As the summer approaches, I’m trying my best to get into that mindset required for serious writing. Some of you may know I’m a teacher of high school students and that can be quite draining mentally, which is a real killer of creativity and a part of the reason I haven’t been posting all that much lately. As the year winds down, however, I’ve managed to put in a bit of time working on a couple of older poems that needed revision, while finding the time as well to write a couple of new ones. Onward and upward, as they say.
It’s old news now, but last week the Griffin Poetry Prize winners were announced and the Canadian winner was Dionne Brand for her collection Ossuaries; lovely poet and a great representative of Canadian poetry. John Steffler, one of my favourite poets, was shortlisted for the award as well. Congratulations to him as even being nominated for the Griffin is one hell of an honour. You can check out a pre-award ceremony questionnaire the Afterword did with him here. On a final Griffin note, friend and poet Jake Mooney of Vox Populism has his yearly Griffin Math post which is well worth a read. He takes a look at the numbers of nominees by region of birth, sex, publisher, and nationality. In Canada, at least, it seems the ladies have done quite well with this competition and kudos go to them for it; it sets an informal challenge of sorts to the gentleman poets out there for the coming years.
Salty Ink, that excellent source of information, reviews, author profiles, and general promotion of Atlantic Canadian literature is back at its old home on the web after a short stint as a part of another larger mainland based site. Chad Pelley has put together quite a book giveaway in honour of this homecoming and has many, many books by Atlantic authors to pass on to you. Put your name in the draw because there’s some great books here. I’ve personally got my eye on Far To Go (Alison Pick), The Artificial Newfoundlander (Larry Mathews), and Double Talk (Patrick Warner).
One final link for you: I ran across this on the interwebs discussing Hemingway and alcohol. I just had to read it:
Men love solitude. We don’t need conversation when a “bottle of wine was good company” and “[i]t was pleasant to be … drinking alone.” (“The Sun Also Rises”) An isolated cabin in the forest is the perfect home for us.
Unfortunately humans are social animals. We must communicate if we don’t wish to go utterly off-the-rails insane. Alcohol can help with this tedious chore: martinis will make you “feel civilized” (“A Farewell to Arms”) and will make the people you hate seem tolerable, because “[a]n intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with fools.” (Hotchner’s “The Good Life According to Hemingway”)
Hell isn’t other people; it’s other people when you’re sober.