Major Jackson, York Amphitheatre, September 30th, 2015
Writers Read looks back at hosting prolific author, Francine Prose, in March, 2014, in Concordia’s Henry F. Hall building. Attendees crowded into the Hall conference room for a reading of Prose’s novel, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 (HarperTorch, 2014), and later, a Q&A session with the Brooklyn native. Lovers is a multivocal series of epistolaries that spotlight Parisian lives during the rise of German fascism, and the impacts fascism had on various Parisian cultures. The innermost thoughts of Prose’s complex characters entwine to give a voice and face to a separate, abstract character – the motley cityscape of pre-war Paris.
Francine Prose released a new novel this month, entitled, Mister Monkey: A Novel.
As reviewed in the New York Times Book Review: “Expertly constructed, Mister Monkey is so fresh and new it’s almost giddy, almost impudent with originality. Tender and artful, Prose’s 15th novel is a sophisticated satire, a gently spiritual celebration of life, a dark and thoroughly grim depiction of despair, a screwball comedy, a screwball tragedy. . . . It’s gorgeous and bright and fun and multi-faceted, carrying within it the geological force of the ages. It’s a book to be treasured. It’s that good. It’s that funny. It’s that sad. It’s that deceptive and deep.” (New York Times Book Review, front cover review)
Listen to a clip of Prose reading from Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932:
– Johnathan F. Clark
Off the Page event:
November 4th, 7pm, York Amphitheatre, EV 1.605, 1515 Rue St. Catherine
Those who know Evie Shockley from her 2006 publication, a half-red sea (Carolina Wren Press, 2006), will know how her lyrical style contains themes of ancestry and racial identity which flow through contexts of modern existential threats. Shockley’s words are just as markedly sharp in her latest release, the new black (Wesleyan Poetry Series, 2011), as she navigates through modern threats facing the lives of racial American-minority and feminist identities. Of the four suites of poems in the new black, it is striking to note how Shockley titles her suites – “out with the old,” “the cold,” and “out with the new” – to underline a treatment of black lives as casual commodities by a modern world, objectified and vilified by a modern American culture seeking to simultaneously appropriate and reprobate. Shockley’s strength in the written word parallels her strength in line presentation, whether it is the experiment of commixing and segregating connotative alliteration in “x marks the spot,” the barren feet tracking page to page in “the cold,” or the words that literally break off from their page and settle on the opposite side of the spine in “explosives.”
Take a listen as Shockley reads and discusses Ed Roberson’s “City Eclogue, Words for It,” and her own poem, “You Must Want This Lonesome.”
Off the Page 2016 welcomes Evie Shockley and Trish Salah to Concordia on November 4th.
– Johnathan F. Clark
Writers Read looks back at hosting Tanya Tagaq in October, 2013. That evening, a first-come-first-serve audience crammed into a conference room in Concordia’s Henry F. Hall to witness the unique line-up of throat singer, Tanya Tagaq, experimental poet, Christian Bök, and composer/performance artist, Jaap Blonk. Seating became a competitive event as many people were turned away for a small seating capacity, which created a sense of relief for those who arrived early and, for those turned away, became a howl not unlike the haunting sounds of Tagaq. Following spirited performances by both Blonk and Bök, Tagaq took to the floor and, accompanied by a violinist, displayed the vocal style and range for which she is famous.
Tagaq is about to release her next album, Retribution. To learn more and hear the driving rhythms her single, “Centre,” visit http://tanyatagaq.com/ .
Enjoy a moment captured by an attendee:
– Johnathan F. Clark
We have seen ghosts—in the flickering of light bulbs, of the body, and in the persisting reverberations of history. We hear them with our mouths and pens; we write them into memory. Who are they? Do they hear us? What do they know?
“A Haunting” will address the question of what it means to occupy an already occupied space—in the context of ghostly stories, and in narratives of indigeneity and immigration. Canadian-Trinidadian writer Dionne Brand compares her practice to the act of “unforgetting”—of re-engagement with legacies of colonial trauma as they have manifested themselves in the present. How do our bodies in the present act as the ghosts of the future? Are we haunted by our perpetuation of colonial legacies, our voices, our silences? Who and what is implicated?
With our feet on Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk) territory, Off the Page invites writers and artists—with priority given to the voices of Black, indigenous, and/or writers of colour—to make words, sounds, songs that manifest their ghosts. Successful submissions may engage historical and generational traumas; they may explore or in fact embody resistance. This event sees writing as possessive, an engagement with identity, history, language, and secrets mediated through the body in performance. Submissions may include, but are not limited to, spoken word, dance, music, theatre. Collaborations between writers and other performance artists are especially encouraged.
The selected works will feature on November 4th, 2016 and lead audiences through a performance-based ghost tour that explores decolonization through haunting. Works must be received by 11:59 PM, Monday, October 24th through this form: https://goo.gl/forms/FoRLb7JuTl1yuu9m1
Are you, or is someone you know, a writer living in or near Montreal and looking to read work to an audience? Would you like to know what that work would sound like as re-imagined by a live band?
Learn more and apply to perform here:
About the event:
“What Remains: A Literary Wake” is a literary performance of selected works and experimental rock/electro adaptations that address the Frankensteinian aspect of reanimating the musical orality of the printed word.
We’re looking for artists willing to perform short works of poetry and micro-fiction that deal with notions of sonic haunting, literary decomposition,ephemeral/electrical embodiment, and/or forms of death. Artists must also be willing to recite their piece in the dark.
Think you have a similar theme that might relate? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re not posting the venue location for now. Our aim is to collect submissions for the event.
If you have any questions, contact us at email@example.com
Writers Read looks back at hosting Julie Salverson with Peter van Wyck in January, 2012. Upon arriving at the York Theatre, attendees were treated to the cross-genre braiding of Salverson and Van Wyck’s research into Canada’s role in the Manhattan Project – the American project that resulted in the nuclear weaponry and attacks on Japan. The words of Salverson and Van Wyck, Continue reading “From the Archive: Julie Salverson”
Writers Read looks back at hosting Julian Barnes in 2005. Those who were wise enough to find an early seat crowded themselves into the Samuel Bronfman Building to listen as Julian Barnes read excerpts of his then-newly released novel, Arthur & George. Barnes spoke of Spanish-speaking, Bible-narrating parrots, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Continue reading “From the Archive: Julian Barnes”
Hear McKay win from his Griffin Prize winning collection Strike Slip.