Monday 30 March 2009

Beating the Monday Blues

A mini-deluge of good news for Signal poets. First, a couple of excellent notices for Shannon Stewart's Penny Dreadful. One from Brian Campbell, who reviewed it for Rover ("many of these poems," he says "have a mordant, singsong quality; though penny-sized, they pack a powerful punch"). The other from the Utne Blog ("Rather than disengage from the horrific news, Stewart used her poetry to engage with it through humor").

We also just learned that Jason Guriel squeaked into the inner sanctum of the IFOA. He is one of five poets who, following last week's "verse-off," has been extended an invitation to read in the festival in October. The winner was Jacob McArthur Mooney.

The photo to the left features a "good luck charm shelf" from Stewart's home. You can read all about it here.

Saturday 21 March 2009

Cattle Call Readings

Here's the David Drummund-designed cover to Jason Guriel's new book, Pure Product, out next month.

Guriel will be reading at Harbourfront Centre this Wednesday March 25, 2009 as part of their Open Stage Night. 20 published poets, 35 or younger, have 5 minutes each to earn a spot in the International Festival of Authors.

If you want to know how Guriel feels about being part of this wild bunch, go here.

Thursday 19 March 2009

The Grasshopper's Guide to CanLit

Marianne Perron, part of the delightful crew at Tragically Unhip, has started a much-needed book reviews site called Grasshopper Reads. I'm very happy to point to her very sharp, shrewd take on Shannon Stewart's Penny Dreadful.

"Much of the book’s punch comes from Stewart’s ironic rendering of the gruesome as mundane, and her daringness to package the disappearance of so many women as quotidian. What results is a commentary on our ability to absorb the abnormal."

Read an interview with Shannon Stewart here.

Saturday 14 March 2009


Jason Guriel chimes in on A.E. Stallings' rhyme manifesto.

"there are no tired words or tired phrases, only tired poets, poets who don’t have the energy to pinch a cliché’s nose and breathe some life into it, who don’t have the breath to give in the first place, the courage to confront an apparent dead-end and stride into it"

Friday 13 March 2009

Breakfast at Sulimay's

Just the sort of trenchant music criticism calculated to warm my heart.

Wednesday 11 March 2009


Newfoundland literary magazine Riddle Fence is preparing to roll out their third issue, which includes members of the Signal squad, both on active duty (Jason Guriel) and honourably discharged (Elise Partridge, John Steffler).

Check out their revamped site, where you can take an early peek at some of the poetry. Here's a nice one from Zach Wells.

Friday 6 March 2009


In parsing the difference between "real time" and "realtime," Nicholas Carr delivers an unexpected rant (because I didn't know people actually had opinions about such things) against the use of blank spaces in type, an abomination blamed on ancient scribbling monks. Unsure as to whether the man's tongue is in his cheek.

Thursday 5 March 2009

The Little Guys

Stacey May Fowles tees up the truth about little magazines:

"Rather than asking why the government should pay for small circ mags to exist, we should ask why the views, ideas, and agendas of the mainstream are the only ones that deserve to thrive? (and by the way, the Canadian government is also paying lots more money to support more mainstream mags, but it seems like it’s easier to pick off the little guys.) If the government didn’t “pay for my hobby,” I’d be forced to read only one idea, paid for by advertising dollars, produced for the masses in the most palatable, bland form imaginable."

Read the rest here.

(Above is a poster advertising Duel, a Montreal literary magazine from the sixties.)

Leave the Chimp at Home

Bookninja scores an interview with Seen Reading's Julie Wilson following her run-in with some cretinous Indigo employee.

Bif! Bang! Pow!

We're big fans of Jason Guriel ("gift from god" is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot). His terrific new post has gone live at the Harriet blog ("When we automatically assume that poetry can’t speak to the non-specialists we chloroform and gag an entire art form") and his defense of negative reviews in the current print edition of Poetry magazine ("negativity, I’m starting to think, needs to be the poetry reviewer’s natural posture") seems to have knocked a few people sideways.