Glenn Goluska (1947-2011)

Horribly sad to  learn about the death of Glenn Goluska, one of Canada’s greatest typographers. I had the good fortune to meet Glenn at a Gaspereau Press wayzgoose. Andrew let me run the Vandercook in his office, printing souvenirs for visitors to the shop and Glenn was there as backup. He gently offered pointers and suggestions throughout the afternoon, graciously stepping in to better articulate printing history when needed. I drove him to the airport the next day and we had a lovely conversation about printing/books/mutual friends. He was strikingly kind and generous. He told me he was hoping to make it down to Ottawa to visit with jwcurry and the letterpress/book arts folk but that never happened.  Requieum, lovely Glenn, so glad to have met you and so sorry not to have had more time. More information and obits for Glenn:

A spread from Robert Kroetsch’s Liebhaber’s Wood Type (1987), GP blog entry, below

Andrew Steeves’ visit with Glenn earlier this year:

Andrew Steeves at Gaspereau Press:

Alcuin Society Blog:

Coach House:


Literary Press Group survey for poetry readers

Go forth and answer, you poetry reader denizen.

Robert Kroetsch (June 26, 1927 — June 21, 2011)

Salt, of Ocean Sea, of Tears

the forfeiture
of ending
to begin begin
& arch & heel

(excerpt from Field Notes.)

bloomsday 2011

“…I was a flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used‏ or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will yes.”

Painting by Adrien Henri Tanoux (1865-1923), “A Young Beauty with a Red Flower in her Hair”. More information on Bloomsday here.

dear Broken Pencil,

I’m not neutral by any stretch of the most nubile imagination (rob mclennan is my partner). But Zachary Houle’s recent ‘Letter to the Editor’ riled me and I’m quite difficult to unrile.

The letter itself is absurd. While I’m very sorry to hear that Mr. Houle had such difficulty getting his ex-partner to attend his readings, it hardly seems fair to blame rob. We are adults and if we wish to be supportive of our (writerly) partners: we go to an event. Period. Perhaps she simply did not enjoy readings. There is nothing that would prevent me from supporting someone that I care about. Ain’t no mountain high enough (etcetera).

To be fair, I wasn’t at that event and can’t comment on the mclennan of decades past. I can only comment on the three years that I’ve known him, during which I’ve seen him be nothing but supportive of visiting and local authors in Ottawa. Just within that period he hosted readings for:

Amanda Earl, Angela Szczepaniak, Aurian Haller, Ben LaDouceur, Brenda Leifso, Bruce Taylor, Cameron Anstee, Chris Turnbull, Christine Leclerc, Christine Stewart, Clint Burnham, David McGimpsey, Diane Tucker, Elizabeth Bachinsky, Emily Falvey, Eva Moran, Faizal Deen, Gary Barwin, Garry Thomas Morse, Gillian Sze, Gwendolyn Guth, Helen Hajnoczky, Janice Tokar, Jason Camlot, Jay MillAr, Jeanette Lynes, Jen Currin, Jon Paul Fiorentino, Ken Belford, Kim Minkus, Laurie Fuhr, Lea Graham, Lisa Pasold, Marcus McCann, Mark Goldstein, Marilyn Irwin, Matt Rader, Michael Dennis, Michelle Desbarats, Mike Spry, Monty Reid, Natasha Nuhanovic, Nicholas Lea, Nick McArthur, Paul Tyler, Pearl Pirie, Peter Gibbon, Peter Midgley, Peter Jaeger, Phil Hall, Roland Prevost, Sachiko Murakami, Sandra Ridley, Shane Rhodes, Spencer Gordon, Stan Rogal, Stephen Brockwell, Steve Zytveld, Stuart Ross, Suzanne Bowness, Teresa Yang, Wanda O’Connor, and Wes Smiderle.

Which to my mind represents a diverse range of writerly voices belonging to different aesthetics, personalites, styles, and regions. He’s published chapbooks by many of these same writers and more through above/ground press. Recently, the Dusty Owl reading series needed some help and mclennan was the one to find them a new venue, book new writers or hosts, and increase their promotion tenfold. I’ve seen him support young writers, give out publications to those he think might like them, and review books that might not be reviewed  elsewhere. He runs a twice-annual small press book fair where small presses, zines, local artists, papermakers, and printers can sell their work. He isn’t paid to do any of this. It’s a gift of time and energy.

A poisonous atmosphere in Ottawa? Writers from all schools mingle here in a whole slew of venues that cater to every aesthetic. mclennan is a vital part of the Ottawa community but he is just one of many writers and reading organizers in this town. If you want to write and participate in Ottawa literary culture, you can do so. Hell, you can do so without even exchanging a single syllable with mclennan if that’s your fancy. (And for the record, I’ve never once heard him say snarky comments from the audience excepting mutual teasing with good friends.)

rob has his critics, as do most figures of any public presence but it is ridiculous to see such a personal screed by someone who hasn’t participated in the Ottawa literary community for years. He seems to have no sense of this city’s character. I agree with only one point in the entire letter. Please do come to a poetry reading in Ottawa. Come to several. Come to VerseFest, the new annual poetry festival in March. 

And I’ll include Houle in this one. If you want to be supportive of indie/small press culture in Ottawa or elsewhere: participate. Don’t throw a hissy fit over one paragraph in a fifty-item list because you have a personal problem with an old acquaintance. Write your own work, make your own books, show up, for Christ’s sake. Else-wise, the only asinine, vitriolic, and spiteful comments that I see in the vicinity of mclennan are yours. 


Christine McNair

conscious choice

Because breath is life. Because love, peace, happiness, forgiveness, and all variants thereof are a conscious choice (sometimes mostly perhaps). Happiness is a warm bell. A mindfulness clock to remind you to breathe. I love setting it to random so I can centre myself:

“Your father said, ‘In little business lies much rest’. This world is but a thoroughfare and full of woe; and when we depart thereform, right naught we bear with us but our good deeds and ill.” (My fifteenth great-grandmother Agnes to her son John Paston in Fleet Prison, 1465.)

Jaap Blonk + playback, a poetry reading

I’m participating in this here upcoming AB series event —

Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 7:30pm
National Arts Centre – Fourth Stage hosted by Alan Neal
Tickets available at the National Arts Centre Box Office.
For more information see:

Jaap Blonk
Renowned sound poet and musical vocalist, Jaap Blonk returns to Ottawa for an exclusive A B Seriesengagement. Blonk is a unique figure known internationally for his powerful stage presence. He has performed all over Europe, as well as in the USA, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa and Latin America.On May 25, Blonk presents a live version of Antonin Artaud‘s To Have Done With the Judgement of God (translated by Clayton Eshleman). This work was commissioned by BBC Radio and premiered in London, England in November 2010. It includes sound poetry by Artaud with Blonk’s variations and electronic sound.
As an opening act, the A B Series presents playback, a poetry reading. In this piece, Christine McNair, Sean Moreland, Glenn Nuotio, Carmel Purkis, Sandra Ridley and Grant Wilkins read, reconfigure and respond to artist Michèle Provost’s exhibition, playlist. You can listen to the March 4, 2011 interview with the Playback artists which aired on CKCU radio.