Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

drogers's blog

Dance of the Last Shaker: A Short Film

Well, this is my last post and I wanted to use it to highlight the short film my friends Rebecca Mendoza and Chris Murphy made using two of my poems. (Attached below.) But first, I wanted to say that it has been an education and a privilege writing for the Open Book Toronto blog as October's writer in residence. It's been a big month for me in many ways — most obviously, because my first book was published a couple weeks ago. I dropped by This Ain't the Rosedale Library today and it was the first time I'd seen a copy in a bookstore. It was quite a kick.

I want to thank everyone who sent me kind messages about my posts and to Open Book Toronto for inviting me to explore this challenging medium. It's stretched me, and I appreciate the opportunity to be stretched.

Mexico and Surrealism and Books to Buy

Legend in my family is that my great-grandmother on my mother's side — who crossed the country in a covered wagon and lived to see a man on the moon — spent her final winters on her own in Mexico. She taught herself Spanish (I'm not sure she even graduated from high school) and travelled at 80 into remote areas to see sacred sites, riding in the back of cargo planes with no doors if necessary. She was thrice married, had a famous temper, and surrounded her Montana mobile home with prize-worthy roses. She saw value in beauty and thorns.

Tripping on museums

I am a freak for museums. A lot of this has to do with the fact that my mother used to bring me to the Detroit Institute of Arts almost weekly when I was a kid and I thought it was the best place ever to spend the day. I still remember how magical I thought a particular sculpture by Claes Oldenburg of a giant electrical plug was. There was also a small sculpture, maybe in wood or cloth, of a Good Humor bar made out of the alphabet. (At least in my mind it is a sculpture — I can only find examples of this as a print online. Maybe my memory is melting.) I loved the café, the courtyard, the fountain where I’d toss a penny to make a wish.

late night quick hit

So my tenure is almost over here and I have plans for the next three, my last three, posts. But I feel compelled to write something quick tonight before turning in.

let us all think of hostile critics as insult comics

I read Jon Paul Fiorentino's charming, playful, and sweet first novel about the personal perils of ambition and failure, Stripmalling (ECW, 2009), this week — it's a portrait of the artist as a young fuck-up as told in a series of genre forms, including a vibrant comic-book sequence illustrated by artist and Coach House publicist Evan Munday.

oh yeah, it's the ifoa

So I have been remiss in not mentioning that the biggest literary festival in the city is happening right now. I figure anyone who reads this website is already down at Harbourfront watching their favourite writers read, panel, and sign books at the International Festival of Authors. Some of you have even crashed the Hospitality Suite at the Westin Harbour Castle and knocked back drinks and shrimp rings with the famous and those who followed them into the penthouse.

NOTES ON COLLECTING

I think writers are natural collectors. Books, baseball cards, mugs with owls on them, pretty rocks — it doesn't much matter what the objects of fixation are, only that they can be collected into a series. Because if there's a series, then there might be a pattern. And if there’s a pattern, there’s something to study.

I used to live with a very smart guy who was a real collector. He read densely written French post-structuralist critical theory that dissected the mind of the collector. I have not read densely written French post-structuralist critical theory that dissected the mind of the collector. And I am not a real collector. I’m a dabbler.

You must change your life

I was 18 years old when I first met a living, breathing poet. A poet with a book. A poet who'd won an important prize. To quote W.S. Merwin's poem about John Berryman (a poem I love for the lesson at the end about how you can never know if anything you ever write is any good at all), this poet was "much older than I was he was in his thirties."

flailing closer to god

I'm still not fully recovered from my launch Tuesday night (meaning I still haven't had a normal night's sleep), so I'm just going to mention a couple things and go back to playing catch up with the work piled up on my desk.

and nothing went wrong!

First off, congratulations to all the finalists for the 2009 Governor General's Award. I was pleased to see Sina Queyras nominated for her excellent book Expressway.

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