The Town Crier magazine posted my review of Sam Cheuk’s chapbook of poetry, Deus et Machina (Baseline Press, 2017). Have a look.


Fenylalanine Publishing has just released CanCon, a chapbook of poetry I wrote by mixing and mashing lyrics from some of Canada’s most overplayed musicians to see if collectively they can say more interesting things than they generally say alone. It is dedicated (with sincere apologies) to Bryan Adams, Barenaked Ladies, Michael Bublé, Celine Dion, Nickleback, and Shania Twain.

You can read it for free on Fenylalanine’s website.

I was going through my scribble book this morning, copying out the stuff that might eventually find a place somewhere, when I came upon some lost words on writing. I know they’re not mine, because I put quotation marks around them. I know they’re not from a book I was reading, because those things end up in my commonplace book. But they’re not attributed, and I have no memory of writing them. The read –

“I always start writing in a state of confusion. As I write, if I’m lucky, I get a glimpse of answer, and then another glimpse. I write solely for those glimpses.”


I’ve been reading some really fun books lately – fun in the sense that I’m not even sure what to think about them after I’m finished – which I love. Here they be. Read them, then let’s arrange to have coffee so I’ll have someone to talk about them with.

1) Daniel Kehlmann’s You Should Have Left, which was recommended by Brad Deroo, Guelph-based musician and critic (you can frequently find his stuff in Canadian Notes and Queries). It’s a kind of riff on The Shining maybe? But far less violent and far more disorienting.

2) Paul La Farge’s The Night Ocean, which was recommended by Andrew Hood, Guelph-based author of books like The Cloaca and Jim Guthrie: Who Needs What. It’s a story (or several stories in a sense?) circulating around H. P. Lovecraft’s legacy, with a curious blurring of fact and fiction.

3) Daniel Sada’s One Out Of Two, which was recommended by more than one Latin American friend trying to temper my Roberto Bolano obsession. Two virtually indistinguishable twin sisters who’s relationship get’s disrupted by a romantic suitor, and… weirdness.

And seriously, if you get through one or more of them, let’s talk.

I’m currently in Edmonton visiting friends, which means also visiting Edmonton used bookstores. One of my finds was The Gray Book by Aris Fioretos, and it contains (in fact, begins with) one of those beautiful, sprawling sentences I love. Enjoy.

“Gray and falling, and while falling waiting for the strange moment when the tongue turns light and limber, liquid with avowal, the teeth become dragons, and the instant suddenly resembles the drowner’s last dream, he who fell from a precipice and now sinks like a stone but lackadaisically as a leaf, winging swinging like a dim dot suspended in motion, yet moving toward rest because the present’s elastic membrane has placidly expanded, now permitting images of past and prior to pour into appearance as he sinks glides sinks downward inside its roomy pocket in a dissident sort of rhythm – another cadence, another clause, another clue – contained in a depth that is its own surface encasement… and it has at that moment, comfortably cushioned yet malleable, when we have closed our eyes, resting on a mattress perhaps, or a cot, that it all begins… gradually the well-known surroundings disappear, although we still seem to perceive the table’s flat surface in front of us or the flower-patterned fringed bedspread covering our disheveled body in the manner of a rippled ocean out of which peaks and summits emerge like distending formations in a mist-distorted land.”