August Recommendations | Issue 8
I spent most of the day despairing about the world, but I finally decided to let myself have a little joy too.
I love doing the recommendation lists because it is a delight to read or find something cool and have a place to share it with others.
So here it is!
If you have any suggestions for the recommendation section, post it here.
Thanks for reading!
I’ve been meaning to make a video poem from the chapbook I co-wrote with Gary Barwin, Me, Then You, Then Me, Then (knife | fork | book, 2020).
The video was adapted from my poem “Water”.
You can order a copy here.
Thanks to Fence Magazine for including my three poems in the spring-summer 2021 issue!
You can get a copy here.
SMLTA August Recommendations
More on The Topic of What We Owe Those We Write About
Amanda Knox on Why She Went After ‘Stillwater,’ and Filmmakers’ Responsibility to Truth — Even in Fiction
Read more here.
Here’s my Issue 7 post on the topic of writing about friends, families, and strangers.
The Long Goodbye (1973)
I recently rewatched The Long Goodbye. The movie was as good as I remembered it. Here’s the opening scene.
A case for writing in the margins!
On Writing and Finance
Great thread on writers and money:
This entire country is haunted by Alicia Elliot, McLean’s
Alicia Elliot on residential schools:
“A building built on an Indian burial ground is a trope in horror movies. The protagonists in these films are always white families who are pure and innocent as the snow. They step into these houses or hotels unaware of the Indigenous blood that was spilled before they came. If they find out about the history of the land they’re settling, the haunting that colonialism has created, like in Pet Sematary, that doesn’t stop them from settling in and expecting uninterrupted colonial happiness. After all, this land was cleared for them to settle.
And yet, once the haunting starts, we’re not supposed to empathize with the nameless Indigenous people whose bodies were buried beneath these homes. We’re not supposed to even think of them. We’re supposed to empathize with the white families being terrorized — the very people who decided it was okay to build their lives atop Indigenous death.”
Read more here.
A Few Rules For Predicting The Future by Octavia E. Butler
Excellent essay by Octavia E. Butler originally published in Essence Magazine in May 2000.
When I was preparing to write Parable of the Talents, I needed to think about how a country might slide into fascism–something that America does in Talents. So I reread The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and other books on Nazi Germany. I was less interested in the fighting of World War II than in the prewar story of how Germany changed as it suffered social and economic problems, as Hitler and others bludgeoned and seduced, as the Germans responded to the bludgeoning and the seduction and to their own history, and as Hitler used that history to manipulate them. I wanted to understand the lies that people have to tell themselves when they either quietly or joyfully watch their neighbors mined, spirited away, killed. Different versions of this horror have happened again and again in history. They’re still happening in places like Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor, wherever one group of people permits its leaders to convince them that for their own protection, for the safety of their families and the security of their country, they must get their enemies, those alien others who until now were their neighbors.
Read more here.
Judith: Women Making Visual Poetry
Judith: Women Making Visual Poetry, a 21st century anthology edited by Amanda Earl and published by Timglaset Editions in 2021 .
Judith: Women Making Visual Poetry is a 260-page, full-colour book featuring visual poetry from 36 women in 21 countries, a foreword by Johanna Drucker, and essays on digital visual poetry and the future of visual poetry by Fiona Becket, on women in asemic writing by Natalie Ferris, and on feminist practice with Letraset, the ephemeral and fragility by Kate Siklosi. The book also features an excerpt from a roundtable interview of 13 women artists who work with language and craft. A list of 1181 women currently making visual poetry is also included. The anthology is edited by Amanda Earl.
For some, the definition of ‘settler’ is as difficult to pin down as reconciliation by Drew Hayden Taylor, The Globe & Mail
Drew Hayden Taylor on “settler fragility”:
“Let’s deconstruct the argument. Technically, who are these settlers of which we speak? That has been an intense topic of discussion in recent times. For some, its definition is as difficult to pin down as reconciliation. Some would argue it’s anybody whose ancestors were not a part of this land since Time Immemorial. Similarly, others might further define settlers as all the non-Indigenous peoples living in Canada who form the society we live in today, politically, economically and culturally. Basically, if your ancestors came here, and you are enjoying and revelling in the end product of turning Turtle Island into Canada, you are a settler. So enjoy your latté and non-fat Greek yogurt.”
Emily Schultz On The Worst Writing Advice Ever
It’s time to stop the slaughter of darlings:
You’ve heard the advice many times before, probably from an overworked teacher reaching for any easy-to-convey technique, or from that workshop dick who wanted to win a story argument without putting in too much effort. The advice is “kill your darlings.”
I hate that I have to point this out but killing something you love is psychopathic and illegal.
Read more here.
Decolonising creative writing: It’s about not conforming to techniques of the western canon
Excellent essay on how the Western aesthetics of writing has been driven by colonialism and the dismissing of non-western forms of storytelling.
Important read for any writers or teachers of creative writing.
For Namrata Poddar in “Is ‘Show Don’t Tell’ a Universal Truth or a Colonial Relic?” the rule stemmed from a remnant of colonial infrastructure dismissive of non-western modes of storytelling. She wondered if 21st-century America was overvaluing a singularly sight-based approach to storytelling. Could this be, she asked, another case of cultural particularity masquerading itself as universal taste?
In short, yes.
Read more here.
Event: Michael LePoint: The Creep
I’ve heard a lot about this book and am excited to read it!
August 11, 2021 at 12:00pm - Toronto Public Library Virtual Event
Writing Workshop: Discovering More Stories in our Senses with Sandra Campbell
Tuesday, August 17 – Thursday, August 19, with Sandra Campbell
3:30pm-5:30pm ET, $75 week $30/class, sliding scale available (delivered on Zoom).
In a spirit of relaxation and playful ease, Sandra offers a mix of poems, images and writing exercises that spark awareness of the dynamics of your body/mind with memory and imagination and that lead you into writing spontaneous free-fall writing. In this way you’ll discover and write your unique stories that come from within. Who knows, you may even see anew. It’s all about process, not performance.
For those who want to delve more deeply into their spontaneous writing, each class includes instruction in key aspects of the craft of story writing.
Sign up here.
Watch Your Head: Writers & Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis
With wildfires raging across the country and the new IPCC report out, it’s a good time to remind you about Watch Your Head: Writers & Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis.
Back in October 2020, Coach House Books published this anthology edited by myself and fourteen editors!
You can purchase a copy here.
Proceeds are donated to RAVEN and Climate Justice Toronto.
A warning, a movement, a collection borne of protest.
In Watch Your Head, poems, stories, essays, and artwork sound the alarm on the present and future consequences of the climate emergency. Ice caps are melting, wildfires are raging, and species extinction is accelerating. Dire predictions about the climate emergency from scientists, Indigenous land and water defenders, and striking school children have mostly been ignored by the very institutions — government, education, industry, and media — with the power to do something about it.
Writers and artists confront colonization, racism, and the social inequalities that are endemic to the climate crisis. Here the imagination amplifies and humanizes the science. These works are impassioned, desperate, hopeful, healing, transformative, and radical.
This is a call to climate-justice action.
Edited by Madhur Anand, Stephen Collis, Jennifer Dorner, Catherine Graham, Elena Johnson, Canisia Lubrin, Kim Mannix, Kathryn Mockler, June Pak, Sina Queyras, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Rasiqra Revulva, Yusuf Saadi, Sanchari Sur, and Jacqueline Valencia
Only the Sun
Composer Patrick Murry adapted Emily Schultz’s poem “Only the Sun” which appeared in theWatch Your Head anthology.
You can watch the video and read the original poem on Watch Your Head.
And check out the new writing, music, and art on Watch Your Head!
From the Send My Love to Anyone Archive
How to Meet a Writing Deadline by Jessica Johnson
Start by writing whatever you know. Sometimes this is just the title of an assignment or the bullet points you were handed by the editor. (I learned to do this when newspaper editors would unexpectedly move up my deadline from 5 pm to 2 pm. Terrifying!)
Give yourself time to write the assignment. 90% of the time, writing will not go smoothly — you’ll realize what you thought was your story is actually something different. You might need more research. The night before deadline is too late for new interviews.
Read more here.
Issue #8 of Send My Love to Anyone
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