Friday, 27 September 2013

Tonight: Surrey Muse & Verse on the Edge

Verse on the Edge from Edward Westerhuis on Vimeo.

Friday, Sept 27
7-9pm, doors open at 6:3o
Newton Cultural Centre
13530 72ave, Surrey, BC
South of Fraser Inter-Arts Collective is a newly formed arts collective committed to developing and presenting hybridized art forms in Surrey, B.C. Our work is rooted in both the literary and visual art practice, and grounded by intercultural exchange. Over the course of the next year, we will present four community art events across the City of Surrey.

VERSE on the EDGE is our inaugural event.

Poets Cecily Nicholson, Wanda John-Kehewin, and Taryn Hubbard will read work from their on-going projects that explore place, identity, and culture.

Video by Edward Westerhuis |


It's regrettable that the date chosen for this inaugral event is in direct competition to the longer-standing series, Surrey Muse

Hopefully the organizers of the new series will chose non-competing dates in future, so that the all may enjoy the offerings of all, in support of ever-growing harmonious ecologies of art- performance- witnessing-conversations.


5:30 – 8:30 PM
Room 418 – City Centre branch
Surrey Public Library
Phone: (604) 598-7420
(Surrey Central skytrain)
September 27
Featured Author Julian Worker
Featured Poet Diego Bastiannutti
Featured Performer Sam Migliore
Open Mic Opener Randeep Purewall (uc)
Host Sonja Grgar
(Julian Worker in place of Fabiola Naguib)
Download PDF Poster
Book Table
Free event
Donations welcome
Contact Surrey Muse

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

National Indigenous Writers Conference

Michelle Sylliboy photo                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Vancouver October 19-20, 2013

Featured presenters include:

(roundtable and workshop)


(opening, closing of events)

co-hosts of CFRO's When Spirit Whispers


All participants (regional check-in, workshops, discussions)

Meet & Greet with TWUC

+  more

                                                                                         Suzanne Norman photo

Across a New Dawn, Kofi Awoonor

 Kofi Awoonor

Sometimes, we read the
lines in the green leaf
run our fingers over the
smooth of the precious wood
from our ancient trees;

Sometimes, even the sunset
puzzles, as we look
for the lines that propel the clouds,
the colour scheme
with the multiple designs
that the first artist put together

There is dancing in the streets again
the laughter of children rings
through the house
On the seaside, the ruins recent
from the latest storms
remind of ancestral wealth
pillaged purloined pawned
by an unthinking grandfather
who lived the life of a lord
and drove coming generations to
despair and ruin


But who says our time is up
that the box maker and the digger
are in conference
or that the preachers have aired their robes
and the choir and the drummers
are in rehearsal?

No; where the worm eats
a grain grows.
the consultant deities
have measured the time
with long winded
arguments of eternity

And death, when he comes
to the door with his own
inimitable calling card
shall find a homestead
resurrected with laughter and dance
and the festival of the meat
of the young lamb and the red porridge
of the new corn


We are the celebrants
whose fields were
overrun by rogues
and other bad men who
interrupted our dance
with obscene songs and bad gestures

Someone said an ailing fish
swam up our lagoon
seeking a place to lay its load
in consonance with the Original Plan

Master, if you can be the oarsman
for our boat
please do it, do it.
I asked you before
once upon a shore
at home, where the
seafront has narrowed
to the brief space of childhood

We welcome the travelers
come home on the new boat
fresh from the upright tree

From Promises of Hope: New and Selected Poems,” selected by Kofi Anyidoho, University of Nebraska Press and the African Poetry Book Fund, 2014

... Kofi Awoonor (1935-2013) was among those slain in a terrorist attack on a mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The African Poetry Book Fund is set to publish Awoonor’s latestcollection, “Promises of Hope: New and Selected Poems” in 2014. [source, WSJ]

  Academics Mourn Professor Awoonor [Ghana TV]

Monday, 23 September 2013

After Kemeny

Buffalo Wings 2006 ~

Kemeny Babineau

   Let us get back to the beginning of history; a Viking ship
with sweeping lines  to withstand fury
flies over the waves to the land of flat stones and thick forests.

American Beech by AcrylicsMichelle, based on (1813)
( 1813 )

The British and Americans point long guns in The
Long Woods, perpendicular to the world, to the
trees all about, American Beech

• columnar
• trunks and limbs
• etching out
• at arms length

• a graphite sketch
• men in battle among trees, musket
• ball furrows in bark, seeding
• the heart’s darkness
• makes forays

• lead scribbles
• what was visible

• ‘ don’t
• draw their fire, ‘

• voices
• not getting far, an arm
• a leg and bits
• of head.

• everything in sections
• nothing whole
• some things over
• done, piece by
• piece falling
• in, drawn
• down

Chaos of trees at first, inscrutable
                                                  leaves obscure
                      what we left
                      behind the Rising

Now its life in the clearing
hair like wheat\ in ruffles of wind
downcast potato eyes
and ears of corn
that hear
their own thin rustling

                                  With the slow stitch
                                                                 of a split-
                   rail fence, we sow
                                        a quilt
                                                -ed field and wrap
                                                              tight fear in

from VDBWordlist

What do you want, how much
                   shall I give you
sinachkoo, to exorcise the devil
                   to make medicine
                   to heal
                   to ignite wood

It is burning
                   when shall you come back
                   I do not know
                                           in the spring
                   den soomer
                   den winter

Refreshing themselves on the ground floor patio with lemonade and ice as house sparrows ruck in the eaves and starlings dare to come near and nearer seeking crumbs, Minsk, her hair a graceful blue in the greening light of spring, confesses that ever since her husband Jarmanus had passed on she’d been bent on losing everything, was burning through their savings as if financial annihilation could atone for the fact she gotten to live while Jarmanus was gone. “But now, I don’t want to lose anymore… Casino Rama Damn Ya.”

“Hmmp” Mose sounds noncommittally, sensing an attempt to lure him in. Mose had never married, though he’d had various live-in partners from time to time, and he was ever wary of being tied down. Minsk could sense it, saw it in the withdrawing of his slight frame, the uneasy shift of his narrow ass in the plastic chair, but she figured on making him come around. Mose was thinking to leave then but something in her moon round face was drawing him in, it was easier somehow to relent.

Everything Was Extreme

Kemeny Babineau

Poetically as a youth I was everywhere, and nowhere. I was all emotion, inspiration and self-righteous indignation. I primarily used end rhyme and rhythms that shunted
jerkily along. Nothing I wrote then is of much interest to me now, but what I remember is writing them. It was the act that was important. The pure pleasure of it. Looking into the blue eyes of the
girl next to me in class I felt a yearning that spilled out as words. I am sure this is a common experience as poetry is the one art form most everyone tries their hand at, but to me, at the time, it
was a revelation. I was exuberant. I wanted to tell somebody how blue those eyes were. I wanted to tell her. There had been earlier sojourns into writing in pre-pubescent years, but when puberty took
hold of me I stopped. When I looked into those heavenly eyes though, it all returned in a rush. And after that I didn't stop. I began writing all the time, and rewriting and worrying over poems and
waiting for the urgency's return. I listened closely to song lyrics and began reading poetry. I discovered Leonard Cohen and read everything he wrote with little regard for comprehension. My
favourites were The Favourite Game and The Energy of Slaves. I tried to write like Leonard Cohen. I wanted to be a mystical love poet. Then I found Milton Acorn and I wanted to be a poet of the
people. I read Susan Musgrave and I wanted to die. I didn't read any more Musgrave for a long time.

"American Beech" was shared on the website WetCanvas, in the stream Art and Poetry, 2005, by 

Michelle Snively-Jefferies

vid 1 

  Published on Jan 8, 2013

From a poetry reading in Buffalo, NY in Feb 2006 with John Barlow and Rob Read. Reading recorded by Nick Schwartzmyer. Sound editing and soundscape by Rob Read.

Saturday, 21 September 2013


Rose DeShaw has been gardening poetry on a corner of Kingston for many years. She has also been writing and publishing, in magazines and anthologies, decades of columns in diverse newspapers (here's a current sample, published in the Kingston Whig-Standard, and on her blogNo Polite Silence Here), and micro press presentations:

DESHAW, Rose. Ibbity. Mt Pleasant: Laurel Reed Books, 2007. Limited Edition. 4to. Wrappers. Fine / Fine. np [24 pages]. Sheets stapled along spine edge with printed dustwrapper. Printed bookmark, with poem, laid in. [more about Laurel Reed Books here]

Rose DeShaw's 'Coming Down The Alaskan Highway Was The Central Fact Of My Childhood' oversion online privacy respecting press 10201 2010, 37 copies of the original work, a numbered series, 1/37 with new cover all notated with a sharpee
[oversion weblog]
An inspiring activist, through song and storytell and body-on-the-line assertions, Rose has been a great friend to me since we first bumped into one another online. We have enjoyed cross-fertilizing on many poetry playspaces, and in the sojourns of backchannelling intimate conversation. Watching the seasons run is a shared favourite activity, hence the sequencing of above imagery:

Online friends manifest in garden, 2011
 happy birthday, Rose.

Images from online sources: Rose DeShawDick DeShawOversion, & possibly more

Friday, 20 September 2013

Resonating Reconciliation In Secwépemcul'ecw

Resonating Reconciliation in Secwépemcul'ecw is a Documentary by Amy Jones and Chris Albinati featuring Garry Gottfriedson, Arthur Manuel and Ryan Day discussing: "how the law the language and the land are all connected. We will consider how the constitution of Canada and the residential schools system tried to sever our connections to the land. We will tell you how the colonial state of Canada's attempt to complete its program of genocide on Secwepemc people has failed. We will tell you what reconciliation means to us as Secwepemc and how it is different from the meaning our colonial oppressors would like to impose." (Amy Jones)

Thanks to Emalene Manuel for image & documentary links.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Poetry activism = resistance

Connie Fife & I at Anskohk Festival 2007, Janet Marie Rogers photo

It's been a very special week for me thus far.

Beginning Sunday evening, through to midmorning yesterday, I spent many hours in conversation with Marie Annharte, Sharron Proulx-Turner, and Connie Fife, who travelled in from Winnipeg MB, Calgary AB, and Haines Junction YT (with support of Daniel Heath Justice and June Scudeler).

I'POYI Marie Anneharte Baker at the Glenbow

We shared open-ended, exploratory conversations through which we acknowledged many pools of common interest, many commonalities as indigenous women and free-standing poet practioners with decades of work done (and more to come), and all the little sidestreams of idea and experience that came to mind.

Our plan was to identify the scope of a volume representative of our four journeys of published and performance works, and in idea form at least, we have at least twelve volumes worth of collaborative coherence identified.

It has been a healing opportunity, to acknowledge the strengthening impact of one another's voices, presence, and work, on the long road of braiding our voices through Cancultural realms.

I'POYI Sharron Proulx-Turner, Lee Maracle

On Tuesday, we travelled from Richmond to North Vancouver, for the Words & Music/Truth & Reconciliation gathering at Capilano College. On Wednesday morning Sharron began her journey home, Marie moved to False Creek to continue her Truth & Rec participations, and Connie came away home with me to visit with my family. We are setting out to Emily Carr U this afternoon, to witness/participate in two gatherings:

Sept.19, Truth and Reconciliation Round Table

Please join us for a Truth and Reconciliation Round Table, with,

Jonathan Dewar, Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre
David Garneau, University of Regina
Mimi Gellman, Emily Carr U
Glen Lowry, Emily Carr U
Peter Morin, Brandon University

When:  Sept. 19, 2013, 5-7 p.m.
Where: Aboriginal Gathering Place Emily Carr University

Refreshments will be served
Then up to Room SB 406 for a reading with Gregory Scofieldmy book launch.

Although I felt uneasy at first to be missing the All Nations Canoe Gathering and other TRCC public events, I have come to see how these conversations that began in privacy and spill into the public realm are a most fitting and healing way to synthesize the i with the we. I feel honoured and strengthened by the presence and the inspiration of so many of my deepest friendships,
carried in my heart,
walking nearby.

Poetry activism = memoir = resistance.