November 30th: Kate Colby, Paige Cooper, and Anna Moschovakis

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York Amphitheatre, Room EV 1.605, 1515 Rue St. Catherine, Montréal, QC, H3G 2W1

~DOORS~ will be open just before 4pm, and we will start shortly after everyone is inside and seated.

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Kate Colby is author of seven books of poetry, most recently The Arrangements (Four Way Books, 2018). Dream of the Trenches, a book of critical poem-essays, will be out with Noemi Press in 2019. Fruitlands won the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America in 2007. She has also received awards and fellowships from the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts, the Dodd Research Center at UConn and Harvard’s Woodberry Poetry Room, where she is the 2017-2018 Creative Fellow. Her work has been featured at the Beauport Sleeper-McCann, deCordova, Isabella Stewart Gardner and RISD museums, and her poems and essays have recently appeared in A Public Space, The Awl, Bennington Review, Boston Review, Columbia Poetry Review, PEN America, Verse and the DIA Readings in Contemporary Poetry Anthology. She was a founding board member of the Gloucester Writers Center in Massachusetts, where she now serves on the advisory board. Colby was born in Boston, grew up in Massachusetts and currently lives in Providence, where she works as a copywriter and editor.

Paige Cooper’s stories have appeared in The Fiddlehead, West Branch, Michigan Quarterly Review, Gulf Coast Online, Canadian Notes & Queries, The New Quarterly, and Minola Review, and have been anthologized in The Journey Prize Stories and Best Canadian Stories. Her debut short story collection, Zolitude, was longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. She lives in Montreal.

Anna Moschovakis is the author most recently of the novel Eleanor, or, The Rejection of the Progress of Love (Coffee House Press, 2018). Her books of poetry include the James Laughlin award-winning You and Three Others Are Approaching a Lake and They and We Will Get Into Trouble for This. Her translations from French include Albert Cossery’s The Jokers, Annie Ernaux’s The Possession, and Bresson on Bresson, and experimental translations of and with the Algerian poet Samira Negrouche. A recipient of grants and fellowships from New York Foundation for the Arts, The Poetry Fund, the Howard Foundation, and apexart, she has taught in the graduate writing programs at Bard, Pratt, and Columbia. She is a longtime member of the publishing collective Ugly Duckling Presse and a co-founder of Bushel, an art and community space in Delhi, NY.

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Writers Read at Concordia University has hosted authors including Roxane Gay, Mary Ruefle, Lydia Davis, Roddy Doyle, Mary Gaitskill, Tanya Tagaq, Christian Bok, Rae Armantrout, Emma Donoghue, Lisa Robertson, Gail Scott, George Elliott Clarke, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Ben Lerner & Dionne Brandwritersreadconcordia@gmail.com
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Our events are free and open to the public.

Damian Rogers is a Social Menace

Off the Page Festival welcomes Damian Rogers Thursday, November 3rd, in Concordia’s Grey Nuns Building (1175 Rue St Mathieu), room M100, starting at 7:30pm.

Damian Rogers is a social person. “I will talk to someone for hours, no problem. I’m good to talk, as they say,” Rogers recently told Trevor Corkum of 49thshelf.com. The same is true of her page. To read her books, Dear Leader (Coach House Books, 2015) and Paper Radio (ECW Press, 2009), is not at all like small talk. A testament to the absorptive power of her work is that hours of enjoyment will occur before one realizes the time. To finish her books poses the problem: what now? The solution is to re-read her work as if for the first time. As Rogers asks in “The Trouble with Wormholes” (Rogers, 23):

How many times must I learn the lesson of compression?
Let go of everything you know and start from scratch.

 

Damian Rogers’ work is menacing. Where her voice is accessible, her style, inviting, and her subjects, familiar, her themes challenge the reader’s sense of safety. Familiar objects – roller skates, pantsuits, soap dishes, and sweaters – lay alongside sensory descriptions of dreams, homes, and childhoods. Desires are addressed in association to these objects and sensations, such as the man and spider in “Poem for Love” who respectively “dreams of a red telephone that will only ring for him” or wishes for a “frame upon which to hitch his home” (Rogers, 48). Neither character will realize their desire. A common theme in Rogers’ work is, then, to remind us that life is a series of struggles wherein we often fail to reach our own desires. Life is gritty, we are imperfect, and we lack control to change course. To read Rogers’ work is to feel threatened by the reminder of what we don’t always see ourselves: That there is no escape from our imperfections but through catharsis. In this respect, Rogers’ work is as refreshing in its honesty and menacing in theme as it is creative in its composition. As she writes in “Storm” (Rogers, 18).

We live in
the arteries
of a large
ugly animal
and I saw
it move.

 

Damian Rogers is the editor of The Walrus and Anansi Press, creative director of “Poetry in Voice,” and the literary curator and co-host of The Basement Review performance series.

Damian Rogers is a hell of a poet.

From Dear Leader:

POEM FOR DEATH

‘Politicians, in my eyes, ruin our best chances
of making this work,’ said the man running for mayor.

Once they wondered, ‘Where do we go from here?’
And here is as far as they got.

‘If I start freaking out over this spill, I’ll never stop,’
said the oil can. ‘I want to get back to my wife.’

‘You’re a prisoner,’ said the snow leopard to the bank teller.
‘You’ll be the last of our kind to be free.’

‘Let the world turn,’ said the witch,
‘as if it would do so without you.’

‘That feels amazing,’ said the rock ‘n’ roll victim,
as he bled from his head. ‘Do it again.’

What can I say? I can’t wait to meet the future beasts that keep
on knocking from the other side of that big red door.

Don’t miss Damian Rogers with Suzanne Buffam and Sarah Burgoyne.
7:30, November 3rd, Grey Nuns Building M100, 1175 Rue St Mathieu

Rogers, Damian. Dear Leader. Toronto: Coach House, 2015. Print.

– Johnathan F. Clark

 

From the Archive: Francine Prose

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

 

In with the New Shockley

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

 

From the Archive: Tanya Tagaq

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWIr-2TJkY4

 

– Johnathan F. Clark

 

Bewitched by Broadbent

Writers Read and Concordia University welcome Lisa Robertson and Laura Broadbent tonight at 7pm, in the York Amphitheatre, EV 1.605, 1515 Rue St. Catherine

Readers first shook hands with Laura Broadbent through the pages of her remarkable, and strikingly titled book, Oh There You Are I Can’t See You Is It Raining? (Snare Books, 2012). Most notable are the sections entitled “Between A And B,” and “Men in Various States.” The former is a suite of poems that tangentially weaves lines of grit, glass, bodies, sex, and sky. Each poem presents as inky layers of interior perspectives bookended between A. and B., two physical, chronological, and metaphorical touchstones. The latter, another suite of poems, reads as the unspoken confessionals of various male voices — work that brims with an honesty of crude desire and psychological strife. There is a magic in Broadbent’s words and ‘terrestriality’ in her approach, if such a word can be coined, as if locating a ley line meant digging through not just bodies, but the hell of what people mean within and between, what makes a self. Broadbent might contest this interpretation through her invention of Jean Rhys’ voice in Interviews (Metatron 2014): “If I was bound for hell, / let it be hell. / No more false heavens. / No more damned magic.” But reading Broadbent’s work is tantamount to incantation because it summons something palpable, dark, and lurking. The trick of her magic is this: Her work digs deep until it connects to a Hell that was bound for us.

Broadbent’s voice most recently resonates with the publication of In on the Great Joke (Coach House Books, 2016).

Arrive early on campus to hear volunteers read the entirety of Lisa Robertson’s, Debbie: An Epic, throughout Concordia University’s LB building (1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd W) from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

 

Poem from “Between A And B” in Oh There You Are I Can’t See You Is It Raining?:

A.

Even your family can betray you but when there is no you your
family can’t betray you. The place between A and B formally re-
quests you to drop the story. He is not better than you because there
is no you and you have not failed because there is no you. You
did not say the wrong thing because there is no you. There was no
humiliating sexual encounter because there is no you. You didn’t
detect bodily decay because there is no you. He cannot hurt you
because there is no you. You aren’t stuck in your first-world issues
because there is no you. Your task is to walk among the ten thou-
sand things – look at the sky and become it smell the morning
and become it feel the temperature and become it scatter with
the wind. Not a name reaches you in your bassinet of nothing-
ness strung between A and B.

B.

 – Johnathan F. Clark

Submission Call, Off the Page Festival: A Haunting

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

Submission Call, Off the Page Festival: A Literary Wake

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:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeWJ5mQgUWF-wRJPeV84xBUx0RnjB-oRQDYHKhQ98YOpoo1Tw/viewform

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 literarywake@gmail.com

From the Archive: Julie Salverson

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”