Jane Eaton Hamilton

"At the bottom of the box is hope." – Ellis Avery.

Tag: Arleen Paré

Because we love your work and we thank you…

A lot of people included only men on a best-of-writers list going around FB, so other folks mentioned these women/genderqueer and trans folk as their recommended/favourite/influential writers. (There are some repeats.)

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Annie Dillard, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, Mary Oliver, Jamaica Kincaid, Rebecca Solnit, Terry Tempest Williams, Alice Walker, Olga Broumas, Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Zora Neale Hurston, Eden Robinson, Louise Erdrich, Alice Munro, Alice Walker, Margaret Atwood, Lee Maracle, Toni Morrison, Stephanie Bolster, Mavis Gallant, Joyce Carol Oates, Ursula K. Le Guin, Joy Kogawa, Elyse Gasco, Charlotte Bronte, Lucy Maude Montgomery, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Sylvia Plath, Miriam Toews, Vendela Vida, Maya Angelou, Danzy Senna, Han Nolan, Nancy Gardner, Maira Kalman, Anchee Min, Louise Fitzhugh, Bett Williams, Laurie Colwin, Jane Bowles, Colette, Sappho, Marilyn Hacker, Heather O’Neill, Eliza Robertson, Marianne Boruch, Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein, Alice B Toklas, Adrienne Rich, Denise Levertov, Sylvia Plath, Tracy Smith, Ruth Ellen Kocher, Virginia Woolf, Louise Labe, Marguerite Yourcenar, Olga Broumas, Jeanette Winterson, Moniq Witting, June Jordan, Fleda Brown, Irene McPherson, Virginia C. Gable, Alice Walker, Lidia Yuknavitch, Kate Gray, Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Joy Harjo, Zsuzsanna Budapest,Toni Morrison, Monica Drake, Leslie Marmon Silko, Alice Walker, L.M. Montgomery, Alice Munro, Dionne Brand, Joy Kogawa, Sharon Olds, Sylvia Plath, Toni Morrison, Elizabeth Hay, Adrienne Rich, Isabel Allende, Marge Piercy, Sappho, Anais Nin, Simone de Beauvoir, Nina Bouraoui, Nicole Brossard, Kathy Acker, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Jeanette Winterson, Zoe Whittall, Marnie Woodrow, Marilyn Hacker, Lydia Kwa, Gertrude Stein, Olga Broumas, Monique Wittig, Marguerite Duras, Joy Kogawa, Jamaica Kinkaid, Lidia Yuknavitch, Maxine Hong Kingston, Beryl Markham, Jane Smiley, Alice Walker, Ntokake Shange, Margaret Atwood, Octavia Butler, Katherine Dunn, Cheryl Strayed, Lidia Yuknavitch, Toni Morrison, Mary Shelley, Emily Bronte, Jamacia Kinkaid, Amy Tan, Rebecca Skloot, Amanda Coplin, Miriam Towes, Rene Denfield, Louise Erdrich, Joyce Carol Oates, Mary Gordon, Annie Dillard, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ann Patchett, Sharon Olds, Arundhati Roy, Toni Morrison, Amber Dawn, Eden Robinson, Warsan Shire, Annie Proulx, Ntozake Shange, Mary Gaitskill, Shirley Jackson, Eudora Welty, Gish Jen, Ann Beattie, Flannery O’Connor, Shani Mootoo, Tillie Olsen, Miriam Toews, Lorrie Moore, Mavis Gallant, Alice Munro, Nathanaël, Sappho, Anna Kavan, Sylvia Plath, Myung Mi Kim, Bessie Head, Caroline Bergvall, Anne Carson, Lisa Robertson, Liz Howard, Soraya Peerbaye, Jean Rhys, Clarice Lispector, Nella Larsen, Brecken Hancock, Audre Lorde, Emily Brontë, Natalee Caple, Natalie Simpson, Larissa Lai, Gertrude Stein, Unica Zurn, Sarah Waters, Maureen Hynes, Andrea Routley, Jane Byers, Tina Biella, Wendy Donowa, Emma donaghue, Rita Wong, Ali Blythe, Jane Eaton Hamilton, Betsy Warland, Daphne Marlatt, Persimmon Blackbridge, Gabriella Golager, Dionne Brand, Chrystos, Lee Maracle, Robyn Stevenson, Monique Grey Smith, June Arnold

We’ve left out far more stellar writers than we’ve included. I love that there are a few I haven’t heard of/many I haven’t read. I also love that if I could read no one else but the above-mentioned for the rest of my life, I’d be in superbly talented/skilled hands.

Thanks to: Sami Grey, Susan Briscoe, RF Redux, Ann Ireland, Celeste Gurevich, Cate Gable, Lisa Richter, Ellen K. Antonelli, Rene Denfield, Nikki Sheppy, Arleen Paré

Interview with GG winner Arleen Paré

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I was delighted to be introduced to Arleen Paré this fall when we read together at Russelll Books in Victoria; we had been writing together for some time in what we call the Electronic Garrett, which is in its own way a call and response, only this time between some of Canada’s finest poets (and me), plus I had asked to interview her for Brick Books.  It was a very busy time in Arleen’s life, that day we read, because, that morning, she had just discovered that she was a finalist for the GG.  People will know by now that she won the Governor General’s Award for Poetry this year, and I was stoked that I was invited to the ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, where the kick-ass Kitty Lewis beautifully introduced Arleen and her book “Lake of Two Mountains.”

I interviewed Arleen for Brick Books, where we are both authors.

Arleen Paré is a poet and novelist, author of two previous books including ‘Leaving Now,’ 2012 from Caitlin Press.  Originally from Montreal, she lived for many years in Vancouver, where she worked as a social worker and administrator to provide community housing for people with mental illnesses. She now lives in Victoria with her partner, Chris Fox.

Her award-winning title is poems for a lake where she spent her childhood summers.

1. I asked you if you’d mind choosing the poem you wanted to discuss because I think poets sometimes answer questions about poems they are finished with or don’t maintain interest in.  Why did you choose this poem, and what about it interests, or still interests you?

‘Call and Response’ represents the heart of Lake of Two Mountains. In the same way that nature uses a loop system to maintain itself and in ways that humans can only guess at or research, nothing that’s always apparent, I wanted this collection of poems to speak to each other in order to build on itself.  I wanted to write about this system of interdependencies, how humans too are woven into the loops.  But I also wanted to evoke the rhetorical and religious methodologies of call and response, for instance, in the Catholic mass, so that the tone of the collection could take on some sense of the sacred, which then reflects the monastic life. It also is suggestive of the way memory operates, memories and our responses to them.

2.Your book is about the Lake of Two Mountains.  Do you remember composing Call and Response in particular?  What did you want to say about the topography of the area?   

I wanted to show this topography so that the reader could imagine the lake and its environments more easily, graphically, calling out the names of the trees, for instance, the lake`s fauna, geology, the geographic origins of the lake, to pull the lake into the whole of central Canada.

3. If geography can have a call and response, as you imagine here, does it have a sensate purpose?  Is it just a cellular celebration (as it were), or, perhaps, can it alter the globe?  

I can only imagine these answers. Does it have a sensate purpose?  It does allow the cycle of life to spin through and on, but what kind of sensate does a maple tree include?  I don’t know.  I know that the leaves of some trees curl up when rubbed, but that’s not what a maple tree does.  On the other hand, I think any alteration in a single natural loop system could possibly alter more than its own loop, so perhaps, it could escalate to alter the globe.  Perhaps.

4.  Does the call and response ever see beyond itself?  Does it ever include panic at environmental degradation, if not within its self-ascribed borders, but in a wider way?  If it talks to sturgeon and green frogs, does it converse, too, with humans?

In the way that butterflies, honey bees, frogs tell us that something is very wrong by the dwindling of their numbers over time, I suppose we can imagine the flora and fauna conversing with us, warning us in this case.  In Call and Response, the human/arboreal exchange is limited to the human act of tapping into bark producing maple syrup.

5.  Is there anything else you wanted to say about this particular poem, Arleen?

I wrote this poem using a governmental survey of the Lake of Two Mountains region.  It was dated and spare.  I craved more information; I couldn’t find sufficient geographical information about the lake. I felt hamstrung because I don’t speak French well enough to know whether more and/or better information is available about this area in French. I now know there is, though I’m not sure more information would have altered or improved the poem. In the end, the form of the poem, the call and response structure, determined its purpose and end.

Call and Response

by Arleen Paré

1.

The Canadian Shield calls to the

in Timiskaming Lake. The Shield shelters

 

more than half the land. The , tectonic,

replies with the Ottawa River, whose waters run east

 

and spread at the place of two mountains.

Becoming lake. In this way the lake is of lake,

 

song of song, Deux-Montagnes out of Timiskaming.

The lake there, at the two mountains, calls

 

to the trees near and around, riparian trees

on rocky shores and the terrestrials

 

within two miles of the shore. Perpetual loop.

One verse then the other. Connecting

 

trees to the sand, the orthic, melanic, soil,

tree canopies, consolations of climate.

 

The way birds in the morning define the new day,

call sunrise from night.

 

2.

The trees call to each other their own

names: sugar maple, hickory, eastern white pine.

Black willow chants the alphabets of green ash.

Yellow birch calls to red maple, chokecherry to beech.

They bear multiple names, formal, scientific,

common French and Mohawk.

 

And no names at all. Their calls

travel through air, water, through earth,

sedges and shrubs, algae

and cumulus clouds. All conversing.

 

Rocks and black leeches. Sturgeon, green frogs.

Limestone and vascular plants.

 

3.

How does the sky

reply when silver-backed leaves tug at the

 

blocking the passage to sea?

Clouds ring with rain

 

and the lake lifts small pewter washes

in rows of applause.

 

What listens to sugar maples’ clear amber flow?

Rays: yellow and cold.

 

Fine beads of drizzle

hiss the filigreed ice.

 

What answers flood cover drowning hickory knees?

Clay or silt. Till or clay loam. Sap in the spring.

4.

Sugar maple is always and in all places attentive,

alert for replies from the open terrain.

 

The soil, fine or sandy, alluvium,

measures the length of flood time in spring,

 

speaks a name to the climate,

the warmest in the whole province. Call

 

and response: a dominant tree,

sugar tree that humans can tap into.

 

Governor General’s awards, Ottawa

The Governor General Awards, 2014

Folks, it’s wild, it’s weird, it’s true.  Call them the GGGs (the Gay GGs).  Call it “Queering the GGs.”  Whatever you call it, Canada’s queers cleaned up at the GG’s in 2014, with most of the winners queer.  It was incredibly moving to be present the year this happened, and to hear both Candis Graham and Jim Deva’s names mentioned on stage moved me and made me prouder than I can say.  Kids, we queers rock!  Congratulations to all the winners.  I couldn’t have been more thrilled for you.

IMG_9258-1The Tent Room

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Me, with Governor General David Johnstone

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apparently, the above is one of the only paintings of the young Queen Victoria

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Congrats, and I’m off…

JEHBlue1by Jane Eaton Hamilton 2014

Congrats to all the GG winners, especially to Thomas King, who once came to Saltspring Island with Leon Rooke to take my photograph, and to Arleen Paré, with whom I wrote in April for NoPo Mo.  (I also am interviewing Arleen for Brick Books about a poem in Lake of Two Mountains.)  Big big congrats to you all, and I’ll see you at the awards!

Off to Toronto for a reading at Glad Day, New York for the Shiele exhibit, Ottawa for the GGs, and Saskatoon for two readings.

Russell Books reading

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l-r: Julie Paul, Ariel Gordon, Arleen Paré, Jane Eaton Hamilton

I was so delighted last night to read from my new book for the first time with these amazing artists.

Absorbing, intriguing, touching reading in Victoria with the GG poetry nominee, Arleen Paré, reading from Lake of Two Mountains, Julie Paul reading from The Pull of the Moon, and Ariel Gordon reading from Stowaway. I was in such good company! Thanks very much to Russell Books and Vanessa Herman.  Look at how beautiful Russell Books is with its wall to wall vintage books; Victoria is lucky indeed.  (And oh, the delicious reading ahead as I read all these collections.)  It was a special treat to read in front of Patricia Young, my editor for the book.  You would think, nah–if anyone knows all my literary flaws, it’s her–but I shook through the whole thing.  I think it was something like having to make your parent proud.

Russell Books in Victoria

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Book Launch at Russell Books, Victoria!

Arleen Paré, Julie Paul, Jane Eaton Hamilton, Ariel Gordon

Tuesday, October 7 at 7:30pm

Brick Books launch

Two nights at Cottage Bistro this week for poetry.  Mmm.  Terrific way to finish National Poetry Month.  The other night, it was 8 area poets for the Vancouver Literary Press Group NPM readings, and tonight, the Brick Books spring launch line-up, with Arleen Paré, Jane Munro, Joanna Lilley & Karen Enns.  Good also to catch up with the fabulous Kitty Lewis, whom I’ve known since before I published my first Brick book in I think ’91.  Thanks, peeps, for writing (and reading) so very well.   We can all go to sleep tonight knowing that many things, indeed, are right with the world.

 

 

NaPoWriMo

I’ve never participated in any writing intensives, but this month I have been writing a poem every day for National Poetry Month.  It’s been fun experimenting at the edge of form and from intriguing prompts.   I would never have written these poems otherwise.  I have written on the Tar Sands, on being given up for dead as a 2-year-old, about being in NYC for Hurricane Sandy, about a magician on the metro in Paris, a poem made up of ten lies, a poem to something inanimate, and so on.  Catch the New York School prompt, below, for a great example of what we’ve been challenged with.

The other terrific part has been participating as a group member with 17 extremely talented Canadian poets–their support has been invaluable, their talent and skill breath-taking.  To read their work day after day?  Priceless.  (For everything else, there’s MC.)

This challenge has been completely and utterly exhausting.  I will be glad when it’s over next week.  Really, really glad.

To quote Thom Donovan, whose guidelines we used for the New York School poem:

“It is a “recipe” or constraint of sorts for writing a New York School poem (my class read James Schuyler, Bernadette Mayer, Charles Bernstein, and Dorothea Lasky—a heterodox selection, I realize; and listened to Eileen Myles, Schuyler, Robert Creeley, and Ron Padgett via PennSound).

“Students were encouraged to use as many of the following “ingredients” as possible:

  1. at least one addressee (to which you may or may not wish to dedicate your poem)
  2. use of specific place names and dates (time, day, month, year)–especially the names of places in and around New York City
  3. prolific use of proper names
  4. at least one reminiscence, aside, digression, or anecdote
  5. one or more quotations, especially from things people have said in conversation or through the media
  6. a moment where you call into question at least one thing you have said or proposed throughout your poem so far
  7. something that sounds amazing even if it doesn’t make any sense to you
  8. pop cultural references
  9. consumer goods/services
  10. mention of natural phenomena (in which natural phenomena do not appear ‘natural’)
  11. slang/colloquialism/vernacular/the word “fuck”
  12. at least one celebrity
  13. at least one question directed at the addressee/imagined reader
  14. reference to sex or use of sexual innuendo
  15. the words “life” and “death”
  16. at least one exclamation/declaration of love
  17. references to fine art, theater, music, or film
  18. mention of genitals and body parts
  19. food items
  20. drug references (legal or illegal)
  21. gossip
  22. mention of sleep or dreaming
  23. use of ironic overtones”

NaPoWriMo

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