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

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

Kissing Keeps Us Afloat launch

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My second book of poetry, Kissing Keeps Us Afloat, is about to roll off the presses on pace for an early September release.

The book is part of Quartet 2014, the annual four-pack of titles from Frontenac House publishers in Calgary. This year’s series also includes new work by David Bateman (Designation Youth), Joan Shillington (Folding the Wilderness Within)
and Sharanpal Ruprai (Seva).

The Edmonton launch is Wednesday, Sept. 10, 7 p.m. at Audreys Books, 10702 Jasper Ave.

I will be reading a few poems from the book, and signed copies of all four Quartet titles will be available for purchase.

There’s also a Calgary launch on Sunday, Sept. 7, 2 p.m. at the John Dutton Theatre (Central Library, 616 Macleod Trail SE).

See you in September!

 

‘Swinging and searing verses, meditative narratives, honky-tonk tunes 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’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

A splash about Kissing

nightswimming LMI’m excited to announce, for those who haven’t already heard, that my second poetry manuscript, titled Kissing Keeps Us Afloat, will be published next September by Frontenac House as part of their annual four-pack, Quartet 2014. I hope those of you who liked White Shirt (Dektet 2010) will enjoy this book as well. The official launches will be next fall, likely in Calgary and Toronto, with some more intimate reading events in the Edmonton area. I’m very excited about this new publishing adventure and will keep you posted as more details emerge.

Right now we’re in the early stages, kicking around cover design ideas, zoning in on the final edit, smoking cigars … and I’ve just sent three copies out into the universe to writers who have generously and graciously agreed to write blurbs for the back of the book.

This book charts much of the same volatile territory as White Shirt – lust, family, secrets, lies. I can confirm that there’s a lot of kissing in this book, and a lot of water. It’s a wet, wet book. From joyous pillow lips to night swimming, first love to last rites, Kissing Keeps Us Afloat is awash in things that buoy us and things that nearly destroy us.

“MacFayden’s poems are bright, colorful splashes of language … boisterous,
roughhousing, tomboyish poems. But for all of their energy
and muscle-flexing, they have a wonderful, carefully crafted artistry
that contains and balances their zesty play on words, zany metaphors
and sexual exuberance. … Poetry and humanity both need her lusty,
never-give-up, never-stay-down spirit wrapped in masterfully executed poems.”
(Rob Jacques, poet and technical writer)

black, er, pink tie occasion for white shirt

Great news today – just learned that White Shirt made the shortlist for the Lambda Literary Awards in the Lesbian Poetry category:

White Shirt - Lammy finalist

“Finalists for the Lambda Literary Award were announced today by the Lambda Literary Foundation in Los Angeles.  Books from major mainstream publishers and from academic presses, from both long-established and brand new LGBT publishers, and even from emerging publish-on-demand technologies, make up the 114 finalists for the ‘Lammys.’  The finalists were selected from a record number of nominations.

“The awards, now in their 23rd year, celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2010. Winners will be announced at a May 26 ceremony in New York at the School of Visual Arts Theater (333 West 23rd Street).

“Lambda set a record in 2009 for both the number of LGBT books nominated (462) and the number of publishers participating (about 200), reports Lambda Awards Administrator Richard Labonté. But that record has been surpassed this year, with more than 520 titles represented from about 230 publishers.”

The other four lesbian poetry finalists, from 17 titles submitted, are Jen Currin’s The Inquisition Yours; Money For Sunsets, by Elizabeth J. Colen; The Nights Also, by Anna Swanson; and The Sensual World Re-Emerges, by Eleanor Lerman.

Other Canadians who made the Lammys shortlist include Edmonton’s Vivek Shraya for God Loves Hair (LGBT Children’s/YA category); and Zoe Whittall, whose Holding Still For As Long As Possible is a finalist in two categories: Transgendered Fiction and Lesbian Fiction.

Read the full story here. And you can order White Shirt by clicking here.