Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Karen Shenfeld's blog

Riffs and Rants: Joseph Maviglia Chats About His New Book: Critics Who Know Jack (Urban Myths, Media and Rock and Roll).

Years before we met one another, I had spied poet and singer/songwriter Joseph Maviglia hanging out at the original Bar Italia on College Street in Toronto’s Little Italy. He would stroll in and sit alone, sipping an espresso, quietly absorbed in a book he was reading or jotting down notes. Even in stillness, he had an overtly theatrical air. So, I wasn’t surprised to discover that he was indeed a poet and performer. Maviglia has previously released two CDs of roots/rock music and has had four books of poetry published, including A God Hangs Upside Down (Guernica Editions), Movietown (Streetcar Editions), Winter Jazz (Quarry Press), and Mitla (Eternal Network).

Canoeing Song

I go canoeing with Pauline Johnson.
I take the bow; she, the stern.

Port/starboard; stroke on stroke—
we paddle in unison; our liquid song:

wings dipped in silvered glass.
Behind us: cottages diminish,

below the shore’s receding line;
trees rendered en grisaille.

A Moral Voice in an Amoral World

There’s a wonderful millinery on the north side of College Street, just west of Bathurst. (Readers of my blogs this month may have come to the conclusion that I never leave the vicinity of College Street. They are correct.) Inside the charmingly decorated Lilliput Hats, you will find a fanciful array of pillboxes, cloches, Bergeres and berets. Feathered, flowered, beaded, braided. All of the hats are designed and fabricated on the premises by an all-women team led by the shop’s talented proprietor, Karyn Gingras.

The location of Lilliput Hats seems apt. The atelier inhabits a storefront that was occupied for many a decade by an old-fashioned men's tailor shop, one of the neighbourhood's longest-standing premises founded by the Eastern European Jewish immigrants who once thrived here.

The Lyrical Line Drawings of Malcolm Sutherland


We Are What We Read/ We Read What We Are

With just a few days to go before Christmas, I dropped into Balfour Books, College Street's wonderful used bookseller, for an hour or two. I wanted to see a small sampling of what books folks were picking up, either for their own holiday reading pleasure, or as gifts. Here's the inside scoop:

Jill, a woman in her early twenties purchased two art books for her mom, whom she said was an artist: Gustav Klimt by Alfred Weidinger, Prestel (2007) and Gino Severini: The Dance 1909-1916, by Daniela Fonti and John Gage, Skira Editore, 2001.

Constitutional lawyer and Little Italy celebrity, Rocco Galati, came by just for a minute with his brother, and, in no time flat, nabbed The Complete Works of Chaucer, Oxford University Press, 1973. He quipped that he wanted to improve his English and thought it best to go back to the beginning.

If I Ran From You

If I Ran From You

If I ran from you
to Ouagadougou,
I’d hear your voice in
talking drums.

My Dinner With Fraser

I've always wanted to be a restaurant reviewer. For Toronto Life or The Globe and Mail, perhaps. Accompanied by a chosen companion, I could dine in the city's hottest spots on the company dime. I could flex my linguistic muscles, waxing poetic about cumulus-cloud garlicked mashed potatoes; wild-as-the-west bison burgers; Gobi-desert hot and sour soup; Botticelli-esque angel's hair pasta. I would possess power. I could commend or trash. I would, of course, remain uncorruptible and incognito: alongside my reviews there'd be a discreet black-and-white shot of me, a broad-brimmed hat pulled down, obscuring my face, a la Joanne Kates.

A Whole Lotta Creativity Going On At Creative Works Studio

I took off yesterday afternoon to do a little holiday shopping. Though I almost never stray more than one square mile from my home at Clinton and College, I hopped on the streetcar and headed eastbound over the river. I wanted to buy some unique cards created by the artists who work out of Toronto's Creative Works Studio. If I would've had a little more dough to spare, I probably would have purchased a painting or two, as well.

The Standing Prayer

The Standing Prayer

Menachem prays standing in
a warm rectangle of light;

Isaac prays with his eyes closed,
the pages of his pearled book
turning in the breeze of his breath;

Nathan prays out loud,
his recitation, a river,
washing over polished stones;

Chance Meeting in the Blogosphere

"If you 'google' yourself too often," my husband wryly commented, "you will grow hair on your palms." Still, what almost famous poet/musician/artist/filmmaker/whosoever can resist the activity? Seeing how many google links pop up when you search your name lets you know exactly how almost famous you really are.

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