The real new year

Editing, On the water, YAW

August falls into September and the real new year begins. At least for me.

YAW

YAW was reviewed by Jonathan Ball in the Winnipeg Free Press.

The…collection startles, stabs and demands attention. Yaw confirms Couture’s impressive range and cold command.

Links to other reviews can be found here.

THIS Magazine

September is my two-year anniversary acquiring poetry and fiction for THIS Magazine. It’s been a ride.

This summer, we launched our inaugural summer reading issue with new work by Alice Burdick, Tony Burgess, Sarah Burgoyne, Aisha Sasha John, Jeff Latosik, and David Seymour. Expect another summer reading issue in 2015…

Yesterday brought some good news into the This sphere. We’re thrilled about the inclusion of Nancy Jo Cullen’s short story “Hashtag Maggie Vandermeer” in this year’s Journey Prize Anthology. Her piece was included in the November/December 2013 issue. Hearty congrats, Nancy Jo!

Back issues can be ordered through This Magazine.

Readings & Events

October 1
Pivot Reading Series, Toronto, Ontario

October (details to come)
Lak​e Ontario WaterKeepe​r Summit, St. John, New Brunswick

Fishing

The Couture family fishing season came to a soft close this past weekend with a generous haul of pickerel and perch. Lake Erie giveth.

fishing

Cousin-in-law, me, dad, pickerel.

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

The Outside World

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.

Poetry In Voices

National Poetry Month, Other's words, poetry

Screen shot 2013-04-24 at 9.43.01 PM

“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

Publications

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.”

Review

Algoma, Other's words

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

Uncategorized

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

Uncategorized

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.

Falling

Publications, Readings

“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

Readings

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

Algoma, Readings, Travel

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

Food Stuffs, Other's words, The Outside World, Writing Recess

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.

I’m 5×5 about 10×10

Strangelets, The Outside World, Writing Recess

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

Algoma, Other's words, Readings

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.

Decembre

Algoma

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.

Al

Algoma

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.

Literary Death Match

Algoma

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.

Book Launch for Algoma

Algoma, Readings

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

Playlists

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

Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Lyrics, Authors

Writing Recess

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

Algoma, Playlists

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

“a rust-belt affection for the way things flew apart”: A Review of Dani Couture’s Poetry Collection YAW

Uncategorized

Originally posted on Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian:

daniIt only seems fitting that my review of this sparse, short book follows in the same tradition, so I don’t think I’ll be writing much about Toronto-based Dani Couture’s 57-page collection of poetry YAW.  But don’t take that to mean I didn’t get a lot out of it.  I think this is a book of poems that I will come back to, and reap more from Couture’s precise, muscular lines again and again.

First of all, do I know what the title means?  No, I don’t.  Does it matter? I don’t think so.  I mean, I googled it (“a twisting or oscillation of a moving ship or aircraft around a vertical axis”), but that didn’t really affect the way I felt about the poems.  If anyone knows anything more about this word and its possible larger significance I’d be interested, but frankly I’m okay leaving it as a mystery for now.

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