I am a poet. Says so right up there at the top of this page. I have to tell you though, it feels strange saying it. To paraphrase something I think the lovely and talented poet Damian Rogers once wrote, telling people you’re a poet is kind of like saying you’re a unicorn. I’ve often joked that poetry is only one rung up above mime on the list of arts most people think they could live their whole lives without. And yet, I’ve always done it, written this kind of verse. And read it. Every day, every month. It brings me great joy, clarity, wisdom, wonder. But someone decided we should celebrate it all the more, give it a month, like it’s some kind of disease or cause that needs to a campaign for awareness, a charity. Hence, April is declared National Poetry Month. Well it’s true, poets are pretty broke and under-appreciated, they can use the attention, the applause, the money.
Often, I take National Poetry Month as an excuse to push mundane work things aside and focus on writing new work. This year, I am taking the work I did in 2010 and turning it into short films. I am plotting with filmmaking friends on on some art videos based on my series Weapons. These poems were not written for the printed page, rather, they were created to to be printed on prayer candles. (See a shadowy sample of “Holy Water,” below.) I’ve been lucky enough to exhibit these and revel in the fact that it presents poetry in an unexpected place. That’s also what we will do with the films.
Meanwhile, I do encourage you, poet friends and friends of poetry, to take this month as an excuse to buy some poetry (herearesomeCanadian poetry booksIadore), attend a reading, memorize a favourite verse, feed a poet, write your own sonnets, or otherwise celebrate poetry. Because you know, it’s easier to fit in your pocket than a unicorn.
My first passport stamp was in Mexico. I love that country. Climbing pyramids. Eating cactus tacos. Speaking Espanish. Watching full moons rise over the ocean. Browsing amazing galleries for unique Day of the Dead art. Hanging on to the seat of a third class bus as it speeds ’round a mountain, while a local teeters down the aisle selling herbal tonic or chili peanuts. But it had been a while, so for my birthday this year I packed the SPF 1000 and headed to the Yucatan for a long overdue visit. Much has changed. I refused to shop at the shiny 7/11 or spend $6 on a scoop of Haagen-Daaz but somehow ended up in a Wal-Mart. And there, my hands full of lime-flavoured potato chips and other spicy snacks, I came across the magazine rack. And there, amongst the Spanish language Tron and Simpsons comic books I found this:
Mexican Goth mag! I’ve long known there were plenty of Goths in el D.F., and other cities around Mexico and I’ve bought Goth T-shirts and demo tapes in the markets there but this was a real treat. To no surprise, it covers exactly the same things, in the same way, as all the other glossy Goth mags out there — German duo Lacrimosa is on the cover, Klaus Nomi and Dave Vanian get features — but I was still delighted. And it was free. Well, free with purchase of a skateboard magazine called Gorilla which, to my surprise, has naked pin-up centrefolds in it. So I bought the Gorilla and came home with the Especial Dark. Un regalo de cumpleaños para mi!
I am delighted to announce the cover artist for my upcoming Encyclopedia Gothica book: Ghoulish Gary Pullin!
I know Gary from my work at Rue Morgue Magazine, where he is the Art Director responsible for many of their wicked covers. He is also great at gig posters, illustrations and painting all kinds of monsters. He’s not Goth (not yet!) but knows his bats and skulls and I know he’s going to bring both class and creepiness to the project. Exciting!
More news soon on the book’s release, coming this fall from ECW Press.
The Paperback Horror blog has published a lovingly positive review of my chapbook Weapons, which I hand-stitched and stamped for the book fairs this year. They have also posted a sample poem from the collection. I don’t usually share my poetry on the internet but it seemed like the right place to do it. In the spirit of the season, we picked “Icepick.” Enjoy.
December 14, 2010 Dead Poet’s Night
The Art Bar Poetry Series presents its 8th annual meeting of the Dead Poet’s Society. I shall be reading aloud from someone else’s work for the first time: Louise Labé (1522-1566). Others will read Kerouac, Tennyson and many more. Come.
Friends, I am delighted to officially announce that my book Encyclopedia Gothica — a Goth dictionary! will be published next year by the fine folks at ECW Press. Expected release is Autumn 2011.
More soon… http://www.ecwpress.com/
Friends, stalkers, random web searchers…this is my new website. Now with %100 bloginess. Thanks for visiting.
It’s been quiet this year. I’ve been quiet. Just a little. I’ve been working behind the scenes on a new television series about heavy metal I know you are going to enjoy. And always, always writing poems late into the night, which I will share here when they are ready.
I will also be posing as a visual artist this month, exhibiting my Weapons Prayer Candles at the Small Press Book Fair, Saturday June 19 at the Great Hall. Come say hello. Bring your pens. Bring your swords.