Rusty's World

Rusty’s Reading List 2017

July 24, 2017
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Stickboy

I have known Shane for about ten years now, ever since he asked if the CapSlam team would open for him at the Mercury Lounge back in 2007. He struck me right away as a genuine, honest, caring, strong person. He was generous and obviously talented.
The years since then have done nothing to change my opinion of him.
I have seen him sparingly over that time… maybe six or seven times in that span… and the last time was in 2014 when my team had just finished competing at CFSW in Victoria. It had been an turbulent and emotional year, but it also marked the first time I was booked for solo shows out in B.C., where I was born and raised. I did a show in Victoria and had one booked in Vancouver.
At that time the people at VanSlam had been approached by a rep from the Vancouver Opera about doing a show that combined poetry and opera as a way of promoting their brand new production – an Operatic production of Shane Koyczan’s ‘novel in verse’, Stickboy. I was already booked for that evening but when Chris Gilpin asked if we could convert my feature into this other show, I was thrilled to comply.
We worked with members of the Opera and a skilled pianist to create new works that combined poetry with opera and music. In my case that became a merging of ‘The Stranger’ with the singing of ‘Whither Must I Wander’. It was one of the most memorable performances that I have ever done.
(It was filmed but apparently lost, unfortunately.)

It also gave me the chance to catch up with Shane. The world had really opened up to him at that point. The idea that they had made an opera based on his book was incredible. I was very happy for him.

Having said THAT, I had never actually read it. Somewhat oddly, actually. I had a copy of ‘Visiting Hours’, his previous poetry book, but I have never read that either. How did that happen? I am a big fan of Shane’s work and own multiple CDs… maybe that was it. When I think is Shane, I think about LISTENING to him.

I ordered Stickboy. It went into the pile. I just finished it.

Uh, wow.

What powerful writing. It is Shane’s style, certainly, but the truth comes through in a way that isn’t possible when writing about something you CARE about rather than something you ARE.

Poetic biography doesn’t get better than this.

 

Books read in 2017

Stickboy – Shane Koyczan
On Equilibrium – John Ralston Saul
ARC Poetry Magazine #78
The Anthropocalypse is Nigh… – Shayne Avec I Grec
The Associate – Phillip Margolin
Peter F. Yacht Club #25
Forth-seventh birthday – rob mclennan
Li’l Bastard – David McGimpsey
Love is a Tree you Planted – Mary Pinkoski
oratorealis #3
Muybridge’s Horses – Rob Winger
Trouble Boys – The True Story of the Replacements – Bob Mehr
A Magical Mystery Tour – Inside the Coach House Press
Arc Poetry Magazine #80
Dancing Alone – William Hawkins
Peter F. Yacht Club #24
Canticles I (MMXVI) – George Elliott Clarke
Touch the Donkey #9
Touch the Donkey #12
Arc Poetry Magazine #81
The Emperor of Water Clocks – Yusef Komunakaa
Warhorses – Yusef Komunyakaa
The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
Guff Ink – Wes Ryan
Hurting God – Rita Ann Higgins


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Rusty’s Reading List 2017

July 16, 2017
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OnEquilibrium

I got this at some point at a library sale (I think). I picked it up because I had previously been a fan of Saul’s writing.

Enough so that I already owned the book. I didn’t notice and it went into my to-read pile, but as soon as I started in on it, I realized. And then I read it anyway.

Because it is great. Saul expounds on the different kinds of thought and why they need to be used in balance. (Spock’s pure logic is far from ideal.) Reason is given short shrift, not because it is innately bad, but because it is not automatically innately good. (The other types he talks about are: Common Sense, Ethics, Imagination, Intuition, and Memory.)

Great book, as are all of John Ralston Saul’s books.

 

 

Books read in 2017

On Equilibrium – John Ralston Saul
ARC Poetry Magazine #78
The Anthropocalypse is Nigh… – Shayne Avec I Grec
The Associate – Phillip Margolin
Peter F. Yacht Club #25
Forth-seventh birthday – rob mclennan
Li’l Bastard – David McGimpsey
Love is a Tree you Planted – Mary Pinkoski
oratorealis #3
Muybridge’s Horses – Rob Winger
Trouble Boys – The True Story of the Replacements – Bob Mehr
A Magical Mystery Tour – Inside the Coach House Press
Arc Poetry Magazine #80
Dancing Alone – William Hawkins
Peter F. Yacht Club #24
Canticles I (MMXVI) – George Elliott Clarke
Touch the Donkey #9
Touch the Donkey #12
Arc Poetry Magazine #81
The Emperor of Water Clocks – Yusef Komunakaa
Warhorses – Yusef Komunyakaa
The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
Guff Ink – Wes Ryan
Hurting God – Rita Ann Higgins


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Rusty’s Reading List 2017

June 19, 2017
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Arc78

This is yet another example of something I got right when it was released (Fall 2015), and read through in bits and pieces but never sat down for a cover-to-cover until now.

This was ARC’s special ‘Spoken Word Issue’, complete with a cover and art section by that Spoken Word Artist Komi Olaf – known in my day as Poetic Speed, a member of our 2009 Slam Championship team and The Recipe. In fact, the cover showcases another member of those two (related) groups, Ian Keteku!

It is questionable whether one can truly explore Spoken Word in print form, but that doesn’t belittle this great issue because many of the great Spoken Word artists are just straight up great poets, no matter what the format. Tanya Evanson was the guest editor on this issue and she did a great job.

Some highlights for me include Ivan Coytoe’s piece as well as the momentary glee when I realized  Chris Gilpin’s poem referred to RC Weslowski’s poem later in the same issue.

It is great that a quality publication like ARC wants to support and promote Spoken Word (and a little birdie told me that they may be doing that in new ways in the future.) 🙂

 

Books read in 2017

ARC Poetry Magazine #78
The Anthropocalypse is Nigh… – Shayne Avec I Grec
The Associate – Phillip Margolin
Peter F. Yacht Club #25
Forth-seventh birthday – rob mclennan
Li’l Bastard – David McGimpsey
Love is a Tree you Planted – Mary Pinkoski
oratorealis #3
Muybridge’s Horses – Rob Winger
Trouble Boys – The True Story of the Replacements – Bob Mehr
A Magical Mystery Tour – Inside the Coach House Press
Arc Poetry Magazine #80
Dancing Alone – William Hawkins
Peter F. Yacht Club #24
Canticles I (MMXVI) – George Elliott Clarke
Touch the Donkey #9
Touch the Donkey #12
Arc Poetry Magazine #81
The Emperor of Water Clocks – Yusef Komunakaa
Warhorses – Yusef Komunyakaa
The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
Guff Ink – Wes Ryan
Hurting God – Rita Ann Higgins


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Rusty’s Reading List 2017

June 18, 2017
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shayne

First off, I don’t  have a scan of the cover so I nabbed this from the internet. Photo credit: Ron Pogue.

I got this chapbook a while ago… I am pretty sure it was a gift from Shayne… and I have read some of it, but now I have done a cover to cover. First off, I didn’t realize it before but Ruthanne & I are thanked in it! Well, hey! Thanks Shayne!
He says he wrote it while touring with Johnny Macrae and they stayed with us when they were in Ottawa.

All that aside, it is a good chapbook! It is funny the phases Shayne has gone through since I have known him. We met in Halifax in 2007 and somewhere after that he went on a hitch-hiking tour as part of Ghosts of the Highway (their album is still in my rotation). Then he and Johnny became 2 Dope Boys in a Cadillac, embracing that west coast weird that we love so well. Now he is one of the creative minds behind oratorealis, one of the best poetry magazines going! (And I am not just saying that because when the 4th issue come out they will have published me three times. I have integrity!)

Shayne is a great person, a great poet, and I am happy to call him friend.

 

 

Books read in 2017

The Anthropocalypse is Nigh… – Shayne Avec I Grec
The Associate – Phillip Margolin
Peter F. Yacht Club #25
Forth-seventh birthday – rob mclennan
Li’l Bastard – David McGimpsey
Love is a Tree you Planted – Mary Pinkoski
oratorealis #3
Muybridge’s Horses – Rob Winger
Trouble Boys – The True Story of the Replacements – Bob Mehr
A Magical Mystery Tour – Inside the Coach House Press
Arc Poetry Magazine #80
Dancing Alone – William Hawkins
Peter F. Yacht Club #24
Canticles I (MMXVI) – George Elliott Clarke
Touch the Donkey #9
Touch the Donkey #12
Arc Poetry Magazine #81
The Emperor of Water Clocks – Yusef Komunakaa
Warhorses – Yusef Komunyakaa
The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
Guff Ink – Wes Ryan
Hurting God – Rita Ann Higgins


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Rusty’s Reading List 2017

June 15, 2017
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Associate

 

This the last of the care package books a friend brought me when I was hospitalized last year. (They weren’t books he ‘chose’, just some from a take-a-book, leave-a-book spot in his condo lobby.)
This is ‘best-seller’ legal thriller stuff. In other words, not my cup of tea… but what the hell, I figured! I’ll give it a chance!

I give it a solid ‘meh’. Cliche after cliche. It is just a string of well-trod tropes, one after another. There was a ‘mystery’, but the kind that was neither clever nor with clues so you could feel clever.

I know some people really like this stuff, but some people really like watching CSI too.

Not for me.

 

Books read in 2017

The Associate – Phillip Margolin
Peter F. Yacht Club #25
Forth-seventh birthday – rob mclennan
Li’l Bastard – David McGimpsey
Love is a Tree you Planted – Mary Pinkoski
oratorealis #3
Muybridge’s Horses – Rob Winger
Trouble Boys – The True Story of the Replacements – Bob Mehr
A Magical Mystery Tour – Inside the Coach House Press
Arc Poetry Magazine #80
Dancing Alone – William Hawkins
Peter F. Yacht Club #24
Canticles I (MMXVI) – George Elliott Clarke
Touch the Donkey #9
Touch the Donkey #12
Arc Poetry Magazine #81
The Emperor of Water Clocks – Yusef Komunakaa
Warhorses – Yusef Komunyakaa
The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
Guff Ink – Wes Ryan
Hurting God – Rita Ann Higgins

 

 

 


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Rusty’s Reading List 2017

May 22, 2017
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pfyc_white

 

Another rob mclennan publication! This is the Pater F. Yacht Club issue that rob put out for VERSeFest this year. As always he has collected some great poets. Because I just read rob’s birthday chapbook I chuckled somewhat that two of the three of his own poems that he put in just happen to be the two poems I mentioned when I talked about THAT book.

Nice.

I also really liked the Lea Graham poem.

As always, rob does good work.

 

Books read in 2017

Peter F. Yacht Club #25
Forth-seventh birthday – rob mclennan
Li’l Bastard – David McGimpsey
Love is a Tree you Planted – Mary Pinkoski
oratorealis #3
Muybridge’s Horses – Rob Winger
Trouble Boys – The True Story of the Replacements – Bob Mehr
A Magical Mystery Tour – Inside the Coach House Press
Arc Poetry Magazine #80
Dancing Alone – William Hawkins
Peter F. Yacht Club #24
Canticles I (MMXVI) – George Elliott Clarke
Touch the Donkey #9
Touch the Donkey #12
Arc Poetry Magazine #81
The Emperor of Water Clocks – Yusef Komunakaa
Warhorses – Yusef Komunyakaa
The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
Guff Ink – Wes Ryan
Hurting God – Rita Ann Higgins


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Rusty’s Reading List 2017

May 21, 2017
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robmclennan

There have been a number of things read this year directly because of rob mclennan, but out of all of those things, this is the most rob of them all. Because, you know, it is by rob mclennan.
I easily admit a couple of things. First, rob is a friend. He is a genuinely good guy who does good things for poetry in Ottawa. His induction to the VERSeOttawa Hall of Honour last year was well deserved.
The second thing is that I have a hard time with his poetry. I don’t mean that I have a hard time with its quality – more that I often don’t really understand what he is trying to say. It is fairly opaque and I am not always up to the task.
Other times, however, something will jump out at me and things come into crystal focus.
rob made this chapbook in honour of his birthday and he gave me a copy. There is some stuff inhere that really jumped out at me. ‘Sentences my mother used’ starts as amusing but actually ends in a smart way that made me nod and go “ahhh.” 🙂
Then there was ‘Tales of Brother Obvious; which prompted me to go find Ruthanne so I could read it out-loud to somebody.

Good stuff. Happy belated, Rob.

Books read in 2017

Forth-seventh birthday – rob mclennan
Li’l Bastard – David McGimpsey
Love is a Tree you Planted – Mary Pinkoski
oratorealis #3
Muybridge’s Horses – Rob Winger
Trouble Boys – The True Story of the Replacements – Bob Mehr
A Magical Mystery Tour – Inside the Coach House Press
Arc Poetry Magazine #80
Dancing Alone – William Hawkins
Peter F. Yacht Club #24
Canticles I (MMXVI) – George Elliott Clarke
Touch the Donkey #9
Touch the Donkey #12
Arc Poetry Magazine #81
The Emperor of Water Clocks – Yusef Komunakaa
Warhorses – Yusef Komunyakaa
The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
Guff Ink – Wes Ryan
Hurting God – Rita Ann Higgins


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Rusty’s Reading List 2017

May 21, 2017
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Dave McGimpsey - LilBastardCover

 

Let’s talk about something a little cheerier, shall we? (That comment won’t make any sense if you are reading this at any time other than right when I post it.)

I got this book as part of the CFSW 2011 ‘swag bag’, donated by Coach House Books (I believe), but have never read it until now.

It is quite delightful. It is kind of like a diary, told in the form of ‘chubby sonnets’. There is real emotion in here but it is often cloaked in humour. An entertaining book.

 

Books read in 2017

Li’l Bastard – David McGimpsey
Love is a Tree you Planted – Mary Pinkoski
oratorealis #3
Muybridge’s Horses – Rob Winger
Trouble Boys – The True Story of the Replacements – Bob Mehr
A Magical Mystery Tour – Inside the Coach House Press
Arc Poetry Magazine #80
Dancing Alone – William Hawkins
Peter F. Yacht Club #24
Canticles I (MMXVI) – George Elliott Clarke
Touch the Donkey #9
Touch the Donkey #12
Arc Poetry Magazine #81
The Emperor of Water Clocks – Yusef Komunakaa
Warhorses – Yusef Komunyakaa
The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
Guff Ink – Wes Ryan
Hurting God – Rita Ann Higgins



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Rusty’s Reading List 2017

May 9, 2017
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Pinkoski

This a chapbook but one of the most talented poets to grace the national spoken word stages. I don’t know what year it is from and I don’t recall when I got it, but I had known Mary since 2009 so it could have been any number of places.

Mary’s work feels just as comfortable on the page as on the stage. I recall when her Edmonton team won the national championship in 2011 that her work felt so… refreshing. There were a lot of ‘gimmicks’ on the stage, and as great as they were, it was wonderful to hear some poetry carried simply on the strength of the writing.

Mary Pinkoski is one of the most talented poets I know.

 

Books read in 2017

Love is a Tree you Planted – Mary Pinkoski
oratorealis #3
Muybridge’s Horses – Rob Winger
Trouble Boys – The True Story of the Replacements – Bob Mehr
A Magical Mystery Tour – Inside the Coach House Press
Arc Poetry Magazine #80
Dancing Alone – William Hawkins
Peter F. Yacht Club #24
Canticles I (MMXVI) – George Elliott Clarke
Touch the Donkey #9
Touch the Donkey #12
Arc Poetry Magazine #81
The Emperor of Water Clocks – Yusef Komunakaa
Warhorses – Yusef Komunyakaa
The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
Guff Ink – Wes Ryan
Hurting God – Rita Ann Higgins


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Rusty’s Reading List 2017

May 8, 2017
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Oratorealis3

The third issue of oratorealis is out there and once again, in is a great set of poetry, covering a number of styles, but really tapping into the spoken word community.

As with issue #2, I have a poem inside and this time you don’t have to look too far as a poem I wrote after a George Elliott Clarke reading at Sawdust here in Ottawa is right there on the first page.

Let me just do a quick roll call of the kind of poets you will get if you pick up this issue: Sabrina Benaim, Andre Fenton, Kay’la Fraser, Amanda Hiebert, rob mclennan (!!), Aaron Simm, RC Weslowski and, of course, much more.

I am just finished and I am already looking forward to issue 4.

Books read in 2017

oratorealis #3
Muybridge’s Horses – Rob Winger
Trouble Boys – The True Story of the Replacements – Bob Mehr
A Magical Mystery Tour – Inside the Coach House Press
Arc Poetry Magazine #80
Dancing Alone – William Hawkins
Peter F. Yacht Club #24
Canticles I (MMXVI) – George Elliott Clarke
Touch the Donkey #9
Touch the Donkey #12
Arc Poetry Magazine #81
The Emperor of Water Clocks – Yusef Komunakaa
Warhorses – Yusef Komunyakaa
The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
Guff Ink – Wes Ryan
Hurting God – Rita Ann Higgins


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