Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cover for Echo Soundings

I wanted this cover to illustrate a series of waves, since "soundings" is a nautical term in which sonar is used to measure depth. And echoing connotes reflection and repetition. Even the scroll like feature around the subtitle mirrors itself in a reflection.

Here is the book description: "Poems sound. Poetry is the art of listening. In Echo Soundings Jeffery Donaldson brings together essays written over two decades, including reviews, think pieces, arguments and homages, that listen for and to major and minor voices in Canadian and American verse, both modern and contemporary. Echo Soundings demonstrates that every poem is a community of voices, a conversation, an exchange. Poets talk about the world partly by talking to one another. At times broadly speculative, at times meticulous in their attention to detail, Donaldson’s essays are united by a common concern for our habits of listening and how they might be fathomed by poetry’s deeper soundings."

Monday, December 1, 2014

Cover for Easy Fix

Fall 2014 cover for Easy Fix, by Blair Trewartha. The themes in this collection are related to loneliness, mental illness, poverty, and the disenfranchised. I wanted the cover to feel dark and gritty.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Toronto Reading

I will be reading at Another Story Bookshop
Wednesday October 29th @ 7:00 pm.
Ariel Gordon, Patricia Young, Jim Johnstone, and Dawn Kresan
315 Roncesvalles Ave. Toronto, Ontario.

Excited to be reading with friends, and listening to them read from work that I have helped bring into being (in my small way). Also fun to go back to the bustling city of Toronto, if only for a short time!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bookfest Windsor 2014

Palimpsest Press will be bringing Ariel Gordon to Ontario for BookFest Windsor. Ariel is the author of two collections of poetry, Hump and Stowaways, both released by Palimpsest. Stowaways was released this spring to great acclaim and was on the McNally Robinson bestseller list for two consecutive weeks following her successful launch in Winnipeg. Ariel has been a guest blogger for the National Post and will be featured on the 49th Shelf’s upcoming installment. Ariel will be in Ontario on a cross-province tour, starting in Windsor, then onward to Waterloo, Kitchener, Toronto, and Kingston. She'll be reading October 23th 7pm at the Capitol Theatre, along with Rosalind Knight, Mary Ann Mulhern, Chris Turner, and Susan Holbrook. After the readings, there will be a panel discussion on publishing.

Link to Bookfest Windsor:

While staying with me in Kingsville, I'm going to bring the famous mushroom lover to Point Pelee. Looking forward to her stay.

Link to her blog:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Palimpsest October Readings

For more information, go to the Palimpsest website and click on the author's name. It will bring you to a page with details about each reading.

Anita Lahey
October 25, 2014. Words Worth Books, Waterloo, ON.

Ariel Gordon
October 2, 2014. Salt Spring Island Library. Salt Spring Island, BC.
October 3, 2014. Planet Earth Poetry. Victoria, BC.
October 7, 2014. Russell Books. Victoria, BC.
October 23, 2014. Bookfest Windsor. Windsor, ON.
October 25, 2014. Words Worth Books. Waterloo, ON.
October 28 2014. Art Bar Reading Series. Toronto, ON.
October 29, 2014. Another Story Bookshop. Toronto, ON.
October 30, 2014. Novel Idea Bookstore. Kingston, ON.

Blair Trewartha
October 23, 2014. Livewords Reading Series. Toronto, ON.

Jeffery Donaldson
October 13, 2014. Live Words Reading Series. Toronto, ON.  
October 21, 2014. Brian Prince Booksellers. Hamilton, ON.

Kate Braid
October 1, 2014. Wood and Words Book Tour. Vancouver, BC.

Patricia Young
October 3, 2014. Planet Earth Poetry. Victoria, BC.
October 21-26, 2014. Vancouver Writers Fest. Vancouver, BC.
October 28, 2014. Art Bar Reading Series. Toronto, ON.
October 29, 2014. Another Story Bookshop. Toronto, ON.
October 30, 2014. Novel Idea Bookstore. Kingston, ON.

Yvonne Blomer
October 2, 2014. Salt Spring Island Library. Salt Spring Island, BC.
October 3, 2014. Planet Earth Poetry. Victoria BC.
October 17-19, 2014. Whistler Writers Festival. Whistler, BC.
October 28 , 2014. The Vault Café. Nanaimo, BC.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Biblioasis' 10th Anniversary

Dan Wells has been my friend since before he was a publisher, when he owned that other bookstore by the same name in downtown Windsor amongst the bars and massage parlors. It is quite astonishing to me what Dan has done with his press in such a short time. As someone who has insider knowledge of the publishing world—its many challenges and disappointments—I am in awe of what Dan has accomplished. He has an exceptional ability to select fiction with both literary merit and marketability, and balances a list that fearlessly straddles both these domains. Awards and accolades aside, he is a charming fellow and his press deserves all the praise it has gotten. The life of a publisher is a constant struggle to stay relevant, a battle over shelf space, a competition over authors, and what, at times, seems like a bar brawl over grant money with friends jumping in to defend or counter-attack. So who could blame him for being a bit of an Eeyore at times. I've listened to him when he's cynical or glum, but like all great publishers there is always something that draws him back in—an author, manuscript, idea. Dan Wells is one of those forward thinkers—a clever and innovative dreamer in a perilous industry that demands so much.

I will be there for the 10th anniversary of Biblioasis to toast him. Better get the good scotch out! Friday September 26th, Capitol Theatre, 7pm.

Dan and I many years ago, when G was a baby and he had only two kids! We were probably talking books.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Scattered Ecstasies at the Sho Gallery

What a thrill it was to see the art and listen to the performers at the Sho Gallery. There was a range of work—emotional, thoughtful, political, satiric—and the actors were inspired! I really enjoyed the inclusion of musicians, who created an original score just for the event. It was a unique collaboration between poets, visual artists, actors, and musicians. So much fun! Thank you Barry Brodie for organizing such a wonderful event. The Sho Gallery was a great venue and the community turn out was terrific.

My poem "Tarot Cards" from my collection Muse was chosen by Lupita Amaya to paint, and was  performed by Bob Steele.

Tarot Reading

I stare at the cards: pointed arrows piercing flesh,
a woman hung upside down in a noose, knot drawn tight.
There is talk of a family curse passed down from my mother. 

I have inherited a tragic fate, must walk a dark wooded terrain.
But not all is lost. I can be saved for fifty dollars more.
Her gypsy face obscured by a beaded curtain,

shining crystal balls dangling like so many planets.  
Still dressed in a robe, although two in the afternoon, she asks
if I mind that she smokes. I do, but say nothing.

Jesus presides over the reading, his arms outstretched. 
She pats the head of her ceramic god like a good luck charm,
reaches for me from behind cascading beads,

gruffly takes my hand, tells me to pray. This modern-day gypsy
asks me to trust her, to cut the cards and imagine a future
she has spun. Painted nails click as our planet orbits

the universe, indifferent to Pisces’ constellations. A tiny star
among other points, too vast for us to comprehend. 
We bend our necks in prayer,

invent worlds and stories to sustain us.
We look at a beaded curtain and are asked to see
the universe suspended on a shimmering string of light.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scattered Ecstasies 2014

The Sho Gallery in Windsor is putting on an exhibit of ekphrastic paintings (art that interprets poetry). The poets and artists are all local, as well as the actors who will be performing the poems. My poem "Tarot Cards" from my collection Muse was chosen by Lupita Amaya to paint, and will be performed by Bob Steele. I am very excited to see and hear the results.

Friday Sept 20 and Sat Sept 21
Performances at 8pm. Tickets $20

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Think Local Logo

I am proud of the thinkLOCAL logo I created for Leamington Stands Strong. You can find a comprehensive list of local products at

The mission of this organization is:

—Encouraging the community to buy local products and support local businesses;
—Building an online hub where everyone can discover locally made Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent products;
—Expanding a network for local enterprising ideas and initiatives;
—Promoting the Leamington Stands Strong message.

The group wanted a logo that reflected the original Leamington Stands Strong logo, so I reused the shield and a strong red colour.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Jean Foster Memorial Award

For those writers under the age of 25—write and essay about what books mean to you and you could win $500 and be recognized at Bookfest Windsor. Submit entries by September 9th. See attached for more information.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Patricia Young's poem "Elephant Love"


    In memory of the moeritherium, ancestor for the mammal
    order probosscidea, which includes all elephants.   

Love. Ancient elephant love. Summertime swamp-love
when cool is cool and mud is mud. Semi-aquatic, straddling

the Eocene era. What sort of love? Love that feeds on
sea grasses, river-wading, freshwater, dreaming tusks. 

Water-lumbering love when Egypt was a leafy canopy
to fan the blood. Intelligent love. Thick-skinned. Pig-

sized love unearthed in a desert oasis. Love that bridged
the gap but didn’t last. The future had a mind for

something bigger, weightier, love with a prehensile
upper lip that would stretch over centuries into a much

longer love. What brought us here if not the half-submerged,
amphibian love that stomped when it walked and slept

where it stood. Brought us where? Here. To the graveyard
of modern elephant love where all love comes to die.

Summertime Swamp-Love
(Palimpsest Press 2014)
Patricia Young

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Jeffery Donaldson's Echo Soundings

An excerpt from Jeffery Donaldson's Echo Soundings: essays on poetry and poetics appeared in The Puritan (issue 26).

Read the entire excerpt here:

"I have no idea what poems are. I feel an odd double-take when I see one on the page. The way it simply assumes itself. How absurd, how extravagant. What is it doing there? Like a frog on a lily pad, blinking. Like a child it stands before you—ready, curious, expectant—without the least worry of what it means that it should be. Of course I am, say the eyes of the child. What else would I be? The innocent audacity of simply existing.

Pick up a stick from the imagined beach you are now standing on, and draw a circle with it in the sand. Now lay the stick down inside the circle. What the heck is that? I can’t figure it out. I want to protest. I want to laugh. The stick is just a stick; it existed before now, and now there it is inside a circle. Before there was nothing, and now there is a circle with a stick inside it, a shape and a content. Or take a further step; pick up another stick and lay it down somewhere else on the sand: all on its own, a shape and a content. You took a thing that was over there and you put it over here in this new place, a place that is new because a stick was put there. Poets spend their lifetime trying to get it right just once, laying the stick down in the sand, just so."

The book can be pre-ordered here:

Friday, August 29, 2014

September Palimpsest Readings

This September:

Ariel Gordon
September 9-12, 2014. Under Western Skies Conference. Calgary, AB.

Blair Trewartha
September 20, 2014. Village Bookshop. Bayfield, ON. 

Kate Braid
September 25, 2014. Wood and Words Book Tour. Hornby Island, BC.
September 26, 2014. Wood and Words Book Tour at Planet Earth Poetry. Victoria, BC.
September 29, 2014. Wood and Words Book Tour. Pender Island, BC.
September 30, 2014. Wood and Words Book Tour at Wordstorm. Nanaimo, BC.

Yvonne Blomer
September 18, 2014. Hornby Island, BC
September 28, 2014. Word Vancouver. Vancouver, BC. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Boblo poem in anthology

My poem "Boblo" appeared in Whisky Sour City (Black Moss Press, 2013). Just getting around to posting it now. The link to buy the anthology is Of course, it can be bought through Amazon or Indigo, if one so desires.

Publisher's description:
"Sex, love, alcohol and pollution are on tap within these pages. Whisky Sour City is a collection of poetry written by people who have experienced both the sour and the sweet of Windsor, Ontario."


Rumor has it the island is cursed,
the owners gone bankrupt and then swiftly struck dead.

Of that, I cannot say, but what I do know
is the French fries are small pellets that swell when immersed in oil,

the woman supposed to be running the carousel swings
is down at the docks fucking a rich American,

and my boozy boss keeps offering me shots of vodka. 
He wants me drunk for all the usual reasons, but I never do.

After many slurred lures, I unlock my ten-speed and pedal home.
Desire—that cagey, crazy-making thing

I never understood—eventually takes hold.
Like Bacchus or Baudelaire or the carousel swings girl,

I soon became aware of appetites that were longingly hard
to fulfil. I slip into the borders, the paradoxes

of casual intimacy, of melancholic passion.
Rumour has it I am cursed. The kind of woman

you treat well for a short time, the kind you want
your buddy to hook-up with after his girlfriend dumps him.

Of that, I cannot say, but what I do know
is I get a lot of free drinks when I never ask for them,

that certain men expect they will take me home
when we flirt all night. I never do when they are sure of it.

I wear silk lingerie at night, my chest and neck bloom
with heat. It is summer, I sweat the sugar of lemons,

once again walk the silvery sun-drenched platform of the Corkscrew,
drinking lemonade, dumb with heat. Hornets grow furious.

Lilacs wilt. Across the river, fields of corn are scorched.
They will be harvested late this year.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Hopeful Misanthrope

Despite a diagnosis of bi-polar in 2008 and a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 2011, I feel more hopeful than I ever have. I have always been very private about my health, or lack thereof, and yet recent discussions in the media about depression and struggles with disease has led me to speak openly for the first time about my own plight. I was afraid that people would judge, see me as damaged, or worse—pity me. Over the past couple of years I have told a few people, and been pleasantly surprised by their understanding and compassion. A friend of mine, who had breast cancer, told me that she felt compelled to tell everyone about defeating her disease because she was proud of herself. It makes sense, really, to want to share such achievement. But I have never felt pride or accomplishment. Mostly, I feel a reprieve.
In my mid-twenties it must have seemed as though I had a good life. Fresh out of university with a Master’s Degree—I started my own publishing company, pursuing my passion, while also having a paying job, a husband that loved me, and a charming split-level ranch in a quiet neighbourhood. What was there to be sad about? Logically— nothing. And yet I felt this overwhelming despair, that at times, bordered on panic. The kind that grips you so hard that you struggle to breathe. It is difficult to explain what sent me spiralling down—perhaps it was smaller episodes that had a cascading effect, perhaps it was my sometimes sullen personality breaking through—there have, in fact, been many episodes in my life that afterwards have left me thinking, “what just happened?” In retrospect, some of them are comical, but others decidedly dangerous. Perhaps one day I will explore these more and write about them as I can. But for whatever reason, in the summer of 2002, I quite my job and, for a while, I checked out of living. I no longer did the simplest of things, like changing my clothes or brushing my hair. I slept most of the day. I would drag myself out of bed around six o’clock, and say hello to my husband who would make some sarcastic remark about how easy my life was after noticing I failed to make dinner yet again. Then I’d go back to bed. All I wanted to do was sleep. Then five months later, I came out of it as miraculously as I went in. I have no clear idea what sunk me or what pulled me out. It wasn’t until later that I realized what a terrible state I had been in: insomnia, migraines, loss of appetite, migrating aches and pains, hopelessness, confusion, and a fatigue like I have never felt before. And yet, after my diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, I felt sorry for myself for a few days and then I was fine. It wasn’t denial. I understood what I had. There was a point where I could barely walk, my leg kept giving out from under me, both my legs and up into my pelvis were tingling with pins and needles, and my arms and hands were completely numb. For days, I would jab a fork into my forearm, scared yet fascinated by the fact that I felt absolutely nothing. The symptoms would go away, sometimes for months, but they always came back, again and again. And then finally…after years, finally I had answers. Now I knew. I knew that any given day I could wake up blind or unable to walk, and there was nothing I could do about it. There is no point stressing about things that I have no control over, which has been the most challenging part, that life will happen to me and I have to accept it. There is a feeling of sadness and loss that comes with that acceptance, and yet I know I can manage this sadness. I instead focus on what is still in my control: I exercise when I don’t feel like it, take my dogs for walks, chug down kale smoothies, take vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids, and see my therapist on a regular basis. Perhaps because I have felt the weight of depression, the loneliness and futility of day-to-day living, I fear that downward spiral more than anything else.
That is the thing with depression—the disease has nothing to do with circumstance. We are meant to feel grief when tragic losses happen, but in 2002 I had every reason to be happy, or in the very least content, and yet I was consumed with an intense darkness. And now, in 2014, after a diagnosis of MS, I have as good a reason as any to feel hopeless. And yet, despite a lack of order and control, I feel fulfillment. I am aware of my limitations, that if I walk too much or push my body too hard I can have set backs, that my leg will temporarily give me grief, that sometimes I twitch and limp and stumble. I know that I cannot do what I use to do with any amount of ease. And those limitations have necessitated change—moving to a single level ranch and selling my publishing business—but by reducing stress, and demands on my time, I have been able to prioritize experience. I fulfilled a life-long goal of getting my SCUBA certification, swimming with sharks in Florida. I also published my first poetry collection, travelling with my family on a mini book tour, which jointly served as a whale-watching trip to British Columbia. I have many reasons to be grateful, to feel hopeful, and yet am keenly aware that it may go away at any moment. That our time is brief, good health ephemeral. And for a reclusive introvert, I have begrudgingly realized that relationship to others may be the key to ensuring I stay healthy longer while keeping depression at bay. I have forgiven for its own sake, learned to be more tolerate, and at the same time, I am acquiring the skills to be my own champion, to better express my needs. I have tried to open myself to opportunity, and for someone crippled by anxiety, this has been no small feat. I take my successes as they come—whether that is navigating public transit or introducing myself to a stranger—things that I find both difficult and exhausting. I doubt I will ever be “good” at social interaction—people can overwhelm me, I say the wrong things at the wrong times, I am easily wounded, and drink when I feel anxiety. I also know there is a family history of mental illness. I am adopted, but found out that many of my biological relations suffer from depression and bi-polar, my maternal grandmother having committed suicide. Yet, despite my genetics and sullen disposition, I have a support system and a will to stay healthy. I keep to myself and the idea of being dependent on others is terrifying. Over the past couple of years, however, I had no choice but to rely on people. Learning how to trust is something I am still working on—to trust doctors to have my best interests in mind, trust family and friends not to judge me, and trust strangers to treat me with respect. I’ll never be that person who goes to weekly meetings or talks on the phone for hours, crying to a friend, but I now value, more than ever, the relationships I have. If my struggles have taught me anything, it is that I need to be more open. Writing this is a step forward.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Shark Logo

I created this logo for a shark conservation group. Those of you who know me, know that I LOVE sharks, so this was a thrill! The White Shark Interest Group and White Shark Advocacy, founded by Dr. Dirk Schmidt, are aimed at educating the public and protecting this apex predator.

Twitter: (account renamed from whitesharkig to)
Tumblr blog:

Saturday, July 19, 2014

DK Logo

It is funny how sometimes we forget to do things for ourselves that we tell other people are essential. I've been designing logos for clients for quite a few years now, but I never seemed to have the time to do one for myself. I guess because of Palimpsest, it seemed unnecessary. But now that I have struck out on my own and am trying to do more freelance work, it became necessary.

So I played with the idea of creating a DMK logo, but when I googled those letters with the word "logo" I found out a men's underwear company had a DMK logo already sewn into all their dick slings. I could still create my own DMK logo, but I thought if potential clients where searching my initials, the images that came up might not appear very professional. In any case, I decided to go with DK. There are lots of DK logos out there already, so I had to make sure mine was different and accurately portrayed my graphic design business. I wanted something modern and sophisticated, and something that alludes to the fact that I specialize in typography and book design.

The end result was linking the two letters together so that the ascenders created a space in the middle. This space now resembles a book spine, or potentially three book spines on a shelf. It is also suggestive of kerning. Very happy with the end result!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review of Muse

A review of Muse written by Angie Abdou for The Fernie Fix

"In Muse, Dawn Marie Kresan also examines poetic inspiration but through the figure of Elizabeth Siddal, wife and (tragic) muse of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The feminist, revisionist approach of this collection is hinted at by the opening quotation of Robert Graves: "Woman is muse or she is nothing." Though Siddal was a poet in her own right, she has gone down in (patriarchal) history primarily as the inspiration for her husband's paintings. In the poem "Viridescent," Kresan compares the way Siddal saw herself to the way her husband represented her: "He painted your gaze downcast/ claimed the right to control/ what your eyes gathered in. / Yet, in this, your only self-portrait, / you stare back – those / large, sad eyes, confronting." Kresan admires Siddal's defiance, her strength. Through poems, Kresan re-remembers this marginalized woman and puts Siddal in the center of her own life. This is tremendously moving poetry, and Muse is an impressive debut."

Here is the link:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Recent Covers

Recent covers that I designed:

Ariel Gordon's Stowaways. A close-up of ants on a peony with bright pink text: bright, bold, playful, natural.

Yvonne Blomer's As If A Raven. A close-up of a raven with open beak with black and red text: mythic, biblical, lyrical, expressive.

Rosario LLoret's Wolf in a Beaver Coat. Snow covered forest at night with red text: mysterious, dark, beautiful.

Patricia Young's Summertime Swamp-Love. Ernst Haeckle illustration, Kunstformen der Natur (1904) plate 62: Nepenthaceae: provocative, sexual, organic.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


A poem of mine, Symbiosis, was published in the Windsor Review (46.2). Not sure why I am just getting the fall 2013 publication now, but in any case — here it is. Also not sure if the line breaks will turn out correct on this blog, but it supposed to be in couplets.


It was small and austere, but it was ours—we had a nice set-up,
didn’t we? You, always guarding with your large goby eyes.

And me, a blind shrimp, busily tending our home. I’d scoop
the endless ever-shifting sands away from the entrance,

in case a quick retreat was needed. Our burrow would be buried  
in less than an hour if I didn’t continually excavate, but I never asked

for gratitude. I knew our relationship was one of mutual survival.
An odd couple for sure—but it worked. I kept the lair clean

while you kept watch by the salient rock. The strong and silent type.
Sequestered below, was it any wonder that I sometimes got lonely?

From time to time I’d come up for a chat, trusting that you’d alert
me to danger with your sudden agitation, the way your body quaked.

I needed to stay close to sense it, to keep my antennae on you.
But you were always annoyed, although it was our arrangement.

Get those long things off me! They tickle!  you’d say.
And don’t stand so near. Your hard shell hurts. You’ll abrade my delicate skin.

Complain, complain, complain. You always were one
to harbour a grudge. I told you that was an accident,

but you never forgave me. Is that why
you called me garrulous? You wanted to hurt my feelings?

It’s true I’m a bit chatty, but what did you expect? I’m a blind shrimp
living near a desolate piece of rock, with no friends except you.

At least, I thought you were my friend… until…
until that fateful day when I left the safety of our burrow

in search of food. I wended through the sand, getting further away.
Nothing felt familiar. I tried going back, but the sand kept shifting from

under me. Why weren’t you by my side? Disoriented, I swept
my antennae all around, searching for you. Hoping that you’d come,

but you never did… I’m sorry that our relationship was such a strain,
my chatter so irritating, the sight of me revolting. You always hated 

my hard-shelled, segmented body. My chelated legs.
I never told you, but your soft-bellied body sickened me.

The way your scales would coalesce into the thin skin
beneath it, merging into one squashy pulpy lump of flesh.

You told me I was keeping you down, keeping you from your high-flying
dolphin dreams. Never mind that I gave you a home, gave you shelter.

You weren’t the only one with dreams, you know! I had dreams too—
maybe settle down one day, lay a million eggs or so, watch them grow

into beautiful little larvae. But all that is gone now.
You abandoned me. And now the thought of a grouper gulping

your small soft body down its gullet delights me. Or you—unable
to fend off the tidal sands… slowly suffocating, buried alive.

We were both supposed to benefit from this partnership,
but instead I ended up here—swimming in this bucket, consumed

with revenge, left to dwell on my foreseeable demise. Slit open,
deveined, and sautéed with butter and garlic in a pan.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Shedd Aquarium

At the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Obsolete Words


"Just like facts and flies, English words have life-spans. Some are thousands of years old, from before English officially existed, others change, or are replaced or get ditched entirely. Here are 18 uncommon or obsolete words that we think may have died early. We found them in two places: a book called “The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten” by Jeffrey Kacirk, and on a blog called Obsolete Word of The Day that’s been out of service since 2010." 

I think next time I see a good-looking man, I'll call him a "snoutfair," and ask if I can be his "wonder-wench." Come on people, let's bring these words back into fashion.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Book Vending Machines

I read a recent article about book vending machines, and I thought what a great idea! If I can buy earphones and iPods in vending machines, why shouldn't I be able to buy a book? It seems, however, that this is not a new-fangled idea but one that has been around for awhile. Here is a model from 1947, the Book-O-Matic.

Recent models can be found in airports and in subways. I have even heard of libraries having versions where you take an old  book that someone left in the machine and in exchange you leave one of your own books.

And at the 2013 WORD book festival in British Columbia there were vending machines that dispensed poems. Read about the Poetry Project here:

A Toronto bookshop, Monkey's Paw, created the BIBLIO-MAT. As the world's first vending machine to dole out randomly selected used books for the cost of a toonie, Stephen Fowler (the owner of the store) calls the BIBLIO-MAT an "antiquarian book randomizer."
What fun!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Font / Cat humour

This still makes me laugh: cats imagined as fonts.

"Here are 20 fonts and the cats that clearly inspired them. This is a rare and important opportunity for cat fanciers and typophiles to find some common ground."

These are my favorites:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Review of Muse

A review of Muse:

"Dawn Marie Kresan starts her collection Muse by offering us a brief biographical sketch of Elizabeth Siddal — and then Siddal becomes the central character in Kresan's opus...  Kresan doesn't limit the party to Pre-Raphaelite's like her husband and his crew, no, this discussion is opened up to a stove-weary Sylvia Plath and the ever loquacious Marilyn Monroe. Kresan is dead serious in her playfulness... Princess Diana, Anne Sexton and a score of other strong, dead, women of legend and passion pop up as Kresan hop-scotches her way through the culture of women and men, muse and mis-used. Kresan provides numerous and quite useful notes (something I generally highly disapprove of — but in this case it works and it is helpful) as well as a bibliography of source materials. And that may lead you to think that these works, this book, is academic in nature. It's not. The life of Elizabeth Siddal is re-imagined and given a new vocabulary by Dawn Marie Kresan. Siddal is a muse and vehicle for Kresan. The engaging conversation Kresan creates out of the mouths of these many female icons is as amusing as it is intelligent."

Read the entire review with some poem excerpts here: 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Funny Metaphors used by High School Students

I don't know where I found this, but I had it saved on my computer and thought it too funny not to share. Delighting in the spirit of bad writing and youth, I throw my own high school writing into the mix. It doesn't contain a metaphor but it is ridiculous and cheeky. I wrote a lot of satire in my youth, and I always amused myself (if no one else).

From Dawn's high school story:

"He is a talented artist. Working with simple gardening tools he is able to sculpt the most brilliant forms. When I first saw his work I nearly broke down in tears. He has the genius of Warhol combined with the depth and insight of Freud. In one of his most disturbing pieces, he uses the Garden Weasel as a representation of early childhood potty trauma."

Metaphors used by high school students: 

"Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two other sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master."

"His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free."

"He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it."

"The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't."

"McBride fell twelve stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup."

"The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and
Jeopardy comes on at 7:00p.m. instead of 7:30p.m."

"Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze."

"Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever."

"He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree."

"Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 pm, traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19pm, at a speed of 35 mph."

"The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can."

"John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met."

 "The thunder was ominous sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play."

"Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut."

"The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work."

"The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while."

"Oh, Jason, take me!" she panted, her breasts heaving like a college freshman on $1-a-beer night."

"He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something."

"Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from I Can't Believe It's Not Butter."

"She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up."

"It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before."

"The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant."

"The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium."

"It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools."

"He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up."

"She was as easy as the TV Guide crossword."

 "Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser."

"She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef."

"It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall."

"Cogito ergo spud: I think, therefore I yam"

Saturday, April 5, 2014

On Being an Introvert

I thought this was funny and mostly true. I especially have a hard time explaining to family that social engagements are exhausting for me and I need time to prepare for them (and recover afterwards). They simply wear me out. I sometimes need a nap after. One thing not mentioned here, and (I think) most introverts are the same — I am hyper sensitive to sound and light. I also don't like people standing behind me. So a noisy place with bright lights and people running amok is pretty much a nightmare for me. I do it sometimes because I have to, but find it really annoying when people assume I am being difficult on purpose and I need to just "buck up." Trust me, the energy drain is real and I have felt it my entire life. As I have gotten older I go into protection mode more and more, recently going to great lengths to reduce the stress in my life. So if at a social gathering you see me with my back against the wall by myself, please leave me there for a few minutes and I'll come out and play when the energy in the room feels right to me. Either that, or bring me a strong drink.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Birds (1963): Tippi Hedren's Response

My poem, The Birds (1963): Tippi Hedren’s Response, was published in Queen's Quarterly recently. Here it is, although the line breaks will be messed up in this medium. I see things I would change now. Well, before my next collection comes out — the editing pen will strike!

The Birds (1963): Tippi Hedren’s Response

I heard you had a thing for blondes,
that you were a control freak, right down
to the Coco Chanel skirts your actresses wore.
But still, I signed.

How could I pass up
working with the brilliant Hitchock?

You assured me the birds
would be mechanical, that once I climbed
those ominous stairs, the camera stalking
voyeuristically, slowly creaked open the door  
to an attic full of rapacious ravens,
ready to swoop and snap and shriek—

I would not be harmed.

Instead, I endured five days of men flinging
frightened creatures at me—seagulls, ravens and crows.
One poor thing,
   scared out of its wits, bit my cheek
   hard, barely missing my eye. Exhausted,

my heart, a pounding bird-song, shriveled and sank.
I slumped to the floor and cried.

The prop men, whose own beefy fingers
were well protected by thick gloves, watched
me, silent, not knowing what to say or how to comfort.
The camera still rolling.

Watch the woman break down,
have her moment.

Real life is stranger than fiction.
For weeks after that shoot, I was in disarray.
The doctor ordered me time away from work, haunted
by nightmares filled with flapping frantic wings.
Much like my character, my mind
altered. I lashed out at unseen dangers.

I should have listened
to the warnings. Never signed. Ruined
after two films. No one would hire me.
You wouldn’t let them. Your contract my gilded cage.
You’d rather pay me not to work than let me go
to someone else. I rebuffed

your advances, and for that, you took revenge.
My career gutted and strung up like a dead bird.

In your film, you made the birds predatory,
gently cooing, all the while gathering like a dark
cloud. They perch in model bird-like behaviour,
seemingly innocent as they grow in numbers, steadily,
behind the scene. Birds with a mind for trouble-
making, stealthily preparing for the next attack.
But those are the birds of nightmares,
the birds you created.

The truth was
they were victims too.
In 1961, Monterey Bay, hundreds of birds battered
themselves into houses,
 the streets littered
with their seizured broken bodies.

Afterwards, scientists confirmed their poisoning.
Domoic acid found in the anchovies and squid they ate.
Mass avian insanity caused by a toxin producing algae
leaked from a faulty septic tank.

But fiction doesn’t care for truth,
only the angle the camera takes. Its slant
makes strong women into children and sexual
casualties. I wish I could smash this glass
from all around me,
break free of this fantastic fear.
Be like those wild birds you filmed—
fluid and fierce.

But that too was a lie.

I watch a cloud of gulls flood across sea-bound waves.
The wind wound and fevered. I envy their flight,
their freedom to go where whirring wings take them.