“That ‘You shall sorrow’ is both true and beautiful. I do not have the right to harden myself against the pains of life, for I ought to sorrow; but neither have I the right to dispair, for I ought to sorrow; furthermore, neither do I have the right to stop sorrowing, for I ought to sorrow. So it is also with love. You have no right to harden yourself against this emotion, for you ought to love; but neither do you have the right to love dispairingly, for you ought to love; just as little do you have the right to misuse this emotion in you, for you ought to love.”


—Kierkegaard, Works of Love


Publication: “Ballad of Blood Hotel,” in 2015 Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library Journal

So It Goes

My poem, “Ballad of Blood Hotel,” from my book Sharps was selected for the brand new 2015 Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library anthology, So It Goes, out this November. I’m stoked because I’m a LONG time Vonnegut fan, and because of the calibre of talent I managed to lurk by: Marge Piercy, Wendell Berry, and William Burroughs are among this editions’ contributors.

Publication: “Birding in Wolfville” in Prism 54.1, Fall 2015


New poem, “Birding in Wolfville” out in this issue and Prism inteviewed me on their site about the story behind it (among other things). Here’s a clip and here’s the whole thing.

I heard you wrote a poem about bird watching with Don McKay, but I couldn’t find it in the book?

As part of the book tour I did about five dates with my friend Kerry-lee Powell, whose book was out in the fall too, it’s called Inheritance. Then a bunch of dates were with Don McKay because his new book is also on Goose Lane. He’s such an amazing reader. He’s so spontaneous. Even his old stuff he reads like it’s brand new. He gets right back into it. He’s one of those people you meet and think, no wonder you’re successful, you’re great at everything—talking to people one on one, the chit-chat between poems, of course the actual reading. He never goes through the motions. He’s always present. I think it was really a master class in terms of those aspects of poetry.

He’s had a lot of time…

Yeah. We went to Wolfville, NS. It’s these windy roads, it’s a valley, and it’s temperate—they grow produce there; they have vineyards. It felt a little bit like New England, the vibe of it—clapboard houses, seaside-things, leaves were blowing down sideways. It was cliché, a little bit like, “This is fucking beautiful, man. Did I die?”

He drove us—I don’t drive—and all I could think was, “I can’t believe I’m making G-d drive me here.” I didn’t really ever rise to the occasion of being around him. I just walked around crushed. We went birdwatching and I didn’t know what the hell to say, I was all: “I guess you’re over seagulls, huh?” So you know, after I wrote a poem…