I spent a fantastic afternoon with Michael Dennis this past Saturday scanning his book covers in order to upload them to his new blog (kindly set up by Christian McPherson). Michael is just great to spend a few hours with talking poetry. He’s read more than most people alive, and he has strong opinions about it from all sorts of perspectives. It was a joy. Keep an eye on his blog going forward, he has been posting interesting micro-reviews almost daily. If you’re looking for a poetry recommendation, you could do a lot worse than trusting Michael’s instincts on the books he reviews.
I spent a little while afterwards tracking down some links for his blog, which turned up these two great videos from July 1988. Both are part of a project (“Inset: The Video Poets”) from something larger called The Festival of the Arts that evidently took place in Ottawa. Does anyone have any further information? See Michael Dennis read a poem, and then watch Dennis Tourbin read one.
In other festival news, VERSeFest starts tonight and boy oh boy am I excited. Rob Winger, Stuart Ross, Gil McElroy, Claudia Coutu Radmore, Christine McNair, Ken Babstock, William Hawkins, and scores of others. It promises to be wonderful as ever, this year in its third installment. Back in November I gave a talk on Raymond Souster as part of a fundraiser for the festival. I’m proud to have taken part, and now a version of the essay is available online to read in the latest issue of 17 seconds. Thanks to rob mclennan (editor) and Monique Desnoyers (designer) for their hard work on the issue. It’s a pleasure to be in there.
Odourless is apparently ramping up to go back into production, which is good news for anyone who cares about poetry and small press publishing in Canada. Catch up on what Ben Ladouceur is doing. Are you paying attention to him yet? You’d be a fool not to. There is a cool new profile on William Hawkins from rob mclennan up at Open Book: Ontario too.
See everyone at the festival.