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 available now

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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

2017 Alberta Literary Awards winners

R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature 

  • Georgia Graham (Lacombe) – Cub’s Journey Home, Red Deer Press

Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction 

  • Gisèle Villeneuve (Calgary) – Rising Abruptly, University of Alberta Press

Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction 

  • Sydney Sharpe and Don Braid (Calgary) – Notley Nation: How Alberta’s Political Upheaval Swept the Country, Dundurn Press

Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama 

  • Vern Thiessen (Edmonton) – Of Human Bondage, Playwrights Canada Press 

Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry 

  • Richard Harrison (Calgary) – On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood, Wolsak and Wynn

James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction

  • Austen Lee (Edmonton) – “Among Cougars and Men,” Glass Buffalo 

Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story 

  • Laurie MacFayden (Edmonton) – “Haircut,” Alberta Views

Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award 

  • Rona Altrows (Calgary) – “Letter of Intent”

WGA Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement 

  • Candas Jane Dorsey

Youth/Emerging Writing Award

  • Katie Bickell, “Angels in the Snow”

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.

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?)

Never out of style

White Shirt of the Week

‘The white shirt is now an omnipresent part of the fashion scene, a wardrobe staple
of the world’s most stylish women.’

Not to mention the world’s most stylish sax players…

I’ll be reading from White Shirt on Saturday, Dec. 4 as part of the ‘Book Lover’s Christmas Sale’ at Stanley Milner Library (Centennial Room, lower level).

It’s a Writers Guild of Alberta event, from noon to 5 p.m., and more than 40 authors will be on site to sign their wares, with more than 100 titles — plus CDs, bookmarks and other specialty items — up for grabs.

I’m slotted into a poetry trifecta with Alice Major and Peter Midgley from 2:30 to 3 p.m. The complete reading and signing schedule is available here.

White Shirt (Frontenac House, $16) has been long-listed for the Alberta Readers Choice Awards.