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Geology, Thinking, and a Tent

As Jan Zwicky’s Wittgensteinian “The Geology of Norway” kept and keeps circling through my mind and body, I remembered Liz Howard’s gorgeous poem, “Thinktent,” which also works with, among other things, thinking from/about/with Wittgenstein. “Thinktent” is from Howard’s debut book Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent (McClelland and Stewart, 2015).

So today, more admiration and gratitude for writing with and of bodies, Wittgenstein, ferality, beauty, outrage, and focus, and all with a startlingly wild exactitude.

Here is the first section of “Thinktent” (it will make you want to read more and more, again and again—)

THINKTENT

I am my world. (The microcosm).
-- Ludwig Wittgenstein

Hospitality: the first demand
what is your name?

On Being Led by a Poem

Yesterday evening, a friend emailed me a copy of Jan Zwicky’s “The Geology of Norway” from the collection Songs for Relinquishing the Earth (Brick Books, 1998). I’d never read the poem before, and I can’t stop rereading it now. I keep returning to it in fierce swoops or languorously or in bed or with the company of an orchid and two sleeping dogs, but always insistently . . .

Here is a link to “The Geology of Norway” in its entirety, with a beautiful introduction to the poem by Zwicky:

http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/hrp...

These are some of the lines that followed me through last night and are leading me through today:

“You know, it isn’t
what I came for, this bewilderment
by beauty. I came
to find a word, the perfect
syllable, to make it reach up,

On Writing, with Alec Dempster

The Huasteca region, an area in Eastern Mexico known for its heterogeneous cultural traditions, is the subject of both visual and literary art in Alec Dempster's Lotería Huasteca (Porcupine's Quill). Alec's series of woodblock prints and complementary texts bring to life the history and flair of Huasteca and the people who live there.

The second part of the book's title will be more familiar to many — lotería is a popular, bingo-like game that features beautifully illustrated cards. Alec borrows from lotería as a structure, bringing the iconic household game into a celebration of the region.

Shortlist for The 2015 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards Announced

The 2015 shortlist for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards was announced yesterday. The shortlist is divided into two categories, one for Children's Picture Books and one for Young Adult/Middle Reader, and one winner will be selected from each list by student jurors from Alexander Muir/Gladstone Avenue Junior and Senior Public School.

Five students in Grades Three and Four will select the winner of the Children's Picture Book Award, and five students in Grades Seven and Eight will choose the Young Adult/Middle Reader award recipient. Each winning author will take home a $6,000 prize.

The awards will be announced at the school on Friday, May 15, 2015.

The Proust Questionnaire, with Robert Priest

Robert Priest's Spell Crossed series launched with The Paper Sword last summer. Now fantasy lovers can rejoice, as he returns this spring with the next instalment, Second Kiss (Dundurn Press). Young Saheli and Xemion are back, but have been separated by a crossed spell. War is on the horizon, and two friends have little time to find each other. Drawing comparisons to The Chronicles of Narnia, the Spell Crossed series is a modern classic.

Today Robert appears on Open Book to take on our favourite personality-revealing quiz, the Proust Questionnaire. He tells us about his favourite Narnia hero, a fantastical power he'd like to possess and a personal motto we can happily second.

Thinking the Future through the Present

To begin with: many thanks if you made it through yesterday’s post; you have my gratitude for sitting with uncertainty and/or dwelling in possibility.

To continue: I’ll now try to offer an account of what I find so compelling about José Muñoz’s and Lauren Berlant’s writings in relation to some of the things I’ve been posting about this month.

Otherwiseness: Thinking with José Muñoz and Lauren Berlant

About seven years ago, I wrote a series of terrible poems, each of which was trying to work out in my own head and writing how to think about “otherwise” as a process of perceiving and thinking. I was trying to make sense of the fact that things could have been and can be otherwise, a possibility I kept encountering, both directly and indirectly, in the reading I was doing at the time about history, politics, thought, and affect (this thought also emerges in Sedgwick’s essay that I cited in an earlier post). The writers who most memorably influenced my thinking on this were Susan Howe, Kamau Brathwaite, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and Gayatri Spivak.

Video of the Week: Book Trailer for Sidewalk Flowers by

When you're a child, dandelions and daisies are as beautiful a bouquet as roses and orchids. That feeling of innocent appreciation of beauty is alive and well in Sidewalk Flowers (Groundwood Books), a wordless picture book and the gorgeous story of a simple walk with a parent.

Conceptualised by poet JonArno Lawson and drawn by illustrator Sydney Smith, Sidewalk Flowers is an evocative story of small moments and their large significance — and beauty. Check out the trailer, courtesy of Groundwood, featuring Smith's stunning illustrations.

The Lucky Seven Interview, with Olive Senior

Olive Senior's stories, known for their wit, intimacy and vibrancy, capture the feeling of being told a story in the dim, secret light of a late-night kitchen. From war stories to Cinderella tales, the stories in the The Pain Tree (Cormorant Books) represent an experienced and insightful short fiction stylist at her best.

Today we welcome Olive to the site as part of our Lucky Seven series, a seven-question Q&A that gives readers a chance to hear about the writing processes of talented Canadian authors and gives authors a space to speak in depth about the thematic concerns of their newest books.

On the Otherwise of a Shipwrecked Singularity

In these posts, I keep gesturing towards a transformable/transformed future, one that with different modes of attention, care, action, and responsibility, could emerge. A future that draws on the activities currently at play in our present: organizing bodies to resist oppression, reimagining how bodies signify, and altering the devastating experiences many bodies, because of their particular forms, are made to internalize. As I’ve written in earlier posts, M. NourbeSe Philip’s Zong!, a book of generosity and listening, offers ways of thinking through and living after these violences. While thinking about Zong! over the past week, George Oppen’s lines in “Of Being Numerous” kept coming into my mind:

Obsessed, bewildered

By the shipwreck
Of the singular

Video of the Week

Video of the Week: Book Trailer for Sidewalk Flowers by

When you're a child, dandelions and daisies are as beautiful a bouquet as roses and orchids. That feeling of innocent appreciation of beauty is alive and well in Sidewalk Flowers (Groundwood Books), a wordless picture book and the gorgeous story of a simple walk with a parent.

Conceptualised by poet JonArno Lawson and drawn by illustrator Sydney Smith, Sidewalk Flowers is an evocative story of small moments and their large significance — and beauty. Check out the trailer, courtesy of Groundwood, featuring Smith's stunning illustrations.

Writer In Residence

April 1, 2015-May 1, 2015

Julie Joosten »

Julie Joosten is originally from Georgia but now lives in Toronto. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers Program and a PhD from Cornell University. Her poems and reviews can be read in like starlings, Lemon Hound, Lit, Jacket 2, Tarpaulin Sky, the Malahat Review and The Fiddlehead. She recently guest edited an issue of BafterC, a journal of contemporary poetry. Her first book, Light Light, was shortlisted for the 2014 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry, and the 2014 Goldie Award.

You can reach Julie throughout the month of April at writer@openbooktoronto.com

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