Another Golden opportunity

My second book, Kissing Keeps Us Afloat, was honoured with a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in the poetry category in July. I was not able to attend the awards ceremony in July in New Orleans, so this afternoon Frontenac House publishers Rose and David Scollard have invited me to crash their Quartet 2015 preview party (2 p.m., Harcourt House, Edmonton). I’ve been asked to kick off the readings with some selections from KKUA and my debut collection, White Shirt, which also won a Goldie in 2011. The event starts at 2 p.m. and will be hosted by Quartet editor Micheline Maylor.

This year’s four-pack features:

  • Changelings by Calgary poet/storyteller Cassy Welburn;
  • Two Minds by prolific B.C. author Harold Rhenisch;
  • Niche by Nova Scotian visual artist and poet Basma Kavanagh;
  • ClockWork by California based poet Zaid Shlah

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‘That Laurie MacFayden, she’s a howler’

KKUA cover FINALLovely review of Kissing Keeps Us Afloat from Michael Dennis over at Today’s Book of Poetry.

And when I say lovely, I mean fan-fucking-tastic.

Some highlights:

kissing keeps us afloat is a sustained torrent, a laughing rush, a relentless scream/yodel of passion. This red boat has no oars as it crashes against the shores of love, breaks up on the rocks called desire.

Fearless, charismatic, funny, elegant, eloquent and frequently so horny you’d think the sky was falling before her final possible hump. Laurie MacFayden has done something wonderful in the dazzling kissing keeps us afloat.

And we love, love, love the joyous title. Around the office it won the poll for best title this spring.

This collection is a “page-turner.” You really can’t wait to hear what MacFayden is going to burn up and turn red next.

(A poetry page-turner? Blush.)

What MacFayden has done over the course of kissing keeps us afloat is to romp ribald, I mean Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Erica Jong rutting – and like those excellent writers, reach so much more of the reader than simple erotica ever could. In these poems love does not always win, passion is not always requited. That’s not the point. It is the celebrations, the joy you remember that gets you through the dark. The promise of joy that brings us to the threshold of another dawn.

All that jazz and more is in the keen, crisp kissing keeps us afloat.

That Laurie MacFayden, she’s a howler. An Allen Ginsberg howler, celebrating hope and hard love.

(Takes one to know one, methinks, MD)

Today’s book of poetry thinks MacFayden’s kissing keeps us afloat steps up and delivers big time. Love isn’t all sweetness and light, she knows everything.

You can read the full gorgeous love letter here.

(Michael Dennis, can I offer you a ride in my red boat?)

12 words

her holy hands scorch me
that effervescent grin
the laugh that went into the candle wax
those splashing eyes
her fingers a myriad of vowels, of consonants
that eclectic thing she does when she breathes me in
her winsome writing dress
introspection is where she stepped onto the bus
murmuration is where she got off
our trinity involves flannel, soft grass, omelettes
i made her mulligatawny soup for breakfast
she sang vespers for me in the bath

Alberta Views reviews Quartet 2014

From Bookshelf, November 2014 issue:

[…] Laurie MacFayden’s Kissing Keeps Us Afloat relates the experiences of knowing, “by tenth grade,” that one would “never, not ever, be one of the cool kids,” and of recognizing

Joan Shillington, Sharanpal Ruprai, David Bateman, Laurie MacFayden  - photo by Randall Edwards

Quartet 2014 poets: Joan Shillington, Sharanpal Ruprai, David Bateman, Laurie MacFayden
(Photo by Randall Edwards)

“burgeoning yearnings,” yearnings “we never talked about / the kind two girls aren’t supposed to feel / for each other.” MacFayden’s book is also most evidently self-reflexive about the act of writing poetry, opening with the humourous, “things you need to know before giving your heart to a poet,” a series of warnings such as, “she will write poems about other lovers and find ways / to make you believe they are about you,” and concluding with the also humorous “getting the poem to sleep,” suggesting that one “bash it in the head with a rock.”

“Frontenac’s annual Quartet is … a reminder of the lively poetic work underway in this province.”

— Jason Wiens

Advance praise for Kissing Keeps Us Afloat

Honky-tonk tunes, swinging & searing verses, meditative narratives,
and catalogues of favoured things (including what lovers bring — or leave behind),
all merge to make Kissing Keeps Us Afloat a book for tongues and lips to sing.
MacFayden knows painting and music, and she loves words and women. The
result is art without limit, craft without regret, and poetry that faces trauma and
embraces the erotic.

MacFayden tells us, “some days,” a poet “will swagger home with roses; / some days, she will stagger home with thorns.”

KKUA cover FINALBecause her heart and mind are open to hurts and salves, the poet both suffers and exults. She sets her eyes — and sights — directly on bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, beaches, forest glades, motels, streets, and all the passion plays and comedies enacted in these places. Thus, she shows us that home is where the lover is, and home is where love is born, “hidden … in mitochondrial strands” or even in “the intimate seams of some underthings.”

MacFayden’s poetry is both red-hot and cool-blue, white lies and film noir, memory and truth. In the supposed mundane, she shows us, transcendence awaits.

— George Elliott Clarke

Kissing Keeps Us Afloat launch info