Saturday, 21 November 2020

Friday, 11 September 2020

Autumn Verses: 10th annual gathering

The Chinese Canadian Writers Association's 10th annual bilingual Autumn Verses recital will take place via zoom: 21 Sept 2020, register for link via WORD Vancouver.

All welcome!


Thursday, 10 September 2020

sudden snowfall

Colorado: views from camp this morning

a few days ago it was 90 degrees, smog from a wildfire blockin out a bunch of the sky, and then the snow rolled in. its all melting now and gonna be 80+ degrees by the weekend. but an enjoyably apocalyptic scene for a while there

~Lila Campbell, reports from the road

Olive & Lila, June portrait:

Friday, 14 August 2020

Daniel David Moses

Hello Jo


I'm okay today. 


I'd been without wifi for a month or so,

so felt really disconnected in addition to being 

self isolated. I was also without a land line, so had

to finally give in and get a smart phone so I could stay

in touch with my blessed sister and family and 

a few local friends.


My oncologist seems satisfied enough with my chemo

that he mitigated my last treatment a bit. I'm lucky

that I only end up exhausted afterwards.


The Decameron? I'm intrigued, now that

you mention it…


Be well



2 May 2020

I met Daniel David Moses at the Writing Thru Race conference in 1994 (for the backstory on the gathering see Larissa Lai pdf). I was aware of (fan of) his poetry, not yet aware of his playwright presence, nor his editorial and professorial cred. 

Some while later, when my life was "going to hell in a hand basket," I reached out and requested a support letter from him. I read and re-read that letter he sent, trying to close the gap between the way I saw myself, and the way I might be described by another.  His perspective was vastly more affirming and compassionate than my sometimes devastating internal monologue.

To say "thank you" for his support, I decided to interview him, and this created an opportunity to learn at the knee of a master. I couldn't in the moment afford to buy his most recent book (16 Jesuses), so he provided his manuscript version, so that I could ask him my questions from an up-to-date, informed position.

The bulk of the interview was published in Contemporary Verse 2, discussing writing poetry vs writing plays. A shorter excerpt focussing on nonfiction forms was published in Yellow Medicine Review, both in 2007.

Since that time, we have been pen-pals, and through all those years I only got mad at him once: when he told me about his cancer diagnosis. I had to write back and clarify: I am not mad at you, but I am really mad at cancer.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Surrey Muse Virtual Gathering July 2020

I attended my first "watch party" last night, and gained a renewed respect for the technical aspects of online gathering (how challenging they may be). I was able to watch an entire movie on Netflix, between the intended launch time and the actual, three hours later.

In my own home, it took multiple tries to record my bit, 20 minutes of poetry, initially upbeat and (a week later) sad. What made the difference was the passing of Daniel David Moses, alongside the themes of my recent work (death and friendship).

I was using a camera/mike acquired by one of my sons a decade before, and abandoned due to lo res everything. The household cat goddess, Sophie, likes to speak back when she hears me apparently talking to myself. In the end I removed her to one of the upstairs bedrooms for a time.

There were other glitches in the transmission, primarily in audio quivers during Mariam's introductions of some of the guests.

Nonetheless, it was a fine night. I am happy to share it.

I felt some of the joy and surprise that the irl Surrey Muse gatherings have long provided, though irl we would also be sharing food and (some of us) cigarettes.

The line-up:
Joanne Arnott (poetry, friendship + death)
Jonina Kirton (memoir, mixed race families)
Tariq Hussain (song + storytelling)
Steffi Tad-y (poetry)

Steffi was the "open mic opener."

Fair warning: while Steffi's poetry was very much aligned with all that came before, the subsequent presenters were on a different path (all hell breaks loose).
If you love the smooth, this ends at 1:21:30.
If you would like to cleanse your palate of all that with a little cacophony, stay tuned.

My personal favourite across the presentations was Tariq Hussain, with his quirky songwriting and easy storytelling.

Like Jonina, I am rooted in Treaty One territory, and like Tariq, radio was a profound influence in my younger life.

My dad was a guitar player, known for it. While he was not a professional, he did inspire his wives and the majority of his nine children to pick up guitar. One of my fondest memories is a particular mother's day, when my elder sister Marni and I, and my two eldest sons, each picked up the guitar and shared a song. I felt deeply affirmed-- in spite of all-- the guitar family continues to cascade through the generations.

My thanks to Surrey Muse, Fauzia Rafique and Mariam Zohra D, for bringing together diverse artists on a regular basis, irl or online as the moment commands. Thanks to Aaron Paquette for the beautiful art infusion.
Discussion arising (& analysis):

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Surrey Muse July 24 2020

Art work ‘Equilibrium’ by Aaron Paquette. Poster designed by Mariam Zohra D.

The 5th Virtual Gathering of Surrey Muse

95th Gathering

 – Friday July 24 / 2020 – 

LIVE Watch Party
Friday, July 24, 2020
5:30 -7:30 PM (PT)
Join us on YouTube
Surrey Muse Channel on YouTube
Featured Guests
Author Jónína Kirton
Poet Joanne Arnott
Performer Tariq Hussain
Open Mic Opener Steffi Tad-y
Featured art by Aaron Paquette
Host Mariam Zohra D.
View previous program videos at
Surrey Muse YouTube channel
Free event
Donations welcome
Updates will be posted here
Videos will be posted here
More about the gatherings
‘LIKE’ us on FB
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Surrey Muse gatherings take place
on the unceded Coast Salish territories of
the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen,
Qayqayt, Tsawwassen, Musqueam,
Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.