Monday, May 14, 2012

Canada’s AWP – CCWWP Conference in Toronto

I had a great weekend in Toronto – my motherland! – not only attending and presenting at the CCWWP Conference, but also spending time and money in bookshops, eating my way around the city, and smelling memories around town (thank you, olfactory bulb and limbic system).

The CCWWP is all shiny and new. CCWWP is Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs and, like the granddaddy AWP, runs a year-round organization and what seems to likely be a biennial conference. The kickstarter conference occurred this year in Toronto on the campus of Humber College and was, quite frankly, a lovely and refreshing event to say the least.

AWP’s executive director, David Fenza, attended the weekend and provided the opening night keynote address to a warm crowd. It was fascinating to hear more about the history and development of AWP and how the CCWWP conference may learn from the golden standard.

I had the pleasure of presenting a panel alongside two low-res directors, Andrew Gray from UBC and Stephen Kimber from University of King’s College Halifax (their program launches 2013).  Our session, “The Low-Residency MFA: Coast to Coast and Across the Border,” provided an overview of the low-res model, the proliferation and breadth of programs, and a discussion on how such programs benefit students. With Canada’s geographic spread in population, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some serious growth in this area over the next few years.

Overall, the conference was great. It was nice to mix and mingle with some fellow Canucks and chat about books, reviews, culture, and writing like it’s nobody’s business. I look forward to attending the next CCWWP event.

Outside of the conference, one of my favorite activities of the weekend was picking up a much-needed stash of Canadian lit journals. I’m fortunate to cross the border from time to time to snag a few, but not nearly as many as I’d like to have on hand. So, this trip included stops in several Toronto bookshops that resulted in a nice selection, including the following:

Room Magazine    

Do check these journals out. Expose yourself to the Great White North! (Even if it is hot and humid there right now.)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

new review: Best Canadian Poetry 2011

I’m pleased to share a review of The Best Canadian Poetry 2011 (Tightrope Books) over at Northern Poetry Review. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

two-day poetry intensive at Solstice

For Immediate Release
Contact: Tanya Whiton, Assistant Director (617) 731-7697


[Chestnut Hill, MA, May 2012]  The Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program is pleased to announce State of the Union: Diversity and Poetic Craft —a two-day intensive taking place as part of its summer 2012 residency, scheduled for July 6–15 on the Pine Manor College campus. Designed to encourage cross-pollination between styles and approaches to poetry, open up a broader discourse about the art of writing poetry, and encourage experimentation across poetic “camps,” State of the Union will offer a series of craft classes and elective seminars for both MFA students and interested writers in the greater community.

For course descriptions, dates and times, a detailed audit policy, and a downloadable registration form, go to:

State of the Union will feature:

- Keynote speaker Stephen Dunn, author of sixteen books, including the 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winner Different Hours, and his most recent, Here and Now.

- 2012 Cave Canem Partner Poet Nicole Terez Dutton, winner of the 2011 Cave Canem Poetry Prize for If One Of Us Should Fall, forthcoming in fall of 2012.

- Experimental poet Amaranth Borsuk, author of Handiwork, selected for the 2011 Slope Editions Prize. She is currently a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at MIT.

- Multidisciplinary poet, performer, and scholar Tracie Morris, who has presented installations at the Whitney Biennial and the New Museum, among other venues.

- MFA faculty members Laure-Anne Bosselaar, author of three poetry collections including A New Hunger; Iain Haley Pollock, author of the poetry collection Spit Back a Boy, and winner of the 2010 Cave Canem Prize; Anne-Marie Oomen, poet, playwright, and essayist; Kathleen Aguero, anthologist and author of four poetry collections; and Steven Huff, author of two volumes of poetry and founder of Tiger Bark Press.

As an undergraduate institution consistently ranked among the most diverse in the country, Pine Manor College emphasizes an inclusive, community-building approach to liberal arts education. The Solstice MFA in Creative Writing reflects the College’s overall mission by creating a supportive, welcoming environment in which writers of all backgrounds are encouraged to take creative risks. We strive to instill in our students an appreciation for the value of community-building and community service, and see engagement with the literary arts not only as a means to personal fulfillment but also as an instrument for real cultural change.

For directions to Pine Manor College, detailed faculty bios, and a program overview, go to: