August 12, 2010
Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
In the best books, there are no heroes.
What are your favourite names?
Boys: Flounder, Tobasco. Girls: Camanda, Countessa, Cassette. Floundra in a pinch. Unisex: Collander.
What is it you most dislike?
Watching people yell at each other on TV.
What is your motto?
Find the mortal world enough. (It’s Auden)
August 12, 2010
“I don’t want to talk too much about polyamory, though. It’s not really something I care about. But I like that Marcus McCann cares about it as much as he does. And I like when poets do well in other public forums, ones beyond the sanctity of the country’s various poetry cults. It was exciting to listen to him walk all over the other guy’s weird logic.”
Read Jacob McArthur Mooney’s piece here.
April 1, 2010
Open letter on the announcement of the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award nominations:
I am grateful for the opportunity presented by the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the League of Canadian Poets. As a prize associated with a first book, it goes a long way to nurturing emerging writers. The shortlist putsme in fantastic company with Robert Earl Stewart, Marguerite Pigeon, Soraya Peerbaye, James Langer and Kate Hall.
Every one of the Lampert-nominated poets has published widely in Canadian literary magazines. They are the best place, often the only place, for young poets to test themselves against their peers. And so, with the announcement today, I’m also mindful of the changes coming to the Canadian Magazine Fund, instituted by the Conservative Party under Stephen Harper.
The changes to the CMF will cripple many small magazines and will likely lead some magazines to fold. I call on the federal government to restore funding rules that support small magazines to promote emerging writers.
Happy National Poetry Month.
Jury citation for Soft Where:
Soft Where by Marcus McCann is a hard-hitting cutting edge poetic expose of a world filled with experimentation and valour. This stunning book explores the possibilities of bringing image to life, written in the language of the people and soaked in a heart of sapphire. The jury was intoxicated by this book, and feels this young writer should be encouraged in every and all ways—to the full extent of poetic promise. The language in Soft Where is as stark and meaningful as the images which express a lifestyle hard-lived and yet as delicate as an origami bird.
More at poets.ca
February 12, 2010
Let’s be honest. The trouble with reviewing books of poetry is that I can take a few lines like “Heat like a sacred / plaza rocks us,” (the first few lines of a Marcus McCann poem) and either argue it’s an awkward image with no emotional resonance (a plaza is not sacred) or brilliantly postmodern, jarring us into an awareness of misleading modern perspectives.
February 8, 2010
January 31, 2010
(Sorry for the delay in posting this link to rob mclennan’s 12 or 20 questions questionnaire interview with me.)
“For me, poetry is about grammar. In everyday English, we tend to use the same sentence constructions — subject, verb, object — over and over. So I spend a lot of time with things like interjections, parentheticals, phrasal subjects, and playing with using words as different parts of speech. In my own work, I’m looking to stretch rather than break grammar…. give English a chance to show off.”
Roundup of more Marcus McCann links: interview on The Bystander podcast. Poems for precious chapbooks in the ditch, anthology. Essay on Genus Envy (is our culture fixated on plagiarism?) published by Angel House Press. A review of Shane Neilson’s new book at the Agora Review. Some reflections in Ottawater. Cultural reporting on why dated cultural artifacts like the work of John Hughes and the musical Rent still matter to gay folks.
January 19, 2010
“This is poetry for a new age; poetry that a reader can easily imagine being performed (to a transfixed audience) on stage. Lines such as ‘Your head’s employees/ call in a snowday, crescent of wrist stung/ like electrical tape was yanked off. Yowsa.’ cry out for a stage and a mike.”
October 22, 2009
“From the startling metaphoric seize of the opening, the lines propel themselves full throttle, through sonic reverberations and imaginative mimesis. Like that loud kid at the pool, here’s a poem that shouts and leaps boldly and compellingly, demanding — and deserving — our full attention.” (John Newlove Award judge Stephanie Bolster)
The John Newlove Award, administered by Bywords:
John Newlove’s selected, A Long Continual Argument:
And don’t forget to check out the rest of the Ottawa International Writers Festival:
October 22, 2009
The strength of the text lies in this cobbling juxtaposition. Writing from a culture that zips through information at a stunning speed, the poems’ interjections of outside text inside deeply personal confession is reflective of most reader’s lives. “Memory Parity Error,” for example, mixes Magnetic Fields lyrics with a lament for remembering, a strange poem that merges those lyrics with raw emotional reflection and computer language and syntax (“If you bluescreen” and “Is this what you remember?, send.”). As the title of the text hints at, the body (and, in this poem, memory) is being outsourced to mechanical counterparts – here the narrator is attempting to regain that small space of memory, recalling and begging for that “latest version/saved much later.”
August 27, 2009
McCann charges to work daily, puffing a cigarette and wearing a smile on his normally unshaven face. Or maybe that smile is remembrance of those prominent gay activists who also happen to be his ex-boyfriends. Clearly, the boyish, rumpled-looking McCann is cutting a swath through the gay end of Bank St.
This year, his first real book, a collection of throbbing, muscular poems, Soft Where, was published by Ottawa’s Chaudiere Books.
“I’ve been watching his work for years and admire the gymnastic quality of it,” says rob mclennan, founder of Chaudiere Books and one of Ottawa’s most prolific poets. “I love the leaps and jumps of his writing. I love the way the language flies.”
[Paul Gessell, Ottawa Magazine, September 09; full interview not yet available online]