Sunday, April 29, 2007

the red fort

spent the morning at the al hambra. nasrid palaces beautiful-- carved plaster work, reflecting pools in central courtyards, arch after arch. evidence of the reconquista everywhere-- huge architectural differences between the moorish kings (modest and interior) and the christian conquerors (all about external pride).

beyond the walls granada, picturesque cluster of white houses on a hill. hard to escape the romance! very interesting to see the way the exoticism plays out in tourist venues and every day life. (what´s the difference?) the albacin in particular an interesting blend of postmodern surface and lived depth. why do we romanticize and reproduce the craft practices of those we fear, or think we´ve defeated? to what extent is the other a part of us? hah! go ask your analyst!

olive groves all over the hillsides.

i found a great little cafe bar in the more modern part of the city, where families admire babies, young african men sell pirated cds, and a boy bebel gilberto serendaded the drinkers of beer and tinto de verrano. the waitress was friendly, and patient with my minimal spanish. fed me gazpacho, sardines, octopus and sangria. delicious.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

fox ambassador

late night in seville. highlight of the german conference was reading experimental poetry to social and political scientists.
talks in huelva and vigo about race, feminism, globalization and the two novels. both sfg and fox are being taught and written about down here, which is very cool.
vigo looks strangely like st. john´s, especially down at the docks. great to meet belen martin at last. she has a long-standing calgary connection. hi, hiromi!
seville-- sunny and beautiful. loved the al cazar-- all the play with sun and shade, water and tile. pilar cuder dominguez from the university of huelva, and her partner juan antonio prieto pablos take great care of me and introduce me to spanish ham. great interview with dr. sonia villegas lopez, mostly about fox. the past cycles back.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

sprechen sie fisch?

sitting out in the balcony of the beautiful liepig hotel in frankfurt. life feels slower, everything i've seen or touched since landinghas been so aesthetically pleasing. olive bread, soft round wine, the double doors to my hotel room, the breakfast table with two tulips and an anthurium, the safe inside my closet, the tiles in the bathroom. why do we north americans scramble so hard? for what?
prepping a talk and reading. i've been hanging out with daniel drache and ingrid markus, both of whom i've just met, and both of whom are political science people from york and brock respectively. lots of common concerns and disciplinary differences. i'm always searching for another english. another fishspeak.

Monday, April 16, 2007

holy moly

i was just checking my mailbox at school. garry morse mentioned awhile ago that he was making a package for me, which i thought was nice, but then didn't think about it again. well, i just got the package. there are seventeen-- count 'em-- seventeen chapbooks-- in it!! i'm not impressed by production for the sake of production, but from the flipping i've done so far, they all look interesting and good. holy crowsfeet with the crows attached!

also in my box a nice card from hui-ling lin, who heard me read poetry at serial accomodations a few weeks ago. i should check my mail more often.

in others news, pending canada council funding, we've got our cash for play chthonics. the english department and canadian studies both offered money this week. fingers crossed. this is gonna be a cool series.

off to frankfurt tomorrow. excited about the trip, annoyed at having to chase down small chores, like the returning of recalled library books, and a parking pass for my new, crazy busy street. i'm determined to be able to pack as light as smaro kamboureli, who goes on great journeys with the smallest of suitcases.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

european travels and local projects

So I'm more or less in my new place now. It'll be great to get those last boxes cleared away.
Much travel coming up-- to Frankfurt for a conference called "Negotiating Diversity", then to Spain for talks in Huelva and Vigo. I'll detour to Cordoba and Granada while I'm in the south-- have had a longstanding fascination with the Alhambra. Then to Cyprus for Performing Identity/Crossing Borders. My paper's still not done, which I don't like so much. Down to the wire is not my scene.
I've been working with a few grad students on a reading series at UBC, we've dubbed "Play Chthonics." Shaping up nicely. There will be a local writers pre-series reading on May 17, with Meredith Quartermain, Dorothy Trujillo-Lusk, Hiromi Goto and Fred Booker. It'll be really great to have more of a contemporary writing presence at UBC. Hope we get our funding for the rest of the series.
Feeling a bit tired and overwhelmed, but good things are happening. Mike Barnholden has asked for the Ham poems for the next West Coast Line.

Monday, April 02, 2007


watching paint dry is like watching paint dry

Sunday, April 01, 2007

toronto in spring

Just back from Toronto, where I received star treatment from Gail Vanstone and her students at York. Talked about Salt Fish Girl, read a little Ham. It's a very cool course they have there, that invites a different Canadian writer to speak every other week. On the weeks without a visitor, the prof lectures about the next visitor's work. Wouldn't it be cool to have something like that at UBC? Hmmmm....

Stayed an extra day to take Susanda to dinner. She has a very big birthday this week. I'm missing the bash, though, boohoo. Got to see her new office, right on Spadina. She has this idea for making acupuncture more accessible to lower income people-- by setting up group clinics. Long talks about who ends up in helping professions and for what reasons.

Apologies for not calling many much admired friends... I contemplated staying longer, but work and my new apartment are just a bit too demanding. Today-- priming the walls of my office. Does anybody have a good method for getting paint off skin?