Paul Auster on Coincidence in Fiction

Paul Auster on coincidence in fiction ( From “Interview with Larry McCaffery and Sinda Gregory,” The Art of Hunger, pages 287-288):

“From an aesthetic point of view, the introduction of chance elements in fiction probably creates as many problems as it solves. I’ve come in for a lot of abuse from critics because of it. In the strictest sense of the word, I consider myself a realist. Chance is a part of reality: we are continually shaped by the forces of coincidence, the unexpected occurs with almost numbing regularity in all our lives. And yet there’s a widely held notion that novels shouldn’t stretch the imagination too far. Anything that appears “implausible” is necessarily taken to be forced, artificial, “unrealistic.” I don’t know what reality these people have been living in, but it certainly isn’t my reality. In some perverse way, I believe they’ve spent too much time reading books. They’re so immersed in the conventions of so-called realistic fiction that their sense of reality has been distorted. Everything’s been smoothed out in these novels, robbed of its singularity, boxed into a predictable world of cause and effect. Anyone with the wit to get his nose out of his book and study what’s actually in front of him will understand that this realism is a complete sham. To put it another way: truth is stranger than fiction. What I am after, I suppose, is to write fiction as strange as the world I live in.”

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Bill C-51 Poem

Web Searches That, Thanks to Bill C-51, Will Trigger A CSIS Investigation of You

1. Sweater vests.

2. I found this long gun on the bus, how can I find out who it belongs to?

3. Who is it exactly that’s benefiting from the neoliberalization of the university?

4. The location of today’s peace march.

5. The militarization of our paper money.

6. The militarization of the arctic.

7. Indigenous epistemologies.

8. David Suzuki.

9. What Alberta used to look like.

10. What happened to all the Roma children living in my neighbourhood?

11. The missing and murdered, the missing and murdered, the missing and murdered.

12. Dismantling Canada.

13. The names of trees.

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Online Activity / NYC Readings

My poem “Paddling the Nickel Tailings Near Sudbury” was recently on Split This Rock‘s weekly poetry blog. You can read it here.

Also, five poems of mine–that were featured at last year’s PULP Paper Art Party–were included in the digital book that was a product of the party. The book was put together by Jess Taylor and the EW Reading Series. The whole book is free, and can be found here.

Finally, I have two upcoming readings in New York City in June, where I’ll be reading with other poets who have had their work in the Best Canadian Poetry anthologies. On June 23rd, I’ll be reading at the Bryant Park Word For Word reading series; and on June 24th, I’ll be reading at the KGB Bar in the East Village. If you’re going to be in New York at the end of June, come out to hear some Canadian poetry!

That’s it for now.

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ABD (A Poem)

Here’s a poem I wrote for David Huebert, on the occasion of him finishing his comprehensive exams. (For those who are not a graduate student themselves, or whose siblings, partners, roommates, or dog park friends are not graduate students, ABD stands for All But Dissertation).  Happy spring!

ABD
For Dave “Species Panic at the Disco” Huebert

Always better Dave.
Any butter Dave.
Affluent, botulistic Dave.
Anything but Dave.

Armies bomb Dave.
Andromeda beleaguers Dave.
Antigone belittles Dave.
Aphrodite boffs Dave.

Another beatific Dave.
Alright, brazen Dave.
Address barrenness, Dave?
All butterflies Dave!

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A Thought Experiment, Or, Two People, One Swimming Pool

Two people are in an empty swimming pool. There are two guitars in there, nothing else. Imagine all the possible outcomes.

Two people are in an empty swimming pool. There is also a small library of assorted books, unending cups of coffee. Imagine all the possible outcomes.

Two people are in an empty swimming pool. There is a jar of LSD, a half dozen stretched canvases, and buckets of acrylic paint and paintbrushes. The jar is purple. Imagine all the possible outcomes.

Two people are in an empty swimming pool with a series of wooden planters, high-quality soil, heritage seeds, and watering cans. Imagine all the possible outcomes.

Two people are in an empty swimming pool with a baseball, an aluminium bat, and a catcher’s glove. Imagine all the possible outcomes.

Two people are in an empty swimming pool. There are two semi-automatics and a skid of bullets. Imagine all the possible outcomes.

Two people are in an empty swimming pool. There is a nuclear weapon silo, the launch codes on a post-it note above the keypad. Imagine all the possible outcomes.

End of thought experiment.

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