By all metrics, it was a terrible summer. War, environmental disasters, political hypocrisy, weaponized hatreds. In my own circumscribed world, however, there were some small successes, a few surprises, and a book deal. So, in no way taking away from the horrors of the macro, here is a round up of my own, inconsequential micro.
I read poetry at three events this summer. In June, I headlined the inaugural Firepit Reading Series in London, Ontario, put on and hosted by David Huebert. This was the first time I read my poem “Handwritten Addendum to the Torah Left On The Moon” in public, along with other new–and newish–work. (True to its name, after the reading, the night refocused around the firepit.) In August, I read at the two-day long mega-reading that took place at the BIG on Bloor street festival, hosted by Jess Taylor. Finally, in honour of Leonard Cohen’s eightieth birthday, I read six of Cohen’s poems at Jewish Urban Meeting Place, as well as one of my own poems written to Cohen. Reading through his selected poetry in preparation for the reading, I remembered anew how fundamental Cohen’s poetry is to my own poetic sensibilities.
Out of the dozens, if not twenties, of rejection letters I received this summer, there were also a few acceptances. Two of my poems—“Abandoned Novel Openings Rendered as Tweets” and “The Canadian Prime Minister Visits Israel”—were picked up to be in Echolocation, coming out sometime this fall. As well, my poem “Fan Fiction,” from Vallum 10.1, was chosen by Sonnet L’Abbe to be included in Tightrope Books’ Best Canadian Poetry 2014, which I couldn’t be more excited about. And finally, in May I was offered publication of my first full-length poetry collection, Escape Plans, by Guernica Editions. Look for it sometime in 2017 (aka the distant future)!
Turning back to the wider world, the summer ended with the possibility of hope, in the form of 310, 000 people who attended the Climate People’s March in New York City, and the thousands upon thousands who joined them in cities around the world, including Toronto.
Let’s see what the fall has to offer.