Episode 17 with a.m. kozak and Amanda Earl

The Small Machine Talks, Episode 17

with a.m. kozak and Amanda Earl

recorded Sunday, May 21, 2017


We discuss recent readings and launches we’ve attended in the past six weeks. Amanda mentions that she has been attending fewer events while she works on a new poetry manuscript. We discuss the arbitrary nature of mathematics.

Amanda talks about the Tree Reading Series and Roger Nash’s Climate Change Vocabulary poem. She talks about the Ottawa International Writers Festival, the prose writers such as Barbara Gowdy, Steven Heighton, Anita Desai, Scaachi Koul, Susan Perly. We discuss the question and answer portions of the events. As always, the third writer of a series cannot be remembered. Amanda talks about the problem with poetry q & a’s, how the audience often puts the poet on the spot with questions about accessibility. Amanda talks about the age-old question asked of writers, “how do I get my manuscript published?” She also mentions one of the panels with Rhonda Douglas, who asked more general questions and made the audience at home. Sweet moments of the festival, included wine being given to a writer during the Q & A.

We discuss why accessibility becomes an issue with an audience or readers. Amanda reveals her lack of interest in poetry from junior high until her mid-thirties. Aaron points out the variety in contemporary writing. Amanda mentions lyric conceptual poetry.

Aaron talks about the Plan 99 reading which took place as part of the Writers Festival, including Cassidy McFadzean’s myth poems, Aisha Sasha John’s poems on overheard conversations and musical pauses. Amanda talks about Plan 99 and praises the Manx Pub.

We discuss the readings of Faizal Deen and Connie Clayton who read at Sawdust. Aaron talks about the Sawdust reading with Catherine Owen, her book “Dear Ghost.”

Aaron mentions the In/Words reading with Klara du Plessis and Claire Farley, which Amanda also attended and enjoyed. Amanda points out that the work was contemplative and thoughtful and that the audience was attentive. Aaron says the reading styles of both poets were on point, not messy. For substance, check out their interviews. Amanda praises the musician, Graeme O’Farrell.

Aaron attended both house party launches of Bad Nudes 2.1 in Montreal and Ottawa.


He talked about Guilliaume Morissette’s loud poetry, a poem about the literary scene in Montreal that was scandalous. He also talked about a performance piece done by Karissa Larocque and Eli Lynch that involved a speaker with lights, eating oranges, sitting on a couch. Jake Byrne performed without pants. Amanda begins to understand what the name “Bad Nudes” means.

In Ottawa, the reading took place at Nina Jane’s house. Amanda mentions her friend Andrew who read at the event. Readers included Guilliaume, Sarah MacDonell and Manahil Bandukwala.

We discuss the difference between house and more public readings. House readings can be cheaper and offer more opportunities for unusual performance. Amanda discuss her own living room readings in the past and Poetic Desserts. Aaron mentions Catherine Owen’s pop up series in her bedroom in Vancouver. Amanda discusses cleaning for the monthly podcast.

Aaron attended a joint event with Prism, SADmag, Ricepaper, Room, Poetry is Dead in Vancouver. The event included free food and a raffle. Aaron enjoyed meeting Dina Del Bucchia whose “Lindsay Lohan Poem” from “Blind Items” (Insomniac Press, 2014) made an impression on him several years ago.


Amanda mentions Prism’s call for chapbooks for review.


Aaron talks about their upcoming call for submissions: 56.2 – the Liminal, deadline June 15, 2017.


Aaron also attended two plays. As part of Tactics, Ottawa’s Indie Theatre’s production of “Girls, Girls, Girls” https://tacticsottawa.com/girls-girls-girls/ and praised some of the poetic language  likening it to A Clockwork Orange in the type of slang and sophisticated dialogue. Aaron wanted to extract the lines from the long monologues.

Aaron also attended “In the Room” at the National Arts Centre, a joint project of the Cellar Door project and Ottawa Storytellers. https://nac-cna.ca/en/event/14881.

The Cellar Door does site-specific theatre: http://www.cellardoorproject.com/.

Ottawa Storytellers: http://www.ottawastorytellers.ca/. Amanda talks about the interview with Mariah Horner on CBC’s All in a Day: http://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/all-in-a-day/segment/12669365. The interview took place with Alistair Steele, not Alan Neal. Aaron talks about the interviews with people who’d worked in the Rehearsal Hall and the performances and audio recording. We learn that Aaron has written a play that will be performed as part of the Cellar Door Project, having to do with Igor Gouzenko. Amanda mentions the Gouzenko Dosa that used to be served at the Dosa Truck in Dundonald Park.

Aaron mentions the In/Words 30 under 30 launch tour in Toronto and Montreal. In Montreal it took place at the Librairie Drawn and Quarterly. Toronto’s launch took place at a venue called Mây. It was also live streamed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncGF-fVhGL8

Aaron talks about the difference between hosting events in other cities and being a reader. Amanda frets over the idea of having to host in other cities. Aaron notes that he had help from those in other cities. Aaron will do an interview on CKCU’s Literary Landscape about the selection process for the anthology. http://cod.ckcufm.com/programs/109/info.html

We discuss Aaron’s BC trip and being a tourist in a place where you’ve lived. Aaron haunted a few smaller, local bookstores. Amanda likens local books to local beer.


Amanda: Robyn Sarah, “My Shoes Are Killing Me” (Biblioasis, 2015). The book inspired Amanda to begin exploring nostalgia. She talks about exploring one’s discomfort and getting past quick judgements. Amanda will soon start reading Lisa Robertson’s “Nilling” (Coach House Books, 2012), which will be the next book of essays that Amanda will read for her reading diary on Lisa Robertson’s work. Amanda talks about Robertson’s piece on “the Story of O.”

Amanda also read Steven Heighton’s novel, “The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep” and loved its poetic nature.

She’s also been reading the latest issues of Arc Poetry Magazine and Carousel, with its feature with the Minola Review and another feature on Conundrum Press.

Aaron finished “3 Summers” by Lisa Robertson. He tweeted various lines that he liked. Amanda points out the various simultaneous threads. Aaron is fascinated by the long poem format with a lot of space on the page.

He also read Fawn Parker’s short story collection published by Metatron, “Looking Good and Having a Good Time” published in her early 20s. He’s also been reading Cassidy McFadzean’s “Hacker Packer” (McClelland and Stewart, 2015) and Kate Hargreave’s “Leak” (Book Thug, 2014).

This initiated a conversation about the list poem. Amanda mentions the FB meme of lists of concerts and how it infuriated some people. She also mentioned the New Quarterly’s list issue, Issue 114, “To list is human,” edited by Diane Schoemperlen. https://tnq.ca/issues/issue-114/. We ponder why people don’t like lists. Amanda mentions her new habit of interviewing people on FB and making poems out of their answers.

Aaron purchased “Rom Com” (Talonbooks, 2015) by Dina Del Bucchia and Daniel Zomparelli, a collaboration. Aaron asked Dina about not identifying who wrote what in the book. Amanda mentions the paper doll cut outs. We talk further about collaborations. Amanda discusses “Eve, a mere roar” a collaboration she did with Sandra Ridley a number of years ago.


Tree Reading Series, May 23, John Nyman and Shoshanna Wingate;

Marcus McCann, Tara-Michelle Ziniuk, Pierre-Luc Landry, Ben Ladouceur and Michael V Smith.May 24

Book Thug launch with Christine McNair, Jennifer Still and Erin Robinsong, June 10

Aaron is planning to take a small break and slow down this summer. We talk about series taking breaks over the summer. Sawdust’s feature will be Chris Jennings. We talk about festivals, such as Glow Fair, Dragonboat, Tulip, ottawa small press book fair, Westfest, Prose in the Park. In/Words will not have any more readings until the new editorial team begins in August. Amanda praises the outgoing team. Aaron feels that the season went well and accomplished what he wanted to do, such as working with other artistic communities to broaden the audience. Amanda suggests using music as a gateway drug at readings. Aaron would like to return to a focus on writing, including poetry, short fiction and drama.


Thank you to listeners, to Charles Earl, sound engineer, to Jennifer Pederson for the intros and outros. Thanks for sharing the podcast episodes on social media. Stay tuned for the next episode in June.