Il me fait vraiment plaisir d’annoncer que je vais participer au 27ème Festival International de la Poésie a Trois Rivières!
This coming October, I’ve been invited to Trois Rivières for one of the world’s largest international poetry festivals. I am thrilled beyond belief, and curious to find out how much French I actually still understand. Apparently the festival draws an audience of over 38,000 people, which I find somewhat mind-bending. We are talking about poetry, right? There are poetry picnics, poetry dinners, poetry statues, poetry walks, poetry installations, poetry in the park events, poetry talks, family poetry events, and a fantastic variety of poetry and art programs for schools.
Apparently every year on Valentine’s day, the mayor of Trois Rivièresgoes out to the statue of the unknown poet outside city hall and leaves a bouquet of flowers. For real. This is a town that loves poetry. And it is my very good fortune to get to spend several days there basking in it.
One of the most exciting bits is that the festival is hiring a translator to translate 15 of my poems into French. For three days I’ll read my poems at events, and then someone else will read out the French translations. I can only barely believe I’m going to get the chance to hear my own words in the only other language I even mildly understand. I think it will be quite a moving experience.
I’m nervous about my French skills, which haven’t been exercised very much in recent years. I speak only enough French to be dangerous, but I’ll try to be dangerous as often as possible.
For a schedule of events, you can see my events page or look at the festival website (I’m reading on October 6th and 8th).
Apparently, today is Butch Appreciation Day. Since I’m home sick, and unlikely to be appreciating anyone in person, I’d like to send out a butch appreciation poem to the world in the hopes that it makes someone out there smile. All you fine, fabulous, fierce butches – consider yourself appreciated. I’m so very very glad you exist.
You’re standing by the mirror,
and I watch your fingers
slip cufflinks through buttonholes.
Your shoulders ease back,
as if the world finally had room for them,
as if your skin fit differently
under this shirt. Your small breasts
press out, unexpected
in these starched folds.
For you I would learn
the forgotten motions of my father’s hands,
the foreign ritual of folding a tie
in on itself, anything
for an excuse to reach behind your neck,
slide my fingers up under your shirt collar,
that sharp cool crease.
The last time I had my picture in the Vancouver Sun, I was about seven years old and my entire elementary school posed on the front steps of the school for a “last day of school” feature. Wish I could find that one, but as a close second here’s today’s article in the Sun…
“Ideas not Money:” That’s the thought behind this award for the best of the small presses. That doesn’t narrow it down that much for poetry in Canada, but it also reminds us how much weight the small presses carry in keeping Canadian poetry alive. The prize is a handcrafted ring with four moveable rings, each imprinted with the entire alphabet so they can be turned to spell words. It’s a gorgeous ring – I’ve seen it on the fingers of my talented friend Jill Wigmore, when she won for her book Soft Geography. I’m always interested to follow this one, so I’m thrilled to be on the long list this year. It is a long list, a very long one, full of fabulous folks, but the great thing is that I get to share it with friends like Ariel Gordon and Sheryda Warrener. See the list and the ring here.