Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Last Post: Good Things in October

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Whereas today is the last day of September, it also marks the end of our time together. Sad, I know. All good things and whatnot. I thought we’d take it easy, wind it down a bit, with a preview of what has me excited about the coming weeks.

I’ve decided to format it as a top ten list both for structural reasons (it seems a tad more legitimate than just having a “here’s some shit you might like” post) and because the endings of things tend to put me in a quantifying mood. Why six, you ask? Well, I was going to try for 10, but couldn’t think of enough things to be excited about. If that sounds depressing, don’t worry, it’s not. I have many things to be excited about, just not all of them are worthy of your attention. As for the list, there’s really no order. Actually, that’s not true, there is. It’s in the order I thought them in. Okay…

6. Tonight (September 30th), the launch of Soraya Peerbaye’s debut collection “Poems for the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names” from Goose Lane Editions. Soraya was among the best writers I met at the Guelph MFA program. Her work inspires the kind of poetic adjectives I usually approach with caution (meditative, stark, etc.) but they are full of life, slightly cynical, and always energetic. Another Guelph MFA-er is launching a book that same night (Zoe Whittal), but whereas Zoe’s launching a novel in a bar and Soraya’s launching poems in a bookstore, I think the former will not want for an audience if I miss her. Soraya’s co-launcher is Moez Surani, whose book is called Reticent Bodies, from Wolsak & Wynn. I don’t know Moez’s work, but people tell me good things. Ben McNally on Bay. 6:30. Come say hi.

5. The Baseball Playoffs (ongoing til late October). Ha! YOU thought these would all be literary, didn’t you? Here are my picks, you can take them to the bank: Red Sox in the American League, Dodgers in the National. Dodgers for the World Series, which will likely happen more in November than October. As there is no just God, Manny Ramirez for the series-winning RBI.

4. The Governer-General’s shortlist announcement.After the clusterfuck turned emergency turned series of increasingly tedious monologues and defences that marked last year’s English Language Poetry GGs, let’s all hope for smoother sailing this time out, okay kids? I’m not going to make any predictions like I did in #5 above. But I will say that I was surprised, this year, to find that many of my favourite eligible titles came from poets very different (stylistically) from what I’d normally be into. It’d be nice to see Carmine Starnino’s This Way Out or James Langer’s Gun Dogs make the list.

3. The launch of Stephen Rowe’s debut collection “Never More There”, from Nightwood. Stephen and I used to work together at a bookstore in St. John’s, and we talked poetry to cut through the tedium. He’s now graduated from teacher’s college and working in Gander and singing folk songs on his porch with his dog. He’s also the very deserving recipient of some nice buzz about his first book, which drew blurbs from two of this country’s best poets in fellow Newfoundlanders Mary Dalton and Michael Crummey. Rowe’s poems are traditional but vibrant, inspired by a very specific history but not insular because of it. The book should be out mid-month.

2. The return of good movies to local theatres I never got to talk about it this month, but I love me some cinema. I love the big, angry, explodey variety, as well as the softer, nuanced, arty variety. Each variety has its season, and the months of August and September mark the no man’s land where the multiplexes only offer third-grade rejects and horror schlock. The next few weeks show a lot of promise, though, including the return of Jane Campion (Bright Star), Spike Jonze (Where the Wild Things Are), and Ricky Gervais (The Invention of Lying). Also present are a bumper crop of movies that give centre stage to my favourite cinematic citizen, the character actor. Getting the Paul Giamatti treatment this year are Richard Kind (A Serious Man), Alfred Molina (An Education), and Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones).

1.The International Festival of Authors (late October) I say this with the sheepishness and humility of someone shocked to the core that he’s been invited to read, but this year’s IFOA has a pretty great line-up. Munro, Atwood, Alexie, Toibin for sure, but lots of other great readers including the poet Paul Durcan, Toronto’s own Leon Rooke and John Bemrose, and popular figures like Miriam Toews and Colson Whitehead. Should be fun. And for me, at least, terrifying.


It’s been good sharing words with you this month. Onward and upward, though, right? Stiff upper lip, children. Hey look over there, it’s October’s writer-in-residence, Damian Rogers!

Saying goodbye,

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Related item from our archives

Jacob McArthur Mooney

Jacob McArthur Mooney is the author of the acclaimed collection of poems The New Layman’s Almanac (McClelland & Stewart, 2008) as well as an upcoming second collection from the same publisher.

Go to Jacob McArthur Mooney’s Author Page