Summer is blooming here at Bywords this month with poems by Kane X Faucher, Robert Mosurinjohn, Lisa Twardowska and Asoka Weerasinghe. It’s a giddy, romantic, frantic time here with all kinds of fun and plans going on. Your Bywords volunteers have lots of energy this summer. So while many of you are resting and taking time off for the fun of beaches and cottages, we will be working away in the background, making plans and having a good time putting together Bywords. Don’t forget to submit poetry if you have that Ottawa connection. Your poems are the life’s blood of Bywords. And remember we keep your poems for three months if necessary. So if you receive only an acknowledgement of receipt and nothing more over the course of the three-month evaluation period, worry not. Your poem may be in the next issue. Don’t forget to check its status using your account and password.
I am in the process of organizing our reading at Chapters downtown on July 18 for the summer quarter of Bywords.ca and the launch of the summer BQJ. Jane Crosier of Carleton’s CKCU has done us the honour and kindness of inviting Bywords to be on her show, Literary Landscapes on July 15 to promote the upcoming reading. I will be on with one of our featured readers, Asoka Weerasinghe and possibly a musician who will perform at the reading. I still need to recruit one.
In July, we start work on our limited edition printed memorial to John Newlove, which we will launch in the fall at the Ottawa International Writers’ Festival. Thank you to everyone who has provided us with excellent comments about the online memorial issue. Thanks especially to rob maclennan, I recently connected with Robert Mactavish who is filming a documentary on John Newlove’s life. Once I have more details I will keep all of you posted about its launch.
June is overflowing with literary events. Bywords had a table at the recent Small Press Book Fair where we met up with old friends and new ones who sold and purchased copies of our Bywords Quarterly Journal. Take a look at Charles’ photos of our table. All the seashells and little rocks are part of our Bywords Summer Wonder theme. Thanks to Joe, Sarah and Stephanie for their time and support at the fair. This book fair is an amazing opportunity to discover the joy, fun and beauty of the small press. I can’t begin to express my overwhelming gratitude to rob (once again!) for putting this thing together twice a year. It’s what inspired me to get involved in Bywords in the first place. Charles and I and a few other people from my own class with Seymour Mayne began at the fair a few year’s back, selling chapbooks for Friday Circle’s small press (www.fridaycircle.uottawa.ca). Because of our affiliation with the University of Ottawa English Department, fair attendees inquired about Bywords. It had disappeared after an 11-year run. We learned that Ottawa’s literary enthusiasts wanted it back. So we gave it to them. And love what we do. Hope you do too
Bywordians also attended a very special Tree reading on June 8: The Battle of The Sonnets featuring Bywords published poets Stephen Brockwell and Peter Norman debating in sonnet form the literary relevance of the sonnet today. Peter and Stephen breathed life into a form which, to some of us (sorry Peter), seemed anachronistic and stilted. Peter may convert you though. Both Peter and Stephen’s playful arguments were very compelling. They have put out a chapbook of their sonnet debates so you will be able to read for yourself. Once I have details on availability I will share them on the site.
Speaking of events, lately we haven’t been distributing the calendars monthly in the mail. It’s a significant cost to us, and we feel that our online calendar is more up to date and accessible by most people. We do try to get calendars to many of the reading series, but we can’t always do that. We may pursue funding for the printed calendars down the line. Do you think the printed calendars are necessary? I’d love your feedback (email@example.com)
Thanks to the selection committee this month: Joe Goski, Stéphanie Lafleur, Megan McGrath, Sarah Ruffolo, and Betty-Warrington-Kearsley. Welcome back Stéphanie. Also please join us in welcoming our newest member of the team, Christine Zadorozny, who was in the ENG 3264 poetry creative writing class two years ago. Her poetry can be seen in the recently published Friday Circle anthology, “Just So’s You Know.” If you don’t have a copy of this yet, let me know.
Please send your kudos, criticisms, caring words of support to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send financial support in the form of a cheque to our mailing address ;)listed in”about Bywords” That speaks volumes.