No, the printer is not fixed.
We have uploaded some videos of our first Cafe/Culture evening for your delectation.
For more, check out the Vallum YouTube channel here.
Last week found Sir Hudibras embarrassing himself in a palace of consumption. This week, although our protagonist and his affect remain the same, however, finds him in a dramatically different locale. Instead of the metropolitan bustle of the Castle Indigo, Sir Hudibras has found himself on a pilgrimage to none other than the Palace of Art.
Located at 201 upon a Fair Mount, this palace is a wonder to behold. Four courts it had, East, West and South and North, in each a squared lawn, where from the golden gorge of dragons spouted forth a flood of fountain-foam. And round the cool green courts there ran a row of cloisters, branch’d like mighty woods, echoing all night to that sonorous flow of spouted fountain-floods.
But contrary to the popular account given to the palace by Tennyson, the palace was more than a foursquare storehouse for objets d’art. Five sibyls, once in a blue moon, were known to descend upon the Palace, slipping through its ever-open door just ever so slightly past 7:00pm and, beneath its eaves, whispering the variegated poetic truths. Their insight and wisdom in matters of Aftfulness was rumored to be immense.
This insight was what Sir Hudibras was after. You see, our hero was never blessed with anything resembling an artistic soul. No, instead he had been given a spirit of tinfoil and soot. Although it had served him well, he had a large interior decoration project ahead of him, and hoped the sibyls might offer some guidance; he much preferred to be told in plain English what was gold and what was manure before hanging either on the wall, and he was certain the the sibyls of the Palace of Art would be the best candidates to make that distinction. Herein, dear reader, lies the seed of the latest in Sir Hudibras’ interminable series of weekly humiliations.
For as the first of the sibyls began to speak, he realized that her words were not the variegated poetic truths spoken in plain English at all, but rather the language of poetry itself. This first sibyl, her name was Drew McKevitt, spoke of eggs and incisions and the unutterable intrusions of toast. The second, one Ilona Martonfi, spoke in measured tones of rooms left empty for days. The third, Danielle LaFrance, whispered of womanhood. The fourth, Jeffrey Mackie, closed his eyes, opened his mouth, and spoke in the voice of Andy Warhol. And finally, Jesika Starnino, strummed upon a guitar and sang out a tale of bitten arms, of excessive spirits, and of an inarticulate man who was unfortunately–even tragically–hip.
As their rite drew to a close, Hudibras’ face drew a deep blush; though moving, the words had not been the secrets of Art; he was as much a philistine now as he had ever been. How embarrassing; he had come all this way and not heard a single decree, nor dictum, nor instruction. Nothing but the minutely timed release of metered words into the atmosphere. “What a wasted pilgrimage,” he thought, “now I will never know which of my spoils to hang upon the walls of my abode.” Yet even as this dull thought trundled across his mind, Sir Hudibras turned to see that, behind him, a crowd forty strong had gathered. They must have followed him along the twisted trails of his pilgrimage, but they certainly didn’t follow him along the doubtful path of his conclusions. Each of those metered words, it seemed, had fallen upon the shoulders of the gathered crowd and was, even then, continued to whisper delight into their ears.
And the moral of our story then, dear reader, is that even artless turds stumble into good venues now and again.
Yes indeed, Saturday’s Cafe/Culture event was a rousing success and videos are being uploaded onto Vallum’s fresh, new YouTube channel as we speak… erm, write. More on that soon. For now, appease yourselves with a few photos from the event. Thanks to all who came out!
Chair of honour, ready and waiting
Jesika Starnino and Jane Hope
Our thanks to the Arts Cafe for hosting the event!
Saturday marked the first in what will hopefully be many small and informal Café / Culture readings from Vallum. Hosted at the cosy Arts Café on Saturday, a considerable crowd gathered to sip wine, nibble hot sandwiches and hear poets Ilona Martonfi, Danielle Lafrance, Jeffrey Mackie, and me, Drew McKevitt, as well musical guest Jesika Starnino.
As this was the first Café / Culture reading ever, Vallum‘s staff was a bit nervous about how the event would go off. Fortunately it was tremendously sucessful, entertaining, and loaded with talented performers, due in large part to Connor Friesen, Vallum‘s summer intern, who organized the event, as well as the poets and musical act who aggreed to participate.
Around seven, as poets and guests drifted in, Jesika Starnino began warming up by playing cover songs by the likes of George Michael and Michael Jackson —loosening the overall mood and making it clear that this reading would be far from stodgy.
Then I was up, glad to be participating, but reluctant and slightly frightful of taking the mic and reading first. Initially I found the idea of reading for fifteen minutes daunting and a little more than terrifying, but the generous time given each poet was perhaps what made the gathering so enjoyable and intriguing. Fewer readers allowed for a more in depth listen to each one. Coupled with the intimate setting of the Arts Café, the overall effect was warm, friendly and personal.
Ilona Martonfi read second from her book recounting poignant, sometimes stark, childhood memories. She was followed by Danielle Lafrance, a feminist essayist and poet, whose series spoke to struggles many young women face when trying to carve identities for themselves. Jeffrey Mackie went last, reading a long humorous poem, that ranted about the state of culture, or rather the lack there of. Finishing the evening, Jesika Starnino played her unique and delightful folk / pop. Particularly crowd pleasing were comic songs about annoying ex-boyfriends and getting tanked with girlfriends in Montreal.
If you missed out on the reading, don’t worry, there are sure to be more in the future. And hopefully, you’ll even be able to catch this one on YouTube. Keep checking our blog and website for links to Vallum’s YouTube channel.
So, the usual Friday link of the week is coming to you on Monday, because we’re organized like that. Also, Vallum had our first Cafe/Culture reading Saturday (what – you already knew?) and well, I was writing cover copy and press releases on Saturday, and our printer is still earning the wrath of Vallum.
This spotlight is directed towards Eyewear, Todd Swift’s blogzine to be located at http://toddswift.blogspot.com.
1. With titles like “Bad Brideshead, or Arcadia Fire” and “Reports of Poetry’s Health are Greatly Exaggerated”, it’s at least snappy.
2. Blogs on diverse subject matter. Blogs prolifically. Blogs in lengthy, well thought out entries. (We’re taking notes).
3. Eyewear’s Credo: An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. – Oscar Wilde. But of course.
Click here to listen to Jane Hope, Vallum’s Managing Editor, on CKUT talking about the upcoming Cafe/Culture event. It is the July 25th show, and she’s in the first hour of the show.
Jane is telling herself to stop saying ‘uh uh’ all the time. Articulateness is next to godliness…
This week we find Sir Hudibras where we left him, behind a shelf of overpriced bookends, deep in the labyrinth of the castle Indigo, in the realm of Eaton, far far away from the remnants of his dignity. On his way to this spot he had been buffeted by ardent fans of one David Sedaris and wracked by his bourgeoning fear of that self-same author. Would he turn out to be as fearsome as he had grown in Sir Hudibras’ mind? Was it true, what Sir Hudibras had read, that Sedaris had a death-grip on the minds of North America’s anglo-saxon literati? Only time would tell. And so Sir Hudibras waited, nay, cowered behind the bookshelf, dreading the monster’s emergence.
And then, there he was! What a beast! What a scourge! He towered over the audience at the monstrous hight of…. approximately five foot five. He loomed! He glowered, terrifying and resplendent in his…. button down shirt and khakis. He opened his mouth wide, oh so wide and… and he…. he… chuckled.
Sir Hudibras was not impressed.
After all this travel, all this suspense, after all the indignity of his crushing fear, Sedaris was nothing more than a benign gentleman with a handbag. Sir Hudibras sank into his disappointment and his embarrassment and his chair with deep shame.
And then Sedaris began to speak. He told the audience how well dressed it was, overall. They laughed. He talked about his patchy success in learning Japanese. They laughed harder. He reminisced about his attempts to quit smoking. He dwelled on the absurd English signage he had seen in Tokyo. His devotees dissolved into hysterics. Sir Hudibras let out a giggle.
As the reading continued, Sir Hudibras’s giggles only multiplied. Giggles sprouted chuckles which bloomed into full on guffaws. By the time Sedaris was encouraging the junior members of the audience to capitalize on their youth and go into sex work, Sir Hudibras was rolling in the aisles… and this was not the kind of joke Sir H usually went for AT ALL.
By the time Sedaris was finished, Sir Hudibras was completely won over. He swooned behind the shelf. His face burned with blush after blush at the thought that the crown prince of prose might sign a copy of his book for Sir Hudibras… if only he had copy. He scurried around, desperately trying to find one, gripped by the twin lusts of covetousness and consumption.
That is, until he saw the book itself. When you are Engulfed in Flames shrieked the title, in letters whiter than the scull grinning out from the cover. Sir Hudibras gasped and leapt back, stumbling into a long line of Sedaris devotees who failed even to register the disturbance, so profound was their concentration on the author.
The shock had shaken Sir Hudibras from his stupor, however, and soon it all became clear. The jokes about his mispronunciation of the japanese word for ‘dragon,’ his unmistakably burnt umber handbag, the thin threads of smoke which constantly curled from the nostrils of this alleged non-smoker. All of his fears had come true; Sedaris was a basilisk as cunning as he was powerful, and Sir Hudibras had nearly succumbed to his wiles. As sedate reader after sedate reader filed towards him to have their $40 hardcovers signed, Sir Hudibras fled.
And so, dear reader, the mystery is resolved: Sedaris is monstrously compelling, and Hudibras is mousy and meek. Yet, as he scurried out of the castle Indigo, Sir Hudibras reflected that, though their dignity is scant, mice who squeak and run away live to save about $25 dollars when they buy the paperback edition another day.
Newsflash: The latest celebrity sightings are not on a Miami beach, a New York supper club or even a Hollywood boulevard. All you need to catch a glimpse of stardom is look behind the dusty desk of a poetry press to find the hottest thing going. Yes, our heads are swelling bigger than our logo’s on account of our SECOND radio appearance in as many weeks. Details as follows:
This Friday, July 25th, you can catch Jane Hope (Vallum’s beloved managing editor) being interviewed by poet extraordinaire Jeffrey Mackie on Montreal’s CKUT radio at the bright, fresh hour of 7am. On her birthday, no less.
Drew proclaims: “You’re going to propel us into fame and fortune!”
Maja shouts: “It’s a radio revolution!”
What better way to rise ‘n shine than to listen this Friday at 7am to CKUT? Find them on 90.3FM in Montreal, 91.7 on cable, or tune in online: http://ckut.ca/listen.php
Set your coffee makers, listeners!
EDIT: For those into specifics, Jane will be on at 7:20 or so.
So, we’re back again with the link of the week. May we direct you to Bibliolatry: http://bookworship.blogspot.com.
Why do we like this blog?
1. She says that reading is essential to living a good life. She ain’t going to get any arguments here.
2. She says what she thinks. Honesty is always refreshing in this wishy-washy world.
3. She reads prose and poetry. Yup. People read both. Amazing, I know.
In other news, I would like to congratulate the Poetry Foundation for finally adding Babette Deutsch (along with longtime Vallum favourite John Kinsella) to their online database. In their article on her, Poetry recalls an old NYT Book Review critic explaining that “Her poems show talent, feeling, and integrity rather than genius.”
Personally, her lack of genius is a-okay with me, because poems without feeling or integrity live on a very desolate island indeed. I recommend particularly “It Is There”.
Also worth reading (in a more controversial slant) is the Harriet blog post on Why are poets aligned with the left?