Archive | April, 2013

Poetry Central

24 Apr

If poetry is your thing, then it is in your best interest to be in Toronto over the next few days. Spring may not be in the air, but poetry certainly is. And even with the weather being less than desirable, the promise of an onslaught of new poetry is more than enough to get the literary crowds together to celebrate all that is poem-like. 

There is the Wolsak & Wynn Spring Poetry launch taking place tonight at The Garrison, starting at 7:30 and running until 10:30 pm. The event is launching new works by Tanis Rideout, Ken Howe, and Chris Pannel. 

Tomorrow evening Anansi is hosting their Poetry Bash at The Garrison. Michael Crummey will be reading from his new collection, and that in itself is enough reason to get yourself out to the party. M.C. is a personal favourite of mine, and I am terribly excited to hear him read some of his new work. The event starts @ 7 pm. 

On Monday, the CanBPA is hosting a Poetry Karaoke night at Tequila Bookworm, and I must confess, this is the event I am looking forward to the most. Drinks + Karaoke Poetry sounds like the perfect way to pass an evening. I will have my Nick Laird, Yeats, and Anna Akhmatova poems in hand. I have decided to read Laird’s poem Light Pollution, and will probably not do it justice. If you want to hear it as it should be read, click on the link below

To wrap up this post, here is one of my favourite poems of all time. It’s by the Russian poet, Anna Akhmatova

Broad and yellow is the evening light
Tender the April coolness
You are so many years late,
Nevertheless I am glad you came.

Sit here close to me
And look on joyfully:
Here is a blue composition book
With the poems of my childhood.

Forgive me that I ignored the sun
And that I lived in sorrow
Forgive, forgive that I
Mistook too many others for you.





The woes of a book-aholic

10 Apr


Being an avid follower of Oscar Wilde, and all of his sage teachings, I have lived the better part of my life by the maxim “Resist everything, but temptation”

And my fervent devotion to this rule grows ever apparent when confronted by the promise/trappings of a used book sale. 

It should come as no surprise that a literary agent would have a weakness when it comes to book buying. What may surprise my readers, is that I purchase books compulsively, even when I have nowhere to store them, and no hope of ever reading them. It would be an understatement to say that I merely purchase books. The truth is, I hoard them. But not just in one place. I hoard them wherever I happen to be living at the moment, or visiting, or travelling to. There are literally stacks of books in the four corners of the planet (slight exaggeration on my part) that have my name on them. Just waiting for me to come and collect them. Sadly, odds are they will be waiting a long time. If not indefinitely. 

I am the first to recognize, and admit, just how ridiculous this ‘habit’ of mine is. Every time I walk by a bookstore, especially a used bookstore, I have to enter. I tell myself that I really must stop doing this, or at least I need to learn how to ‘book browse’ and not purchase. I’ve nearly successfully adopted this browsing practice when it comes to the bigger chain bookstores. As I use the excuse that I really ought to not be purchasing books from these big box stores anyway. On more than one instance, this line of thinking has helped diffuse what could have resulted in a nasty case of book binge. Nevertheless, I still struggle daily with the luring appeal of the smaller indie bookstores and/or used bookstores. So you can just imagine what happens to me (what kind of state I am put in) when I catch wind of a used book sale. It’s tantamount to the releasing of the bulls in Spain. If you ever see me hurtling down the street at neck break speed, it is undoubtedly due to a book sale that is taking place in that neighborhood. And even when I have nowhere to house these books, I will still emerge with a bagful (sometimes even a box full) of books. 

Perfect example, would be my early morning jaunt today. I was making my way through Camden, with an armload of groceries, when I noticed a sign in a consignment shop window that read: Big Book Sale Today 10 am- 6 pm. I literally dropped everything on the shop’s floor, and started to peruse the hundreds of books lining the shelves. The whole time I was there, I was reminding and reprimanding myself that a) I had no more room in my luggage for books (as it stands, I was already  having to leave books behind) and b) had no time to read these newly acquired books. Even with this knowledge at hand, I continued to browse. I decided then and there to select the ones I knew my cousins would like/read, so that I could still follow through with my need to purchase the books, and could also rest assured that these books would find a loving spot on their bookshelves. We won’t even mention the fact that there are already quite a few titles that I have donated to these shelves, from my last visit in London. 

I have already made a pact with myself, that under no circumstances am I to acquire any hand outs at the London Book Fair this year. Absolutely none. As I type this, my head is shaking in agreement.