Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Odd Sundays at Molly's presents Claire Kelly & Sherry Coffey

Two members of The Fiddlehead's editorial board — Claire Kelly, poetry co-editor, and Sherry Coffey, reader of fiction — will be reading this Sunday, November 3, at Molly's Coffee House. The reading begins at 2pm and is free.

Odd Sundays is Fredericton's longest-running semi-monthly reading series.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Breakwater Newfoundland Poetry Series: Stan Dragland Responds to Agnes Walsh

Agnes Walsh
Agnes Walsh was chuckling the time she told me how she chose a book off the shelf and began to read. She found herself enjoying that book so much she just had to buy it, so she closed it and looked up, woke up, to find herself in her own living room holding a book she already owned. Now that’s like reading her poems: they draw you in. Completely. The selection brings out Agnes’s muscular nostalgia for the individualistic Newfoundland past of which her father was a dear part.

In “Percy Janes Boarding the Bus” she is in her role as acerbic critic of Newfoundland’s oblivion to its literary heroes. And where will you find a more satisfying brief narrative than “Our Boarder Alfred, He Must Have Been 300 Pounds”? That piece is a tour de force of voice, and so is “I Solemn,” in which a child’s first funeral is recorded in the sort of intimate detail none but a child would notice. Agnes has two books of poems, In the Old Country of My Heart and Going Around With Bachelors. The anthology selection draws from each, and I can’t fault the choices, but there are wonderful poems I miss from each. Open either book and start to read. You could easily lose track of where you are.

Stan Dragland is the founder of Brick Magazine and Brick Books. He is the author of many books, the most recent of which is the novel The Drowned Lands. He lives in St. John's.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Breakwater Newfoundland Poetry Series: Richard Kemick Responds to Tom Dawe

Tom Dawe
Despite the multitude of successful Newfoundland poets to choose from, Mark Callanan and James Langer’s inclusion of Tom Dawe into Breakwater’s Contemporary Newfoundland Poetry Anthology may indeed have been a no-brainer. Dawe hails from the southern region of Conception Bay, Newfoundland and is a founding member of the Breakwater Books publishing house. In 2011, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Because of the recent national acclaim of some of Newfoundland’s poets, such as Patrick Warner, Sue Sinclair, and Ken Babstock, among others, the island’s poetry has been understandably drifting away from its folkloric roots. Dawe’s inclusion within this collection ensures that readers can better understand the progression of Newfoundland poetry from its original local audience to the national and international. By drawing heavily on Newfoundland’s mythology in addition to his own perspective of growing up in an outport community, Dawe illustrates the foundational strengths of Newfoundland’s poetry.

In his poem “Wild Geese,” Dawe writes a confessional poem about watching two geese fly. While not explicitly stating the poem’s location, Dawe insinuates the poem’s Newfoundland location by situating the speaker on “mounds of turf / warm above wave-lit / over mossy stones.” After the setting is established, Dawe creates a link between the past and the present, juxtaposing his childhood time in this location with his current situation. He forms this link through (you guessed it) observing the flight of a pair of geese. Dawe puts tension between wanting to leave a place and yet being held to it, wanting to move on and yet wanting to stay the same. In this sense, Dawe’s poem functions as a microcosm for the grander march of Newfoundland poetry, of being pulled between history and the future.

The poem concludes with the lines, “They swing westward / where sky meets marsh leaves, / their shadows almost / touching me.” The geese leave; the speaker stays.

Richard Kemick is a currently an MA (Creative Writing) student at the University of New Brunswick. He recently won Grain's Short Grain Prize for Poetry.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ongoing Series: Poets Respond to The Breakwater Book of Contemporary Newfoundland Poetry

The Breakwater Book of Contemporary Newfoundland Poetry, edited by Mark Callahan and James Langer, was published earlier this year and features the work of 11 poets who "developed—either by birth or residence—a strong relationship with the island of Newfoundland prior to the publication of their first full-length collection of poetry." This anthology includes the work of Al Pittman, Tom Dawe, John Steffler, Mary Dalton, Carmelita McGrath, Richard Greene, Michael Crummey, Agnes Walsh, Ken Babstock, Sue Sinclair, and Patrick Warner.

Fiddlehead editor Ross Leckie and I reached out to poets across the country to get their perspective on the 11 poets selected. We didn't want an overly complex analysis of the featured work, nor did we want to call into question the editors' selection. We wanted poets simply responding to poets. Appreciations. And the responses—we hope you agree—are thoughtful, generous, and illuminating.

Starting tomorrow and over the next several weeks and months, we'll be posting what came back to us over the electronic transom. On behalf of The Fiddlehead team, we hope you enjoy.

Ian LeTourneau
Poetry Co-editor

November 5: John Steffler on Al Pittman

November 14: Katia Grubisic on Ken Babstock

Thursday, October 17, 2013

UNB Reading Series Presents Anne Compton on October 22

The University of New Brunswick would like to invite you to hear a reading by the critically acclaimed poet, Anne Compton, author of Alongside, published this year by Fitzhenry and Whiteside. Every poem in this book is a conversation, with other writers, with lovers, with books, and an Island past; a conversation about the way in which the unlived life always walks beside us.

Compton is a two-time winner of the Atlantic Poetry Prize for her first two poetry collections, Opening the Island and Processional, the second of which was also the winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry. In 2008, she was awarded the Alden Nowlan Award for Excellence in English Language Literary Arts and the National Magazine Award in Poetry. A former teacher and writer-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick at Saint John, she developed and directed the acclaimed Lorenzo Reading Series.

Her reading will be held on Tuesday, October 22 at 8:00 pm in the East Gallery of Memorial Hall on the UNB Fredericton Campus.

Admission is free and all are welcome to attend! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

UNB MA Creative Writing Alumnus Craig Davidson shortlisted for 2013 Giller Prize

Photo credit Kevin Kelly
The Fiddlehead would like to congratulate Craig Davidson on his being named to the 2013 Giller Prize shortlist. While a student in the Creative Writing MA at UNB, Craig was an editorial assistant for The Fiddlehead. Later, he won our annual contest with a story called "28 Bones" which went on to become the title story of his short story collection Rust and Bone. That book later came to the attention of French director Jacques Audiard, who used two of the stories for the critically-acclaimed movie De rouille et d'os (Rust and Bone). Craig's most recent story appeared in The Fiddlehead's summer fiction issue, which was also featured at The Literarian, an online magazine of The New York Center for Fiction.

Here's a selection of Canadian media stories about the shortlist, announced yesterday:

Congratulations Craig, and good luck!

Monday, October 7, 2013

UNB Reading Series Presents Thomas King

The University of New Brunswick would like to invite you to hear a reading by the critically acclaimed writer, Thomas King, author of The Inconvenient Indian published in 2012 by Random House of Canada. Rich with dark and light, pain and magic, this book weaves the curiously circular tale of the relationship between non-Natives and Natives in the centuries since the two first encountered each other. In the process, King refashions old stories about historical events and figures, takes a sideways look at film and pop culture, relates his own complex experiences with activism, and articulates a deep and revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.

Thomas King is also the author of One Good Story, That One, Truth and Bright Water, and A Short History of Indians in Canada, which won the 2006 McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year Award. King’s A Coyote Columbus Story was nominated for the Governor General’s Award in 1992, and his Green Grass, Running Water was nominated the following year, and later chosen for inclusion in Canada Reads 2004. King is also known for his work writing and performing on the CBC radio show “Dead Dog CafĂ©.” In 2004 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

His reading will be held on Tuesday, October 8 at 8:00 pm in Memorial Hall on the UNB Fredericton Campus. This event is free and open to the public. We suggest coming early, as seats may fill up fast.