A new review can be found in The Winnipeg Review.

A review by Shannon Webb Campbell in The Coast (Halifax):

“Dani Couture’s background as a poet, and now a first time novelist, shines with finely tuned insights. She’s a line writer and builds on her sentences to form gorgeous paragraphs.”

For all things Algoma, click here.

Writer’s Trust

November 27, 2011

Was lucky enough to attend the Writer’s Trust gala for a second year in a row. They put on such a lovely event. To learn more about the Writer’s Trust and its programs, please visit their website.

Writers Devon Code, me, Trevor Cole, and Tanis Rideout

More photos in the Globe and Mail, Open Book Toronto, and the Writer’s Trust.

Al

November 20, 2011

Review in Atlantic Books Times:

“…[Couture's] affinity for deft and delicious imagery is much in evidence in her first novel…temptation to tie the story up with a trite little bow, choosing instead to reflect the truth that losing a loved one changes families irrevocably.”

Algoma is favourably reviewed in the December 2011 issue of Quill and Quire, which is now on fine newsstands everywhere.

“…this is a very good first novel from a refreshing new voice.”

And the lovely (lovely) gals at the Keeping It Real Book Club (KIRBC) took Al for as spin on their blog.

All things Algoma can be found here. What a lovely fall. Hope yours is good, too.

Invisibly Yours

November 13, 2011

You know you have a kick ass publisher when they send you pics of your favourite ship.

Thank you Robbie MacGregor for this:

Mom will be geeked (and so am I)

November 10, 2011

Algoma is listed as an Editor’s Pick in the December 2011 issue of Chatelaine. I grew up with that magazine. This…makes me happy.

Also, the amazing and beloved Type Books in Toronto included Algoma in a recent Type Talk e-newsletter: “The debut novel from Toronto poet Dani Couture. Think early Atwood style … and plenty of weather.”

Literary Death Match

November 8, 2011

While no actual blood was spilled, beer was. I also attempted (key word: attempted) to spell authors names with my body (Give me an “H”!). In the end, I had to phone a friend to help me spell “Chinua Achebe.” Amazing night at the Literary Death Match. Thanks to all, especially my brothers in arms, Rebecca Rosenblum, Carolyn Black, and Grace O’Connell. And let’s not forget the judges, Mark Medley, Ryan Kamstra, and Lindy Zucker.

Dani Couture, Literary Death Match, Algoma

Heavy is the head that wears the blunt bangs (Photo by Natalie Zina Walschots)

Bronchitic and no-sleep eyes. Charming.

But let’s be honest. The real winner was Grace’s stilettos. And the comedic hosting styles of Book Madam, Julie Wilson, and LDM co-creator Todd Zuniga.

More photos of the lovely contestants and judges coming…

In the meantime, a pre-Death Match interview with the National Post.

Note the beer. Dad would be proud.

Behold the Canadian Tuxedo, the double double of denim.

Seven girls named after ships pass each other in the night

November 8, 2011

Michel Basilières reviews Algoma in the National Post.

Sweet!

October 24, 2011

Craig Francis Power, Tony Burgess, Dani Couture, Kenneth J. Harvey

Craig Francis Power, Tony Burgess, Dani Couture, Kenneth J. Harvey (Photo by JohnMacDonald.com)

Winners of the Relit Award Announced, National Post

All Things Al

September 17, 2011

Algoma will be launched and released in October. Admittedly, I’m nervous.

For details on the book, click here (Sorry, the previous link apparently went to YouTube).

Take care & enjoy the fall.

Dani

Book Launch for Algoma

September 10, 2011

Dani Couture in Conversation with Jen Knoch at Algoma Book Launch

This Is Not a Reading Series presents author Dani Couture and ECW Editor and book blogger Jen Knoch in a conversation about writing, ships, and weather at the launch of Couture’s debut novel, Algoma. Through a guided slideshow, Couture shares the story behind her obsession with freighters and her favourite fleet. Listen to Dani’s “Channeling Algoma” greatest-hits-playlist and get ready to tweet throughout the evening as we feature live feed from the acclaimed David Leonard Weather Service, #DLWS.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Gladstone Hotel Ballroom, 1214 Queen Street West
Doors Open 7pm, Event Starts 7:30pm
Admission is $5.00 or FREE with a book purchase

Facebook event

ALGOMA A year after watching his brother go through the ice, twelve-year-old Ferd refuses to believe Leo is gone. Convinced his brother is still alive, Ferd enters into a campaign of letters to persuade his brother to come home, ”mailing“ notes in any pool of water he can find. Soon, sopping notes begin to appear around the house—folded squares of paper in the rain reservoir, kitchen sink, and washing machine. Ferd’s mother, Algoma, finds the letters and keeps them to herself in an attempt to hide them from her increasingly distant husband. Gaetan, a bartender who obsessively records the weather, rejects his family’s increasingly erratic behaviour and disappears one night leaving behind his weather journal, a newly pregnant wife, and a son consumed with talking to the dead.

For more information on Algoma, visit: www.blackbearonwater.com/algoma or www.invisiblepublishing.com

“To read Dani Couture’s Algoma is to be reminded of the aching beauty of loss, the thin, pale terror of hope, and the strength and sacrifice required just for living, day by day. Haunting and fundamentally human, Algoma is a gift.” — Robert J. Wiersema, author of Bedtime Story

“Toronto-based poet Dani Couture returns with her first novel, a surreal and iconoclastic take on that perennial CanLit staple: the family drama. Algoma tells the story of a family attempting to cope with the aftermath of a young child falling through the ice and drowning.” — Quill & Quire, 2011 Fall Preview

“Couture is another poet-turned-novelist, and the Torontonian offers up a beautiful story about the nature of expectations and our frequent inability to accept the cards we’re dealt…Algoma is a thoughtful book from a promising young voice about what it means to love and accept loss.” — Zoe Whittall, FASHION magazine

DANI COUTURE is the author of two collections of poetry: Good Meat (Pedlar Press, 2006) and Sweet (Pedlar Press, 2010). Sweet is currently shortlisted for a ReLit Award and was named one of Maisy’s Best Books of 2010 by Maisonneuve Magazine; it was also nominated for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry. In 2011. Dani also received an Honour of Distinction from The Writers’ Trust Dayne Ogilvie Grant. For two years, Dani curated Animal Effigy, an online photo essay on urban faux animal tracking. Her writing has appeared in a number of publications including The Globe and Mail, Grain, The Walrus, and several anthologies. In 2007, her short story “The Port-Wine-Stain-Removal Technique” won first place in the fiction category of This Magazine’s Great Canadian Literary Hunt. Algoma is Couture’s debut novel.

JEN KNOCH is an editor at ECW Press and a secret scribe of teen pop culture books. She also runs popular book blog The Keepin’ It Real Book Club, which features reviews, recommendations, videos and special projects like the Canada Reads spinoff Civilians Read. Visit The Keepin’ It Real Book Club at www.kirbc.com.

The David Leonard Weather Service (#DLWS) is a network of Twitter correspondents posting the weather they see right now. Real-time, crowd-sourced weather. According to his Twitter bio, David Leonard is a reader, enviro, vinyl junkie, soccer fan, and the accidental creator of an eponymous crowd-sourced weather service (the #DLWS), Walrus, dilettante.

This Is Not A Reading Series (TINARS) offers a ground-breaking theatrical dimension to the appreciation of fine writing. Employing music, comedy, psychodrama, dance, multimedia performance, lectures, dialogue—everything but reading—TINARS investigates the creative process behind literary works. For more information visit www.tinars.ca

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Publisher Contact: Chloe Vice, Publicist, Invisible Publishing, phone: 647-343-2662 promotion@invisiblepublishing.com

This Is Not A Reading Series: Anna Withrow, phone: 416-805-2174, awithrow@rogers.com

Poetry Playlist: Amanda Earl

September 10, 2011

When working on a project, I often listen to a selection of songs on repeat, which helps me focus. If a particular section, sentence, or image is giving me pause, I sometimes cue up one song and hit repeat until the issue is resolved. This can mean one listen or 100. By the time a project is done, I’m left with a mixed tape of where I’ve been with the work. This, I suspected, was not unique. And so I’ve asked some writers to share their playlists.

Amanda Earl‘s poetry has appeared in poetry journals in Canada, the US, and the UK. Her chapbooks have been published by above/ground press, avantacular press, Book Thug and Laurel Reed Books. Amanda is the managing editor of Bywords.ca and the Bywords Quarterly Journal and the angel of AngelHousePress. For more on her literary & otherwise shenanigans, please visit amandaearl.com or follow her on twitter: @KikiFolle.

I often listen to specific music when I’m working on a project, or create the playlist after the fact. For “Sessions from the Dream House Aria” (an unpublished long poem), I listened exclusively to Ghosts I-IV by Nine Inch Nails during its creation, and for me, “Medusa,” another unpublished long poem, I listened primarily to heavy metal music, which isn’t even a kind of music I enjoy typically, but i needed the sounds and textures of metal for the images and sounds I was trying to create. Here’s a part of my playlist for my long poem Welcome to Earth (Book Thug, 2008).

Amanda’s Earthly Playlist

(Click here to listen to the entire playlist on YouTube.)

1. The Earth is Broken – Tim Buckley
2. Golden Star – My Brightest Diamond
3. Guided by Wire – Neko Case & Her Boyfriends
4. I Can Be A Rock – Hawksley Workman
5. I Must Belong Somewhere – Bright Eyes
6. Around the Sun – REM
7. Just Want to See – Cowboy Junkies
8. House of the Risin’ Sun – Bob Dylan
9. Is There Anyone Here – Eulogies
10. Invisible City – The Wallflowers
11. Human Thing – The Be Good Tanyas
12.You Are One of the Few Outsiders Who Really Understands Us – Fanfarlo

Relit Shortlist

August 27, 2011

Sweet has made the Relit Award shortlist. I couldn’t be happier.

Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Lyrics, Authors

August 20, 2011

Authors making cameos in song lyrics.

“Margaret Atwood,” The Parkas

This is a photograph of me shouting my obscenities.
Underwater, no one can hear you.
When did I come up for air?
Is a part of me still down there distorting, becoming something new?
The people that we used to be are waiting for us underneath, but if we dive into the black, when we surface we just come back alone.
Margaret Atwood I confess, I’m drowning like all the rest.
My lungs are slowly changing shape.
This is not a ship to sail, it’s the belly of a whale, and I know this time we can’t escape.

“Stuck Between Stations,” The Hold Steady

The devil and John Berryman
Took a walk together.
They ended up on Washington
Talking to the river.
He said I’ve surrounded myself with doctors
And deep thinkers.
But big heads with soft bodies
Make for lousy lovers.
There was that night that we thought John Berryman could fly.

“We Call Upon the Author,” Nick Cave

I say prolix! Prolix! Something a pair of scissors can fix.
Bukowski was a jerk! Berryman was best!
He wrote like wet papier mache, went the Heming-way weirdly on wings and with maximum pain.
We call upon the author to explain.

“Sylvia Plath,” Ryan Adams

And she and I would sleep on a boat
And swim in the sea without clothes
With rain falling fast on the sea
While she was swimming away, she’d be winking at me
Telling me it would all be okay
Out on the horizon and fading away
And I’d swim to the boat and I’d laugh
I gotta get me a Sylvia Plath

Novel Playlist: Dani Couture

August 14, 2011

When working on a project, I often listen to a selection of songs on repeat, which helps me focus. If a particular section, sentence, or image is giving me pause, I sometimes cue up one song and hit repeat until the issue is resolved. This can mean one listen or 100. By the time a project is done, I’m left with a mixed tape of where I’ve been with the work. This, I suspected, is not unique. And so I’ve asked some writers to share their playlists. So far, I’ve posted playlists from Grace O’Connell, Stacey May Fowles, Natalie Zina Walschots, and Evan Munday. More are scheduled. Today, I hope you don’t mind if I share my own.

Dani Couture is the author of two collections of poetry: GOOD MEAT (Pedlar Press, 2006) and SWEET (Pedlar Press, 2010). SWEET was named one of Maisy’s Best Books of 2010 by Maisonneuve Magazine and nominated for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry. In 2011, Dani also received an Honour of Distinction from The Writers’ Trust Dayne Ogilvie Grant. Her debut novel, ALGOMA, is forthcoming with Invisible Publishing in Fall 2011.

The bulk of Algoma was written over several winters. During those cold months, I sat at my desk in my apartment with the lights off and my headphones on. While I need music to write, I can’t listen to new music. Rather, I need tried and true tracks I know so well they’ve become part of my aural landscape. As the novel grew, so did my playlist, but not exponentially so. I listened to a small set of songs on repeat, which helped me remain focused and channel the feeling of loss and longing I needed for the book. Even now when I listen to songs from that playlist, I’m brought back to certain scenes. Forever editing and adding even when a project is complete, I’ve added four bonus tracks to my playlist — songs I wish I would have listened to while I was writing the book.

My Left & Leaving Playlist

(Listen to the entire playlist on YouTube)

1. All my little words – Magnetic Fields
2. Maybe sparrow – Neko Case
3. Left and leaving – The Weakerthans
4. I lost my baby – Jean Leloup
5. Love is like a bottle of gin – Magnetic Fields
6. Only in dreams – Weezer
7. Le Dôme – Jean Leloup
8. Winter – Tori Amos
9. Babe, you turn me on – Nick Cave
8. Emmenez-moi – Charles Aznavour
9. Con toda palabra – Lhasa de Sela
11. To be by your side – Nick Cave
10. [Removed]
12. Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
13. How to say goodbye – Magnetic Fields

Bonus Tracks

1. Sur l’océan couleur de fer – Alcest
2. Video games – Lana Del Rey
3. Metal heart – Cat Power
4. L’ours – Tricot Machine

24th Trillium Book Award – Reading

August 14, 2011

A recording of my reading at the 24th Trillium Book Award readings in June 2011.

And here’s Trillium winner Jeff Latosik’s lovely reading.

The Fine Art of Basking

August 13, 2011

Illustration by Julie McLaughlin for National Post

This summer, I was asked to participate in a collaborative story with a gaggle of wonderful Canadian writers (Steven Heighton, Kate Pullinger, D. W. Wilson, Brian Francis, Marina Endicott, Kevin Chong, Tristan Hughes, Johanna Skibsrud, Linwood Barclay, and Helen Humphreys). The end result is now up on the National Post’s website and in today’s Post.

NP Books Editor, Mark Medley, on the piece, which you can read here:

This summer saw the publication of No Rest For The Dead, a crime novel with an unusual twist: Authorship was shared by 26 different writers. Around the same time it was released, we were in the midst of planning our own Summer Fiction issue, so when the book came across our desk we decided to ask some of Canada’s literary luminaries to team up for a similar experiment, albeit on a much smaller scale — a short story. The only thing we provided was a sentence (“He’d/She’d always hated the summer”), which was promptly ignored, though it does in fact appear in a slightly altered form. The story began with Steven Heighton, who passed it on to the next writer, and so on, until all 11 writers had contributed a section. We hope you enjoy The Fine Art of Basking (the title was suggested by Kate Pullinger) as much as we do.

The piece also includes some great author illustrations by Julie McLaughlin.

Poetry Playlist: Natalie Zina Walschots

August 11, 2011

When working on a project, I often listen to a selection of songs on repeat, which helps me focus. If a particular section, sentence, or image is giving me pause, I sometimes cue up one song and hit repeat until the issue is resolved. This can mean one listen or 100. By the time a project is done, I’m left with a mixed tape of where I’ve been with the work. This, I suspected, was not unique. And so I’ve asked some writers to share their playlists.

Photo by Adam Wills

Natalie Zina Walschots‘ first book of poetry, Thumbscrews, won the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry and was published by Snare Books in 2007. Her next book, DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains, is forthcoming from Insomniac Press (Spring 2012). Her poetry has recently appeared in Carousel, broken pencil, The Peter F. Yacht Club, dANDelion, ditch, Last Supper, Misunderstandings Magazine, Open Letter, and Rampike, and is forthcoming in Matrix. Natalie completed her MA in English/Creative Writing at the University of Calgary. She has served as the Managing Editor of both filling Station and dANDelion magazines. She also co-curated the Flywheel reading series from 2005 to 2008. She recently served on the executive board of the Scream Literary Festival as the Volunteer Coordinator, and she worked as a writer-in-residence through the NOW HEAR THIS!/S.W.A.T. Program, the literacy outreach arm of the Descant Arts & Letters Foundation. Natalie now writes live concert reviews, album reviews, interviews, blog posts, and articles for Hellbound.ca, Alternative Matter, Angry Metal Guy, and About Heavy Metal. She is the Managing Editor of, and contributor to, Canada Arts Connect. She has also begun to dabble in events planning once again, programming a monthly metal series, Doomsayers, at the Trash Palace, and hosting heavy metal/literary hybrid events as under Golden Spruce Entertainment. Her base of operations is located in Toronto.

Music is an absolutely essential part of the writing process for me. I could not imagine working on DOOM successfully without an epic, supervillainous soundtrack.


Natalie’s Doom(ed) Playlist

(Click here to listen to the entire playlist on YouTube)

Iced Earth – Damian
By Your Command – Devin Townsend
Faith No More – Caffeine
Agalloch – Kneel To the Cross
Amorphis – Perkele
Gaza – He Is Never Coming Back
Devin Townsend – Planet Smasher
Gojira – Esoteric Surgery
Graf Orlock – Hauser
Isis – The Beginning And The End
Neurosis – Through Silver In Blood
Vader’s Imperial March – Star Wars Soundtrack

YA Novel Playlist: Evan Munday

August 9, 2011

When working on a project, I often listen to a selection of songs on repeat, which helps me focus. If a particular section, sentence, or image is giving me pause, I sometimes cue up one song and hit repeat until the issue is resolved. This can mean one listen or 100. By the time a project is done, I’m left with a mixed tape of where I’ve been with the work. This, I suspected, was not unique. And so I’ve asked some writers to share their playlists.

The Dead Kid Detective AgencyEvan Munday is the illustrator of the novel Stripmalling, written by Jon Paul Fiorentino (ECW 2009), and is the cartoonist behind the self-published comic book, Quarter-Life Crisis, set in a post-apocalyptic Toronto. He works as a book publicist for Coach House Books. The Dead Kid Detective Agency is his first novel. He is currently illustrating Natalie Zina Walschots’s DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains (forthcoming in Spring 2012 from Insomniac Press).

I’m simple-minded, so I find it extremely difficult to listen to music and concentrate. This may be because I listen to my music at a volume whereby other people in the apartment can learn the lyrics to all my favourite songs, even when I have headphones on. Accordingly, when I’m writing my first drafts on paper or pencilling illustrations, I’m music-free. But while typing or inking, I do listen to music heavily. It helps me forget it’s three in the morning (or whenever it is).

For my juvenile novel, The Dead Kid Detective Agency, I made a ‘spooky’ mix, to help me get in the macabre mood of the book. This largely involved finding the more ghostly or haunting tracks on whatever CDs I had at the ready. Seems like punk, ska and electronic bands had the spookiest music. Or comprise the majority of my CD collection. Probably a little from Column A, a little from Column B.

Evan’s Spooky Playlist

(Click here to listen to the entire playlist on YouTube.)

1. The Specials – Ghost Town
2. VCR – Die Zone
3. The Faint – Violent
4. The Dead 60s – You’re Not the Law
5. Squirrel Nut Zippers – Ghost of Stephen Foster
6. Rancid – Red Hot Moon
7. The Organ – I Am Not Surprised
8. Fischerspooner – Emerge
9. The Coral – Shadows Fall
10. The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – God Is a Spider
11. The Epoxies – Stop Looking at Me
12. The Cure – Jumping Someone Else’s Train
13. Siouxsie and the Banshees – Spellbound
14. The Raveonettes – The Love Gang
15. The Aquabats – Cat with 2 Heads

Have a novel/short story collection/poetry playlist you want to share? Email me at dani dot couture at gmail dot com.

Short Story Collection Playlist: Michael Bryson

August 4, 2011

When working on a project, I often listen to a selection of songs on repeat, which helps me focus. If a particular section, sentence, or image is giving me pause, I sometimes cue up one song and hit repeat until the issue is resolved. This can mean one listen or 100. By the time a project is done, I’m left with a mixed tape of where I’ve been with the work. This, I suspected, was not unique. And so I’ve asked some writers to share their playlists.

Kate O'Rouke

Photo credit: Kate O'Rourke

Michael Bryson: Michael has been reviewing books for twenty years and publishing short stories almost as long. His latest publication is an e-version of his novella Only A Lower Paradise: A Story About Fallen Angels and Confusion on Planet Earth. His other books are Thirteen Shades of Black and White (1999), The Lizard (2009) and How Many Girlfriends (2010). In 1999, he founded the online literary magazine, The Danforth Review and published 26 issues of fiction, etcetera, before taking a break in 2009. In fall, 2011 TDR will once again be accepting fiction submissions. He blogs at the Underground Book Club. He has new fiction forthcoming in The New Quarterly (Fall 2011) and new fiction (“The Places You’ll Go”) recently online at Urban Graffiti. He co-parents a daughter and a son. His wife was diagnosed with breast cancer 11 months ago. She has survived the disease, the treatment, and a lot else besides.

Whether I write with the music on or the music off, there’s always a tune in my head. Often the song in my head will tell me what I’m thinking. I’ll find myself repeating “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles, for instance, and only then realize that I’ve been reflecting on a particular headline that I read on the way in to work: “I’ve read the news today, oh, boy.” My subconscious seems to transport messages to me through music. Of course, I also have an affinity to certain lyrics, certain phrases, certain rhetorical approaches: “Poets, priests, and politicians/ have words to thank for their positions,” sang The Police. That’s one of my favourite lyrics; it’s clear about the lack of clarity that can be provided by language (“Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” as Aretha Franklin said). You can see this theme in many of the songs on my list. Also, I dig the 2/4 beat, so the first song on the list was a natural. It’s very hard for me to select a 15 song list, so I’ve cheated a bit. As Janis Joplin said, “I’m ready, man!”

Micheal’s 2/4 Playlist

(Click here to play the entire playlist on YouTube)

1. I Love Rock and Roll – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
2. Back to Me – Kathleen Edwards
3. All I Want – Joni Mitchell
4. Eminence Front – The Who
5. Smoking Banana Peels – The Dead Milkmen
6. Fulsome Prison Blues – Johnny Cash
7. Short Sharp Shocked (entire LP) – Michelle Shocked
8. A Sort of Homecoming – U2
9. High Water (For Charlie Patton) – Bob Dylan
10. Mimi on the Beach – Jane Sibbery
11. Helpless – k.d. lang sings Neil Young
12. Stage Fright – The Band
13. Revolution (White Album version) – The Beatles
14. Shelter from the Storm (live, Hard Rain version) – Bob Dylan
15. Lucky Star – Madonna
16. The Seeker – The Who
17. Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who
18. I Don’t Want to be a Soldier – John Lennon
19. Both Sides Now – Joni Mitchell

Have a novel/short story collection/poetry playlist you want to share? Email me at dani dot couture at gmail dot com.

ReLit Award Longlist

August 2, 2011

Sweet and a truckload of great titles have made it onto the ReLit Award longlist.

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