Today ‘Weekend’ was long shortlisted for the ReLit Awards. Congrats also to Ashley Little for Niagara Motel, also through Arsenal Pulp, and the other finalists in the three categories of novel, short fiction and poetry.
I’m delighted to be reading with Lenore, Jim and Joan at the Whistler Writer’s Fest! I wrote about the risk in writing my novel ‘Weekend’ for the festival, here.
Writers of Fiction
October 14, 2017 | 10 – 11:30 a.m.| Fairmont Chateau Whistler | $15
Lenore Rowntree, Jane Eaton Hamilton, Jim Nason, Joan B. Flood and the fiction winner of the Whistler Independent Book Prize. Author Claudia Casper explores the essential elements of fiction through our guest authors’ stories. They involve an only child struggling to emerge from his mother’s bipolar disorder; the complexities of contemporary queer love; how a veterinarian’s life choices, at times, contradict her alleged love of children and animals; and a family drama set in Ireland in which decisions and mistakes echo through generations.
Moderator: Claudia Casper
Couples in Flux
Heather Seggel on September 2, 2016
The Gay and Lesbian Review (US)
THE ACTION in Weekend takes place over a mere two days, and it all happens on a small island in Ontario, where a celebratory getaway reveals fracture lines running through the relationships of the participants. The central characters are two lesbian couples who occupy adjacent cabins: Ajax, a black woman, and Logan, a white “boi”; and Joe and Elliott, who have come with their new baby. The novel by Jane Eaton Hamilton is sexy and far-seeing, and it offers many surprises.
This is Hamilton’s ninth book, and she engages the complexity of her subjects with a sure hand. The lakeside setting with its side-by-side cabins is full of glimpses of nature: look out a window and you’re as likely to spot a towhee searching for seeds as you are to observe a couple having sex on the dock. The oppressive heat of the water and the isolation of the island—boats are required to get there, to shop, to seek medical help in an emergency—make the couples’ attractions and divergences feel equally pressurized. The sex is explicit, hot, and complicated by both the gender dynamics at play and the changes wrought by aging.
In the course of the weekend, Joe learns that a former lover who was deeply unstable has died, possibly as the result of suicide. She looks back at the relationship she feels lucky to have escaped intact, but can’t help recalling the good times as well, surrounded as she is by the new reality of parenthood and the ways in which it has redefined her current relationship. Those questions of knowing are woven throughout this story, and never come with pat answers. Even Ajax and Logan’s above-board discussions of power disparities don’t yield a tidy solution. “I promise I’ll bend toward you,” Logan tells her at one point, “but I can’t promise how often I’ll bend toward you.”
It’s surprising to note how much can happen in such a short span of time, though less so when you consider how we can mentally whipsaw between past and present while rifling through our luggage, checking our watches to see if the future will arrive on time. Weekend handles this mental time travel artfully. Hamilton keeps the perspective flexible and shifting, and our sympathies and loyalties can’t help but move and change with the story as more is revealed. By the end much has changed, and there’s a powerful sense of hope about where things stand. We need more stories that celebrate the ways we bend, break, and rebuild ourselves; this is a particularly good one.
“This is the best book I have read this year. Hamilton brings us four wonderful characters who live and grapple with lesbian/queer/women’s contemporary experiences. The sex is hot; the characters are wonderfully flawed, human, and relatable. This is the book to beat for the 2016 Lammy in Lesbian Fiction. Buy it. Read it. Love it.” –Julie R Enszer, Goodreads
Me with WEEKEND’s editor, Susan Safyan, at the launch this week.
Today WEEKEND was generously reviewed in the Vancouver Sun by Tom Sandborn.
“…a tour de force…
Often enough, Hamilton suggests, this post liberation reality, while obviously a huge improvement on the fever swamps of homophobia and oppression that preceded it, is full of ordinary human heartbreak and betrayal, sorrow, tedium and flawed, triumphant love.
That recognition, and the lapidary prose Hamilton uses to embody and dramatize it make Weekend a remarkable, intricate and mature work of art.”
WEEKEND’s a go, babios.
Jane Eaton Hamilton and Susan Safyan, editor, launching WEEKEND June 2016
S’mores and more…
Even gluten free s’mores…
A lovely evening for a low-key, cottage-y outdoor launch at Historic Joy Kogawa House where I am writer-in-residence. Perfect weather.
Anne Fleming reading from POEMW.
Me with my kid, Meghann.
Always an exciting day for a writer–publication day when we first see our new book! WEEKEND is out! I’m so happy to be launching at Historic Joy Kogawa House, where I’ll be writer-in-residence, on June 6. My special guest is author Anne Fleming and, yes, their new poetry book POEMW and their banjo, which I hear will be plunking out some campfire songs. Sharpen your marshmallow sticks, kids. Price of admission is a ghost story. Here’s hoping somebody will tell one about the ghosts of frogs we pithed in high school!
Bring your queer selves out to Historic Joy Kogawa House June 6, 2016, to help Jane Eaton Hamilton, the writer-in-residence, celebrate the launch of their first novel, WEEKEND, and Anne Fleming celebrate their first collection of poetry, POEMW!
All these firsts!
I’ve heard tell there might be s’mores on offer, and I know for sure Anne is going to take to her banjo for some campfire songs. Special MEC gift certificate draw for campers who buy books. Bring your guitars, banjos and a ghost story!
I am a fan of Amber Dawn’s writing and I hope to interview her for the site before too long. In the meantime, let’s take notice of the launch of her new book! Here is an excerpt from Plenitude Magazine where she glosas one of my poems. My poem reads just like notes, and Amber Dawn’s continuation is a work of stunning clarity, surprise and resonance. I have always been resistant to form poetry, but it is works like this, that speak to my community, my people, that convince me that it is not the play but the player that matters.
Where the World End and My Body Begins
Reason for celebration! Amber Dawn has a new book out this spring, and I’m excited. Here, listen to what I cribbed from Arsenal:
The first full-length poetry book by the Lambda Literary and Vancouver Book Award Winner.
Award-winning writer Amber Dawn reveals a gutsy lyrical sensibility in her debut poetry collection: a suite of glosa poems written as an homage to and an interaction with queer poets, such as the legendary Gertrude Stein, Christina Rossetti, and Adrienne Rich, as well as up-and-comers like Leah Horlick, Rachel Rose, and Trish Salah. (Glosas, a 15th-century Spanish form, typically open with a quatrain from an existing poem by another writer, followed by four stanzas of ten lines each, and usually end with a line repeated from the opening quatrain.)
By doing so, Amber Dawn delves deeper into the themes of trauma, memory, and unblushing sexuality that define her work.
But wait a little more. Here are the blurbs:
“Revel in the way Amber Dawn’s hard femme survivor poetics create testimony bridges between queer survivor poets then and now, mapping a cartography you can tuck in your pocket, reminding you of where we’ve been.” —Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, author of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence In Activist Communities and Love Cake
“You’ll be sweetened, entranced and scared in equal measure by Amber Dawn’s glosas. This is a wordsmith at the height of her powers. You’ll have to read these again and again, just to be sure the gorgeous is real.” —Jane Eaton Hamilton, author of Love Will Burst into a Thousand Shapes and Hunger