Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My interview in H Magazine/ local book launch / performance tribute to Kerry Schooley

Kerry Schooley walking through the nostalgic feeling created by a filter on my iPhone in the Mulberry St. Coffeehouse.

There are some truly remarkable things about Hamilton, Ontario.

Hamiltonians, for instance.

Some of them love Hamilton deeply and work inventively and energetically to make inventive and energetic things happen in the city.

Here are two things related to them.


My dear friend Kerry Schooley was certainly an inventive and energetic Hamiltonian. We're having a celebration of Kerry next week at the fantastic Pearl Company.

Performances in tribute to the memory of Kerry Schooley
The Pearl Company (http://thepearlcompany.ca/)
Wednesday, November 24th


Dave Kuruc contributes to making great things happen here. The Arts Crawl, H Magazine, his cool store, Mixed Media. He recently interviewed me for H Magazine about my upoming 'hometown' launch at the Mulberry Coffeehouse on James St. N, on November 23rd.

Local author pokes and pricks in his new collection of shiny poems

Gary - your new collection of poems is entitled "The Porcupinity of the Stars" - great title! What does it mean?

Thanks! I think the job of a title is to intrigue you, to make you wonder what it might mean in the context of the book behind it. In terms of its meaning, my title makes a connection between the stars being ‘pinpricks’ and the needles of a porcupine. The stars prickle out from the dark hide of the sky the way the needles of a porcupine shine out from a porcupine. Or else it means that the baleful gopher of interstellar space longs to be needled by the porcupine and its propinquity to the luminous constellations of our own mortality. At least that’s what my mom said.

You are considered a poet with interesting and amusing things to say - what is the most interesting or amusing thing anyone has said about your work?

Someone once told me, in trying to explain why they didn’t want their daughter to marry someone from a different religious and cultural background that it’d be like one of my children coming home and announcing that they now wrote rhyming poetry.

This is your first new book in a few years - do you find it takes you a while to build up work for these kinds of collections or do you just go with a writing flow? Are you a daily writer or only when it strikes?

I’ve actually written a lot since my last book. I like publishing in different forms and so since then I’ve published many chapbooks, been in lots of periodicals, and on many recordings, exhibited in a few art shows, and have posted almost constantly on my blog, serifofnottingham.blogspot.com And in 2011, I’ve two new books coming out. But, that said, in terms of the process, it’s a question of sculpting a book from the chaos of work that I create almost daily, some of it good, some of it suggestive of an interesting direction, and some of it surprising in its nattering inanity and absolute obliviousness to the fact that it is a total failure. Part of creating a book is figuring out which pieces belong together, which pieces work together to create a satisfying book that is more than the sum of its parts, and which pieces ought to be buried in an underground vault where they can do no more harm to literature.

You just got back from a book tour across the country - how'd it go?

There were jubilant and grateful citizens lining the streets of Montreal. A parade of clowns, cows, and librarians in Lethbridge. The tide held its fishy breath for me in Victoria. Someone unfurled a celebratory paperclip in Philadelphia, PA and said, “Yay,” under their breath. Actually, it was fantastic & really fun. I met lots of great writers, readers, bookstore people and had some great conversations with them. I love performing and sharing my work. I got to use the same jokes in different cities as if I was really clever and had just thought of them. The best response was one young couple who said “Jeez, if we’d known poetry readings were like this, we’d have gone to one before.” And just wait until they learn English!
Your hometown book launch is Nov. 23 at the new Mulberry coffee House on James - great spot and one not yet associated with hosting too many events. Why there and what can we expect from the evening?

I’m really excited by what is happening on James St. and in select other outposts throughout Hamilton. There’s a creative excitement here, a sense of finally unfurling something energetic and indicative of the “new Hamilton.’ A sense of having reached some kind of critical mass in terms of the creative classes. It’s not the 50s anymore.

Actually, the Mulberry is going to start hosting events, like readings, in addition to art shows. In fact on November 28th, I’m hosting a reading of four poets from the Mansfield Press fall line-up.

For my launch, I’ll be reading a selection from the new book. I like to think of readings as performances – some combination of stand-up comedy, soliloquy, tuneless singing, raving preacher, and making a statement to the police. But I deny all knowledge of the events of July 17th, 1932. I was not there; I was rewiring my mule.

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