Saturday 31 December 2016

For a New Year's Eve

I'm not sure why I've cleared the decks of obligation to publicize what I write. Got to be something more than well shit, no one takes interest anyway
I've licked the cup of the coffee I drank. 
New to language is not as
easy as it sounds. Look how long
a line takes, a countdown 
100 top tunes of 2016. Number seventy.

I've wiped the birth from my fever.
I've driven truck and a case of water, sure.

Whatever it takes to stretch in the Yucatan
hint: sun. That's where you'll find me or me you.

And the toast I offer tonight says
may you take and be taken by the best in '17.

Tuesday 20 December 2016


Regina poet Gerald Hill has resigned after one year of his two-year term as Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan.
The cause of the resignation is unknown at this time. When pressed for a reason yesterday outside the Frontenac, to which Hill was seen returning with a box marked “Christmas liquor,” Hill would say only, “It’s time.”
According to his reports to Poet Laureate HQ, obtained through the Freedom of Poetry Information Act, Hill had enjoyed his year as poetry sovereign. His various events, most of them new to both the position and himself, took him to Government House, pubs, Culture Days, rodeo parades, outdoor food fairs, music festivals, arts congresses, comedy shows, and beyond. “It was a blast,” Hill says, “except maybe for opening the Leader-Post recently and finding my mug spread over three pages.”  
Why, then, the resignation? “Things came together,” was all Hill would say outside the Frontenac, repeating that “it's time.”
While full exposé of reasons for the resignation will have to wait, sources hint at a series of rejections of Hill’s work, one commentator speculating that “constant rejection as a poet gives the lie to public celebration as Poet Laureate.” Asked to confirm, Hill admitted that “I did have another manuscript rejected Friday, my third this year” and that “recent work can’t find any purchase in the journals of the land.” Could it be that less prancing about as public poet and more work with pick and shovel in the dark, private quarry is called for? “I do need a re-set,” Hill says.
“I think of it as the Abdication,” says Hill, known to be viewing The Crown for the fourth time. “My only regret is that I was unable to sign legislation requiring poets to bow before and after their public readings.”

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Thursday 15 December 2016

Last Class

The last class this semester was like the first one. When I showed up to the big round writing table in Luther 213, all 15 students were seated in their usual spots (wearing parkas, though, instead of shorts). We ate butter tarts and muffins and cookies.

I handed out copies of the anthology to which we'd all contributed.

Sam gave me a photo taken in class about month ago, when I am claiming I was the first to have written this new word, buycott, on the blackboard.

My pitch at the time, as always, was that the more we're aware of small language moves like this one, boycott to buycott, the better we can use language ourselves and thus, I need hardly add, the better we can resist the tyrants, advertisers, bullies of the world.

Shyla asked, "Is this the last class you'll ever teach?" I said I didn't know. But right now I'm feeling a little sad.

Tuesday 13 December 2016


Last summer in Herbert, at the end of her piano set opening for my Poet Laureate act, Mrs. A., long-time Herbert piano teacher, offered a beautiful bow. I say offer because surely that's what a performer's bow does: acknowledge, submit even--to the audience, without whom the performance means nothing.
Mrs. A. has bowed a thousand times in her lifetime (decades long), I'm guessing. We're used to seeing theatre performers bow also. But not us literary types. 
I for one have never bowed, except the other night at a party when I got going on this matter and tried a few out, with ridiculous effect. Maybe it's my three times through the brilliant "The Crown," which is full of bows, at the neck, whenever His/Her Majesty walks by. Forget neck, I want the full half-body forward fold, palms resting above the knees or hanging loose in front. 
This is no idle gesture. I learned in Andalusia how performers and audience fulfill mutual needs. I think it's about time the poets got bowing. When I mentioned this at that party the other night, a friend said, "Well you're Poet Laureate. Can't you just make everyone do it?"
I'll start with myself. Every time I do a public presentation, I'll bow--after, maybe before. Starting with Red Hot Riot this Friday in Regina. How low to dip, how long to hold it, what to do with hands and feet and eyes? Drop in and see.