Tag Archives: Black Moss Press

All Aboard! Hop on the My Writing Process – Blog Tour

 

Writing transports you to places you’ve never seen before. Here’s an inexpensive adventure anyone can take without leaving home.

Cobalt, Ontario, home of the Spring Pulse Poetry Festival.

Cobalt, Ontario, home of the Spring Pulse Poetry Festival. Watch for a future blog on this topic.

This is how it works. You start here, spend some time on my blog and then you may travel backwards to the Monday, June 30 blog of my writing colleague Marianne Jones. She’s invited several writers to chat about their writing processes and has also provided recommended links for additional blog hopping.

Then next Monday, July 14 you can travel forward and visit the blog sites of three more of my writing friends. Scroll down for my recommendations but before you do, below are the four questions that Marianne asked me about my writing process, followed by my answers:

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?

Professionally, I am working on three main projects:

1) The promotion of my first trade book Tarnished Trophies (Black Moss Press, 2014).This is ongoing but the main push will occur in the fall when people are starting to attend readings again.

RIP: Another tree gone.

RIP: Another tree gone.

2) A new collection of poems dedicated to the dying ash trees. More editing and polishing of the work will begin later this summer.

3) A progress report for the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) is due in a few weeks. Thanks to an OAC Writer’s Reserve grant, I have almost completed new research and poetry drafts based on my interest in crafts and rural living.

Personally, I am also concentrating on balance. For me, writing is an obsession just like competing in sports is an obsession for some individuals. So I am seeking ways to balance my literary life with my summer love for gardening, being outdoors with nature, and meditating. I love to read and I’ve long abandoned (unfortunately due to time restrictions) my interest in the arts and crafts: painting, sketching, knitting, sewing, etc. There is also a need to find balance between my private spiritual being and the public demands of a published writer. Many writers struggle with that: the need to find time to write when hours are consumed with promotion such as blogging/touring/attending readings/etc. especially when a new book is launched.

HOW DOES YOUR WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?

For the past 11 years, I’ve been focusing on poetry, a genre which isn’t always understood or appreciated by the general public. I must admit, at one time, I was one of those writers and readers who ignored this genre and so I can appreciate the reservations people have. However, since reading Margaret Atwood’s novels The Edible Woman and Surfacing in high school and university English classes, I’ve always had a fascination for metaphors. It took a local writer’s group to convince me that I should explore poetry. I’m glad I listened.

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Why Bother with a Media Release?

Call me a dinosaur! When I first started working in public relations, one of my first tasks was to write a media release. I would compose the draft release using an electric typewriter, and then a secretary would re-type it into a final format, photocopy it onto 100 sheets of business letterhead, and then stuff the releases into envelopes with a stamp for snail-mailing. The year Canada Post went on strike, my boss and I spent the day travelling through the city to hand deliver each and every release.

Today, news can be facebooked and twittered, blogged and text messaged. Some might even want to pick up the phone and call. I still prefer the old-fashioned media release in e-mail format! These are my reasons:

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Yikes, the Books have Arrived! Now what?

Copies of my first poetry book Tarnished Trophies arrived last Friday. The doorbell rang. I opened the door and on the step there they were: nicely stacked like flattened test tube babies in three boxes. Even the front cover image: Skater by Toronto artist Olena Kassian depicted a figure in a fetal position. Time for a celebration.

Tarnished Trophies (Black Moss Press 2014)

Tarnished Trophies (Black Moss Press 2014)

I had been waiting so long for this delivery: over three and a half years of hard labour. The mid-wife-middle-man-delivery-truck-driver didn’t even want an autograph, I mean a signature. He left no instructions and there was no book tour manual in the boxes.

What does a first time author do? I grabbed my phone and made a few calls. Then I danced but not too long, preferring to conserve my energy for the days ahead.

Two days later, my book tour jitters began in Cobourg at The Ontario Poetry Society’s Springtime Poetry Soiree. Below are some of the photo highlights:

What a special family....all these poet friends.

What a special family….all these poet friends reading and supporting each other during The Ontario Poetry Society’s Springtime Poetry Soiree, Sunday, May 18, 2014 in Cobourg.

John Di Leonardo

John Di Leonardo

John Di Leonardo launches his chapbook "Book of Hours" (Beret Days Press, 2014)

John Di Leonardo launches his chapbook “Book of Hours” (Beret Days Press, 2014)

Debbie Okun Hill

Debbie Okun Hill

Debbie Okun Hill launches her book Tarnished Trophies (Black Moss Press, 2014)

Debbie Okun Hill launches her book Tarnished Trophies (Black Moss Press, 2014)

Bob MacKenzie

Bob MacKenzie

Bob MacKenzie launches two books "Songrise" (Dark Matter Press, 2014) and "Spirit Creek"

Bob MacKenzie launches two books “Songrise” (Dark Matter Press, 2014) and “Spirit Creek” (Dark Matter Press, 2014)

The poetic journey and book tour continues….

International Celebrity John Wing Kicks-Off Sarnia’s National Poetry Month Celebration April 5

Back in his hometown to introduce his new poetry book, Why-Shaped Scars, Los Angeles resident and internationally-known comedian John Wing Jr. will officially kick-start Sarnia’s National Poetry Month Celebration Saturday, April 5 from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at John’s Restaurant “Famous Room”, 1643 London Line on the outskirts of the city.

From Los Angeles: John Wing

From Los Angeles: John Wing

Spotlight readers also include League of Canadian Poets members Allan Briesmaster (Thornhill, Ontario), Clara Blackwood (Toronto) and Sarnia’s Lynn Tait.

Organized by the Bluewater Reading Series, this free inaugural event aims to introduce professional out-of-town poets and their work to the general public and will reflect the League’s Poetry Month 2014 theme: “Poetry City”. Several poetry books will be highlighted including work produced by three well-known traditional publishers Black Moss Press (Windsor), Guernica Editions (Oakville/Montreal) and Quattro Books (Toronto).

“Poetry has always been a “spoken word” art, not a “book page” art,” said James Deahl, committee spokesperson for the new Series. “It is difficult for poetry to truly live and breathe in a city without a reading series. Fortunately, the Canada Council and the League of Canadian Poets understand the true nature of poetry. Through National Poetry Month, poets are able to travel all over Canada and present live readings. We are extremely pleased to present three important out-of-town poets — two of them reading for their first time in Sarnia — along with Sarnia’s own Lynn Tait for our NPM debut presentation.”

Tait, an award-winning photographer/poet will be reading work from her two manuscripts Chatter Marks and Broken Days. According to Canadian poet George Elliott Clarke “Lynn has a gift for startling and stunning metaphor, for juxtaposition of casual conversational style and sudden, arresting, poetic language and for irony that moves often toward allegory.”

Why-shaped Scars by John Wing Jr. published by Black Moss Press 2014

Why-shaped Scars (Black Moss Press) by John Wing Jr.

Wing who was a semi-finalist on last season’s America’s Got Talent will perform a half-hour reading based on his latest Black Moss Press book which according to poet reviewer Bruce Meyer “captures those moments that leave their enigmatic scars on our souls…he does so with craft, power, and poetic precision.”

Against the Flight of Spring (Quattro Books) by Allan Briesmaster

Against the Flight of Spring (Quattro Books) by Allan Briesmaster

Briesmaster, a freelance editor and one of the Quattro Books’ founding partners, will read from his recent and sixth full-length poetry collection Against the Flight of Spring. The back cover states that the book “explores such themes as identity, personal growth, love and friendship, Canadian landscape, climate change, visual art, and the roots of poetry itself, in moods of anxious questioning, deep affection, dread, awe, and grateful praise.”

Forecast (Guernica Editions) by Clara Blackwood

Forecast (Guernica Editions) by Clara Blackwood

Toronto poet, visual artist and tarot reader Blackwood will read from Forecast, her latest and second book published by Guernica Editions. The publisher’s website states “this collection of sometimes sombre, sometimes whimsical poems takes the reader on an odyssey whereby things bizarre, miraculous and bewildering can and often do happen.”

The Bluewater Reading Series is a new literary offering organized by Sarnia writers : James Deahl, Venero Fazio, Debbie Okun Hill, and Lynn Tait. This inaugural reading is made possible with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the League of Canadian Poets’ National Poetry Month program.

Additional national poetry month readings include: a poetry themed Spoken Word open mic where members of the general public may share their work Friday, April 25 from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts, Sarnia and a Raymond Souster Legacy Reading to celebrate the publication of Under the Mulberry Tree (Quattro Books) to be held Sunday, April 27 at the Book Keeper in Sarnia.

SPOTLIGHT READERS/PERFORMERS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER

From Toronto: Clara Blackwood

Clara Blackwood is a poet, visual artist and tarot reader. Her first poetry collection, Subway Medusa (2007), was the inaugural book in Guernica Editions’ First Poets Series, which features first books by poets thirty-five and under. Her poetry has appeared in Canadian and International journals. Forecast, her second book of poetry, was published by Guernica Editions in 2014. She lives in Toronto.

Allan Briesmaster from Thornhill

From Thornhill: Allan Briesmaster

Allan Briesmaster is a freelance editor, micro publisher, and one of the founding partners of Quattro Books. He is the author of six full-length poetry collections, the most recent of which is Against the Flight of Spring (April, 2013), and seven shorter books, and he has been active on the Toronto poetry scene for many years as a readings organizer, workshop leader, and mentor. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and he has given readings, and talks at venues from Victoria to St. John’s. He lives in Thornhill, just north of Toronto.

From Sarnia: Lynn Tait

From Sarnia: Lynn Tait

Lynn Tait, originally from Toronto, is an awarding winning poet/photographer, who has lived in Sarnia for 40 years. Her photography has graced the covers of poetry books and literary magazines, and been exhibited in Gallery Lambton, Gallery in the Grove, Cheeky Monkey and The Lawrence House. She has been a nominee, in various categories, for the International Black & White Spider Awards for Photography, 4 years in a row. She is a member of the Sarnia Photographic Club, The Ontario Poetry Society and the League of Canadian Poets. Her poetry has been published in numerous literary magazines in Canada and the U.S., including the Windsor Review, Quills, Contemporary Verse 2, and in over 70 anthologies including Under the Mulberry Tree, published by Quattro Books and edited by James Deahl. She published a chapbook “Breaking Away” in 2002, a book: Encompass I in 2013, with four other poets, and has currently completed two full-length poetry manuscripts.

From Los Angeles: John Wing

From Los Angeles: John Wing

John Wing Jr., born in Sarnia, has lived in Los Angeles for the last 25 years, while maintaining his Canadian citizenship. Along with six appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Johnny Carson, ten appearances at The Montreal Comedy Festival Just For Laughs, and a semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent last season, John has also published eight books of poetry, A Cup Of Nevermind, …And The Fear Makes Us Special, None Of This is Probably True, Excuses, The Winter Palace, So Recently Ancient, Almost Somewhere Else, and the new book from Black Moss Press, Why-Shaped Scars. His memoir of his early years as a comedian is When You See The Red Light, Get Off, also from Black Moss Press. John is a regular contributor to CBC Radio’s Definitely Not The Opera, and The Debaters.

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Internationally-known comedian and Black Moss Press author John Wing, Toronto area editor and a founding partner of Quattro Books Allan Briesmaster, Guernia Editions/Toronto poet Clara Blackwood and Sarnia’s award-winning photographer /poet Lynn Tait will introduce new books/work as part of Sarnia’s National Poetry Month celebrations. Open to the public. Organized by the Bluewater Reading Series, this inaugural event is made possible by the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the League of Canadian Poets. Follow this blog for additional information.

The Journey Starts Here…

Actually the journey started long before this blog ever existed, long before there were blogs, or personal computers or even my own personal manual typewriter. Maybe it even started before I could hold a pencil. I don’t know. All I know is that after all these years on the literary road towards finding a “real” publisher, I have a signed contract in my hand and a poetry manuscript that is inching its way to the designer. Spring 2014 is a long way away but there is much work to be done including the task of creating a website in preparation for the BIG day.

So this is my first blog post. Try to be patient with me as I fumble along, constructing, destructing and refining this website over the next few days or weeks.

Some may ask, what’s with that title Kites Without Strings? Do you really want to know? I lifted it from one of my unpublished chapbook manuscripts, a small collection of kite themed poems that is still circling the orbit for a home. (And before that, if my memory serves me correctly, it was suggested to me by one of my writing workshop buddies who happens to be the resident ‘title’ expert.)

And since I’m recycling the title, I might as well dust off the poet’s statement that I wrote back in 2009:

Like a kite, string tangled, stored in a layer of dust on a basement shelf, we can often find ourselves buried in our surroundings, losing sight of our inner spirit sun-dancing beyond a closed curtain. Our attachments…our detachments…these common threads of polar spools (some stationary, some flying, the pulling and releasing of butterfly emotions), help us to navigate through various seasons and cycles. For me, writing and reading poetry releases magical words, these imaginary kites without strings. Snapshots of love, loss, and healing take on a life of their own, elevated by metaphors of cleansing and flight: our tangled and untangled journey through light and darkness. I invite readers to break free…have fun…view the world from a different perspective.