Hanging out in the city with Torontoist’s Summer Reads.
LitTO continues this week with a few summer reading picks. These are literally reading choices for the season, as we haven’t read them yet, but plan to take them to the cottage.
Films and Poems by John Barlow, LyricalMyrical. John Barlow’s poems have a habit of looking at this crazy world, not agreeing with it, and finding their own peace and happiness. He has a great love for email, and creates poetry list-serv experiments as often as most people breathe: or, he is well loved by other poets but not as known to the book-buying public-at-large. This book is handbound into covers made from discarded hardcover books, with a printed title plate attached to the front board. It’s likely hard to find, but look for Barlow’s trio of books from Exile Editions.
The 2007 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology edited by Karen Solie, Anansi. Because we attended the sold-out reading prior to the Awards Gala, we’ve heard some of these poems before, and it’s interesting to see them on the page. We’re mostly familiar with the poets featured on the Canadian shortlist, but are really enjoying getting to know Priscilla Uppal’s work better. Editor Solie prefaces the anthology with:
For poetry’s readership does thrive…and does so in a way not indicated by Amazon rankings. As a reader, I know that poetry engages the heart and mind in a way that simply makes life better…Good poetry, like all good art, has changed people’s lives. It has saved people’s lives. There are readers among you who know this, and readers among you who will find out.
Amen! Now that we’re into it, we’re digging the odd cadences of International Finalist Frederick Seigal too…
Parlance by Suzanne Zelazo, Coach House Books. Suzanne Zelazo was the founder of Queen Street Quarterly, an important Toronto literary journal that published experimental work alongside lyric poetry, and had a great run from 1997 to 2004. In this first book, she also marries the two styles (why must they be in conflict?) and creates something that is her own. The long poem sequence, “Through the Lighthouse,” which was composed almost entirely from Virginia Woolf’s novel, To the Lighthouse, looks like it’ll be a highlight.
This week’s literary scene has picked up a bit of summer steam. Maybe it was the rain we’ve had? Tonight is a crowd-splitter, with Pontiac Quarterly performing its live issue at The Drake, and Broken Pencil’s Summer Social/Launch at Cadillac Lounge.
Check out Toronto’s lit listings after the leap.
Listings July 24–July 30
Tuesday, July 24
IN OTHER WORDS: STUART ROSS. “In Other Words” is a literary radio show on CKLN 88.1 FM or online at ckln.fm (click on “listen live”). Fourth-Tuesday host Jennifer LoveGrove interviews writer/editor/poet/writing instructor/small-press publisher extraordinaire Stuart Ross. They will discuss his latest book of poems, I Cut My Finger (Anvil Press, 2007), writing, editing, and “many, many writerly things.” Poems will be read, songs will be played, questions will be asked. There might even be a giveaway! 2:00–3:00 p.m.
LYRICALMYRICAL LAUNCHES Ekstasis by Kurt A. Zubatiuk and Arguments for Breath by Edward Nixon. The Central, 603 Markham St., next to Honest Ed’s. 7:30 p.m. Free (so please buy books & help feed poor poets).
Wednesday, July 25
BROKEN PENCIL SUMMER SOCIAL. The new issue on the aesthetics of indie chic is being launched at BP’s summer social, an all-out celebration of “indie style.” The party will feature our first-ever Indie Style Fashion Contest, where participants can strut their personalized buttons, screenprinted T’s, vintage duds, and eclectic concoctions for our panel of judges (RM Vaughan, Bonnie De Kuyper, and Trevor Coleman). 8:00 p.m. Cadillac Lounge Patio, 1296 Queen Street West. $5 (includes new issue of BP). www.brokenpencil.com
PONTIAC QUARTERLY LAUNCH with readings and performances for volume 5, issue 4. “As live-action fake magazines go, ours is really one of the city’s best. You’ll thrill to the regular departments of Mark Cosgrove’s gay exposes, Liz Clayton’s “Liz, What the Fuck?” advice column, and Edward Keenan’s relentlessly good fiction. This month’s special guests also include Brooklyn’s own pork and sports uniform enthusiast, Paul Lukas, films from Buffalo’s Scott Puccio, and locals Hampton Catlin, Kate Sutherland, Sarah Grynpas, and more! Resident (and award-winning) artists Aaron Leighton and Steve Wilson will, as almost always, be illustrating alongside the performances live.” 7:00 p.m. $5. Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen Street West. www.pontiacquarterly.com.
RED ROOMS. Launch of Cherie Dimaline’s book with a reading and burlesque performance by Skin Tight Outta Sight. 6:00 p.m. Free. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West. www.pinkmafia.ca.
Thursday, July 26
HOT-SAUCED WORDS. Poetry and Spoken Word Show hosted by CreativeJames Dewar. Featuring Triny Finlay and David Hillis. It’s Not a Deli, 986 Queen Street West (near Ossington). 8:30 p.m. (open-mic sign-up 8:15 p.m.). PWYC.
FIGHTING WORDS: Aboriginal Women Combating Colonialism Though Writing, an evening of readings, dialogue and music featuring Cherie Dimaline, Lee Maracle, Joanna Shawana and traditional women hand-drummers. Organized by the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto’s Wausnodeh Youth Program and Toronto Women’s Bookstore. 7:00 p.m. TWB, 73 Harbord Street. Free and all welcome.
Friday, July 27
I.V. LOUNGE READING SERIES presents Peter McCamus (poet), Christian McPherson (Six Ways to Sunday, stories), and Andrea Jarmai (Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls, poems). Hosted by Alex Boyd. The IV Lounge, 326 Dundas Street West, across from the AGO, 8:00 p.m. Free. www.alexboyd.com
Sunday, July 29
A SPOKEN WORD PARTY! Pedestrian Sunday @ Kensington Market presents a day of spoken word/slam/guerilla poetry outside Uprising Bookstore, on Baldwin Street. Featuring the Slam Fam Collective: Gypsy Eyes, Mike Smith, Truth Is, Tomy Bewick, Soulfistikato and Danejahras. “Poetry on the street, where it should be. Also including an open mic for anyone who wants to drop some hotness.” 1:30 p.m. Free. For info, call Dave Silverberg at 416-312-3865.