Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

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Doing my song and dance

I sent out my first godawful poem for publication when I was ten or eleven years old. I sent it to the Toronto Daily Star; I obviously hadn’t done my market research, since they didn’t publish poetry. They responded kindly to my handwritten-on-lined-paper submission, but they delivered my first rejection.

Introducing Zalman Nehemiah Razovsky … maybe.

I’ve been wrestling with it for years, and I pondered it a bit in my essay “How Jew You Do?” in Further Confessions of a Small Press Racketeer (Anvil Press, 2015). Should I change my name — Ross — back to my paternal grandfather’s original name, Razovsky? Time’s getting short if I’m ever going to do it. I’ve never been so close to making the decision.

And if I do, do I start putting Stuart Razovsky on the covers of my books? Or maybe I change my English given names to my Hebrew names: Zalman Nehemiah.

Let me try it on for size. “A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent is the tenth full-length poetry collection by Zalman Nehemiah Razovsky.”

debby florence on Canadian poetry

As someone who was crazy about a lot of American poets from a very young age, I'm still caught off-balance when an American turns out to be a big fan of Canadian poetry. debby florence is one such American. I first met debby about 25 years ago, when I was a visiting writer at an alternative high school she attended in St. Paul, Minnesota.

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WRITER

It’s almost six years now since, after nearly half a century in Toronto, I moved to Cobourg, pop. 18,500. My adopted home — "Ontario’s Feel Good Town" — is just a ninety-minute commute east by car (quicker by train) along the teetering northern precipice of Lake Ontario. In making this move, I left behind a literary community I’d been deeply involved in since I was a teenage writer.

Service Industry Hell (Part 6): Service Industry Heaven!

A lot of the inspiration for my new book, Congratulations On Everything, came from the things I saw while working in bars, restaurants, and hotels, and from the experiences of friends who did the same. Recently, I asked people* on Facebook and Twitter to send me their wildest stories of working in the service industry trenches - in part to show that, however cringey things get in the book, the reality is worse. But also because I find these inherently fun to read.

*to whom I promised anonymity, in order to protect the relatively innocent

 

The Problem With First Books

In an interview with New York magazine’s Vulture blog, comic book creator Brian K. Vaughan makes clear his feelings about his early work:

Do you go back and read many of your older books?
Oh, God, no. I now have enough distance from a lot of my work that, if I see someone bring up an X-Men issue [that I wrote] to sign, I can flip through it and it doesn’t completely feel like I’m drowning or being set on fire. But for the most part, no, I would much rather read other people’s writing than my own.

Service Industry Hell (Part 5): Sex in Cemeteries and a Dancing Monkey

A lot of the inspiration for my new book, Congratulations On Everything, came from the things I saw while working in bars, restaurants, and hotels, and from the experiences of friends who did the same. Recently, I asked people* on Facebook and Twitter to send me their wildest stories of working in the service industry trenches - in part to show that, however cringey things get in the book, the reality is worse. But also because I find these inherently fun to read.

*to whom I promised anonymity, in order to protect the relatively innocent

 

This tale comes from "DE":

Women's Covers and Male Privilege

The default look for works of literary fiction, especially those written by women, was once this: “A stock image of a woman with her back to the camera, gazing over a shoreline.”

(Or a tree. Or a field. Or a blurred-out countryside.)

That’s how designer Jennifer Heuer describes the covers she often gets asked to create, despite the fact that her strengths as a designer lie in creating striking, memorable images using type and illustration. In an essay for Literary Hub, Heuer writes about the fraught gender politics that surround cover design:

Service Industry Hell (Part 4): T-Shirts Wet and Dry

A lot of the inspiration for my new book, Congratulations On Everything, came from the things I saw while working in bars, restaurants, and hotels, and from the experiences of friends who did the same. Recently, I asked people* on Facebook and Twitter to send me their wildest stories of working in the service industry trenches - in part to show that, however cringey things get in the book, the reality is worse. But also because I find these inherently fun to read.

*to whom I promised anonymity, in order to protect the relatively innocent

A Defence of Plagiarism That I Totally Stole from Kenneth Goldsmith

Avant-garde poet and literary provocateur Kenneth Goldsmith has dedicated himself to what he calls “uncreative writing” – that is, creating art out of found texts he copies out whole. His book Day, for example, consists of every word printed in the September 1, 2000, edition of The New York Times, the classifieds and stock pages included.

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