Monthly Archives: May 2017

“Writers on Rights” Poetry Event: A First-Timer’s Impression #2

A special guest post about the May 14 “Meet Me in the Aga Khan Museum” event by Luka Pajkovic

“Meet Me at the Aga Khan/Writers on Rights” was my first time at a poetry reading, I went in not knowing what to expect, and I’m happy to say I was blown away. I had never really considered poetry readings before, I tend to read poems myself and leave it at that. But the poets I saw on the fourteenth read their works so passionately and with so much intensity that their words took on power and life that I don’t think I have ever seen captured on the page.

Vivek Shraya’s performance, where she sang lyrics from a range of black female artists, was incredible, and turned the reading into a concert. It was an experience that couldn’t be matched by just reading the poem. Hearing Vivek’s piece, as well as all the other poems, made me think about everything that is added to a poem when you hear someone read it. Especially if they read it with true feeling, like all the speakers at Sunday’s event seemed to do. Through their reading, every poem was filled with the emotions of its author. I think this carried over to the audience, and it influenced the way the poems were understood. I know it was like that for me at least.

Considering the heavy subject matter, human rights, and some recent events, things got pretty intense during more than a few readings. The audience even had to be reminded to breathe. Listening to these poets reminded me of the power that poetry can have, and how moving it can be; the tension and energy in the theatre was enough evidence to convince me.

The Aga Khan is a beautiful museum, and its auditorium made the perfect venue for such a powerful display of art and language. It was an amazing event, and well worth it when the only price of admission was being inside on a sunny day.

 

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“Writers on Rights” Poetry Event: A First-Timer’s Impression #1

A special guest post about the May 14 “Meet Me in the Aga Khan Museum” event by Kathleen Anderson

The closest thing to a poetry event I’d ever been to was a small reading crammed into the corner of a library. I was excited to experience something more elaborate and hear from people whose work has and continues to make an impact, exploring different facets of human experience.

The event took place on a sunny afternoon inside the stunning Aga Khan Museum, and Amnesty International was present to provide information about human rights issues.

A poetry event on the topic of human rights demands seriousness, of course, but I wondered just how charged the environment would be. There were certainly intense and emotion-filled moments, but there were also jokes and smiles. The blending of these different emotions, for me, made the event even more valuable, a real expression of human experience.

I liked the effect of hearing different readers speak one after another because it revealed similarities and differences in the way people express their experiences creatively. The writers all talked about topics connected to human rights, but the poetry they chose to read was so interestingly varied: the type of poem, the content, the context (personal and political), and even the verbal expression.

The vocal element of the event really struck me. Hearing poetry spoken aloud is such a different experience than reading the off a page. I could hear the passion, the anger, the sadness. The words were brought to life.

For me, the most rewarding part of the event was that I couldn’t just sit in the audience and passively listen. The poems and the authors’ commentary on the link between art and activism made me think as I heard it. Then I spent my drive home turning the words and ideas over in my head. It’s fascinating to find an experience that doesn’t end when you leave the building.

 

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Things Don’t Break—Richard Rosenbaum

ISBN: 9781988040196

PRICE: $21.95




Acclaimed writer Richard Rosenbaum’s short stories range in genre from realism to speculative, and stylistically from literary to experimental. In his stunning first collection of short fiction, Things Don’t Break, readers will discover stories about relationships, robots, videogames, the moon, giant evil chickens, and more.

“Things Don’t Break is an amazing piñata of a book. Crack it open and out will fly all kinds of strange and wondrous things (including a robot or two). A truly smashing collection of stories.”—Neil Smith, author of Boo

“Richard Rosenbaum knows the way people work—the way they love, the way they hurt, the way they break. These are stories that fire on all the emotional cylinders. A Pandora’s box of the strange and beautiful things that live inside us all.”—Ian Rogers, author of Every House Is Haunted

Click here to read “Wrong Side of Heaven” from Things Don’t Break.

Richard Rosenbaum is the author of the novel Pretend to Feel (Now Or Never Publishing 2017), the novella Revenge of the Grand Narrative (Quattro Books 2014), and of Raise Some Shell (ECW Press 2014), a cultural history of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He is also a regular contributor to the popular culture analysis website Overthinking It. He lives in Toronto.

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A Moose in the Dark—H.W. Browne

ISBN: 9781988040233

PRICE: $21.95

H.W. Browne’s debut short fiction collection, A Moose in the Dark, questions our ways of knowing. In a world where cathedrals, churches, and temples no longer bind communities, hers is a search for connectivity. Whether a moose prepares the way for old friends desperate to communicate, or a skull saves a child from drowning, Browne’s stories risk the intervention of the uncanny, and immersion in the elements.

“Heather Browne had been known to me as an award-winning poet, and more recently a much anthologized short fiction writer. She has a unique style, meticulously rendering each word for the strongest narrative while maintaining a parallel under voice. Her imagery is priceless. A Moose in the Dark is tight, deep, yet sexy; a pleasure to read, savour, and reread.”—Wayne Curtis, author of In the Country

“Aflame with characters in pursuit of connection and salvation, this fine debut collection is saturated with language that is, like all the best truth-telling, both a conflagration and an inundation: seductive, slippery, and sometimes a little shifty-eyed.”—Diane Schoemperlen, author of This Is Not My Life

“A Moose in the Dark explores the complex loyalties of husbands and wives, lovers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. Browne offers a glimpse of the lives of ordinary people—a trucker, a shoe saleswoman, a school bus driver – illuminated briefly in the headlights, moments of disappointment, reconciliation and resignation. She writes those moments as they deserve to be written, in language rich with poetry and lightened by wit.” Kelly Cooper, author of Eyehill

“If you have a house, then there is always something to do—especially when the hours are stretching out in front of you like a long centre line on a dark night on a lonesome highway. In that time, civil dusk, that time just before it all goes black as pitch, you can make a homemade moose call and see what comes. Just as those were Heather Browne’s words, that moose call is exactly what she’s made, and so who comes to it? All those peculiar half-forgotten relatives who are just as human as we are—the quick and the dead, the old folks and the children, the long gone and now. Can Heather’s house stand up to all these visitors? If you run your hands over the wood, you will feel how well constructed it is, how she’s built it solid and sanded every beam. We don’t know if a moose will come or not, but we will. We can all live in Heather Browne’s house because that’s where we are already.”—Keith Maillard, author of Difficulty at the Beginning

“Communication, or the lack of it, is the theme of A Moose in the Dark, Heather Browne’s
debut collection of short stories, in which her characters strive to connect with one another and with the larger world, but for one reason or another do not… glimpses into the tragedies that lurk behind.”—Wayne Grady, Kingston Whig-Standard

“Contains stories that will—more frequently than not—leave you asking questions… which is a good indicator of the author’s short story writing skills. If you like the literary short story genre, then you will enjoy A Moose in the Dark.—Mirimachi Reader

H.W. Browne writes poetry and short fiction and received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of British Columbia. She has published several books of poetry, and her story, “Beach Glass,” was recognized as a notable short story by the judges for the 2014 Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award. A native New Brunswicker, she now lives in Ontario and continues mentoring creative writers, and of course, learning from the water.

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