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    Stampede of Poets

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    It's pretty convenient to throw a party this week and call it a 'Stampede' party. Or throw a poetry reading and call it a Stampede reading. It's even easier if you've actually "wrangled some of the best darn poets in Cowtown" for a lineup of powerhouse performers that couldn't be described as anything but a stampede, regardless of our being in Calgary during the second week of July. This is exactly what the wonderful folk at Shelf Life Books have done for their 'Stampede of Poets', which'll git goin' tomorrow night - Wednesday July 9 - at 7 p.m.

    Here are the poets prepared to get on their saddle and run you over:

    Christian Bök

    Sheri-D Wilson

    Weyman Chan

    Kirk Miles

    Erin Dingle

    David Eso

    Juleta Severson-Baker

    Richard Harrison

    You may have also seen Stampede of Poets described in this week's FFWD, which offers the insight of Wordfest executive director Jo Steffens on Calgary's literary nightlife, as well as a roundup of Cowtown's hardest working literary organizations. And if you haven't come across the Calgary Herald article on Sheri-D Wilson's powerful new book 'Open Letter', read it here. Happy Stampede week y'all.

    Back from New York

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    What do two shy editors, one 800-kilometre Camino de Santiago explorer and a 240-pound tattooed motorcyclist have in common? These Calgary authors – Naomi K. Lewis, Rona Altrows, Patricia Klinck and Robert Chomany – have just won awards for their books in New York City from two of the biggest book award programs in the world. Come see the books and hear the authors on Tuesday, June 24, 7pm at Shelf Life Books (4th Street and 13th Avenue SW).

    Calgary publisher and writer Tag Goulet will emcee the evening, presenting the three award-winning authors who will talk about their books. Bob Chomany will talk about BawB’s Raven Feathers. Patricia Klinck will read from Each Step is the Journey: The Call of the Camino. Editors Naomi K. Lewis and Rona Altrows and will present Shy: An Anthology.

    Shy: An Anthology, edited by Naomi K. Lewis and Rona Altrows

    The pages of this anthology are filled with personal essays and poems of thoughtful musings, raw memories, and humorous self-examinations by authors and poets who have been labelled by the world—teachers, parents, and peers—as shy. Here, they proudly own up to their shyness, and their message is clear: they don’t need to be “cured”! Why should they, when nearly half of North Americans consider themselves shy? Editors Naomi K. Lewis and Rona Altrows have enlisted writers from across the continent and have created a moving anthology that will appeal to all, either because we are shy or because we know someone who is.

    Tied for silver in the Anthology section of the Independent Publisher Book Awards

    Each Step is the Journey: The Call of the Camino, by Patricia Klinck

    The origins of the Camino de Santiago cannot be found in books. Its story is woven from legends and myths told by the ancients over the centuries and retold by pilgrims. Those who answer its call are often in search of a greater good, a more powerful truth, a fuller understanding. But what is its true meaning? What can this age-old pilgrimage—declared the first European Cultural Route and a UNESCO World Heritage Site—offer us in the twenty-first century?

    Winner of Best Cover Design, Non-Fiction at the Next Generation Indies Awards

    Also available from the library as an OverDrive eBook

    Bawb’s Raven Feathers, by Bob Chomany

    In 2008, a 6’4”, 240-pound tattoo-covered bike enthusiast (whose hobby is “wrenching on motorcycles”) signed up for Facebook. Like many of us, Robert Chomany was disappointed by the daily drab of “what I had for breakfast” and complaints about the weather. Unlike most of us, he was determined to make his page a better place. He decided he would try to put smiles on his readers’ faces each day with his pure and simple inspirational poetic musings. As the days, months and years passed, his audience began asking when the book would be coming out, and soon after that, Bawb’s Raven Feathers was born. In fact, three volumes have been quietly published and a fourth is due out soon.

    Finalist in Best Cover Design, Non-Fiction at the Next Generation Indies Awards


    For a complete list of all the great literary action hosted by Shelf Life check out their current list of upcoming events.

    Spur

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    An exciting new festival is set to grip the city this weekend.

    Spur is a festival of "politics, art and ideas and is a catalyst for change in Canada". It was founded last year and is already spreading to five cities across the country. It's Calgary's turn starting tonight and the lineup of events and speakers looks truly amazing...

    The Opening Reception will take place at the ConocoPhillips Theatre in the Glenbow Museum tonight at 8:30 p.m., following Borders and Geopolitics: The World in Seven Years with Diane Francis, author of Merger of the Century: Why Canada and the U.S. Should Become One Country. After that the lineup of events for Saturday and Sunday will surely live up to Spur's namesake, offering Calgary the opportunity to join "today's most provocative thinkers and scholars, artists and activists, journalists and entrepreneurs - from across the country and beyond - to share ideas worth spurring into action."

    Go to the Spur festival website for complete details and ticket information. Go to your local library for the authors' work, such as Terry Fallis, who you can have coffee with on Sunday at Hotel St Germain, where he will read from and discuss his forthcoming novel, No Relation.

    Terry Fallis

    Diane Francis

    Loft 112

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    If you pay attention to Calgary's writing community, you've likely already heard of the exciting new center for writers almost ready to open in the East Village, Loft 112. Even before the official grand opening the loft is well on its way to becoming the creative hive it's designed to be. The 'Nook blog recently had an opportunity to connect with Lisa Murphy-Lamb, leader of the Loft team, and we asked some questions...


     

    Lisa Murphy-Lamb
    derek beaulieu
    Scrawl-A-Thon

    NOOK: In Calgary, the concept of a center for writers and artists of all kinds to meet and develop ideas seems long overdue and essential. What is it about Loft 112 that allowed you and your team to make it a reality?

    LISA: The idea has percolated in my mind for about four years now. I used to be a classroom teacher and when I left the CBE I missed having a space of my own to work with students. I have felt welcomed in Calgary’s coffee shops, libraries and independent book stores like Pages and Shelf Life, but sometimes noisy discussion or asking students to take chances needs a less public space. I often got requests to help nonprofits or other teachers find spaces to hold events that didn’t cost a lot to rent. During a CADA discussion about Calgary’s creative spaces a few people talked about opening up a community writing centre, a private donor stepped forward and a few months later Loft 112 opened its doors (unofficially). We will have a grand opening when the place finishes some renovations like an accessible bathroom and an apartment within the loft for visiting writers and artists and we get an official sign on the exterior.

    NOOK: I’m a big fan of derek beaulieu’s work and saw in Loft 112’s schedule for March that something called a ‘Typing Pool’ was coming up, with details not yet released. Very curious. Any chance we can have an exclusive teaser?

    LISA: As part of derek beaulieu's ENGL214 class at ACAD, he has gathered antique typewriters from all over the city. Students have been exploring the poetic possibilities of outdated technology in poetry and prose, text art and assignments. On MARCH 9th, a number of those strange old devices will be available for exploration. Derek proposes by using dead technology we are in fact learning how we interface with the tools we have now.

    6-8 typewriters (manual and electric) in working order will be set up at LOFT 112 for writers to use from 1-3pm. Go to derek beaulieu's wordpress site for complete details, and check out derek's books at the Library.

    NOOK: The upcoming Scrawl-A-Thon fundraiser sounds like a lot of fun - basically a writing marathon with pledges coming in for this summer’s WordsWorth writing residency. How can Calgarians get involved?

    LISA: We have writers who have signed up to participate in this fundraiser for The Writers’ Guild of Alberta summer youth writing residency. These writers, in order to participate in the Scrawl-A-Thon need to each raise $200 in pledges. On March 15 we will write for six hours in support of this fine youth residency. The public can help out in these ways:

    Go to our bio page and pick a writer (or 15!) and support their efforts through pledges.
    We need food and drink to keep us fueled. If you want to sustain the writers, please contact me at lisa.murphylamb@writersguild.ab.ca to make arrangements.
    Inspire us. Ideally I’d like a poet, musician, tap dancer, juggler, masseuse .... to inspire us on the hour every hour. If you would would to provide inspiration, please contact me at lisa.murphylamb@writersguild.ab.ca
    Learn more about the Scrawl-A-Thon. We even have room to take on more writers.
    Send a young writer our way. Find out what WordsWorth is all about and who our instructors are this year.

    A 'Nook tip - stay in touch with all of Loft 112's busy action by joining their Facebook page.

    March Flywheel

    by Phil

    Every month, on the second Thursday, filling Station magazine puts together an exciting showcase of literary talent for their Flywheel Reading Series. While supporting the work of local writers, emerging and beyond, Flywheel also hosts accomplished poets and authors from all over the world. This month, the Flywheel will land on Thursday, March 13, and the lineup of readers is rather exciting.

    It all takes place at Pages Books on Kensington, starting at 7.30pm, featuring readings by the U of C's 2013-14 Writer-in-Residence Sara Tilley, debut novelist Carrianne Leung, and 3rd place winner of the library's Just Write! contest, April Tian. You can read April's winning story on our Teen Zone blog.

    For more on the wonderful work of filling Station, there's no better place to start than the upcoming launch of issue #58. The launch will take place this Friday, March 7, at Shelf Life Books. Visit the filling Station for complete launch details.

    And find the books of Flywheel readers on the shelves of your local library...

    Skin Room, by Sara Tilley The Wondrous Woo, by Carrianne Leung

    Pressed Into Silence

    by Phil

    The day before the opening of Sochi's Olympic games 217 prominent writers from around the world signed an open letter to condemn Russia's anti-gay laws. "As writers and artists," the letter states, "we cannot stand quietly by as we watch our fellow writers and journalists pressed into silence or risking prosecution and often drastic punishment for the mere act of communicating their thoughts."

    The full letter letter can be read courtesy of The Guardian.

    So now Putin falls to his knees, apologizes, and repeals the laws, right?

    Of course not. But that's not the letter's intention. Among prominent Canadian authors who signed the letter (including Lawrence Hill, Jane Urquhart, Margaret Atwood, and Michael Ondaatje), Yann Martel appeared on CBC news from his basement in Saskatoon to explain why. Martel's hope is to "remind Russians that they can do better" and also to remind Canadians that "nations thrive the freer they are. Every nation needs to be reminded of that. Not just in Russia, but also here in Canada."

    The campaign, unfortunately, is not unique. Since 1921 PEN International has been promoting and fighting for the global freedom of expression. Since the letter to Russia was posted on February 6, PEN has posted 22 other headlines in the span of two weeks. It may seem far away from us here, but as the open letter to Russia eloquently states, these issues contribute "to the political and intellectual shape of the world far beyond their country's borders."

    Calgarians looking to celebrate freedom of expression, or just looking for an inspiring night out, have a lot to choose from during the Freedom To Read Week (February 23 – March 1). On Thursday, February 27th, at 7:00pm, the library will be at Owl’s Nest Books to present the winners of the Calgary Public Library’s Freedom to Read Contest.

    The following night Wordfest and the Writer's Guild of Alberta present GUILTY (READING) PLEASURES. Local artists Rosemary Griebel, Christian Bök and Jeff de Boer will discuss what they read purely for pleasure and the topics that obsess them the most. That's Friday, February 28, at Shelf Life Books. Reception and presentations from 7pm onwards.

    And of course — the #1 way to celebrate... READ!

    Local Lookout

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    If you couldn't get your hands on a ticket to see Neil Gaiman's sold-out appearance on February 24 as the U of C's Distinguished Visiting Writer, don't worry, the second half of February is chock-full of some seriously interesting literary events to stimulate our oh so ready-to-thaw brains. Both events listed below will take place at Shelf Life Books (100, 1302-4th Street SW).

    Thursday, February 20, at 7:30pm

    2014 SINGLE ONION LECTURE SERIES (Part 2)

    "The Thinkership of Conceptual Literature"

    The Single Onion offers part two of the 2014 Lecture Series, with an event featuring a lecture by Christian Bök and readings by derek beaulieu, Gregory Betts, and Ken Hunt.

    Click here for complete details.

    Friday, February 28, 2014, 7pm

    GUILTY (READING) PLEASURES

    Join the Writers Guild of Alberta, Wordfest and Shelf Life Books for an interactive evening of laughter, wine and storytelling in celebration of Freedom to Read Week. Local artists Jeff de Boer, Christian Bök and Rosemary Griebel will discuss what they read purely for pleasure and the topics that obsess them the most.

    The recipient of the 2014 Freedom to Read Award, presented by The Writers’ Union of Canada, will be announced and honoured at the event. Hosted by Shelley Youngblut


    Find all the poets' work on the shelves of your local library...

    Loud in the Library

    by Phil

    Calgary's 4th Annual Literary Vaudeville is gonna a be loud one.

    This Thursday, join host Ken Cameron as he presents 4 wonderful writers at the historic Memorial Park library - Rita Bozi, Kris Demeanor, Naomi K Lewis, and Marika Smythe. This year's Vaudeville will also feature a special guest - the 2013-14 Writer-in-Residence from the University of Calgary Distinguished Writer's Program: Sara Tilley.

    It all gets started at 7:00pm. Memorial Park is located at 1221 - 2nd street SW

    You can read teasers from this year's lineup at the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program page.

    And you can find the performers' work on the shelves of your local library:

    Skin Room, by Sara Tilley Harvest & Other Plays, by Ken Cameron I Know Who You Remind Me Of, by Naomi K Lewis The Guilt and the Shame, by Kris Demeanor

    Calgary Stories

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Aerial view of Calgary looking north across downtown and Victoria Park. 1924.There's a natural hunger growing in this city for stories to help us understand and celebrate our past, and this weekend the library is shovelling up loaded spoonfuls. Heritage Weekend 2013 runs from October 25 - 27 and all of the events are potential gateways for any aspiring Calgary writer to discover characters, stories, and hidden corners of history capable of breathing real life into your work.

    The one event I've got circles around for us writers is taking place at the Central library on Saturday, October 26, at 2pm. Historian Laureate Harry Sanders will host a crew of distinguished historians and storytellers for "Calgary Stories" as they serve up some of their favorite tales from the past. Harry's guests will be John Gilpin, Lorna Crowshoe, and David Finch.

    They've already done the research!

    All we have to do is sit back and let the inspiration soak in.

    And if you really do want to see the past come to life, stick around for "Calgary: An Improv History", starting at 3:30pm.

    While it's convenient to have all this spoon-fed heritage on one weekend, remember that the library is your go-to spot for local history research, year round. The local history room on the 4th floor of the Central Library is filled with treasures, and when you can't come downtown but need a history fix in the middle of the night, there's the Community Heritage and Family History Digital Library, where you will find postcards like the 1924 beauty included above, as well as digitized historic maps, Century Homes, the Judith Umbauch photograph collection, and more. Do beware though, Calgary's history can be addictive, habit forming.

    The Shuffle

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    I've always thought the best way to experience poetry was on the page, in a book, examining how the poem comes to life from its own structure. Something about hearing a poem read aloud is far too fleeting, new lines coming at me too quick. I need to savour and pause at my own pace, turning to the next poem only when I'm ready.

    Saturday may change all that.

    House of Blue Skies, the RE:act Collective, filling Station magazine, and Poet Laureate Kris Deameanor have teamed up for 'The Poetry Shuffle'- a leisurely 5 km stroll down the banks of the Bow with poetry readings and pit stops along the way. From Kensington to Inglewood in the company of some our city's finest poets. Everyone is welcome to shuffle the whole way, or join up at any of the nine destinations:

    DESTINATION**

    POETS

    A. 11:00 a.m.

    Pages in Kensington (1135 Kensington Rd NW)

    Anne Burke, Cassy Welburn, Sheri-D Wilson

    B. 11:30 a.m.

    Poetic Park Plaza (at 4th Ave SW + 9th St SW)

    Bob Stallworthy, Cecelia Frey

    C. 12:00 p.m.

    Peace Bridge (Prince’s Island Park)

    Kirk Ramdath, Diane Guichon

    D. 12:30 p.m.

    Prince’s Island Park (Festival Stage)

    Kris Demeanor, Dymphny Dronyk

    E. 1:00 p.m.

    Sien Lok Park

    Vivian Hansen, Lori Roadhouse Haney, Max (Danny)

    F. 1:30 p.m.

    Central Library (616 Macleod Trail SE)

    Kris Demeanor, Samantha Baldwin, Emily Ursuliak, Richard Harrison

    G. 2:30 p.m.

    East Village (in front of Simmons Mattress Factory, Confluence Way & 5th St SE)

    Weyman Chan, Wakefield Brewster, Adrienne Adams

    H. 3:00 p.m.

    Fort Calgary

    Tara Scaglione, Ian Kinney, Chick Hurst

    I. 4:00 p.m.

    Inglewood – Alexandra Writers’ Centre Park (922 9th Ave SE)

    Caitlynn Cummings, Rosemary Griebel

    **Times of arrival at each destination are estimated.

    At some spots the Shuffle will stop just long enough for the poetry and at other spots there will be time to rest and recharge. The most exciting stop, of course, will be STOP F - the Central Library!! where we will welcome shufflers with refreshments. Don't forget to bring your library card and check out our vast collection of local poetry.

    Join the Shuffle. Breathe in the river. Celebrate areas and businesses recovering from the flood. And get involved in an Invest YYC campaign for a forthcoming anthology, The Calgary Project - A City Map in Verse and Visual.

    Keep up to date on this highly changeable event on its Facebook page.

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