We’d cut school like knives through butter, the three
Of us – Peter, Stephen and I – to play
Just about all the music we knew,
Which meant that from nine in the morning till
Steve’s parents, the ever-patient Murtaughs,
Would get home from work, I played guitar,
Peter played bass, and Steve (who’d end
Up becoming a guitarist by trade
When we went separate ways, to separate
Schools, in separate states), Steve at this point
Played the drums. We dreamed of power trios
And powered our way through song after song,
Including ones Steve and I wrote – like
“Hey, Regina” and the lamentably
Titled “String Her Up.” Sometimes we tried out
Some Yes, a long “Hey Joe,” the stereo phaser
Was my signature sound, and I’d bend in
And out of notes, imply arpeggios
Only to solo over them, tapped, frowned
Through anything in a major key, felt
My way home on Steve’s map of snares, Pete’s rope.
We’d play an entire Zeppelin album,
Usually the first or second, then stray
By chance into the longer, later songs
Like bees that float down and drown in a pool.
We’d break for lunch and then get back at it,
As though we had a gig to get ready for,
Or a demo to cut, the cassette deck
Rolling its eyes as it whirred round and round.
Peter, as is the nature of bassists,
Held the tunes together and kept things light.
Years later, I assumed he was dead.
My Telecaster glares at me at night now
From inside the hard case by my bed –
And the calluses on my fingertips
Have long since softened. The six-minute solos
At some point became poems it took two months
Minimum to make seem seamless. Steve
In the meantime thrived in the Triangle,
Became Stevie, married Emily; Pete
I knew less about. He posts on Facebook
Cheerfully about the Light, the Great Light
That glows in all of us, sends the occasional
White dove in the occasional shared shot,
A sun resting on a cloud like a pearl
In its mooted gray shell. Nostalgia courts
Me. I’m nearing forty, we were boys –
And I should let us be. But nostalgia
Spreads quickly through the ashes of our youth,
Making ferned fires out of blue beliefs.
When the dark would come, we’d show each other
Our blisters, the painful white whorls peeling,
Our red palms upwards, outstretched and unread.

Poetry and Jazz on a midSummer Night

Title: Poetry and Jazz on a midSummer Night

Date: August 6, 2016

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Description: The evening features Penn Kemp and Bill Gilliam with Daniel Kolos. The audience is invited to travel with them to timeless realms via Helwa! Experiencing Ancient Egypt. They will also be performing poems from Penn’s forthcoming book, Barbaric Cultural Practice (Quattro Books).

Learn more here.

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Free Verse: The Poetry Book Fair

Title: Free Verse: The Poetry Book Fair

Date: September 17, 2016

poetry-book-fairLocation: London, England
Description: Free Verse: The Poetry Book Fair is an all-day bazaar, market, library, meeting place, performance venue, information resource and more. Celebrating the vitality of contemporary poetry in the UK, publishers both large and small, both experimental and traditional, display and sell their work direct to the public.

Learn more here.

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Free Verse: The Poetry Book Fair Competition submission deadline

Title: Free Verse: The Poetry Book Fair Competition submission deadline

Date: August 1, 2016

poetry-book-fairLocation: London, England
Description: The Poetry Book Fair is looking for a short poem (14 lines max.) about love – any kind of love – to welcome visitors to this year’s Poetry Book Fair at Conway Hall, London, on Saturday 17th September 2016. Entries will be judged by Joey Connolly, Chrissy Williams and guest judge Jo Shapcott.

Learn more here.

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INTER_POEMS 4: Erin Moure and Uljana Wolf

Title: INTER_POEMS 4: Erin Moure and Uljana Wolf

Date: July 21, 2016

inter-poemsLocation: Berlin, Germany
Description: inter_poems 4 leads us into “translantic” fields, as Uljana Wolf would put it: on neither side of the Atlantic, but into the in-between, the third space of translation. Erín Moure’s multilingual poetry merges Canadian English with Portuguese and its historical precursor, the Galician of the trovadores — poems that Uljana Wolf responds to with a German affected by Middle High German Minnesang. Both poets read from their books and talk with Daniel Graf about mother tongues in the plural mode, interferences of writing and translating, and translation as a critical interrogation of concepts of the “foreign” and the “self”.

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All winter he sleeps.
Then he gets up, he shaves –
it takes a long time to become a man again
his face in the mirror bristles with dark hair.

The earth now is like a woman, waiting for him.
A great hopefulness – that’s what binds them together,
himself and this woman.

Now he has to work all day to prove he deserves what he has.
Midday: he’s tired, he’s thirsty.
But if he quits now he’ll have nothing.

The sweat covering his back and arms
is like his life pouring out of him
with nothing replacing it.

He works like an animal, then
like a machine, with no feeling.
But the bond will never break
though the earth fights back now, wild in the summer heat –

He squats down, letting the dirt run through his fingers.

The sun goes down, the dark comes.
Now that summer’s over, the earth is hard, cold;
by the road, a few isolated fires burn.

Nothing remains of love,
only estrangement and hatred.



She might have had months left of her dog-years,
but to be who? She’d grown light as a nest
and spent the whole day under her long ears
listening to the bad radio in her breast.
On the steel bench, knowing what was taking shape
she tried and tried to stand, as if to sign
that she was still of use, and should escape
our selection. So I turned her face to mine,
and seeing only love there – which, for all
the wolf in her, she knew as well as we did –
she lay back down and let the needle enter.
And love was surely what her eyes conceded
as her stare grew hard, and one bright aerial
quit making its report back to the centre.

Banff Centre Emerging Writers Intensive program application deadine

Title: Banff Centre Emerging Writers Intensive program application deadine

Date: September 7, 2016

banff-centre-2016-logoLocation: Canada
Description: This workshop-based program embraces multiple genres, providing structured support for new creative writers wanting to improve their writing skills. Four faculty work closely with eight participants in one of these genres: first chapter novel, creative nonfiction, poetry, and short fiction. Participants read the submissions of fellow group members, then give and receive feedback during three-hour morning workshops. Afternoons are devoted to writing time, and to meeting one-on-one with faculty. An energizing, transformative experience, designed to help participants take their writing to a new level, this program is a perfect entry point into Banff Centre’s full suite of literary arts programs.

Learn more here.

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Wigtown Book Festival

Title: Wigtown Book Festival

Start Date: September 23, 2016
End Date: October 2, 2016

wigtown-book-festivalLocation: Wigtown, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
Description: This 10-day literary celebration takes place in Scotland’s National Book Town. As ever, the programme reflects Galloway and the richness of its culture, landscape and people. But it also offers a window on a world beyond, a reminder that being far from the city need not mean being detached from the great ideas and debates shaping society. Who knows, maybe “country mice” can even teach their urban cousins a thing or two?

Learn more here.

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