Calgary Extravaganza!

Which is not the same as the Blow-Out! It was more extravagant. On December 8th we were in Montréal in the morning and Calgary in the evening. Cara Hedley arrived with a carload of poetry-and-literature fans from Edmonton and we made our way down to the Lunchbox Theatre, which is a classy little space somewhat buried in the mall-like maze that is indoor downtown Calgary. 

    The book table was very extravagant. The event was an evening of 5 minute (ha) readings from 12 Calgary-connected authors from our 11 books released this fall (Brea and I are two-for-the-price-of-one, skewing the book-to-author ratio– hey, we like to mess things up!) Our hosts were Paul Kennett and Mark Hopkins in matching velvet jackets, who were charming and suave to go along with those jackets.

    My favourite readings were Cara’s Twenty Miles and Claire Huot’s The Prison Tangram— two first novels from two quite different writers. I read Cara’s book in about a day and a half (I’m a fan!) and her reading has prompted me to read it again, but only after I finish Claire’s.

    We ended the night at the Bear and Kilt, and only left when I realized that if I stayed out much longer I would have been up for nearly 24 hours. Well, that and the last call. It was a wonderful celebration of the secret vibrancy of Calgary culture, and a big thanks is owed to Natalie Walschots, who is an amazing event co-ordinator in addition to being an excellent poet!

    Published in: on December 13, 2007 at 12:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

    Booty in Montréal!

    We had a terrific (and whirlwind) visit to Montréal to read at the Atwater Reading Series. It was very snowy– somehow between the downpour we had in Toronto and the Montréal visit, it became winter! Stepping out of the airport was a small shock– I haven’t seen that much snow since Winnipeg last year and it made us just a leetle late for the reading at the Atwater Library.

    We stopped first at poet Angela Carr‘s beautiful Plateau Mont-Royal apartment to drop our two-night versions of the Hulk and the Punisher (see last post!) Mine, an exact copy of the Punisher but scaled way down, we dubbed  Mini-P, and Brea’s purple suitcase  we named Barney. We changed out of our rumpled plane clothes, downed a blanche de chambly, and promptly jumped in a second cab (oh the luxury to be able to get a cab by phone whenever you like– Calgarians, a less obvious reason to visit Montréal, but one of many small delights to be had…)

    The Atwater Library is a great old building, the oldest lending library in Canada, and the hall they use for readings is filled with rows of leather-seated auditorium chairs. We settled in after greeting our host, poet and translator Oana Avasilichioaei to listen to Jon Paul Fiorentino read from Theory of the Loser Class. He also read some new work–great stuff Tino! Brea and I then took the stage, and you can listen to our reading here— Atwater is archiving their series, so there are many treats to be found at their site.

    Although we were only in town for two nights, we were able to squeeze in an impressive amount of visiting, set to the tune of wine, bagels, coffee, more coffee, and Unibroue. After  two nights in Angela’s daughters’ bunkbeds (I’m a top if you are wondering), we had to get back into our Westjet seats to make the Calgary Extravaganza…

    Published in: on December 13, 2007 at 12:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

    Calgary Raunch!

    Good morning! A little hungover but pleased as punch this morning (becoming afternoon) about our Calgary launch last night at Pages Bookstore.

    The room was full despite the crummy weather and overload of lit events this week, and I felt very honoured to be launching my second book of poetry at my neighbourhood bookstore. Simone Lee, the new owner at Pages, was spectacularly sweet and enthusiastic, and even got volunteers to do Booty-charades (thank you for volunteering Mark and Natalie! Mark, your “Little Mermaid” dance is your new signature move).  The reading was fun, as always. My co-pirate Brea and I read for about 15 minutes and clinked glasses and “yaaared.”

    How many times can we launch Booty? The Toronto launch was special because it was the “official” launch, and we go to share the fun with our wonderful editor, angela rawlings. The Calgary launch was special because it’s my hometown! Reading the line “soggy style” with my parents in the audience was quite an experience. My parents loved it, although my mom smacked me on the head (gently) with Booty when they came up to get their copy signed. The Edmonton launch (January 8th) is going to be milestone number 3– it’s Brea’s hometown, and we’ll be reunited with third TEAM-matey, lil sister (Cara Hedley, who has started graduate studies there this fall. Of course you should be aware she’s also just published the best novel of the year, Twenty Miles.) But all the other places we get to go! I feel really lucky. 

    Our travels have been mega-fun so far. Toronto was wonderful (staying with angela in Kensington Market, roaming Toronto in the rain, getting one perfect day to go up the CN Tower– yes, we touristed it up!) But I must say, looking back two weeks after the Ontario leg of the Booty-tour, St. Catharines  kind of won my heart! Aaron “Jovo” Giovannone was an amazing host. He toured us around Niagara– the falls, vineyards, and Port Dalhousie in one day. Hanging with Greg Betts was the icing on the cake. Or was it Conor’s pirate play? Yaaar! And of course train travel is a fun novelty for Westerners like us, even carting around our enormous suitcases (Mine, nicknamed “The Hulk,” actually took out a cab’s taillight on its way up into the trunk. Brea’s, “The Punisher,” probably contributed to our Groupie Brett’s back trouble.) Ottawa was fun, next time I am scheduling more time there! Max Middle was a great host and the Avant Garde Bar is a really relaxed venue– for you Calgarians reading, picture a place that’s a cross between Ming and Weeds.

    Next week we go to Montreal to read at the Atwater series, which I am really looking forward to– I get to see Jon Paul and Oana and Angela and, well, Montreal!   

    Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 2:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

    The Sound of Booty in Ottawa

    We’re in TO, going to try to hit the CN Tower today since the rain has cleared… Tonight is the Merc Launch! Tomorrow we’ll be having an interview with Mitchell Caplan at 5:40 EST, which, if you’re not in Ottwa, you can still catch at Chuo.fm online!

    We had an amazing time in St. Catharines! It’s hard to stop to blog with all the whirlwond of Booty-fun happening, but I will fill in the details ASAP! Send us good vibes for the reading tonight, talk to you soon!

    (The Steamwhistle Factory was super-fun! We got to toot the whistle…)

    Published in: on November 13, 2007 at 11:55 am  Leave a Comment  

    Chapbook-making isn’t complete without a little blood…

    I managed to skewer my thumb while binding the “Doubloon” chapbooks I am putting together to take on our tour. Those little cocktail cutlasses are really sharp!

    I’m pretty happy with how these turned out– you have to “undress” them by pulling out the cocktail cutlass (WHAT is the etymology of cutlass? Cut lass… hmmm) to read what’s inside. Some of the pages are see-through and one is printed on a cocktail doily coaster. Sort of lacy under-things-ish. It’s all bound together by a length of tickets– “Admit One.” I thought of calling it “Peepshow” but I really like the (admittedly more oblique) connotations of “Doubloon”– double, money, balloons, somehow it sounds dirty but I don’t know why.

    Published in: on November 6, 2007 at 10:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

    hmmmmm

    hrmmmmm

    heh heh heh

    !!!

    and it gets better.. worse.. erm.. from there… Sort of like poetry but more like pirates. 10 days til we leave for Ontario!

    Published in: on October 30, 2007 at 6:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

    What’s Another Word for Pirate Treasure?

    Why, I think it’s Booty!

    Here it is, the blog for Booty: Hurricane Jane and Typhoon Mary, our book about pirates, dance, dirty words, and just a tiny bit of hockey (for Cara, our sometime collaboratrix. Cheers to TEAM!)

    We’ll be posting updates of all Booty-related miss-adventures throughout the fall and into the winter and then the spring and… You get the idea. We’ll be leaving for the Mercury Fall launch and two bonus Ontario dates in about two weeks from now… It’s the calm before the Hurricane, before the Typhoon!

    Want a little context? Here’s the info our wonderful editor angela rawlings at Mercury helped us come up with to sell the book:

      Prairie oysters, hen frigates, surf and turf. Scallop, trollop, galleon, hellion. Warning: Booty contains language.

    In disjunctive treatments of popular slang and unpopular attitudes, Calgary collaborators Brea Burton and Jill Hartman take on gendered sexuality, reconsidering the sensual, the physical, and the feminine in colloquial language. Riding the wave of burlesque and piracy, this sexually-charged poetry is booty call—and response.

    Typhoon Mary sails the seas of salty dogs and lady pirates. Burton’s poetry demands a sensual enjoyment of the body—fluid on the tongue, the figurehead come to life makes waves and breaks ice—the formless, the formidable. Crossing the waterline, Typhoon Mary searches for what’s been plundered, from sunken chests to ravished booty, and recasts the erotic in language. Protest literature in pasties, puss in boots—the violence inherent in sexual slang rubs up against the bloodless “feminine” of popular culture to rediscover the feminist potential in sex and reclaim the sexual potential in femininity.

    Hurricane Jane sashays into the culturally charged territory of burlesque and its roots in Middle Eastern dance. Hartman’s poetry is an assay, spaced with milestones whose names describe dance styles and steps in “Belly” dance. Following the trajectory of “that old hoochy koochy,” Hurricane Jane dances the form and from there, improvises: in her circling and repetition, she partners language with moving bodies to define a space for empowered femininity in language, pulling the Persian carpet out from under to subvert the exotic in erotic. Like a dance, the text is experiential—Hurricane Jane will have you reeling.

    Where Hurricane Jane and Typhoon Mary meet? Booty: the plunder and what’s under, a doubloon, a two-backed beastess. Jane and Mary play woman as force of nature until it is played out—encountering gendered slang and violently sexualized language, Hartman and Burton dance around it then run it through with a very pretty cutlass.

    Finally: a feminist poetics that playfully questions the language we use and the language we desire.

    Published in: on October 29, 2007 at 5:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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