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I’m Running for City Council in Fredericton’s Ward 6!

Monday, April 9th, 2012

If you’re looking for information about my campaign for city council, please click here. You’ll find my platform, links to interviews and photos, and much more!

If you live in Ward 6, I hope I can count on your support on May 14, 2012.

The polls:

Advance polls: Saturday, May 5 and Monday, May 7, Kinsmen Club of Nashwaaksis, 141 School Street, 10am to 8pm.

Election day: Monday, May 14, Greenwood Baptist Church, 150 Greenwood Dr., 10am to 8pm.

Coming Soon: Book Reviews

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

In the Spring I started receiving new books from Brick Books. Since then I have been too busy (reviewing for magazines, working, judging the City of Ottawa Best Poetry Book Prize, and looking for work) and have just began reading them. This happened to coincide with getting the first two books of the Fall releases. So: expect a review soon. And more to follow.

And if you are a publisher, and wish to promote your book here, please drop me a line!

Jack Layton (1950-2011)

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Twenty-four hours ago, I learned that Jack Layton had died. It was a shock. Still is. Since he became the leader, he has been an inspiring figure for me with his commitment to social justice, democracy and optimism. His belief in making the world a better place made me feel as though my same belief was not so crazy. It’s very easy to get distracted and discouraged, and it is a testament to the person he was that he never did get distracted or discouraged. His letter has been quoted so much in the last day, but his final message bears repeating: “…love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

Yesterday I wore my Jack Layton button from a past campaign. The little holes it has left in my shirt near my heart seem like a fitting metaphor.

I “Wordled” an Essay I wrote on Translation

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Wordle: Littoral

Winnipeg Reading!

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Here are the specs, as provided by Ariel Gordon, the lovely Winnipeg poet who organized the event:

Terminal Reading: Booth, Diaz, Coffey & LeTourneau
Date: Thursday, September 9, 7:00 pm
Location: Aqua Books (274 Garry Street, between Graham and Portage)
Cost: FREE

Writers Ian LeTourneau and Sherry Coffey are moving from Alberta to New Brunswick. They’ll be parking the U-Haul in select cities along the way, including Winnipeg.

In an effort to welcome them to the prairies, we’ve provided them with a pair of Winnipeg-writers-named-Jason.

* * *

Jason Booth is a recent graduate of the Creative Communications program at Red River College. His poetry has been published in The Collective Consciousness, the quarterly journal of The Manitoba Writer’s Collective. He resides in Winnipeg with his wife and percolator.

Jason Diaz is a Winnipeg-based writer and stay at home dad. His poetry and prose has been published in dark leisure magazine. He is also a blogger for the THIN AIR blog, Hot Air.

Sherry Coffey was born in Whitehorse. Her writing has been published in magazines, such as Qwerty and Room of One’s Own. Burnt Offerings, a play co-written with Ian LeTourneau, won the nbActs Theatre Festival’s One-Act Play Competition and was produced in 2003. Her novel in progress, A Pattern of Walking, won the Writers Federation of New Brunswick’s David Adams Richards Prize in 2006. And in 2007, she was the recipient of The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award, whose jury said the manuscript “eloquently mixes historical events with fiction to carve an imaginative landscape which draws you in.” She lives in Fredericton with her husband and son.

Ian LeTourneau’s poetry has been published in many magazines and anthologies. In 2006, Gaspereau Press published Defining Range, a chapbook of poems, and in 2008, Thistledown published Terminal Moraine, his first full-length collection. He lives in Fredericton.
* * *
“Terminal Moraine is a landmark book. It entertains and ferries readers to the ‘otherworld’ poetry inhabits, but it could also be well-used in writing workshops, as LeTourneau’s poems have much to teach us. Reversals (ie: the tide, time, memory), renewals, and re-ordering predominate, but within these themes there exists great diversity in subject, tone, and form.” – Anna Mioduchowska, Prairie Fire Review of Books

“Letoumeau has a whole lot going on in this slender collection, as he mixes science and art—looking for the soul in the machine, or anywhere, for that matter. [...] Letoumeau, like recent poetic forbears Christopher Dewdney, Tim Lilburn, and Don McKay, is intellectually equipped to go headlong into the scientific world with a philosophical head of steam and a spiritual magnifying glass.” – Bill Robertson, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

The Second Book Project Interview: Tracy Hamon

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

The Lowdown: I’m in the middle of writing my second book of poetry. I wondered how other poets who have finally published their second book approached it and felt about the process, etc. And then there’s all kinds of other quirks related to the writing, publication and reception of their second books that I wondered about. So I asked some poets. Here is one result.


Who: Tracy Hamon was born in Regina, SK and grew up traveling between Regina and her parents’ farm near Edenwold, Saskatchewan. She holds a BA Hon and a MA in English. She is the current Program Officer for the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary magazines, and her first book of poetry This Is Not Eden was released in April 2005. It was a finalist for two Saskatchewan Book Awards. Portions of her recent collection, Interruptions in Glass, won the City of Regina Award in 2005. She currently lives in Regina, Saskatchewan.

First Book: This is Not Eden. Thistledown Press, 2005
Second Book: Interruptions in Glass. Coteau, 2010.

The Interview:

IL: First of all, any second thoughts about your first book?

TH: My first thought was yay, I have another book! because there are no guarantees. Now, after three months, what I think about most is promotion: I worry that I don’t stay active enough talking about the book.

As for second thoughts, I’m not sure what that means. The poems are what they are. I can’t change them now. I can only hope that people will want to read them. Of course, I do hope that I improve in craft, technique, and perhaps even style with every book, though I don’t think I’ll be a good judge of the process. I guess my thoughts are always hopeful that there will be more books, and I can only trust that each book improves from the last.

IL: How important do you think staying with the same publisher is, and why?

TH: Good question. I almost believe that staying with one publisher is a bit of an anomaly these days. I changed publishers due to a variety of factors, but mainly because of communication problems. I find my current publisher Coteau suits me quite well, but I’m also wiser after the publishing experiences of the first book. Although they are a small press, they are generous with their time and assistance, and the communication between us remains good. I don’t think that changing publishers has had, or will have, any negative impact on my career, but what do I know?

IL: Was your approach to the second book different than the first, and if so how?

TH: Not really and yes. Both books are collections of poems though not in a thematic sense the way my third manuscript is, and they weren’t written with any formative topic in mind; however, certain narrative threads did became obvious as I pieced the manuscript together. Writing poetry is an evolving process for me. I have no set routine and find this process changing every year. While I was editing the second book, I was finishing a BA, starting an MA, and writing another manuscript of poems as my thesis. Therefore, the second book took much longer to develop than the first as I continually set the poems aside in favour of writing new poems for the thesis. In addition, my first book seemed to thematically pull together much easier than the second. I think that by taking my time with the second manuscript, it altered in theme and consequently in structure, which in turn took more time. The editing process after acceptance was more intense the second time around, but extremely helpful to the experience of being a writer, and the poems improved because of it. The five-year gap between the first and second books was good for me as a writer; I’ve learned to slow down somewhat, to take a step back and look more cloeley at what I’m doing.

IL: Was your second book easier or harder to write, and why?

TH: Neither. The second book was as easy and as hard as the first book. I believe my second manuscript is stronger than my first and is somewhat riskier, though I took risks in the first book as well. Writing poems is the easy part for me, and editing them to my satisfaction is the hardest part. I think my expectations for myself have increased. I expect more of myself–I want to write better poetry each time. I enjoy the process of writing poems and gain satisfaction from tinkering with language, line breaks, forms of poetry, and it’s satisfying to know that I can write poems, and that one day, they might be published as a book. I want my craft to develop with each book, and I hope that I take nothing about the craft of writing for granted. There’s always something to learn.

Second Book Project

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Stay tuned… there are a few interviews on their way.

The Second Book Project Interview: Zachariah Wells

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

The Lowdown: I’m in the middle of writing my second book of poetry. I wondered how other poets who have finally published their second book approached it and felt about the process, etc. And then there’s all kinds of other quirks related to the writing, publication and reception of their second books. So I asked them. Here is one result.


Who: Zachariah Wells was born and raised on PEI and now lives in Halifax, following sojourns in Ottawa, Halifax, Nunavut, Montreal, Halifax and Vancouver. He is the author of the poetry collections Unsettled (Insomniac Press 2004) and Track & Trace (Biblioasis 2009); the co-author, with Rachel Lebowitz, of the children’s story Anything But Hank! (illustrated by Eric Orchard, Biblioasis 2008) and the editor of Jailbreaks: 99 Canadian Sonnets (Biblioasis 2008) and The Essential Kenneth Leslie (The Porcupine’s Quill, 2010). He has worked as an airline cargo handler/agent, as a railroad service attendant and as a freelance writer and editor. A collection of his critical prose, Career Limiting Moves, is forthcoming from Biblioasis.

The Interview:
IL: First of all, any second thoughts about your first book?

ZW: The publication of Unsettled was something of a fluke. I don’t have the classic story of doggedly shopping around a ms., collecting rejections and cursing philistine editors. I submitted it cold to one publisher—who very sensibly turned it down—and then didn’t bother doing it again. Some time later, to make a long story short, some connections I made on the internet from my work-site in Resolute Bay, NU, led to Paul Vermeersch soliciting and accepting the ms. at Insomniac. Had that not happened, who knows if I’d ever have got around to sending it out again. I wasn’t feeling very motivated to publish.
As is very common, I think, with first books, if I were doing it all again today, I’d change quite a bit. Mostly, I’d delete a number of weaker poems. The book was too long—as I’ve come to believe most poetry collections published today are. That said, there is a core of poems from that book that I’m still quite proud of and that I think stand with the best of anything I’ve done since. But it’s not the sort of book I could ever see myself publishing again; in many ways, it feels like someone else wrote it.

IL: How important do you think staying with the same publisher is, and why?

ZW: That depends on a lot of factors specific to each case, so I can’t comment generally, other than to say you should stay with a publisher if you feel good about it and move on if you don’t. In my case, I changed publishers. Not because I was displeased with Insomniac, but it just wasn’t a terrific fit for me. Biblioasis’ vision of how a book should be made was closer to my own and I liked that they were a small press dedicated exclusively to literary books and to high production values, whereas Insomniac, as a mid-sized publisher, had a lot of other irons in the fire and so, by necessity, no individual author could receive the same kind of attention I could count on from Biblioasis; Insomniac’s production values erred on the utilitarian side, too, which was good in terms of keeping the price of my book down, but made for a less aesthetically pleasing object than I would have liked, ideally. I published two other books with Biblioasis prior to the publication of my second trade poetry collection, so in a way I was staying with my publisher, with whom I’ve developed a terrific professional and personal relationship over the years. (I was on the editorial board of Canadian Notes & Queries, a magazine published by Biblioasis, for a couple of years before I published a book with them.) At this point, it would take something pretty damn tempting to woo me away from Biblioasis.

IL: Was your approach to the second book different than the first, and if so how?

ZW: My first book was a geographically unified collection: all the poems were set in/inspired by the Arctic region I lived and worked in between 1996-2003. During that period, I wrote quite a lot of non-Arctic poems, some of which were collected in a ltd. ed. chapbook, Fool’s Errand, which was published a few months before Unsettled.
So the short answer is that my approach to my second book was already well underway before I published my first book. That said, as per my remarks above, publishing my first book and doing quite a bit of editorial work thereafter led to a heightened awareness of the perils of publishing. I felt that I should have waited longer, refined the book more, and I was determined not to rush a second book into print. My second book could have been published earlier—besides Insomniac, several other publishers had invited me to submit a ms.–and it could have been much longer, but I feel that by waiting and being more selective, I produced a much stronger collection than I would have otherwise. Several readers have said that they’re impressed by how much I improved from one book to the next. I don’t think I’m necessarily that much better a writer—particularly considering that around 1/3 of the poems in T&T predated the publication of Unsettled, in many cases by years—but I’ve become a much better critic of my own work—in part from all the reviewing I’ve done of other people’s books—and generally more conscious of audience and more in control of my material. I think of it in baseball terms: a young pitcher comes up from the minors throwing heat. He might strike out a lot of guys, but he’s wild. More of a thrower than a pitcher. I’ve learned how to pitch better.

IL: Was your second book easier or harder to write, and why?

ZW: As my answer to the previous question implies, I don’t really write books. I write poems and when I have a pile of them I try to figure out which ones fit together in a book-like way. I never have much of a clue what I’m going to write next. I prefer it that way.

Ulysses, the Comic Book

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

It’s called Ulysses Seen. Read it here!

Coming Soon…

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

…to this blog: The Second Book project. I’ve been working on my second book of poems now for close to three years and am finding the experience a tough slog. I feel as though the next book has to be much better than the first: I’m trying new forms and new subject matter, and I’m just generally feeling the pressure (however much it is self-inflicted) to be better. I wondered last night about how others who have finally published their second book approached it, felt about the process, and all kinds of other quirks related to the writing, publication and reception of their second books. So I’m going to ask them. I’m developing a set of 3 or 4 questions and will soon send them out to poets who have published their second books. And then I’ll post them here as mini-interviews. Suggestions welcomed. I hope it will be a regular feature. Until, that is, I begin work on a third…