Report from the Future I: Montreal’s Literary Avant-garde

2011-09-13 18:36:36

Letters appear, quickly metamorphose into other letters, creating new words, new meanings, and new stories. A story that might have been set in Brooklyn is transformed on screen into a story about Odessa, and then into another about Berlin.

I catch a line about being “hand in hand on uncertain ground.” It all reminds me of that line of Leonard Cohen’s about a woman “who’s gone and changed her name again.”


blue as an orange

          

Nepveu, Mavrikakis, Leblanc: Quebec’s impressive fall literary season

2011-09-12 22:32:34

While the Miron biography is a considerable assessment of the one of the great figures of nationalist Quebec, the publication this month of a new novel by Catherine Mavrikakis is an event, too, and one of the surest signs of vitality among a younger generation of Quebec writers.

And then there's Perrine Leblanc, aged 31.


Catherine Mavrikakis

Quebec’s fall literary season begins

2011-09-12 22:20:50

This is, in short, the busiest time of the year for literary publishers here, perhaps even more so than elsewhere in Canada, since the Quebec industry takes its lead from France in its single-minded focus on the fall.

Kim Thuy

From Kenneth Radu: Reading Kathleen Winter’s Annabel

2011-09-07 14:57:44

The heart of the novel is the brilliant and painful, detailed and multi-layered depiction of Annabel herself from his earliest years as the boy Wayne to the excruciatingly awkward and sometimes devastating experiences of the young woman Annabel in St. John’s. In scene after scene Winter wonderfully conveys a child’s literal-mindedness and imagination, a child’s consciousness of physiological transformations and emotional changes, an adolescent’s conflicts and yearnings, tensions within the family, all complicated by the salient fact of his/her gender.

                                                                        
Commenting on posts

2011-09-06 21:00:19

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Q & A with Patterson Webster on Land Marks / Pays sage

2011-08-30 14:50:04

Patterson Webster’s exhibition Land Marks – nicely translated as Pays sage – explores how people shape the natural world and are shaped by it. Intrigued when I attended the show and walked the trails, I asked Webster questions about her work, to which she responded by email.

Her work is exhibited in a gallery setting at the North Hatley Library (165 Main Street, North Hatley) and outdoors at Glen Villa Gardens (1000 chemin North Hatley, Sainte-Catherine–de-Hatley), where you can walk the Abenaki and In Transit trails daily, 1–5 p.m. Enter the property on the private drive marked with a flag. Follow signs for parking. See brochure and map. Duration of walk: 45 minutes (1.5 km) round trip.

From Kenneth Radu: The Sculptures of John Félice Ceprano

2011-08-24 15:41:43

These works fall to the force of nature every year and are rebuilt in new formations in late spring and summer when the river releases itself from winter’s grip. The rock remains, the art vanishes, only to reappear, because the artist is moved to do so, change and transformation being essential to his aesthetic. And that’s a rather exciting concept. Ceprano’s purpose is not to create a never changing artifact, but to celebrate the phenomenon of change itself.

UFOs, nuclear weapons -- and apologies

2011-08-24 14:30:34

The site has been down, owing to server overload. Some of that is the traffic generated since the four pieces I posted yesterday, but most of it has nothing to do with this site but with another dealing with UFOs and nuclear weapons.

My webmaster suggests posting on UFOs and nuclear weapons as a way of increasing traffic. I guess it would be.

 

The Reford Gardens: The Old, the New, the Secret and the Provocative

2011-08-23 15:37:33

What interests me in these gardens is their design and imaginative daring, along with their thoughtful and often playful deconstruction of the garden into its constituent parts. As a writer, I am also intrigued by the power of the language used to describe them. Among the most provocative – perhaps especially for a writer -- is the Jardin de la connaissance, a “secret and strange library” of walls, benches and floors made up of used books exposed to wind and weather – and varieties of mushrooms cultivated within some of the books.

Here is a world première view of Louise Tanguay's new photograph of the controversial Jardin de la connaissance.

Photo: Louise Tanguay

Auberge du Grand Fleuve, Métis-sur-Mer

2011-08-23 09:14:09

This French couple declared the food they had at the Auberge du Grand fleuve (131, rue Principale, Métis-sur-Mer), the best they'd had in Quebec.

Photo: Linda Leith



On the Road to Métis I: Lévis to Kamouraska

2011-08-22 23:35:24

It’s lunchtime, and the Café du clocher (88 av. Morel, Kamouraska), has a dozen or more tables in pretty tablecloths set out on the grass overlooking the St. Lawrence (there are tables indoors, as well). A gentleman has a basket of chanterelles he picked that morning in the woods nearby, and he’s selling them for $12 a pound. He has a guitar with him, and he sits down to play and sing as you sit down to an al fresco lunch of salad, smoked Kamouraska lamb and some of the local smoked fish.

Photo: Linda Leith

                  
The Audacious Kathleen Winter

2011-08-18 08:37:37

Because one of the things that happens – and I cannot believe we do this as a society – is that there’s a decision: Is this a penis or a clitoris? If it’s decided it shouldn’t be a penis, then it’s removed. So, whatever it was, it could feel stuff, right? Whatever it was, it was the source of sexual ecstasy for that child’s future. And as part of our comfort level with being a society that wants to have no ambiguity, we don’t even think about that.

The Remarkable, the Quirky and the Delightful, or, Why I Love the TLS

2011-08-04 08:14:56

After a certain period of time, say forty years, I think we should be allowed to admit that we no longer know somebody we used to know and be permitted to go back to the beginning and start again, I’ve known some people for so long without speaking to them and we’ve all changed so much in the interim that we need to be re-introduced.

 

We are all Torontonians: Philistines and the Battle for Public Libraries

2011-08-03 15:07:30

The Toronto battle has not yet made its mark nationally, but it should. If Toronto library users and supporters lose this fight, you can depend on it that other municipalities will be encouraged to follow suit. I am a Montrealer, not a Torontonian, but I know this is my battle, too. And I think it’s a battle we should all be fighting.

When it comes to the future of public libraries, we are all Torontonians.

 

Irresistible Small Festivals II : Quebec City

2011-07-29 13:37:45

The more our lives as writers and readers are spent online, the more we appreciate what the literary festival – of whatever size – has to offer: not only personal contact with other writers and readers, but also friendliness, warmth, and the kind of intimacy that conversations about good books bring out in people who love reading. When the festival is small, these priceless qualities are all the more concentrated. And when a superb setting is added to the mix, the small festival becomes irresistible.

Irresistible Small Festivals I : Knowlton WordFest

2011-07-29 07:27:47

Knowlton was full of summer visitors in pastel-coloured shorts and skimpy tops. Cars were sidling along rue Knowlton with their tops down, the boutiques had their doors wide open, and the village was festooned with petunias.



From Bob Chodos: Francophone interest in Quebec Jews

2011-07-19 00:19:15

The relationship between Quebec’s Jews and the francophone majority has known some rocky times ? the life of Adrien Arcand is only one part of that story. But there is a more positive story as well. These three books are evidence that this story is continuing, while the one represented by Adrien Arcand is of another time.

Fascist rally in 1930s Montreal

Photo: courtesy Inroads

 

Hello, out there: Fun with statistics -- with a bow to the photographers

2011-07-01 11:16:02

Amazed to discover there are people, or at least computers, in 40 countries checking out this salon, and can even correlate these visitors with what I posted on any given day. Peak time to read salon posts is lunchtime, between 12 and 2 p.m. And the number of visitors spiked on June 13th when I announced the publishing company.

Photo: Phyllis Papoulias

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