Tonight, The Fifteenth Annual Scream Literary Festival launches its six-day festival with readings by Dennis Lee and Souvankham Thammavongsa at The Gladstone Ballroom. Performances by George Elliot Clarke, and robots belonging to Shapour Shahidi are also promised, and it sounds like audience members are invited to make art with weird, old science textbooks. This year’s festival “considers the strange alchemy of poetry and science, through readings, panels, and performances.”
On July 9th, the festival ends with Canada’s largest single-night outdoor reading. It takes place at High Park’s amphitheatre, where The Dream in High Park runs all summer. Whether you think you like poetry or not, you might consider taking a blanket, a picnic, maybe a light jacket, and sit on the hill for a magical evening. It’s one of Toronto’s wonders, even though it gets very little media attention outside of the literary community. Throw the word, “poetry” into a press release, and see if you get a call back…
Check out Toronto’s Screamin’ literary listings after the break.
Lit Listings: July 3 to July 9
Tuesday, July 3
LAUNCH OF SCREAM XV: Phosphorescence! Readings by Dennis Lee and Souvankham Thammavongsa. George Elliott Clarke illuminates verses on the stage while Shapour Shahidi’s robots draw on the walls. Gladstone Hotel Ballroom. 8:00 p.m. PWYC, $7 suggested.
TD SUMMER READING CLUB launches today at Toronto Public Library. This summer, children will explore Lost Worlds through books and games. Kids, 12 and under, who register with the Club receive a poster, stickers and an activity book all free as part of their reading kit.
ABDUCTORS LAUNCH. Party for the new young adult science fiction novel by Bernadette Gabay Dyer. 6:00 p.m. Free. Bar Italia, 582 College Street.
CAROUSEL 21 LAUNCH (combined launch with Montreal’s LANTERN magazine). Readings by Ryan Bird, Allan Briesmaster, Rudyard Fearon, Devon Gallant, Jim Johnstone, Ron Newberry-Evans, and Antranik Tchalekian. 8:00 p.m. Free. It’s Not a Deli, 986 Queen Street West.
Wednesday, July 4
STRANGE ALCHEMY: The Science and Poetry Panel and Matrix Launch Reading. 7:00 p.m.: panel discussion moderated by Clive Thompson, panelists Christian Bok, angela rawlings, Ken Babstock, and postdoctoral candidate, Lisa Betts (who is studying the neuroscience of vision at York). 9:00 p.m.: launch of Matrix Magazine’s new issue with readings by the panelists and others who have engaged with science in their poetic practice. Supermarket, 268 Augusta Avenue. PWYC, $7 suggested.
SPACING launches its summer issue on the theme of water. 8:00 p.m. $10 (includes copy). Gladstone Hotel 1214 Queen Street West.
MARINA NEMAT, author of The Prisoner of Tehran, recounts her experiences while being imprisoned. Indigo Bay & Bloor. 7:00 p.m. Free.
Thursday July 5th
SCREAM READINGS by Nalo Hopkinson, Daniel Heath Justice, and Tara-Michelle Ziniuk. Toronto Women’s Bookstore, 73 Harbord Street, 7:00 p.m. $5.
DECIBELS AND ACCRETIONS: The Scream Sound Installation. Artist Heather Olsen-Seabourne creates an installation featuring sound assemblages from fragments of 15 years of Scream events. To Sunday, July 8th (gallery open daily 12:00 p.m to 6 p.m.). Opening with performance tonight at 8:00 p.m. AWOL Gallery, 76/78 Ossington Avenue. Free, donations welcome.
FANTASIAS AND OTHEWORLDS turns “the basement of Type Books into an experiment on the verge of madness” with readings by Stephen Cain, Maggie Helwig and Mark Truscott. Type Books, 883 Queen Street West. 11 p.m. Free, donations welcome.
Friday, July 6
CHRISTOPHER DEWDNEY reads The Natural History in its entirety while the audience dines on a catered three-course vegetarian (plus optional fish dish) dinner designed around the text. Don Valley Brickworks, 8 p.m. $35 for a ticket including dinner and free shuttle bus to the Brickworks from the Broadview TTC station. $10 for reading-only tickets (these tickets do not include transportation to the site). Tickets available at www.thescream.ca; at Type Books, 883 Queen Street West; and at Another Story, 315 Roncesvalles Avenue.
CRYPTIC CHATTER: spoken word open stage featuring Jogi and Kate Leadbeater, hosted by Valentino Assenza. Renaissance Cafe. 7:30 p.m. Free.
FARZANA DOCTOR reads from her new novel, Stealing Nasreen. There will be a short reading followed by a discussion and book signing. Ryerson University (63 Gould Street), Oakham House, Room G. 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
Saturday July 7th
POETS IN THEIR NATURAL HABITAT: A Field Trip. Join seasoned poetologists Nadia Halim and Steve Venright on a field trip through Toronto’s Annex ecosystem as they observe the distinctive vocalizations, social behaviour, foraging habits, and mating rituals of various species of poet. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars, cameras, and other recording devices. Coach House Press, 401A Huron Street. Noon. Free, donations welcome.
EPHEBIPHOBIA: The Scream Youth Reading. Toronto poet and performer Sonnet L’Abbe will lead a poetry workshop full of constructive restraints. Expect spirited readings from emerging young poets Jap Nanak Makkar, Gianne Ortega, and Otiena Ellwand. Poet Nashira Dernesch rounds the festivities out with a reading of her own. Kerr Hall East, 222, Ryerson University. Go to the Kerr Hall East entrance at 340 Church St. on the Ryerson Campus; follow the signs to the Scream Youth Workshop in KHE 222 on the second floor. 3:00 p.m.
Free, donations welcome.
THE SCREAM GALA. Recent studies have confirmed that human beings have a predefined maximum capacity for poetry consumption within a specific time frame. For this reason, the Scream Gala is a non-literary affair. The evening is given over socializing, imbibing, and a high probability of rocking out. Featuring: Rock Central Plaza, The Carbonas, and DJ A Man Called Warwick (Turning Point). Invite-only reception at 7:00 p.m., with the doors wide open at 8:00 p.m. Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas Street West. $10
Sunday, July 8
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: The State of Poetry Criticism. New York Times critic David Orr, music critic and Zoilus.com creator Carl Wilson, and poets Elizabeth Bachinsky and Damian Rogers discuss why poetry is missing from popular critical consciousness. Moderated by Toronto writer Marianne Apostolides, the panel questions whether the lack of conversation about poetry is due to a failure of critics, not a failure of poets. Tinto, 89 Roncesvalles Avenue, 3:00 p.m. Free, donations welcome.
BEHOLD What We Have Wrought: Welcome to the Laboratory. “The Surrealists may have produced some okay art in their day, but they really shone when it came to parlour games. The best of these is the Exquisite Corpse, in which the assembled create collective new art, through the partial exchange of words and visuals. So start with that notion, then add the text of Frankenstein, and you’ll get a sense of what this collaborative evening holds.” Type Books, 883 Queen Street West. 8:00 p.m. Free, donations welcome.
MYTH AND MAGIC, Writing for Young Readers. Workshop on the imaginative world of writing for young readers with award-winning children’s author, Gail Nyoka. Hangman Gallery. 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Cost: $40.
WORDJAM: Spoken Word and Music Fusion featuring special guest from Vancouver. Hosted by Yehuda Fisher. Free Times Cafe. 7:30 p.m. Free.
Monday, July 9
MAINSTAGE: The Scream in High Park. Performers: Elizabeth Bachinsky, Sean Dixon, Christine Duncan, Shane Koyczan, Naila Keleta Mae, David McGimpsey, Roy Miki, A.F. Moritz, Steven Price, Priscila Uppal, Zoe Whittall, Rachel Zolf. Hosted by Karen Hines. CanStage Amphitheatre, High Park. 7:00 p.m. PWYC, $10 suggested.
ROSALIE SHARP. The author talks about her new book, Rifke: An Improbable Life.
Indigo Bay & Bloor. 7:00 p.m. Free.