Thursday, December 29, 2005

MODL Press - A Year in Review PLUS a year in preview

millican01: Jason Christie - "Pass the Doughnuts, Please" / millican02: derek beaulieu - [the orange manifesto]

An attempt to continue my pamphlets that I had made the year before, but I only finished the first two of what was going to be a series of five. These turned out good though. While I like what I did with derek's, I'm especially proud of the pamphlet I made for Jason as it's probably the sharpest and cleanest of all of the pamphlets I've done (in my opinion, I'm sure other people have their own faves).

chap06: Brea Burton, Jill Hartman, & Cara Hedley - Pirate Lore

The second book I published by someone other than me. The first with cover art by someone other than me (Lovely cover art by Sandy Lam). This was one of the most difficult books I've had to layout and build - partly because of the irregular size and partly because the pieces of the three authors were so different visually.

chap07: Asian Heritage Month chapbook - featuring work from Dale Lee Kwong, Sandy Lam and Crystal Mimura

A handout and because of that, it was a bit of a rush job. Done fast on the heels of the TEAM book, I'm not particularly happy with how this book turned out, though, ultimately, I'm glad I made the book. It will be, however, the last time I do a book for hire. More people need to take the initiative to put stuff they want to see published into the world.

chap08: derek beaulieu - ffllj

A cool little chap with then new stuff from derek (he's since pushed this project much further than this). I'm really happy with this book, especially the inside layout which I did by hand (I did the layout for the TEAM book and the Jordan Scott book on my computer).

chap09: Jordan Scott - blert

My favorite book visually this year and I think that this book is indicative of how much the MODL design style has changed over the past year and a half. I have been aiming for a much cleaner style over the books I made last year (esp. A Long Detonation) but still keeping with some of the tics that I like with small press (no pagination, odd binding, no book numbering).

Coming in 2006

chap10: Larissa Lai - Nascent Fashion

Guts designed. Waiting on cover art from Travis Murphy.

chap11: Jason Christie - Robot Poems

Confirmed, but waiting on a manuscript.

plus a couple other books and the possible launch of PIRATE FETISH MACHINE - a project I've been thinking about for a while now.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

NO Press a year in review

2005, a year in the life of NO press

#1: "fractals" by derek beaulieu
#2: "22 Statements about a fear of being alone (or existentialism in the
dark)" by Jason Christie
#3: "markmallen" by Frances Kruk
#4: "Social Commodities" by ryan fitzpatrick
#5: "a small body with it rises from under" by nathalie stephens
#6: "Passion Play" by Natalie Zina Walschots
#7: "Lo-Fi noise poems" by Jason Christie (book & CD)
#8: "Lamp" by Chris Ewart
#9: "blert" by Jordan Scott
#10: "chains" by derek beaulieu
#11: "Selected Poems Volume One" by Pete Spence
#12: "Loss Leaders" by Jon Paul Fiorentino
#13: "Selected Poems Volume Two" by Pete Spence
#14: "Dirty Work" by Natalie Simpson
#15: "Hounds of Love / Loss Leaders" by ryan fitzpatrick
#16: "winnipeg suite" by derek beaulieu
#17: "Compulsive Asphyxiator" by Paul Kennett
#18: "machine based legible documents" by Billy Mavreas

2006 brings books from Sandy Lam, kevin mcpherson, Billy Mavreas and more...
(all books 5.25"x7", handbound, in editions of 26 lettered copies. Copies
are distributed through the community, and are not for sale.)

***The good folks at NO press wish me to pass this along since they don't have access to the Blow-Out blog.***

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

filling Station issue #34 Launch Party

The last reading you'll attend in 2005!


Andre Rodrigues
Natalie Simpson
with special surprise guest readers
and music by ryan fitzpatrick!

Tuesday, December 27, 8:00 pm
Broken City, 613 11 Ave SW

Help filling Station celebrate the release of its sizzling new issue at this post-XMas, pre-New Year's bash! Issue contributors Andre Rodrigues (with a newly shaved head) and Natalie Simpson (on a rare, much-anticipated Calgary visit) will regale us with poetry… and have you ever seen poetry editor ryan fitzpatrick rock out on guitar?? Not to be missed, folks.

Contact: Mark Hopkins
710.0093 –


Spoken Word Performances by:

Brendan McLeod
Danielle Arsenault
Mark Hopkins
and hosted by: Mat Mailandt

Friday, December 23rd 2005, starting at 8:00 pm
@ The Soda, 211 12 Ave SW
$5 at the door, 15% of profits going to the Kids Cancer Foundation

Fresh off his last European tour, Canadian poetry SLAM champion Brendan McLeod returns to Calgary with more of the stunning wordplay that wowed crowds this past October. He will be joined by local performers Danielle Arsenault, Mark Hopkins, and Mat Mailandt in a pre-Christmas word blitz. For those of you who missed the October show, come and check it out, you will not be disappointed!

BRENDAN MCLEOD is a spoken word artist and musician based out of Vancouver, and has been called "Canada's top SLAM spieler" by CBC. He is the winner of the National Individual Final at the 2004 Canadian SpokenWordlympics, awarded to the top SLAM poet in Canada. In 2005, he was Vancouver's Grand SLAM Champion. He finished second in the world at Holland's World Slampionship in June 2005. Recent readings include the Rotterdam International Poetry Festival, Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, the German SLAM nationals, and the Dylan Thomas Festival, UK. He recently completed a five country European tour with the poetry supergroup The Fugitives. He received his MA in Philosophy in 2001.

"I felt purely personal inspiration from Brendan McLeod... the next big thing... an extremely talented writer and performer... I feel no sense of impending ego ready to jut from his words. He was truly impressive." - Buddy Wakefield, back to back 2004 and 2005 Individual World Poetry SLAM Champion

Danielle Arsenault
Art is passion. Dramatics speaks louder than eyes of emotion. Surroundings breathe new ideas to think about. Through everyday sights and sounds imagination pours through the orifice called voice or the wonders of a fully functioning hand holding a pen. Several hundred chapbooks of Grooving through the Lime Light, Dreaming of National Pickle Day, and Black Market Dissonance are out there somewhere and Boogie Dogs and Amateur Plastic was the most anticipated spoken word CD release of the year, we are not disappointed. With a BFA and almost done an education degree, Danielle Arsenault will continue to think and thrive as best she can in Guadalajara, Mexico for a while.

Mark Hopkins
Mark Hopkins just graduated with a BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Calgary, and he's startled to be already working in the arts. He's the Administrative Assistant of the Calgary International Spoken Word Festival, Volunteer Coordinator for the Mutton Busting Performance and Visual Art Festival, Events Coordinator for filling Station magazine, a freelance writer for Swerve magazine, and Vice-President of the Board of Directors for Calgary Young People's Theatre. His writing has appeared in several chapbooks, and he most recently performed at the 2005 Calgary Blow-Out Festival and a fundraiser for a theatre company called Urban Curvz.

Happy Holidays My Friends!!!

Just wanted to wish everyone good tidings for the year ahead and warmth through the winter months. WARNING: Rough draft of a Seasonal poem below. I am a sentimental bugger.

Our Christmas Poem

1. A season and An Idea

Snowfall, snow fell,
A Christmas poem descends,
Hangs mingled in our breath,
Searches from our eyes
For room to grow into winter.

2. Reflection and Anticipation

The snowfall, snow fell.
Harmony under blankets,
Soft green blankets;
A premonition of spring.

3. The Bells

No matter what else our
Season represents:
Be good to everyone
Even if only for a day.

4. In a Natural Setting

Snowfall, snow fell.
Wrap mountains tight
Around your shoulders. Pines
Arch under snowflakes. Gifts,
They fall from the sky
And no two are alike.

5. Next Year Again

Tonight, nestle with me beside
The fire, read last year’s lines
etched on my face, in my book,
then we'll joyously turn toward
Next year, resolutions intact.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

WGA @ Rose & Crown-- Tonight!!!

Let's go! Julia Williams and Melanie Little are reading. The party starts at 7 and they have djs and ecstasy. Ok, so not really, they have pints and um cigarettes I imagine. See you there!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Don't Forget! Don't Forget! Don't Forget!

dANDelion presents...

Issue 31.2 Launch!
Friday, December 9th at 7:00
The New Gallery-516 D 9th Avenue SW
Calgary, AB

That's right, tomorrow night! The Chinook blew in just in time to help us launch dANDelion magazine's latest issue. We'll be celebrating with music from Smithjosh, screenings of short film selections curated by Jonathon Ball and spectacular poetry and performance from everyone's favourite Jackie-O-My-God impersonator David Bateman (author of Invisible Foreground, Frontenac 2005).

It's Friday night, we're literary, we're going to out-party the neighbouring nightclub! Your $5.00 admission nets dANDelion fun and a limited edition chapbook (first 50 comers are the lucky ones). Those who snap up dANDelion 31.2 will be entered in a draw for prizes from McNally Robinson, Purr (rowr!), dANDy swag (Rowr Rowr!), CDs, chapbooks, stuff, oh my!

...and don't forget about the

~*Secret Grand Prize*~

Come celebrate with dANDelion!

Can't make it to the event but NEED issue 31.2?
Contact: Jordan Nail, Assistant Editor
(403) 220-4679

Manitoba Erratic strikes Blogburg!

I have a blog. It is green. Please visit me at:

Friday, December 02, 2005

On Blogs

With the recent explosion of blogs, I thought it would be interesting to post this short interview I did with Bryan Douey from the Calgary Journal (based out of Mount Royal College) on the topic of blogs as an artistic medium. I'm posting it here because I think this should be a site for dialogue and not just event posting. (no, this doesn't mean you should stop posting events)

The questions are Bryan's, the answers are mine


1. What are your general thoughts on blogs as a medium for artistic expression?

Blogs are interesting because they occupy a liminal space between the private space of the notebook and the public space of a reading or talk. This gives the blog a kind of tension that lends itself to the ways a blog can be used creatively. Add to that the temporal and ephemeral nature of blogging itself (new material appears at the top of the page pushing older work down only to disappear into the archive) and you get a space perfectly attuned to a public display of process. My own blog process documents ( presents my poetry as I compose it; every draft, misstep, and inspired moment are presented to my "audience" as part of my on going process toward bigger projects. Other writers use their blogs for ongoing serial projects: a poet living in New York, Jordan Davis uses his blog ( to write toward a goal of composing one million poems, serializing one poem after another in a (seemingly) endless stream and openly encouraging his audience to suggest content for poems to help him reach his goal. Many other poets choose to use their blogs as asides or companions ot their creative work, writing short critical bursts about poetics or casual comments about their lives.

2. What advantages do you feel blogs have over more traditional written mediums, such as books?

Books are fixed entities. Once a book is published, it is difficult to make changes which have to wait for new editions or second printings (if a book is lucky enough to get reprinted at all). Blogs have the advantage of easy revision comparative to books (this is true of any web publishing). The problematic wtih blogs compared to books is that pieces can be seen as ephemeral rather than permanent. Web publishing has a similar (undeserved) reputation to self-publication or vanity publication.

Blogs also have a problem of finding audience. While blogs are theoretically available to anyone with access to the internet, there is so much information out there that it is easy to get lost in the shuffle without either a gimmick or a personality. When I first started process documents, I received about 10 hits a day. Almost 3 years later I get between 40 and 50*. It takes time to build an audience. Being published in a book or magazine is often more desirable because certain presses and mags have pre-existing repuations that draw readers to your work in much more conventional ways. Ultimately, blogging should be done in conjunction with more conventional ways of publishing work.

3. How has being in a blog collective such as the Calgary Blow-Out affected your career as a writer?

Two things to remember about the Calgary Blow-Out blog are that it is fairly new (only started this past August) and that it acts as an electronic community hub that is meant to be open to any literary groups in Calgary (but has been centered mostly around filling Station and dANDelion magazines to date). Unlike angela rawlings' late collaborative review site Commutiny, which gathered reviews from writers across the country, CB-O is specifically interested in the local, making it an extension of things that are already happening at the local level (ie. magazine/small press publishing, readings/events). So while the Blow-Out blog may not help my "career" outside of Calgary, it certainly makes the work that my community more accessible and visible to those outside it. One of the reasons that I helped start the blog was because of criticisms that the literary community in Calgary was insular and uninterested in new people when the opposite of that is true.

4. What are your thoughts on the internet as a censor-free environment? In other words, do you believe in the potential of the internet for complete free speech, or do you believe that censors will eventually creep in?

I'm actually a little frightened of "complete free speech" much in the same way I'm afraid of a dictatorial fascism. "Free Speech" is one of the central tenets of democratic practice and is one that must be balanced by a healthy respect for others. Without a corresponding "responsible speech", "free speech" becomes dangerously erratic and dysfunctional. Profit-based media is one space where speech becomes worrisome, because capital is only interested in responsibility as long as it is profitable. One only has to look at how many more porn sites or hate sites there are than poetry blogs to see how much profitablity is preferred to responsibility. I'm more interested in the internet's capability for unencumbered and responsible dialogue than in the internet's capability for free speech.

5. What is different, if anything, between the way you consider your audience during the writing process in blogs vs. other mediums?

For me, audience is a consideration that I make during the editing process, so blogging tends to be as insular and personal as notebooking for me. process documents embraces this insularity by giving the reader a window into my writing process rather than allowing the reader to determine where my process will lead me. So while writing poetry continues to be a method through which I try to answer questions about language and the world, blogging forces me to write toward an audience rather than for an audience.

That said, the audience for poetry blogs is probably not looking for finished/polished product, instead finding drafts, exercises, thoughts on other peoples' work, etc. Generally, texts that appear on blogs tend to be more casual or ephemeral in nature, though they are often as insightful or thought-provoking than work in more conventional formats.

But to answer your question (something I've been sidestepping throughout the interview ;), I don't really consider my audience any differently for my blog than any other type of publication (book, magazine, public reading), but my blog does allow me a larger audience in terms of geography, something that can be difficult because of the local orientation of poetry. A blog's audience can be as invisible as that of a magazine or as present as that of a reading.


* Recently, I've been getting between 70-100 hits a day. And while I think some of them are due to the increased exposure because of Shift and Switch (maybe about 10 hits a day), the rest are because I'm caught in some weird identity crisis thing with the Ryan Fitzpatrick who plays for the St. Louis Rams. That bastard.