2015 Year-in-Review

Following last year’s year-end post, here is a self-centred accounting of 2015 as a doctoral candidate, poet, and publisher.

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As of last week, I have now completed drafts of all four chapters of my dissertation on bookselling and the small press in Canada after the Second World War. It is sitting at some 200 pages and 60,000+ words. There is a long way to go yet, but there is something to work with anyway. I published an article at Amodern on the Canada Council and the history of funding for poetry readings in Canada. A second article is due back any day now from the printer in the Journal of Canadian Studies / Revue d’études canadiennes about Raymond Souster and the Contact Poetry Reading Series (1957-1962), a long overdue piece based on my 2009 M.A. research. I also wrote an entry on Contact Press for the forthcoming Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, set to appear online sometime in 2016 so far as I know. I presented only a single conference paper (on William Hawkins at ACCUTE), instead focusing my energies on the dissertation and teaching responsibilities. 2016 should see extensive revisions on the dissertation with true optimism to submit in September, and hopefully at least one conference paper along the way.

On the poetry side, the big news was the publication of The Collected Poems of Williams Hawkins by the fine and hardworking team at Chaudiere Books. It launched in June, and we were even able to get Bill out to read from it in November. Watch the footage of his astonishing reading here. Bill and I also appeared on CBC’s All in a Day to talk about the book, and it was received well, garnering a number of reviews and other bits of media.

Apt. 9 Press had the great fortune and privilege of publishing new chapbooks by Marilyn Irwin, Lillian Nećakov, Nelson Ball, and Michael e. Casteels, and dragging our wares to book fairs in Ottawa and Toronto. A chapbook is forthcoming in 2016 from Lea Graham, followed by a hiatus for the remainder of the year in order to finish the aforementioned doctoral degree.

I published a new chapbook, Consider Each Possibility, with London’s always-excellent Baseline Press. I had a manuscript on the shortlist for the John Lent Poetry-Prose Award from UBC Okanagan’s Kalamlka Press. Bardia Sinaee wrote an unbelievably kind essay about a handful of my earlier chapbooks. I gave readings in Kingston (The Interim Reading Series, with the Accord of Poets), Toronto (Baseline Press Launch), and Ottawa (AB Series, Factory Series, Chaudiere Press Launch, OAR), published poems in or at Industrial SabotageFlat Singles Press, The Steel Chisel, Peter F. Yacht Club, and the Matrix Ottawa Dossier (ed. by Jason Christie), had a little poem broadside come out from above/ground press, and was interviewed at Ottawa Life Magazine and the Town Crier. I’m also in the roster to appear in this series of painted portraits of Canadian poets by Melanie Janisse Barlow. The full-length manuscript, as ever, continues to develop.

Whatever I am forgetting at the moment, I apologize! My great thanks to all of the editors, poets, organizers, students, professors, and supporters along the way that made each of the above possible. I can’t wait to see what happens in 2016!

 

“Sequential Gestures: Reading Cameron Anstee”

Oh boy. I’m all full of inarticulate emotions right now reading this piece that Bardia Sinaee wrote. I’ve got an enormous amount of respect for Bardia as a poet, a reader of poetry, a thinker-about of poetry (he’s more articulate than I am). I really can’t believe that he spent this much time and energy reading and rereading these early chapbooks of mine, and then producing this essay. He’s such a force for good in the small press world, and I feel immensely grateful that I have the privilege of being in his sight line here.

I’ll take it (what is certainly the longest and kindest piece of critical writing I’ll ever receive) as a downpayment on the next few decades of hard work. I hope I can produce something good enough to repay Bardia for his generosity here. Thanks, man.

Here he is with Peter Gibbon taking care of the Apt. 9 table at the recent Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market:

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Do yourself a favour and buy his most recent chapbook from Anstruther Press before its gone (if it isn’t already).

Interviews, Publications, Readings

A few recent things:

Samantha Lapierre interviewed me over at Ottawa Life about Apt. 9 and making books.

Sean Lamb interviewed me at The Town Crier (the Puritan) also about making books but also about small poems.

Melanie Janisse-Barlow is working on what she calls a “growing archive of paintings of poets.” Read about the project at her Kickstarter campaign. Nelson Ball was kind enough to put my name forward as one to follow his, and so, strangely, there will be a painting of me someday in the far-off future (she has about 80 poets committed so far, and it keeps growing).

I had a handful of poems published in Matrix recently in their “Ottawa Dossier” edited by Jason Christie. I also have a poem in the newest issue of jwcurry’s Industrial Sabotage.

Finally, Chaudiere Books is celebrating the launch of their Fall titles tomorrow afternoon at The Manx in Ottawa, 5:00pm as part of the Ottawa International Writers Festival. Alongside Chris Turnbull, Jennifer Londry, and Andy Weaver, there will be a further reading from The Collected Poems of William Hawkins. Bill will hopefully be present to read, but I will step in if he can’t make it. Should be a good one!

An Accord of Poets – One-Year Anniversary and Sale

One year ago today, I was excited and lucky to be starting a five-day poetry reading tour with Jesslyn Gagno, Jeff Blackman, Justin Million, and Rachael Simpson. We read in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Peterborough (and later Kingston). Apt. 9 published its first book with a spine to coincide with the tour, and today, to mark the one year-anniversary, that book is on sale for 50% off ($10.00 down from $20.00). It’ll be on sale October 11-15, the original five days of the tour. If you missed it the first time around, or just feel like buying a backup copy (or three), this is a good time do it! Thanks once again to all in the Accord, to our families for putting up with our extended absence over the Thanksgiving weekend, and to all that helped make the tour possible. ‪#‎itallhappened‬ ‪#‎oneyearago‬

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Radio, Readings, Reviews

I’ll be on Literary Landscape on CKCU tomorrow evening speaking to Pearl Pirie about a number of things I have on the go with Apt. 9 Press and my own writing. I’m looking forward to it. CKCU is great at putting programs up for on demand streaming following the show, so you’ll be able to listen live here (or at 93.1 on your radio), and listen not-live here. Show runs Thursdays at 6:30pm.

I’m reading in the Factory Reading Series on Friday September 25 at the Carleton Tavern, alongside Ryan Pratt, Monty Reid, and Roland Prevost. Doors at 7:00pm, readings at 7:30pm. above/ground press is kindly producing a poem broadside by me to mark the occasion. I’m looking forward to reading beside Ryan, Monty, and Roland, and to see anyone that is able to make it out.

My chapbook from Baseline Press is nearly an object in the world. It is launching on Thursday October 22 at The Supermarket in Toronto, and Friday October 23 at the London Music Club in London. I’ll be present and reading in Toronto, but sadly cannot make London. Hope to see you out, Toronto friends!

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The Collected Poems of William Hawkins received a very kind review by Douglas Barbour at his blog, Eclectic Ruckus: “a most worthwhile endeavor, a reminder to some & an introduction to many others, of a witty, sardonic, voice from outside the main centres of Canadian poetry in the late 20th century.” This in addition to the review by Sanita Fejzic at Apt. 613, Bill’s appearance on CBC’s All in a Day, and  a profile in Ottawa Magazine by Rob Thomas. The book is currently on sale at All Lit Up as part of their 1-year anniversary celebrations.

Otherwise, work on new Apt. 9 titles from Nelson Ball and Michael e. Casteels goes on in preparation for the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair on Saturday November 7. See you there!