Friday, June 29, 2012

Al Rempel (The Picket Fence Diaries) has a birthday today

Al has agreed to participate in Seven of the Proust Questionnaire to help us celebrate his birthday.

1.What is your idea of happiness?

To be content with what I have and with where I am; to love and to be loved.

2.What is your favourite virtue?

Loyalty and integrity is number one. The ability to see the good in someone else. Warmth and openness and  a non-judgemental nature. The ability to ignore the question that is posed and to answer the one hiding behind. [Actually Al there are three favourites here but because they are all good virtues they are included]

3.What is your biggest weakness?

I’m an avoider of conflicts – which often backfires.

4.Who are your favourite poets?

I try to read as much poetry as I can – about half an hour a day – both online and in print, and poetry that goes beyond what I ‘get’ or what is similar to mine or what I like. I wouldn’t say I have any favourites though. Eliot, Blake, & Hopkins were early influences. Emily Carr (not the BC painter) and Gillian Jerome both gave me permission – through their work – to try new things with my own writing. I try to learn from everything I read.

5.Who are your favourite heroes and heroines in history?

I’d be happy to do away with this notion when it involves putting people on a pedestal, idolizing them, and ignoring their humanity. There are people who do many good things in this world without notice; there are people who do a great thing when called on, when the ‘time is ripe’. I really can’t distinguish between one and the other.

6. What do you most dislike?

Entropy gets me down. Especially if it involves an expensive broken mechanical part. People with large egos or who are hateful and negative. When a driver won’t signal before turning in front of me.

7. What is your motto?

I often find myself saying to no one in particular: “One thing at a time”. It makes me feel like I have some control of the situation.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jack Layton: Art and Action

For those who participated on this site's poems for Jack Layton last year, you might be interested in Penn Kemp's upcoming project. Penn is writing a book of anecdotes about Jack Layton and his involvement with arts and culture.

The working title is Jack Layton: Art and Action.

She is looking for stories, from a paragraph to a page or two, on encounters with Jack in the many arts and cultures that intrigued him. Each contributor will receive a copy. She is also seeking pieces on how Jack has continued to influence our lives and our activism; how his spirit has stayed with people since his death last August. Jack inspired her personally to move from performance poet to poet activist. Like throughout his long municipal and federal political life, Jack welcomed and encouraged everyone to become an activist to effect change. Now the time has certainly come!
 Email Penn Kemp for more information:

Please visit Quattro Books website for more information.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Poet's Quest for God

Call for Submissions
The Poet’s Quest for God: 21st Century Poems of Spirituality
Edited by Dr. Oliver V. Brennan and Dr. Todd Swift
For Publication by Eyewear Publishing 2013-14
Deadline for submission: August 1, 2012

Eyewear Publishing is planning to publish an anthology of new, mostly previously-unpublished poems, written in English, concerned with spiritual issues in this secular age, by persons of any faith, or none. Submissions will be welcomed via email as word documents, containing no more than three poems, and including contact details and a brief 100 word biographical note about the author.

One of the characteristics of our contemporary culture which is generally described as post-modern is the human search for the spiritual. The advent of post-modernity has been accompanied by the dawn of a new spiritual awakening. Many spiritual writers say that desire is our fundamental dis-ease and is always stronger than satisfaction. This desire lies at the centre of our lives, in the deep recesses of the soul. This unquenchable fire residing in all of us manifests itself at key points in the human life cycle. Spirituality is ultimately what we do about that desire. When Plato said that we are on fire because our souls come from beyond and that beyond is trying to draw it back to itself, he is laying out the broad outlines for a spirituality. Augustine made this explicitly Christian in his universally known phrase: ‘You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You’.

This new emphasis on and openness to the spiritual dimension of human existence which is characteristic of contemporary lived culture is accompanied by a new emergence of atheism - ‘The Rage against God’ – as well as a sometimes-aggressive secularism. Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are the two best-known exemplars of this in Western Europe. Perhaps the best response to this rage against belief in a Divine Power at work in the universe is a poetic one. In reply to people such as his brother Christopher and Dawkins, Peter Hitchens believes that passions as strong as theirs are more likely to be countered by ‘the unexpected force of poetry, which can ambush the human heart at any time’.

Hence we invite poets from around the world who can empathise with the new search for the spiritual to write about their belief, search or struggle with their quest for God (or a God), whether their image of God is what one young person described as ‘a creative energy that exists all around us, a life force’, the female image of God of the Old Testament, or the Abba (Father) image which lay at the core of the spirituality of Jesus of Nazareth, or indeed, some heretofore unimagined apprehension of the divine. The purpose of this collection is to awaken debate, create an imaginative discourse and generally open a space for religious poetic practices in the contemporary world, while at the same time refusing to delimit the horizon of the possible.

As poetry, and poets, have a long, rich, and no doubt complicated tradition of writing to, and about God (one needs only to think of Dante, Milton, Donne and Dickinson) and other issues surrounding faith, belief, and transcendence, the editors believe there should be no shortage of inspiring, inquiring, intriguing and imaginative poems available for readers at this challenging time in human history.

For more information, or to submit, contact Dr Swift at or at Facebook.

Lipstick Press is not publishing books now

Dear Poets Sorry to let you know we have not been publishing chapbooks since 2010. We did some online publishing - mainly for social iss...