The Small Machine Talks Episode 52
Book Club with a.m. kozak, Fiona Mitchell, Helen Robertson, Amanda Earl and Hirem Laraw, recorded on Sunday, November 17, 2019
Fiona Ann Mitchell is a poet from Ottawa, Ontario and holds a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Victoria. Her work can be found in Freefall, The Maynard, The Capilano Review, Arc Magazine and she does editing for Bywords.
Helen Robertson is a genderqueer trans woman moving through the lifelong process of accepting how lucky they’ve been; using poetry to excise their ire and sorrow — hopefully turning it into something worthwhile.
Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bywords, CV2, The Puritan, The New Quarterly, and The Grimoire by Coven Editions. They were long listed for the 2019 Vallum Poetry Prize.
1. Amanda talks about the themes of connection and community in Canthius Issue 7, and reads Emilie Kneifel’s “Sharing Again”
deadline for Canthius’ PRISCILA UPPAL MEMORIAL AWARD FOR POETRY is Dec 1. if you can’t afford the $25 entry fee, let them know. there are a few donations of entry fees available.
and visit the site for reviews, essays, interviews, prose and poetry.
Helen muses about whether they’re still subscribed.
2. Helen discusses Arielle Twist’s Disintegrate Disassociate, Arsenal Pulp Press. We talk about Arielle’s great stage presence when she read at Plan 99 in May.
and also Gwen Benaway’s Holy Wild (Book*Hug Press)
https://bookhugpress.ca/shop/books/holy-wild-by-gwen-benaway/ and specifically mentions A Love Letter for Trans Girls.
Gwen will be reading on December 11 as part of the Governor General Literary Awards at the Canada Council for the Arts at noon. https://ggbooks.ca/events
Amanda discusses the fire in Arielle’s book and the juxtaposition between violence and tenderness. Helen talks about validation from cis het white males for trans women.
3. Fiona talks about Marita Dachsel’s Glsosolalia (Anvil Press) a fictional account of Joseph Smith and his 34 wives, their voices and experiences, pointing particularly to Dachsel’s use of form, including concrete poetry
An interview with Dachsel about the book and why she chose to write about polygamy
4. Aaron talks about Bluets by Maggie Nelson (Wave Books)
He likes how the book uses blue as a centre to talk about science, biography, philosophy, etc. The colour opens up to other subjects. He reads a short paragraph, #215
We talk about the imagery that ends a poem and back of the book blurbs.
Amanda mentions her book, the Argonauts https://www.graywolfpress.org/books/argonauts
We end up talking about line breaks and Amanda mentions Dennis Cooley’s essay “Breaking and Entering (thoughts on the line) published in Open Letter, Sixth Series, No 7, Spring 1987.
Fiona recommends Robert Haas’ prose poems to Aaron.
We talk about going back and revisiting old poems. We learn of Aaron’s plundered line document. And Amanda talks about the process of writing long poems and poem series and mentions her upcoming reading on November 22 from her new above/ground press chapbook, Aftermath or Scenes of A Woman Convalescing.
free play period!
5. Additional Books – not necessarily poetry
Helen elaborates on what she liked about Gwen Benaway’s Holy Wild, its similarities and differences to Arielle Twist’s Disintegrate Disassociate.
Amanda recommends Trish Salah’s Lyric Sexolgy Volume 1 https://metonymypress.com/product/lyric-sexology-vol-1/
and Tanis Franco’s Quarry https://press.ucalgary.ca/books/9781552389812/
Aaron talks about From Walk-Up to High-Rise, Ottawa’s Historic Apartment Buildings, published by Heritage Ottawa.
Gouzenko Apartment https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igor_Gouzenko
Winnipeg’s Exchange District https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exchange_District
Fiona discusses The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Manson
We debate which month is worse: November or February.
Amanda talks about the Blue Road, a fable of migration, written by Wayde Compton and illustrated by April dela Noche Milne and published by Arsenal Pulp Press https://arsenalpulp.com/Books/T/The-Blue-Road
6. Reminder: the ottawa small press book fair takes place from noon to five pm on Saturday, November 23 at the Jack Purcell Community Centre
7. Book Club response 1: Hiram Larew talks about Gabriele Calvocoressi’s poem Cistern from the New Yorker July 16, 2018 issue. You can read and hear the poem here: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/07/23/mayflower-cistern-i-feel-my-pilgrim-worry
Thanks for listening and thanks to Helen and Fiona for joining us. Stay tuned for our last episode of 2019 in December. Please share with your poetry and book loving pals.