Upcoming readings! Lost at Sea + Luminato Literary Picnic

I love to read aloud. So I’m delighted to announce my first public performances/readings of 2013! It would be lovely to see you. It’s been too long.

Thursday, May 9
LOST AT SEA: An Evening of Magical Things
Augusta House
(152 Augusta Ave in Kensington Market, Toronto)
7:30 pm FREE


My beloved friends at the House of Pomegranates have put together an evening of literary merriment and magic, a haunted world of art, music, and film, luscious chocolate, exotic cocktails and clever words. There will be readings by David Keyes, launching his new book I Do So Worry for All Those Lost at Sea. Vampire novelist Nancy Baker.  Poet Lynn Crosbie. And me.  Presentations by Belinda Chun of Gallery House and Prof. Richard Greene, talking of the Sitwells. A mystery String Quartet will play Ravel. And a short film about Carmilla, fashions from Gloomth, and fancy cocktails. Did I mention I will be reading brand new poems from a manuscript in progress called Requiem Birds? And that I’ll be accompanied by a surprise? Come, be surprised.


Saturday, June 22
A LITERARY PICNIC AT LUMINATO
Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto
noon to 4pm FREE

Sixty authors in the park, reading aloud to you. I’m stoked to be part of this year’s Luminato Arts festival. And even more excited to be part of an event truly designed for book lovers. Come and hear me read on the theme of “Beginnings.” You can even sign up to stay and spend time with me one-on-one on a picnic blanket and Ask Me Anything. Pack a parasol. Come.

TV Eye

The first time I went in front of the TV camera, I was 14. It was for my own community access show, in which I interviewed any bands that came through my small town, documented local teen activities, etc. It was super fun, and also my ticket into the Ryerson Radio and Television Arts program, where I learned how to make TV for real. For various reasons after graduation I ended up in print journalism instead, but I never lost my desire to use the mass medium of television to tell stories, and to shoot my mouth off. And while I didn’t exactly land that dream job of hosting The New Music (RIP), I’ve had the pleasure of appearing on various shows, usually to comment on music stories of the day. Highlights include a good run on MuchMoreMusic’s Listed, being the voice of dissent about SARSstock on CBC Newsworld and getting up ridiculously early to talk about the Spice Girls split on Canada AM. Ah, living the dream!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvOeV59OKK8

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of on-camera appearances to promote the Encyclopedia Gothica. The most fun of all was making a kind of promotional “trailer” for the book. More authors/publishers seem to be doing this lately (I like Tony Burgess’s People Still Live in Cashtown Corners clip quite a lot). And so armed with my fog machine, some fake ravens and my poem “What is Goth?” I  hooked up with my friend and former Rue Morgue Radio producer/overlord Tomb Dragomir. He put together a bang-up mash-up of my favourite Gothy things, and I hope it makes you laugh out loud, whether you are goth or not.

When you’re finished watching that — and sharing it with everyone you know, thanks! — you may enjoy peeking at some of my other recent clips:

I was pretty thrilled to celebrate the third annual World Goth Day by going on national television, to present Some Things You Might Not Know About Goths on the George Stroumbolopoulos Tonight show, one of Canada’s most influential news programs, and a long-time favourite of mine. (And not only because George  wears a lot of skulls.)

My book launch was featured on the episode “Goth Not Emo” of Tomb TV. I seem to be scowling at Tomb’s Goth dancing in there, but I’m actually very amused.

There was also my interview for Bookends, a literary video series, shot at the Playdead Cult shop in Kensington Market.

Finally, I’ll post here one of my favourite TV cameos from a rather long time ago. In this video clip for Toronto industrial/metal band Malhavoc’s song “Naked”, I appear as a goth keyboard player. Blink and you’ll miss me, but there are a lot of other interesting Toronto arts and music folk hidden in here too.

As always, thank you for reading, and for watching.

Death metal and Red Death…or, where I’ll be in January

I love few things more than reading aloud to you. So delighted that this year kicks off with two such occasions. Brave the cold. Come out, come out.

Friday, January 13th in Toronto: The Wrecking Ball

The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St W

Doors at 8pm. $10 cover. 19+

Poetry and heavy metal meet. I’ll be performing spoken word alongside Liz Worth and Natalie Zina Walschots, and between the not-very-soothing sounds of Corpusse, Battlesoul and Into Exile! For the occasion, I will be wearing a cloak, burning candles and introducing each piece in my best black metal voice.  I will not, however, be wearing a codpiece.

Friday, January 27th in Ottawa: Red Death Masquerade

Kent Street Legion, 330 Kent Street, 2nd Floor

9pm. $10 advance/ $15 at the door 19+

The Gothica roadshow rolls on to the nation’s capital for this masked ball, presented by the Ottawa Goth Syndicate. I’ll be reading poems and talking Goth alongside DJs Th’Elf, Reverie and [L]otus. You must wear a mask and there’s a $100 prize for best costume.  The following day is the Aftermath, an all-ages vendors’ market where I’ll be signing books. So whether you’re a daywalker or a creature of night, I hope to see you there. Details and updates at:  http://www.ottawagoth.ca/reddeathmasquerade/

The return of the poet

It’s been a long time since I’ve read aloud. This book writing business, it’s kept me quite ensconced. But this month, as an antidote to Halloween and book release withdrawal, I will emerge from the crypt to read poetry at two Toronto events. If you enjoy literary nights, surprises, or me, I hope you can come out and listen. I do not yet know what I’ll be reading, as it’s also been a long time since I’ve written new poems. But if my mood is any indication, it may sound a lot like dead birds and black metal.

Wednesday, November 9

CHISERIES

with Samantha Beiko, Joey Comeau and host Sandra Kasturi

Augusta House (152 Augusta Ave, 2nd floor)

8pm-11pm (I am on after 9pm.)

~

Sunday, November 13

DEAD SOULS: POETRY, MUSIC & ART

with Mindi St. Amand, Liz Worth, John Barlow, Spencer Butt and Raeanne Quinton.

Smiling Buddha Bar (961 College Street)

7:30. PWYC (I am on early at 8pm)

National Poetry Month

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 (here are some Canadian poetry books I adore), 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.

Holy Water, from the poem series Weapons (2009)