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Thinking the Future through the Present

To begin with: many thanks if you made it through yesterday’s post; you have my gratitude for sitting with uncertainty and/or dwelling in possibility.

To continue: I’ll now try to offer an account of what I find so compelling about José Muñoz’s and Lauren Berlant’s writings in relation to some of the things I’ve been posting about this month.

Otherwiseness: Thinking with José Muñoz and Lauren Berlant

About seven years ago, I wrote a series of terrible poems, each of which was trying to work out in my own head and writing how to think about “otherwise” as a process of perceiving and thinking. I was trying to make sense of the fact that things could have been and can be otherwise, a possibility I kept encountering, both directly and indirectly, in the reading I was doing at the time about history, politics, thought, and affect (this thought also emerges in Sedgwick’s essay that I cited in an earlier post). The writers who most memorably influenced my thinking on this were Susan Howe, Kamau Brathwaite, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and Gayatri Spivak.

Video of the Week: Book Trailer for Sidewalk Flowers by

When you're a child, dandelions and daisies are as beautiful a bouquet as roses and orchids. That feeling of innocent appreciation of beauty is alive and well in Sidewalk Flowers (Groundwood Books), a wordless picture book and the gorgeous story of a simple walk with a parent.

Conceptualised by poet JonArno Lawson and drawn by illustrator Sydney Smith, Sidewalk Flowers is an evocative story of small moments and their large significance — and beauty. Check out the trailer, courtesy of Groundwood, featuring Smith's stunning illustrations.

The Lucky Seven Interview, with Olive Senior

Olive Senior's stories, known for their wit, intimacy and vibrancy, capture the feeling of being told a story in the dim, secret light of a late-night kitchen. From war stories to Cinderella tales, the stories in the The Pain Tree (Cormorant Books) represent an experienced and insightful short fiction stylist at her best.

Today we welcome Olive to the site as part of our Lucky Seven series, a seven-question Q&A that gives readers a chance to hear about the writing processes of talented Canadian authors and gives authors a space to speak in depth about the thematic concerns of their newest books.

On the Otherwise of a Shipwrecked Singularity

In these posts, I keep gesturing towards a transformable/transformed future, one that with different modes of attention, care, action, and responsibility, could emerge. A future that draws on the activities currently at play in our present: organizing bodies to resist oppression, reimagining how bodies signify, and altering the devastating experiences many bodies, because of their particular forms, are made to internalize. As I’ve written in earlier posts, M. NourbeSe Philip’s Zong!, a book of generosity and listening, offers ways of thinking through and living after these violences. While thinking about Zong! over the past week, George Oppen’s lines in “Of Being Numerous” kept coming into my mind:

Obsessed, bewildered

By the shipwreck
Of the singular

Poetry Month Special: Talking About Poetry with Anansi Poets A. F. Moritz, Erin Mouré and Karen Solie

A. F. Moritz, Erin Mouré and Karen Solie are three of Canada's most decorated and venerated poets writing today. Poetry fans are getting a particular treat this year, as all three authors have new (and hotly anticipated) books out this spring: Moritz's Sequence, Mouré's Kapusta and Solie's The Road In Is Not the Same Road Out, all published by House of Anansi Press.

Spring in Elsinore

In the beginning of Spring I often think of the very beginning of Hamlet:

ACT I
SCENE I. Elsinore. A platform before the castle.

FRANCISCO at his post. Enter to him BERNARDO

BERNARDO
Who's there?

FRANCISCO
Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold yourself.

Thinking (again and more) with M. NourbeSe Philip's Zong!

In returning to thinking about Zong!, I’m also returning to the idea of neuro-plasticity, the forming and deforming inscriptions experience leaves on the brain. When reading Zong! or when listening to it being performed, something perceptible happens in my body, a vibration, an inhabitation, a resonance, each of which is deeply material. If events and experiences are transcribed in the brain and have the capacity to alter or reframe the inscriptions that have preceded them in an individual brain and also, by extension, in several brains in a community that experience together, how might Zong! quite literally influence our neurology? How might this crucial work be engaged in an affective labor that returns to the slaves their voices through the circuitry of our brains?

Open Book and the OBPO welcome new Executive Director, Holly Kent

The Ontario Book Publishers Organization (OPBO) and the Open Book Foundation are pleased to announce the hire of Holly Kent in the position of Executive Director. The position combines two previously existing positions and the ED will guide both organizations’ objectives and operations.

The Proust Questionnaire, with Méira Cook

Méira Cook has been called "one of Canada’s most compelling poets", so it's no surprise that people are excited for the publication of a fifth collection of poetry from the CBC Literary Prize and Walrus Poetry Prize winner. Monologue Dogs (Brick Books) is a series of (what else?) monologues, in which Méira's trademark wit and gift with language are on full display.

Today we challenge Méira to the Proust Questionnaire, where her many of her answers become little poems in and of themselves. She tells us about a meddlesome mynah bird, a fictional hero we can all second and some very understandable footwear-related pet peeves.

Video of the Week

Video of the Week: Book Trailer for Sidewalk Flowers by

When you're a child, dandelions and daisies are as beautiful a bouquet as roses and orchids. That feeling of innocent appreciation of beauty is alive and well in Sidewalk Flowers (Groundwood Books), a wordless picture book and the gorgeous story of a simple walk with a parent.

Conceptualised by poet JonArno Lawson and drawn by illustrator Sydney Smith, Sidewalk Flowers is an evocative story of small moments and their large significance — and beauty. Check out the trailer, courtesy of Groundwood, featuring Smith's stunning illustrations.

Writer In Residence

April 1, 2015-May 1, 2015

Julie Joosten »

Julie Joosten is originally from Georgia but now lives in Toronto. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers Program and a PhD from Cornell University. Her poems and reviews can be read in like starlings, Lemon Hound, Lit, Jacket 2, Tarpaulin Sky, the Malahat Review and The Fiddlehead. She recently guest edited an issue of BafterC, a journal of contemporary poetry. Her first book, Light Light, was shortlisted for the 2014 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry, and the 2014 Goldie Award.

You can reach Julie throughout the month of April at writer@openbooktoronto.com

Whazamo

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Jonestown

Jonestown

(McClelland & Stewart, 1996 )

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