June 26, 2005

Surrounded by corners by Todd Bruce

Standing in the kitchen, straining fat from a fresh, cooling batch
of turkey stock when I heard the squawk of the intercom. He let
her in by pressing his thumb on the button just below the intercom

I heard her reach (or climb, to describe it accurately) each step on
the inside front porch – the house creaking here and there, just a
little. She stopped – they kissed hello. I assume she flicked her hair
and shivered her shoulders slightly to tell how cold it is outside
without saying it out loud.

A pair of shoes (boots more likely by the sounds of them), one by
one, dropping to the carpeted floor (one heel like a mis-hit
xylophone hammer on the adjacent hardwood floor). Ting.


A wool coat being tossed onto a wooden chair. A silk scarf
dripping down a coat sleeve and balling into a loose cocoon
near its cuff. No one but you and I know this until she leaves.
And even then it means nothing to her – other than a scarf on
the floor at the cuff of her coat sleeve.

Does it drop or does it fall? In either instance it layered onto
the back porch like a lost letter and accumulated into miniature
banks within which I nested the kettle of broth, coaxing the
remaining fat to congeal. I secretly look forward, in the early
morning, to removing the pot from the porch (when I hear her
nestle into the down-filled sofa and him into his high-back
chair) to see the ring – the negative – left from melting snow.
A crop circle. Fine art.

The CD changer shuffles (I can barely hear its drives click and
shift) as I slowly fill the sink with cutlery and plates. He has
selected in advance the music he wants her to hear as they
sip scotch and talk and eat expensive cheeses. I am doing
the dishes. I am not there. The water is boiling hot and soapy.
Grandmother taught me to boil water to clean dishes--the
tap does not get hot enough.

June 16, 2005

wink books

Rob Budde-------my american movie (2004)
Rob Budde-------Software Tracks (2004)
Jeremy Stewart----one hour more light (2004)
Rob Budde-------A Sleep of Faith (2005)

chapbooks produced in small runs sporadically.
to order find rob and he will give you one. or
check books & co. or the university bookstore.

each edition is designed and assembled by rob.
usually printed by barry wong at the unbc
copy center. he's great.

chapbooks rule baby.

June 15, 2005

wink books, inc. by Rob Budde

over, there's the page where the language would have you
sold, secure; flipside, this is
the one that got away, fin flash

a story stalled long pauses and awkward
breaks enough to glimpse blur, flinch

the grain of wood, sawdust scent
flying up, the topography closer though,
felt in the roll of thighs, the eye-trained horizon, squint

after the speech, denial loaded into the back
a reverb stings the microphone; flipside, the subtext
twitches, an aside snuck, tucked

intimate meaning alongside the highways and
their agenda, a noise that rips the killed, rends

flipside; a book of herbs or ways of preserving
berries, fin and fat, paper-stained accidents and care, creased

i would give you this first from Fort George before
the forest wars, or from after, a de-settling
pinch of paper and bone

June 8, 2005

Writing the Place Awake: Culture in a Northern City

by Rob Budde

And so the north moves north.
--Ken Belford

Economies, ecosystems, and writing all begin from the periphery,
the outside. The outside can be many places: the hinterland, the
outback, the north, the edge, the rez, the gateway, the bush, the
back country, the borderland, the in-between, the small town, the
headwaters, the forgotten places, the mountains, Third World,
nowhere, nature, the middle of nowhere, God's country, the interior,
the coast, the boonies, etc. You know the place. It's not where it's at.

But it's where we're from, where it begins. And it is a place the
centers of power necessarily silence.

Economies depend on these places for raw resources but the
relationship to the center has to be one of extraction not reciprocal
recognition or nurturing. Outside is outside because the inside
depends on it. The discourses of power must construct the outside
as outside in order to fully realize the (artificial) potential of the
inside. The outside, as a construct, is built to disavow itself. It is
self-deprecating and without a strong identity. It lacks self-awareness
and has low self-esteem. Its history is erased and its culture

But while this imaginary identity is instituted as a grim map of Northern
BC, the place's real living goes on underneath it. And it is rich.

American writer Wallace Stegner wrote "a place is not a place until it has
had a poet." Stegner was writing about the American west, but that sense
of 'frontier' space still exists in terms of cultural representations and
stigma. What is at issue is the power of representation and who is doing
it. Place-making can occur from without or within and the imaginative
creation of a place is a crucial focus of power. It seems a kind of
territoriality but it is also a empowering act of self-reliance and self-
awareness. We need to create an imagined Prince George of our own.

Around 1970, Barry McKinnon began the Caledonia Reading Series
which later became Gorse Press. He produced hand-made chapbooks
by poets of this place and handed them to people. Today, Prince George
is known for its chapbooks and the nation knows Barry McKinnon
is here. This, dare I say, entrepreneurial spirit is what creates the culture
of (and for) a place. It is this kind of activity Prince George is starved for.
Recently, a symposium in Prince George ("The Writing Way Up Here"
March 30, 2005), a conference panel ("Writing the North" AWP
Conference, Vancouver BC, April 1, 2005), and the launch of two
watershed books, Ken Belford's Ecologue and Barry McKinnon's
The Centre: Poems 1970-2000
, have all contributed to a resurgence
in Prince George cultural pride. And it is pride, in the sense of William
Carlos Williams' "local pride" as an essential attribute for the contemporary
poet. "Pride" as a kind of recognition, a refusal to disavow place and
embrace where you are.

You are here.

In terms of regional politics, this empowerment would involve value-added
industry, decentralized decision-making, and resources for local initiatives.
In terms of culture, it means creating art in Prince George and affirming it.

June 5, 2005

New Prince George Book Release!

The Courtesan Prince
by Lynda Williams.

Book I of Lynda Willams' Okal Rel Universe 10 book novel series (Throne Price was the 4th of the series).

In this novel: "The status quo is shaken up when egalitarian Rire discovers the Sevolite Empire and exposes all to irrefutable proof that a commoner sword dancer is actually racist Sevildom's long lost crown prince, Amel. Relationships destined to influence history are forged, and the stage set for power struggles in Amel's name."

To see more go to Okal Rel Universe or to order go to EDGE online.

Disturbances by Ken Belford

Trees make shadows and
alternative environments

are fragmented by disturbances.
Water snakes and anglers come here.

Strong stories with strong tails
and long, broad gills are going

and now I walk around town
remembering the big trees.

Rainbow have a strong fidelity
to wood-formed pools in the fall,

matrix dams last for years
and the bigger the trees the better.

The loss of the old growth
makes huge disturbances.

Rivers need trees that don’t move
until everything moves.

Complex flow, heterogeneous zone.
Look around – trees in the water

and trees on the ground
make new sediment terraces

and a certain kind of fish
in a certain kind of water

forms around obstructions
that cause friction.

June 2, 2005

Fred Wah, from Alley Alley Home Free

"No single meaning is the right one because no “right ones”
stand still long enough to get caught. But because we do not
know does not mean we are lost. Something that is strangely
familiar, not quite what we expect, but familiar, is present.
That quick little gasp in the daydream, a sudden sigh of
recognition, a little sock of baby breath. Writing into meaning
starts at the white page, nothing but intention. This initial
blinding clarity needs to be disrupted before we’re tricked
into settling for a staged and diluted paradigm of the “real,”
the good old familiar, inherited, under-standable,
unmistakable lucidity of phrase that feels safe and sure,
simple sentence, just-like-the-last-time-sentence."

George Street Letters call for contributions

Issue #2 theme: Finding beauty in things and places we would
not expect, especially garbage, junk, litter, broken things, etc.
Addressing the impending environmental catastrophe with a post-
modernist sense of playfulness bordering on naiveté.

Looking for articles and reviews on topics such as literature and art
about garbage and catastrophe, and social/environmental/cultural
issues of consumption and waste

However you don't have to take a concerned environmentalist
approach to this, rather the underlying message might be "This is
our world and we love it, no matter how ugly it gets - Hey look, isn't that
piece of litter pretty?" rather than "We're all going to hell."

POETS- I'm want half of the special section to be poetry on top of
photography, so start writing on these topics!

Contact George Street Letters for more information!

Robert Creeley, On Charles Olson

"So he is able to read his own life as text rather than reference. One
time at Black Mountain he said to me, "I need a college to think with,"
meaning, I understood, that he wanted the multiplicity of instance, all
particular and active, not the discrete or isolating possibilities of a
chosen few. "Come into the world," he said, "Take a big bite." It was
poetry that could move with the necessary syntax and speed, to 'be here'
coincident with recognition, a locating act."