Pre-press fair reading

Ten Toes Coffee, Somerset St, was the venue for this spring’s pre-press fair reading. Apparently it’s been open a few months. What a sweet little spot for coffee, tea, snacks, or laundry in the back apparently. A green and orange and stained glass and retro glass decor. Next time I’ll have to try the matcha latte. Their bathroom has a wooden sink, which is fun. But do I digress or bury the lede?

The reading. Yes, the reading. It was super fun and super full, probably over 2 dozen, some familiar faces, some faces new to me. (Although they have all owned their faces for decades obviously.). I haven’t been to many reading over the last 5 years since concussion then Covid-era starting. I was glad to see some masks in the room.

Some nice conversations had, catch ups and getting to hear aloud a chapbook I loved reading, Fossils you can Swallow by Vera Hadzic (Proper Tales Press, 2023). You can get your copy at Stuart Ross’ table on Saturday.

The audience was beautifully open and attentive to all. Option of zoom is lovely but there’s something to be said for live energy in a room.

Vera Hadzic in the introduction

Always interesting to meet the person who made the poems you already enjoyed. Looking forward to what Vera makes next. Nimble passionate mind.

Also on tap: a co-reading Dave Currie and Jennifer Baker from their new Apt 9 Press chapbook, Memento Mishka, following Poems for the Mishka (Shrieking Violet Press 2015), this new one of grief of loss, and learnings from living with companion animals. Even people who are “not pet people” got choked up.

Jennifer Baker and David Currie

Coincidentally on The Well, Branon was talking about a movie where the beat exactly stood equally on humour and horror. Their poem of the follow up options after a death of perks you can buy, hair clipping, paw print, upgraded urn, etc. Bingo.

thank for Dave for leg work to set up the venue.

rob mclennan read a bit from his latest chapbook which didn’t get a launch before, The Alta Vista Improvements by rob mclennan (above/ground, 2023) which I read a while back, and from a forthcoming chapbook, edgeless : letters, which riffs off the Kroetsch poems of a month apart from his parter, except in this case, rob being 2 weeks apart as Christine was at a writing retreat. What is connection over a distance. Twitter news, texting, aware of rhythm at home while not there.

One of his chapbooks had something about mountains not needing our metaphors. That has me mulling.

I read from three things, my fall chapbook of haiku, This Small Singing (phafours press, 2022), my just released Adding Up to This (Catkin Press, 2023), [$10 at the fair], and my forthcoming Turret House chapbook, A Couple Sumarians, which are love poems, (not bitter break-up or after death of person, not sad poems like most love poems seem to be). People seemed to enjoy the humour.

Thanks to Christine Sung for a photo of me reading.

All the chapbook from last night will be for sale at the Jack Purcell community centre, Ottawa, noon to 5pm on the 17th, then not again until November.

I was glad to see all the Writebulb bookmarks got picked up, with a few free prompts on each. More coming on Saturday, and cloth bags, and back list chapbooks. I want to see what everyone made…

I got a surprise at the end as rob presented me with a festschrift, Report from the Pirie Society. How cool is that? (The 13th festschrift he’s done I believe. Cameron Anstee, Monty Reid, and Amanda Earl among them.) What a sweet thing to have people share reviews of my poems, and poems to me collected up. I’ve been reading it on and off today.

Pirie society.

I’m terrible at selfies but there you go. I’d post a picture of the inside but my computer is simply not having it. No more transfer between laptop and phone. Ah well, details are here.

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