Sunday, July 29, 2007

The otherworldly energy of Wendy Morton

At first I didn't know what to make of Wendy Morton. The grandmotherly form really didn't jibe with the private eye alter ego, or the self-marketeer who seeks out corporate sponsorships for her poetry. Then I met her in person and realized Morton is equipped with a whole extra gear that most of us never engage, and it takes her places few would think to go. You might get a sense of that from the title of her memoir, Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, or when you listen to the insight she recorded for AuthorsAloud, which dips into the dark and slightly X-rated world of her job as a private investigator. But it all comes down to the poetry, and what you'll take from her reading, I believe, is that she's a committed artist who deserves to be taken very seriously. Go listen.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The hidden How and Why of Elvis

This week Robert Priest, the poet and performer whose verse the Toronto Star called "passionate, cocky, alternately adoring and insulting" gives us a speculative elegy, a terrific prose poem about Elvis that he calls "The Presley Twins." For four lovely minutes Robert proves himself as adept at the mic as at the keyboard. Give it a listen.

I also want to draw your attention, in case you missed it, to a gorgeous ode to the power of literature penned by the wonderfully literate film reviewer Rick Groen and published July 14 in the Globe and Mail. That this eloquent defense of fiction is written by a movie guy doesn't make its truth more true, but it does make it more satisfying.


Update (July 23): Robert Priest has added an Insight to his reading page, with thoughts on the importance of keeping busy as a writer, and on the genesis of "The Presley Twins." It's very much worth a listen. And for anyone who tried to listen to Robert's poem the first few days it was up and encountered an error message, that was due to a brain glitch on my part; it's fixed now.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Good news on the reading front

Every once in a while I find myself worrying about the future of book reading. What seems so vital to you and me (feeding mind and soul with narratives from the printed page) often seems an afterthought or less for people caught like flies in the digital web.

For solace I look to my soon-to-be 14-year-old daughter, who cannot get enough thick novels to feed her appetite. If she's a sample of the developing readership out there, I think, we'll be okay.

And today the terrific British website The Literary Saloon brought my attention to a piece the BBC ran, which offers more good news. It seems the frantic, fragmented pace of our modern lives is actually good for reading.

Who'd have thought?


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

More popular than ever

I thought you might be interested to know that visits to AuthorsAloud have been increasing on an almost daily basis, as more and more people become aware of the existence of the site, and what it offers. Last month the number of visits was more than 50% higher than the month before. And recently total visits to AuthorsAloud surpassed the 30,000 mark.

Given that the site is not yet a year old, and that it offers a highly specialized form of content, which attracts a literary-oriented audience, I think that's remarkable.


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