Headaches & good things
I have a goddamn headache today. I haven't slept well in a while. My cat is walking around with a cone on his head so he doesn't sabotage the positive effects of having wandering organs surgically shifted out of his chest cavity. My dog won't stop barking.
On the other hand:
I am working on a new chapbook of poems by Nelson Ball. I've always wanted to do a Proper Tales Press chapbook by Nelson. And it turns out he'd always wanted to have a Proper Tales Press chapbook. This one is called The Continuous Present. It's a beautiful mixture of spare visual poems and linear, image-driven poems. It's a nice companion volume to In This Thin Rain, the full-length collection that came out through my imprint at Mansfield Press earlier this year.
I am also working on a chapbook of death haiku by Tom Walmsley. This will be the second Proper Tales chapbook by Tom — the first, a sequence of 15 haiku called Concrete Sky — came out a couple years ago. This new one has 36 haiku and it's called Rich and Dead as Dogs. Is that a Walmsley title or what? The poems are angry, visceral, and also sometimes funny. In a dark way. Two years ago I did a Walmsley novel through my Mansfield imprint; it's called Dog Eat Rat, and the protagonist, Trip, writes and spouts haiku. He writes and spouts haiku like the ones in this new chapbook.
By the way, if you don't have these two books from Mansfield, you would do well to order them today.
Plus, this afternoon Mark Laba sent me a new poem. So far as I know, he hadn't written any new poems since about 2005. But I was talking with him on the phone earlier this week, and I said, "Why don't you just sit down and write one?" And he did, and he sent it to me, and it's so fucking good. It was like coming home, reading a new Mark Laba poem. Maybe because Mark and I grew up on the same street in Bathurst Manor in the early 1960s.
OK, the ibuprofen is starting to work.
Which is good, because I'm also doing a reading tonight. This reading is part of a three-day festival that Sandra Alland organized here in Cobourg, where I now live and where her parents live (she's visiting for six months from Scotland). It's called the Cobourg Poetry & Literary Arts Festival (I gave her the business about "what — poetry's not a literary art?" and she explained that she meant poetry and other art that involves text, like the photos and fibre art and video art that are also part of this festival). It all takes place at Impresario, on King Street West in Cobourg. Tonight, tomorrow afternoon and Sunday afternoon. Also appearing at this festival are Zorras, Jenn LoveGrove (from the Where Are They Now? file), Gary Barwin, Pearl Pirie, Beatriz Hausner, Ted Amsden (Cobourg's Poet Laureate after the previous laureate, Jill Battson, fled town), Laurie Siblock, Karen Miranda Augustine, Andrew Kaufman, and others. PWYC.
Also typed a few more sentences this afternoon of The Pig Sleeps, a collaborative novel that Mark Laba and I wrote in the 1980s. It was serialized in Kevin Connolly and Jason Sherman's WHAT! magazine and then appeared in book form from Katy Chan's Contra Mundo Books in 1993. Mark and I are planning a 20th-anniversary (of the original book) edition. I imagine we're going to do a lot of revising and augmenting of the original text.
Time to walk the dog to shut her up.
Over and out.