Friday, January 31, 2014

Bill Gaston & Michael Christie Read in Fredericton on February 4 at the Fredericton Public Library!

Bill Gaston and Michael Christie will be reading at the Fredericton Public Library next Tuesday afternoon, February 4 at 3pm.

Bill Gaston is the author of 12 books of fiction, several of which have been nominated for awards including the Governor General's Award and the Giller Prize, among others (he's also published a book of poetry, a book of non-fiction, and a play). The Globe & Mail has said, “Given Gaston’s body of work, he merits elevation into the leading ranks of Canadian authors. His writing is gentle, humorous, absurd, beautiful, spiritual, dark and sexy. He deserves to dwell in the company of Findley, Atwood and Munro as one of this country’s outstanding literary treasures.” He comes to Fredericton with his latest, The World, published by Hamish Hamilton.

Michael Christie is the author of The Beggar's Garden, a collection of short fiction published by HarperCollins. The book — his debut — won great acclaim: it was long-listed for the 2011 Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Prize, and won the Vancouver Book Award. It was also named one of Amazon's 10 Best Books of 2011: Canadian Fiction, and one of Quill & Quire's Top 5 books of 2011. Steven W. Beattie says, "In Christie's hands, the Downtown Eastside becomes every bit as thriving and alive as Richler's St. Urbain Street or Michel Tremblay's Plateau-Mont-Royal. The Beggar's Garden takes the pulse of history by unsentimentally dramatizing the way a certain segment of society lives now, and in so doing stands as a sympathetic and compassionate examination of modern urban loneliness and disaffection."

The event is free and all are welcome. Thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts and the Fredericton Public Library!

Odd Sunday's @ Molly's: Ross Leckie and Sharon McCartney

The next odd sundays at Molly’s event, Fredericton’s longest-­‐running, semi-­‐monthly, persistently-­‐hyphenated, poetry-­‐reading series, will take place this Sunday (February 2nd) at 2 pm with featured poets, Sharon McCartney and Ross Leckie.

So if you are in Fredericton this weekend, drop into Molly's Coffee House at 554 Queen on Sunday at 2 pm to enjoy some poetry and a warm drink!

Sharon McCartney is a past member of The Fiddlehead's editorial team. she received the Acorn/Plantos People's Prize for her book, The Love Song of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her most recent book is Hard-Ass.

Ross Leckie is the editor of The Fiddlehead and director of the Creative Writing program at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton. His most recent book is The Critique of Pure Reason.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fiddlehead Editorial Board Member Richard Kemick Wins Grain's Poetry Contest!

The Fiddlehead just received its copy of Grain in the mail today and we're pleased to congratulate Richard for winning the Short Grain Poetry contest with "A Note Left on the Dresser." Judge Méira Cook says about the poem: "images accrue richly and wittily. . . . I love how well this poem ends, its sense of decorum, as well as the amiable and slightly abrasive rub of pragmatism against the density of images that precede it."

Richard is currently a graduate student here at UNB, and last term served as an editorial assistant of The Fiddlehead. He continues to read submissions for us as a volunteer.

Congratulations again to Richard and to the other winners!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Fiddlehead Issue in the Mail

Our new issue No. 258 (Winter 2014) is in the mail to contributors, subscribers, and newsstands.

No. 258 (Winter 2014) features vibrant artwork by Deanna Musgrave. The contents, as always, showcase the best new writing we can find. Of particular note in this issue: a selection from a back-and-forth poetry sequence by Christopher Merrill and Marvin Bell, a story by award-winning UK novelist Jane Rogers, and new work from Adam Sol, Alice Major, Robin Richardson, Shane Neilson, and many others!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Breakwater Newfoundland Poetry Series: Vanessa Moeller Responds to John Steffler

John Steffler
I am a long-standing admirer of John Steffler's work. I find his beautifully crafted poems, with their deft use of language, visceral and epiphanic. The senses cannot help but come alive reading lines like "the tramped grass steamy as seaweed in the migraine / of noon" or "the bone flakes encrusting a bracelet / of kelp," but what sets this work apart is the understated manner in which it asks questions of the reader. What may seem quotidian is suddenly shifted, revealed to be strange. Landscapes become surreal or ominous, borders between what we consider animate and inanimate suddenly blurred, leaving us to think about the complex relationship we have to the constantly shifting world that surrounds us. I doubt anyone can look at hills the same way again after reading the line "the hills no longer playing dead / the way they do in the daytime, but sticking their black / blurry arses up in the drizzle and shaking themselves, / heaving themselves up for another night of / leapfrog and Sumo ballet.” I know I remain haunted by the bizarre and perfect movement suggested by “Sumo ballet” long after I leave the poem.

When I return to the world after reading Steffler's poems it is with renewed insight, with a newly calibrated way of relating to the world. The ten poems chosen for Breakwater's Contemporary Newfoundland Poetry have been taken from The Wreckage of Play, That Night We Were Ravenous, Lookout and The Grey Islands. It is a sample of John Steffler's work that is sure to whet readers' appetites but may leave them ravenous for more.

Vanessa Moeller is a writer, editor and translator. Her first poetry collection is entitled Our Extraordinary Monsters.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Breakwater Newfoundland Poetry Series: Lorna Crozier Responds to Michael Crummey

Michael Crummey at 2013 Vancouver Writers Fest.
Photo by Chris Cameron
CBC’s “Sunday Morning” the week before Christmas spent its last hour talking about the poetry of Seamus Heaney. The Harvard luminary Helen Vendler, in an attempt to explain how Heaney refreshes her belief in poetry, talked of “the boldness of his subject matter” and “the ravishing charm of the language.” Add to these touchstones a third, articulated by Paul Muldoon in his eulogy to the great man.  He said that Heaney’s poetry had the ability to make a reader feel connected, not only to the poet himself but to each other. I can apply those three qualities with no hesitation to the poems of Michael Crummey, whom I would guess, has read the Irish master carefully and learned from him.

One of the things I admire about Michael Crummey’s work is his nod to traditional forms and the iambic pentameter line. They extend his long reach into the past, yet his poems feel innovative and new because of the subject matter and the toughness and tenderness of his voice. Add to that the remarkable precision of his attention and you know you are in for what the best of poetry can give you. He draws me, a woman from the prairies and the West Coast, into life in the boats and houses and schoolyards of Newfoundland. His images are radiant in their clarity; in the poems included in this anthology you’ll be brought up short by lines like this: “men walked off ice floes to the arms / of phantom children, wives: of fires // laid in imaginary hearths.” His metaphors feel necessary and true: a man, just buried, has eyes “coppered to a close.” Finally, his skill at half-rhymes is extraordinary. “Fox on the Funk Islands” shows how subtle this rhyme can be yet still sound the grace notes found in such word pairings as “pan” and “season,” “tasty” and delicacy,” “meal” and “kill.” Here is a poet, indeed, who refreshes and renews my belief in poetry.


Lorna Crozier's latest book is The Book of Marvels: A Compendium of Everyday Things. She is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Victoria, an Officer of the Order of Canada and a lover of cats and gardening.