Monday, December 14, 2009

November/December Report

Okay, I'm checking in to report on my activities this fall. I've been pretty busy, so I haven't been keeping up with this blog as much as I'd like. So, here goes: My last big readings were at Calgary's WordFest and the Vancouver International Writers Festival. Calgary was a lot of fun. We stayed at the Paliser Hotel downtown and performed at the Vertigo theatre, which is attached to the hotel via a network of underground tunnels. I read with Billeh Nickerson, Alexis O'Hara, Chris Demeanor, Hal Niedzviecki, and Roland Pemberton, and a jazz ensemble directed by Mario Allende. It was a pretty fun reading. Hal gave a visual presentation on his book The Peep Diaries, Alexis O'Hara made a lot of great noise, Billeh read from his new book McPoems, Roland Pemberton read with the jazz trio, and Kris Demeanor surprised me with a great short story about a Ukrainian couple recently relocated to Calgary. His reading was a nice segue from my God of Missed Connections. I was also on a Sex-in-Your-Writing panel with Zoe Whittall, Thomas Trofimuk and Barry Callahan in which I spoke too much and too vehemently about, well, sex—and after the readings in Calgary, we were shuttled out to the Banff Centre for a Poetry Bash hosted by Lorna Crozier. It was the best poetry reading I'd seen in a long time. It was particularly delightful to see Karen Solie read—whom I'd never seen read before—and to meet Shani Mootoo who was my date for the evening, a wonderful writer and a truly delightful person to spend time with. Then I was off to read in Vancouver, the highlight of my year, I think. I read at the Poetry Bash at Performance Works on Granville Island with Robert Bringhurst, Xi Chuan, Carol Anne Duffy, Heather McHugh, and Greg Scofield. It was a real honour for me to read there since I've been going to that event for as long as I can remember and I've seen a lot of great poets on that stage. This night was no exception. The other readers were hilarious and strange and erudite and warm. It was thrilling to read with each of them, so much so I didn't quite know what to say, so I didn't say much. I was so nervous before the reading, I thought I'd pass out. I opened the night with a set from God of Missed Connections with the help of a group of Ukrainian folk singers from Vancouver's premier Ukrainian folk chorus, Zeellia. Special thanks to my singing teacher Beverly Dobrinsky for making that happen. Dearly wish someone had recorded us singing. If you did, please let me know. I'd love to post it. I was particularly thrilled to meet Carol Anne Duffy and Heather McHugh, two poets I admire very much and whom I may never meet again. Wow. OK, that's enough for now. Later.