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Sunday Poetry Round-up 1

Starting this month, Conduit Canada will be (re)-publishing poems we feel deserve some online readership.  Hopefully it doesn’t get us into trouble.

We are also composing a series of articles on Literary Community, so watch out for those.  In the meantime:

ALEX

at five o’clock today Alex four years old said

I will draw a picture of you!

at first he gave me no ears and I said

you should give me ears

I would like big ears one on each side

and he added them and three buttons down the front

now I’ll make your skirt wide he said and he did

and he put pins in all up and down my ribs and I waited

and he said now I’ll put a knife in you

it was in my side and I said does it hurt

and No! he said and we laughed and he said

now I’ll put a fire on you and he put male

fire on me in the right place then scribbled me

all into flames shouting FIRE FIRE FIRE

FIRE FIRE FIRE and I said

shall we call the fire engines and he said Yes!

this is where they are and the ladders are bending

and we made siren noises as he drew the engines on

over the page then he said the Hose! and he put

the fire out and that’s better I said

and he rolled over laughing like crazy

because it was all on paper

 

-by Phyllis Webb, all rights to the author.  Reprinted from The Vision Tree: Selected Poems Talonbooks 1982.  photo from http://www.abcbookworld.com/view_author.php?id=1908

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Conduit Canada is all a-twitter

we’ve decided to extend our strategic use of technology into the twitterverse.

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concerning Raymond Souster (1921-2012)

Conduit mournfully acknowledges the passing of Raymond Souster this week.  He was a giant of Canadian poetry and of poetry publishing in Canada.  His influence is impossible to mitigate in the development of 20th century Canadian poetry.    By facilitating the influence of Robert Creeley & other American poets to Ontario he helped transform an entire generation of Canadian poets.

In my interviews with Michael Gnarowski he spoke fondly of Souster.  If he were visiting Toronto they would meet for lunch & ‘good old Ray’ would always have a brown bag in his hand, with only one hour to spare from the bank.

On a personal note, during one of the toughest personal times in my life, my best friends (who at the time also happened to be brilliant writers associated with the In/Words group out of Carleton University, whom this blog will certainly mention again and have published in print form) came together & purchased a first edition copy of Souster’s Colour of the Times for me, an essential book of poetry.   This is still the book I pick up when I need to remind myself of why writing poetry is worthwhile.

God bless.

Golden Dog Press Sighting

I don’t know exactly what drew me to click on this webcomic, or why I ended up holding the cursor over the image long enough to read the caption of the jpeg files, but here’s a curious coincidence: the author wrote “Book text from ‘Quebec is Killing Me’ by Helen Jutras (The Golden Dog Press, 1995).  It has no bearing on the plot, I just wanted to use a real book.”

The Golden Dog is Michael Gnarowski’s press (the subject of my research and half of CONDUIT #1) so he certainly published the book and likely helped translate it.

Pretty impressive citation, no?

Webcomic URL:

http://www.viruscomix.com/subnormality.html

April 6

April 6

My beard is long and I haven’t washed my hair in perhaps since the last proper blog post.  But I’ve finally finished the formatting for Conduit #1/YES 20.  I had planned to bring a proof into the printers yesterday but apparently I hadn’t remembered just how intricate layout is.  Also, I was too used to how spoiled we were getting sweet-heart deals from Carleton University’s Bob Tippins and our favourite French Canadian printer jockey, Ron.

They were going to charge me $100 to merge two .pdf files and press the “reverse” button on one of them…  so I took a couple extra days to find software & do it myself.

Today is Good Friday.  Here in Australia it’s a beautiful 26* and sunny:

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a view of the Conduit office:

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& our mascot (aforementioned INDY):

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& now I’ve earned a trip to the beach.  Happy Easter everyone!

Pete Gibbon

Ed-in-chief

April 1

April 1: Conduit 1/YES 20 formatting week 2 I’ve allowed myself and extra week to work on the issue. It’s nice to work on a project on my own schedule, and even nicer to take another week to treat this magazine as my job. I’m very exhilarated by working on it. Today I did the formatting for the poetry/prose in Conduit #1. I’ve been taking longer than I should on this issue because rewriting my M.A. R.P. for YES 20 has been time consuming and creatively exhausting. I don’t hate writing prose, but its been a long time since I’ve had to, and it’s hard to dust off the old analytic skills. Also, I’m having a hard time deciding on the publishing format. Formatting two issues at a time is proving to be more difficult than I’d anticipated. I want to release an issue that emphasizes the difference and uniqueness of each magazine and ultimately celebrates the eclecticism of all “Small Mags”, but I may be in over my head with what I’m experimenting with. By tomorrow I’m planning on having two proofs ready. The most challenging part of the YES project has been incorporating the late co-editor of YES magazine, Glen Siebrasse. As such, I’ve decided that I’ll be posting a recording of his book, Jerusalem this week on this Blog. Look out for the recording and a brief explanation of the printing history of the book and some biographical information on Siebrasse. What I hope to do with this blog is create a resource for Late Canadian Modernism, provide a audiovisual supplements to the print issues of Conduit, and add detail to the discursive narrative of Conduit’s print run. Speaking of which, don’t expect a long-winded editorial in Conduit #1. I may be transgressing a small mag tradition by doing so, but I feel like what needed to be said was said to my submitters in the proper context through the letter I wrote them when soliciting submissions. For now, a 30-odd page treatise on Canadian modernism and small magazine identity should do without any pithy editorializing on my behalf. Plus I wanted the poetry in Conduit to speak for itself. The contributors list has been confirmed today:

Justin Million
Rachael Simpson
Jeff Blackman
Jesslyn Delia Smith
Ben Ladouceur
Collett Tracey
Joshua Nadeau
F.T. Spurling
Leah Mol
Joel Crary
Cameron Anstee
Jenna Jarvis

Cover Photography:
Heather McCarthy

Have a Blog

I decided to start a blog tonight because the house I live in has hardwood floors.

I like to stay up late to work because I’m in a house with 4 other roommates and its hard to feel alone when there are conscious people in the house.  When I stay up late, I drink a lot.  Since I’m living in Australia, I wear no socks (ever) in the house, so every time I go from my office to the fridge, a steady squeak of bare feet follow my ass all the way there and back.  So, I figured if I document this process every night I’ll be able to track my progress and feel less guilty for drinking until 3am.

I feel like the last couple days have been an uphill trek (in barefeet—along hardwood floors).  I’m rewriting my MA research paper about a small poetry magazine called YES but haven’t been at it in the last couple days because I wasn’t sure how interesting it is to the casual reader.  Half the reason I planned to launch this thing was to publish this essay because the editor, with whom I worked during my MA, expressed the desire to see it published as the final issue of his magazine.  It was intimidating for the couple years after I finished the MA, but now I feel like it just needs to get out there somehow.  Plus, if I have a reason to rewrite it now, it could someday be in a form that’s publishable by someone outside of the private publishing realm.  Maybe even on paper.

The good thing is I’ve had some incredible submissions over the last two days.  Plus I’ve taken the time to relearn how to operate Photoshop and InDesign, which has stimulated me a different way.  And tonight I sat down with the paper and managed to write an entire paragraph about competing modernisms without even having to look at a book.  Sometimes editing this paper is like talking to myself from two years ago and saying look, this section isn’t finished..  what are you thinking, growing that beard?

I still wear pyjamas all day, though.

New Blog

I’ve decided to post about the process of putting together issue #1 of Conduit: literary outlaw mag galore… It’s late in the process but I’ll blog backwards first.

my first post should be the pitch I sent out to a very meticulous list of writers, whom I hoped to be my contributors. I know that the hardest part of launching a magazine is
1) getting content to publish
2) getting content to publish that’s good
3) finding a readership
[in order of importance]

I’m lucky enough to be a former managing editor of a very active small press in Ottawa, In/Words. As a fairly active editor myself, I took it upon myself (or ended up falling into it, not sure which) to form close personal bonds with the best writers I came across. Bringing them into the organization as editors helped, but I’ve tried to maintain a correspondence of sorts with everyone I cared about since I left Canada for Korea a year ago.

This is the message I sent to them on March 10, 2012:

Dear friends

I am emailing you all to propose the beginning of a literary excursion that may impress anyone someday. To begin, I’d like to lay out my values-laden frustrations with the current literary establishment, if I may, in abstract terms:

1. With few exceptions, the internet has done less for writers and more for commercial magazines. Too many established magazines accept and facilitate promotion online but disregard the option of online submissions.
2. The ban on multiple submissions does nothing for writers; furthermore, it is bullshit. How likely is one reader of every poetry magazine in Canada (let alone North America) to notice an identical draft of one poem in two magazines… and if so, shouldn’t the poem’s merit deserve multiple publications? This policy illustrates the bureaucratic hap trap which requires unknown writers to be agents and lawyers simultaneously.
3. Finally, the idea of a legitimate “magazine” seems more like an exploitation of writers’ publishing rights and abuse of the notion of “intellectual property” than a showcase for new poetry.

You all know my investment in small-distribution print culture and my personal conviction that a good magazine nurtures an atmosphere of intimacy and trust between readers, writers and editors. As such, it should be no surprise that I am hereby proposing the beginning of a print-only, “poetry newsletter” which I will publish here in Australia and mail copies of to Ottawa. I want your best 5 poems (or photos or short stories). The ones you believe in, the ones you think speak to the work we started five years ago or the poems that may have happened last week. Also, if you have some bold reviews or articles that you are afraid to send to more established magazines, Conduit is the place for it.

The point of keeping Conduit as a private, print-only affair is to avoid the risk your submitted poems being excluded from commercial distribution. As such, I will never register the magazine in any way as an official publication and will insist that it is merely a “private poetry newsletter.” All writers will be advised of our distribution beyond the submitters, in order to spare you from the investigations of more meticulous editors. We will use the internet and technology to keep our submitters informed and involved rather than using it to keep a safe or professional distance from them. The primary audience for our first issue will be you, my writers (as is the case with most small magazines) and we will branch out from there.

I propose the start of an outlaw literary magazine, because the literary establishment has failed us. I want to print by March 31st, which means the deadline for submissions (at the latest) will be March 24th… one week before printing, In/Words schedule. Send stuff early though, so we can work on it together if need be. There is no limit to the amount of work you want to send me. I’ll read it all.

In terms of identity of the magazine and Mission Statement, you folks and I are the initial identity of this publication. Best foot forward. I have complete confidence that everyone I’m addressing will progress, change, refine and be commercially successful as they age. If we all believe that, let’s create something unique to document it. If not, let’s make some paper glow.

Peter Gibbon

Managing Editor
Conduit Canada

And this kaleidoscope uniting all,
this tube, this conduit optical,
this lens
is magic. Through it—see
(who dares?)
the perfect, all-inclusive metaphor.

-P.K. Page, Kaleidoscope