A Seattle Reading

Elliot Bay Book Company

Lots to update you on but first wanted to post about this event coming up that I am very excited about. Going to be reading in Seattle with three wonderful poet friends Rachel Rose, Jen Currin and Renée Sarojini Saklikar and an American poet, Susan Rich, whom I am looking forward to meeting. Rachel will have two amazing musicians, Jefferson Rose and Tobi Stone of The Jefferson Rose Band accompanying her reading. Thank you very much Rachel for inviting me to read at this.

Date & Time: February 2nd, at 7 p.m.
Location: The Elliot Bay Book Company, 1521 Tenth Avenue, Seattle WA.


Rachel Rose (http://www.rachelrose.ca) has won national awards for her poetry, her fiction, and her non-fiction. She is the author of three books of poetry, Song & Spectacle, Notes on Arrival and Departure, and Giving My Body to Science. In 2011 she was commissioned to write a libretto, working with composer Leslie Uyeda, which will be performed as an opera in summer 2013.

Renée Sarojini Saklikar writes thecanadaproject, a life-long poem chronicle (http://thecanadaproject@wordpress.com) Work from thecanadaproject appears in literary journals, newspapers, and anthologies. Renée is at work on a sequence of elegies, about Canada and the bombing of Air India Flight 182.

Susan Rich (http://thealchemistskitchen.blogspot.com) is the author of three collections of poetry, The Alchemist’s Kitchen (2010) a finalist for the Foreword Prize and the Washington State Book Award, Cures Include Travel (2006), and The Cartographer’s Tongue / Poems of the World (2000) winner of the PEN USA Award for Poetry. Rich has received awards from The Times Literary Supplement of London, Peace Corps Writers and the Fulbright Foundation. Her poems appear in the Harvard Review, New England Review, and Poetry Ireland. Her fourth book, House of Sky, has recently been accepted for publication by White Pine Press.

Jen Currin has published three books of poetry: The Sleep of Four Cities (2005), Hagiography (2008), and The Inquisition Yours (2010), which was a finalist for four awards and won the Audre Lorde Poetry Award. She teaches writing at Kwantlen University, Vancouver Community College, and for The Writer’s Studio at SFU.

Raoul Fernandes lives and writes in East Vancouver, B.C. His poems have been previously published in Event, CV2, and Poetry Is Dead and The Malahat Review. In 2010 he was a finalist for the Bronwen Wallace Award. He is currently assembling his first poetry manuscript.

Jefferson Rose (www.jeffersonroseband.com) is a bass player and composer.  He has toured Europe and and regionally with groups such as The Jefferson Rose Band, Lasarose, Diego Paqué and many others.  His 2012 full-length release, “Seismic” and single, “Cruzando el Atlántico” are currently being distributed worldwide.

Tobi Stone (tobistone.com) plays saxophone, clarinet and flute and has performed with many jazz greats.  She won numerous regional awards and toured internationally with The Tiptons and Reptet.  Tobi is currently a member of several bands including The Seattle Repertory Jazz OrchestraThe Jefferson Rose Band and Thione Diop & Afro Groove.



Poetic Justice Reading

As much as it is weird and uncomfortable to see video of myself, (and sharing it for that matter) it keeps me learning what I need to improve in my readings. I’ve often make a point to mute any theatric gestures or whatnot – but seeing how easy it is to get bored with watching a fellow reading from a paper on a stage, I would like to try amping it up just a little. While somehow still being my usual un-amped self.

Thanks to Candice James for inviting me out to read! I felt warmly welcomed and appreciated despite the low turn out.

Thanks as well as my “New West Peeps” for coming out to see me, especially my cousin Monisha who had us over for drinks and snacks after.

Poetic Justice happens every Sunday 3-5pm in the cosy backroom of the Heritage Grill in New Westminster, with 2 or 3 featured readers plus an open mic.

Hat Trick Reading

Spending the day putting together some poems to read for the upcoming “Hat Trick” reading in Victoria, with Garth and Anne-Marie (The other two finalists from the Bronwen Wallace Award/ my new gang?) It is sort of a celebration of the fact of all of us finalists being from British Columbia. Open Space, a non-profit artist-run centre, is putting it on, and they seem to be good people. I’m looking forward to check out what they’re all about. Part of what is making this exciting is that they are selling broadsheets of a poem by each of us, that a local artist, Chelsea Rushton, has illustrated. I have seen what Chelsea has drawn for mine, and it is totally awesome.

They’re giving a generous 20 minutes for each of us to read, which is something I haven’t prepared for in a long time. I’m nervous, but hoping to make the best of it by showing a range of my work, in different styles/forms. (This make s me realize that I should try more different forms. Right now it seems like it’s mostly a lot of free-verse, some list-poems, some haiku. I should have some villanelles under my belt?  ghazals? Even rhyming poems?)

Anyway, I don’t imagine much of you reading this are from Victoria but here are the details about the event. And the Facebook page.

I’ll be spending a day and a bit on Mayne Island before coming over to Victoria so it should be good for my nerves and I’ll practice reading to the deer and woodpeckers if they can stand it.

Sommer Browning @ the Denver/Vancouver Reading

Recently attended the Denver/Vancouver reading in which a few poets from Denver, CO were paired up with a few of Vancouver’s poets (why not, right? Our cities already half-rhyme!) It was a lovely and weird reading; Ray Hsu half-drunkenly left a poem in Stephen Harper’s voicemailbox, Noah Eli Gordon used audience members as readers with on/off switches to create cacophony of voices.

The standout for me was a reading by Sommer Browning, whose first book, “Either Way I’m Celebrating” I consumed in a whirry coffee-buzz the following day.

Browning writes poems and draws little comics and seems to appreciate the relationship that jokes have with poems, how they both tilt and reinvent the world.

Her opening poem at the reading, An Officer And A Gentleman, took the voice of someone guessing in a game of Charades:

Movie. Four Words. First word. Sounds like….making a box with your hands….sculpting, shaping, sounds like shaping, caping, maping, paping, paping? That’s not a word, is it? Paping? Nevermind, go to the second word. Second word. Fingers close together. Inch worm! No. Bit, tiny , little….2001: A Space Odyssey! I don’t know why I said that…

it carries on that way, read at an appropriately frantic and choppy pace by Browning, getting more and more frustrating and absurd, until the arrival at the answer is both a surprise and somehow profound. The poem might be taken as just a clever form, but it illustrates very succinctly the difficulties of communication.

[Browning  performing the poem at a different reading (around the 4:52 mark)]

I don’t always totally follow where Browning is going in her poems, but there is something so natural about the voice, one is drawn there anyway. And though often funny, its not the only note played: snappy one-liners are offset by surreal images, and darker contemplations. Sommer can go from talking about watching adult movies as a kid, to sea monkeys, to this ‘we knew our parents didn’t love each other.‘ Her ability to make this work shows a wide range and confidence of voice.

The comics in her book are simple crude illustration that are sometimes surreal, sometimes charmingly wtf, yet always feel at home amongst the poems. Here’s one:

It seems that Browning has put out a number of chapbooks, but this is her first ‘real’ book and one I was grateful to read. With the daunting prospect of putting together my own first book on the horizon, its refreshing to see one that includes a drawing of a dildo riding a bicycle – and yet still holds up as a strong collection. Check out here website and the neat things she does here.