Quartet 2017 launches at the Almanac

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Quartet authors Vivian Hanson, Laurie MacFayden, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Lisa Pasold at the Almanac, Sept. 20, 2017.

 

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Laurie MacFayden reads from Walking Through Turquoise

 

Ordinary

who would ever believe
looking into your ordinary eyes could stop me from breathing;
that touching your scars could transport me to the stars

who would ever believe two ordinary sets of hands
could cartwheel to the moon and back, and again, and back
then sleep in an ordinary bed
in an ordinary room
under ordinary sheets,
dreaming extraordinary dreams.

often there is panic after love’s reveal:
how to snare it, wrap it? ensure it can’t fly away

listen — you put a ring in my heart
not the kind that encircles a finger;
the kind of sound
a happy bell makes.

who’d have ever thought
this ordinary life
could turn ordinary eyes into happy jars of cherry jam
turn these ordinary lives into sacred trust,
turn you into me
and me into you …
all ordinary
and grateful.

– excerpt, from Walking Through Turquoise (Frontenac House)
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Walking Through Turquoise launches Sept. 19-20

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Walking Through Turquoise, Laurie MacFayden’s third book of poetry, continues to explore the secrets and flirtations mined in her previous titles, White Shirt and Kissing Keeps Us Afloat. The sweet, clumsy intricacies of relationships; things you want to shout from rooftops but can’t; that tickle in your gut the first time she calls you honeyMacFayden ponders a one-way trip to Mars, the turmoil of clouds, the majesty of moonstone. ‘How can desire survive the tragedy of human aging?’ she asks, never losing sight of the joyous, wet, throbbing hallelujah. Walking Through Turquoise is a celebration of the glorious, swirling twine that binds us to things of this earth and beyond.

 

can you be buried in a canoe?
can you paddle on through
and come out the other side?
if the dog jumps out will the vessel tip?
at the bottom of the lake
will your toes find mud or bone?
between the shore and the floating dock,
whose sad, lonely cry swims you home?
— excerpt, red canoe

 

Published by Frontenac House, Walking Through Turquoise is part of Quartet 2017 which also features A Tincture of Sunlight, Vivian Hansen; The Riparian, Lisa Pasold; and This Wound is a World, Billy-Ray Belcourt.

Calgary launch: Tuesday, Sept. 19, Wordfest space, Memorial Park Library, 7-9 p.m. Author readings and refreshments.
Edmonton launch: Wednesday, Sept. 20, The Almanac, 10351 82 (Whyte) Ave., 7-9 p.m. Author readings and refreshments.

the map of our world has no beginning or end
our cartography tells us not where we’ve been
or where we need to go, merely:
where we are joined is at the chest,
the welcoming corner bone of hip,
the intersection of dusk and constellation
joined by alchemy, spirits of the woods,
by hobo roads and caution stones
— excerpt, world map

we wanted to let love come in

after hey, that’s no way to say goodbye
for edmonton poetry festival, birds on a wire event, april 2017

remember what our bodies craved, when we were newly healing
blueberries and honey tea,  that sleepy, river feeling
we mapped out tender places, stolen moments for the taking
no greater gift than kissing you, sweet lover, upon waking
we wanted to let love come in, what made us so afraid?
the girl inside you sang back then; my sad piano played

we found a quaint discreet hotel, without much of a view
we left the maid our morning sheets, they smelled like me and you
we wanted to let love come in — like light, it finds a crack
for me that was your blessed skin, your freckled upper back
for you it was my winter eyes, you said they saw right through
you said they made you realize we can’t always be true

you opened me like beaujolais, and sipped until i came
and when the chimes of midnight rang, i cried out your old name
i paid you back in poetry, i paid you back in rhyming
yet despite how deep we loved — we loved! — we always blew the timing
we tried to set up house in greece but never got it right
dinners began with sambuka and ended in a fight

i want to be your hero knight, but i can’t be your man
we navigate the distances the only way we can
i asked you once, where did you run? you said we’d meet in france
now that it’s time to part again, you still owe me that dance
the clock is set for leaving, is there something i should know?
you’ve made it so damned clear to me, you’re really gonna go

we found a thousand crazy ways to make each other cry
you couldn’t be nobody’s wife; i had to paint the sky
still, remember what our bodies craved when we were newly healing
blueberries and honey tea, that safe and floaty feeling
no greater gift than kissing you, sweet lover, upon waking
we fed each other’s hungers with the morning gently breaking
we wanted to let love come in — like light, it finds a crack
and now you’ve gone, but hey, i’ll never stop wanting you back

© laurie macfayden, from Walking Through Turquoise, Frontenac House, 2017

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Richard Harrison book launch

Poetry reading and book signing to launch Richard Harrison’s new book,
On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood (Wolsak & Wynn). 
Also reading: Nasra Adem, Laurie MacFayden, Thomas Wharton
WHEN: ThursdayDec. 1, 2016; 7pm-830pm
WHERE: ChVrch of John, 10260 103 St, Edmonton

THE READERS


Richard Harrison – On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood
Richard Harrison is an award-winning poet, essayist and editor. His six books of poetry include Big Breath of a Wish, poems about his daughter’s acquisition of language, and Hero of the Play, poems in the language of hockey. He has published writings on literary criticism, comic culture, creative writing and mathematics. Richard also contributes to the scholarship on the superhero: with MRU colleague Lee Easton, he co-authored the book of essays, Secret Identity Reader (2010). Richard teaches composition, creative writing (poetry), and comics and graphic novels. After 11 years, Richard Harrison returns to poetry with a moving tribute to his late father in On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood.

The great Alberta flood of 2013 slides through Richard Harrison’s latest collection, its rising waters pulling his books of poetry off their shelves, washing the ink from letters kept in boxes in the basement and threatening to carry off his father’s ashes. On these waters float Harrison’s mourning for his father, who suffered a form of dementia later in life but never forgot the poems he’d memorized as a young man. Alongside these, the waters also carry Harrison’s love of comic books, his struggles with the haiku and his willingness to stay in the game, “to try again.” Combining elements of memoir, elegy, lyrical essay and personal correspondence, On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood is a generous and enchanting book, one that leaves you, like the poet, thinking about the way “characters in a novel can escape anything/except their story.”

Nasra Adem
Nasra Adem, 22, is a multidisciplinary artist and current Youth Poet Laureate of Edmonton. She has performed at poetry and spoken word festivals across North America. Nasra studied musical theatre at MacEwan University and is  the founder of Sister 2 Sister: a monthly showcase of women artists of colour and the curator for Black Arts Matter, Edmonton’s first all-Black arts festival. Devoted to creative and spiritual authenticity, Nasra is uses her artistic practice as a way of breaking barriers, reimagining realities and creating forward momentum within her communities.
Laurie MacFayden
Laurie MacFayden is an Edmonton-based poet, visual artist and journalist. In addition to two award-winning books of poetry, Kissing Keeps Us Afloat and White Shirt, her writing has appeared in The New QuarterlyFreeFall, Queering the Way, Alberta Views, and online at canadianpoetries.com and DailyHaiku. Her work has been performed in Edmonton’s Loud & Queer Cabaret, Skirts Afire herArts Festival, Read and Write With Pride, and Calgary’s Q the Arts cultural festival. Her third book with Frontenac House, You Can’t Tell, will be released in September 2017.
Thomas Wharton  
Thomas Wharton’s most recent book is Rutherford the Time-Travelling Moose, a children’s story about the history of Edmonton. His first novel, Icefields, won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book, Canada/Caribbean division, and the inaugural Banff Mountain Book grand prize. His second novel, Salamander, was shortlisted for the Governor-General’s Literary Award and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. He has published a three-volume fantasy for younger readers, The Perilous Realm. He is currently working on a collection of short fiction.

Dear Younger Me: Relax, you’ll turn out OK

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What would you say to your younger self?

Dear Younger Me … A letter to myself
Sunday, Nov. 6, 2-3:30 p.m.
Latitude 53, 10242 106 St, Edmonton

Six area writers have been invited to pen letters to their younger selves, whether as children or as young adults, and share these aloud with the audience, followed by a Q & A session. The event includes a silent auction, cash bar, and desserts from Cafe Reinette donated by The Writers’ Union of Canada. Proceeds go to our kids camps and sponsoring youth in financial need from Edmonton and rural Alberta to attend.

Marilyn Dumont, Minister Faust, Mieko Ouchi, Thomas Trofimuk, Thomas Wharton and Laurie MacFayden are the featured literati letter writers and presenters. They’ll have copies of their books available for purchase.

Tickets are available at the door for $25.