Episode 14 – VERSeFest Special

The Small Machine Talks, Episode 14, the VERSeFest Special

including interviews with participants

Recorded Sunday, April 9, 2017

Jamaal Jackson Rogers, Ottawa’s new poet laureate starts the show.

  1. Recent Events

Amanda speaks of the Battle of the Bards (1.29) and the International Festival of Authors in Toronto in October.

Her wish list event was Rhizome, a sound poetry event at Happy Goat in Hintonburg. (3.50). We speak of U of O English Department’s conservative image. Amanda reminisces about Professor John Spencer Hill, her pre 1700 prof.

Aaron talks about Cosmonauts Avenue’s reading series and magazine. (5.40) We coin the term “emerged poets,” Lisa Robertson’s reading at Knife, Fork, Book and the bookstore’s collection of chapbooks.


Aaron tells us about Carleton U’s spring extravaganza of literary and dramatic arts at Pressed (8.29). Aaron can’t remember the name of the award he won.

In/Words March 29 event (9.40), the launch of the latest issue and the 30 under 30 antho, Jessica Bebenek, Ian Martin, live painting and music.

  1. VERSeFest play by play ish (11.00)

We discuss the festival’s background and this year’s fest. Aaron talks about the afterbit at the bar. Yes, he closed the joint.

Amanda discusses her highlights, including Zachary Richard, Carolyn Smart and Stephen Collis, who we interviewed at 13.49.

Amanda rhapsodizes over Carlos Gomez (15.00) at the Urban Legends event.

On Day 2, bill bissett (interview: 15.45).

Paisley Redkal’s May West poems and sonnets – 16:40 and interview (17.19) and Brandon Wint’s break up poems 17.47 and his interview (18.10).

We ask each person to tell us one thing.

On the wish list was Rhizome, an event that took place on the 2nd day at 10:30pm which combined metal and poetry. Chris Johnson performed ( and talked about haibun and prose poetry; Interview: 19.43).

Amanda talked about Dominique Langlois, a francophone poet from New Brunswick and his sound poetry. We mentioned that the festival is bilingual and also had poets who spoke other languages, such as Czec.

21.23 Aaron talks of Eva H.D’s poems, more working class poems than often heard, interview: 22.40 aka the burnt oil fries at the Fox and Feather. I mention her post card poems, clearly not having listened to the interview.

24.00 We speak of Michael Dennis and his occasional Tom Waits’ voice at readings. Interview – 24.36. He discusses a basketball player.

25.26 Aaron interviews Matt Jones, former Ottawa poet, In/Words editor, VERSeFest volunteer and world traveller who talks about Paris, inspiring Amanda’s envy and wisely praises Ottawa’s poetry scene.

We discuss Blue Mondays/In/Words 30 under 30 launch

(27.00) Kayla Czaga’s narrative poems of the now with a twist. and interview – 29.00

29.29 – Ben Ladouceur’s interview [insert the They Might Be Giants Song, Don’t Hate the Villain, Hate the Villanelle]

31.25 Friday, Aaron talks about the Capital Slam event and Amélie Prévost, Apollo the Child, who won the slam.

32.58 Saturday afternoon -Factory Reading Series lectures with Marilyn Irwin and Faizal Dean

33.38, Amanda’s favourite event, the Translation Panel. it was fun to hear Galician, French and Danish and its translation along with topics such as appropriation and the erasure of the source language’s rhythm.

Aaron talks about Jordan Abel’s reading (35.42) and his sound piece with recording laid over his voice. Aaron observed the crowd and noticed some discomfort, which was interesting to both Aaron and Jordan. He likened it to a chewed up tape being played. Amanda mentions Jordan’s visual poetry.

Aaron mentions Ulrikke Gernes, the Danish poet (38.03) and Erín Moure.

39.00 On Sunday afternoon, Amanda enjoyed Sandra Ridley’s poetry and also the francophone poet Angela Bassole OueDraogo and Phoebe Wang’s poetry. Aaron mentioned their conversation about time and writing and career juggling in a big city.

41.00 The student voices event: Aaron talked of Lauren Stiers and Evan Hoskins poems. We coin the term “soundy poems.”

42.15 Aaron discusses the final event, which included Lisa Robertson. We praise her once more. He talked about her previous readings at the A B Series, R’s Boat and Magenta Soul Whip, Aaron’s first purchase of a contemporary poetry book.  Aaron talks about her reading style, a hesitancy in order to be present in the moment.

46.00 We have a final, general convo about the opportunities going to a festival such as VERSeFest offers to writers and fans. (drinking/staying up late…)

Thanks to VERSeFest, its volunteers and organizers and sponsors, 48.00 a final word on events, Ottawa International Writers Festival, the 30 under 30 launches in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto

PS 48.42 Current Reads

Amanda is reading the Greatest Films by Faizal Dean and is happy he likes the song Warm Leatherette. We have declared April Faizal month.

Aaron is reading 3 Summers by Lisa Robertson, Kate Hargreaves, Leak.

A really final word of thanks to our sound editor, Charles Earl and to Jennifer Pederson, composer of the intro and outro, to those who listen to and share the podcast and to our VERSeFest interviewees.

Next episode in May!

Find out about upcoming poetry and spoken word events:

Ottawa: http://bywords.ca/

Montreal: http://wherepoetsread.ca/

Toronto: The Patchy Squirrel List Serve – http://profileengine.com/groups/profile/422120820/the-patchy-squirrel-litserv