Sunday, November 18, 2018

Maybe



Yesterday afternoon I walked to VGH to visit Amarjot, who had emergency surgery last week. As much as I wanted to bring his and Althea's dog Maybe with me (she is staying with me until Am is released), hospital rules are strict about animals at bedsides. Instead, I brought with me a coat covered in Maybe's hair and the picture above, which I took on Friday.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

"Hey, Whoopie Cat!"



A lesser known mondegreen from Side Two of Led Zeppelin IV. This was the side that provided Mike Carroll, Roger Nay, David Holmes and I our soundtrack during a fateful 1978 trip to Gabriola -- an island from which we were subsequently banned.



Friday, November 16, 2018

All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward



Great to hear Tanya Talaga on the road with the 2018 CBC Massey Lectures.

Last night's "All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward (I Breathe for Them)" broadcast came from Tanya's stop in Saskatoon, Treaty 6 Territory, home of former Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas (1904-1986), the "father of universal medical care in Canada," she told us. The "father."


As much as I appreciate Tommy Douglas's push for universal healthcare in Canada, am I wrong to bristle at this personification -- as the father of Canadian healthcare? Is there not a non-patriarchal, less singular way of acknowledging his role? I am asking.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Poem


We Can Have Both, But Not All
for Ashok Mathur

more? let’s begin with what we have

we have each other

say it

each other

no, all of it

            we have each other

we have each other

all together now

            all together now we have each other


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Talonbooks Fall Poetry Launch



Talonbooks tends to launch its Fall (or Spring) titles all at once. Last night's Fall Poetry Launch featured five books and six authors, with Jónína Kirton hosting.

Pictured up top is Tiziana La Melia, author of The Eyelash and the Monochrome. Below is Treaty 6 Deixis by Christine Stewart:


Christine''s book, like Fred Wah's contribution to his and Rita Wong's beholden: a poem as long as the river, was written beside a river (the Columbia River for Fred; the kisiskâciwani-sîpiy or the North Saskatchewan for Christine). I have just started Christine's book and have not yet settled on who she means by "they".

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


A small room behind a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

The shoes come off outside the door and are left on a mat to the right of it. Inside the door are a pair of felt slippers, always warm because beside them is the heating vent.

On the inside of the door is a hook with a red mac on it. When I return, I remove my coat and replace it with the mac.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Flowers



A watercolour by Ian Wallace entitled Poppies from a Field Near Pervillac, France, Summer (1997) currently on display at Fault Line Projects, Ganges, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Remembrance Day Poem


The Known Soldier
for Dana Claxton

I know her. I don’t know her
well, but we were friendly once 
until she said she had to go away
and that was it, when I saw her next
she wasn’t, not mean but indifferent
or preoccupied. I didn’t press
I just looked away, as she did with me
and this went on for some time
until one day we were approaching
each other and as we were passing
she reached out and touched me
touched my shoulder and I stopped
watched her hand slide away
but by then she was gone, crossing
at the light at the end of the block

Friday, November 9, 2018

Fu(rni)ture Shock



Whenever I think the world can't get any worse, and me with it, I look at Ettore Sottsass's Casablanca Sideboard (1981) and I think, Yes, things can get worse: I could visit my mother on Sunday and find Casablanca Sideboard jumping for joy in her dining room.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Colour Rotation (1964)



Consignor Canadian Fine Art's Live Fall Auction of Important Canadian Art is less than two weeks away. Among the highlights is a 1964 Kenneth Lochead painting consigned from the collection of the TransCanada PipeLines Limited of Calgary, Alberta. Yes, this Hard-edge panting looks "like" its title (Colour Rotation), but it could also pass for a buckled (pipe-) line.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Poem


"Only those safe from fascism and its practices are likely to think that there might be a benefit in exchanging ideas with fascists."
--Aleksandar Hemon 


Conditional
after Aleksandar Hemon

are likely to think that there might be
pulled from its quotation, entered 
into Google’s engine, exciting
(but not matching) a BBC

Learning English course 
so it disappears to be mine
and I am free to present it without 

quotation marks, a staircase stanza 
climbed from right to left, walked across
then jumped from -- without anything
to catch us

who among us are likely to think that
there might be a point in lifting something
from something published and dropping from it
this length of poem?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Two Books in a Thrift Store: Letters on a Flat White Field



A couple months ago I found these two books at the East 12th Avenue Salvation Army Store, at opposite ends of the shelf. Neither bookends nor binaries, they are nonetheless attempts at raising questions of decreasing relevance. Does that make them unimportant? No -- they are of their time.

For those interested in those times, these books will be around as long as publishers keep them in print, retailers keep them on shelves and libraries continue to lend them. What determines their availability is another question. Whether that question is based on the market or a public depends on your disposition.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Walking Back on Kingsway



Yesterday's walk suddenly turned into a Skytrain trip from Broadway-Commercial to Metrotown, where I purchased a couple pairs of pants. I thought I might catch a matinee after, eat a bag of popcorn, but the films didn't interest me. Plus it was too warm and sunny to spend the afternoon indoors -- so I walked back from the 4500 block of Kingsway to the 1200 block, where I live.

In the shadow of the Burnaby Skytrain track, between Jersey and Smith Streets, is Minoas Taverna (above), an ongoing work of restaurant architecture that I hope to dine at one day. Below, a thoughtfully cultivated garden (topiary!) by the owners of the Quán Chay Pháp Uyen Veggie Deli (at McKinnon St):


Near Khan's ladder (Gladstone St.), an upholsterer:


The former Rona store between Dumfries and Perry Streets at the 1400 block (below). Last week saw the last of the rebar bundles removed and the safety fence opened. This morning Lowe's, who purchased a number of Rona stores a couple years ago, announced it would be closing many more stores, even though they said they would integrate these stores if and when the day came.




Sunday, November 4, 2018

Care, Protection



Door stops can be springs made of coiled metal wire. They are intended to be flexible. Rubber is flexible, too, and sometimes spring door stops have rubber tips.

Sometimes our stops are too flexible, and are not stoppers at all but slowers, delaying what they are designed to protect. Sometimes adjectives are nouns and appear as such with red squiggly lines under them.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

A Warm and Sunny Autumn Friday



Yesterday's oddly balmy morning...

At 11am I began my ten-block walk southeast on Kingsway to see Khan Lee's 126-foot tall 108 Steps (2018). On my way back I stopped at a second-hand store and picked up two CDs (Sonic Youth's Goo, 1990, and Beck's Mellow Gold, 1994) for $1.50 each; an IKEA stool for $5; and my biggest score, an Expo '86 umbrella ($2!), whose logo was like a swastika for many of us in the mid-1980s.


At 3pm, a Collective Acts "symposium" at UBC featuring presentations (poems, tales, stories, speculations) by Marilyn Dumont and Candice Hopkins, followed by a Q&A led by moderator Tarah Hogue.


Friday, November 2, 2018

The Golden Bird of Kanjataimu (2018)



An ink drawing from Geoffrey Farmer's exhibition Mudpuddlers, Corn Borers, Polymorphic Platyforms at Casey Kaplan (November 1 - December 22).

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Season of Migration to the North (1967)



Page 50 from Tayeb Salih's Season of Migration to the North (1967):

I heard Mansour say to Richard, "You transmitted to us the disease of your capitalist economy. What did you give us except for a handful of capitalist companies that drew off our blood -- and still do?" Richard said to him, "All this shows that you cannot manage to live without us. You used to complain about colonialism and when we left you created the legend of neo-colonialism. It seems that our presence, in an open or undercover form, is as indispensable to you as air or water." They were not angry: they said such things to each other as they laughed, a stone's throw from the Equator, with a bottomless historical chasm separating the two of them. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Genesis 7:11




In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened -- Genesis 7:11

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Membership Has Its Differences



Vancouver Art Gallery Associate Director/Chief Curator Rochelle Steiner began her current position on June 1, 2018. As a member of the VAG I was looking forward to finally hearing something/anything from Ms. Steiner at the VAG's November 7th 5:30pm Annual General Meeting, but she is speaking at another 5:30pm members-only event that night, a membership I am not a part of -- the Globe and Mail newspaper.

Monday, October 29, 2018


A small room behind a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

Fell asleep last night to tapping rain. Awoke at one point to furious typing, or applause -- finally to swooshes made from pooled water and passing cars.

Radio news is telling us to keep our drains free of leaves.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Fringing the Cube



There is a lot to recommend Dana Claxton's Fringing the Cube exhibition, which opened last night at the VAG. For starters, a great exhibition design, some of it, according to curator Grant Arnold, was adapted from the previous Cabin Fever show. Other elements include a number of diagonal placements, like the banner in the exhibition's "Red Room" (above) and a ceiling-hung veiled work that greets you as you enter the exhibition and bids you farewell as you turn its final corner.

Friday, October 26, 2018

I Saw You


Aggressive Shopper/Hudson’s Bay Department Store, Granville and Georgia, Vancouver

I was in no hurry, last out of the elevator; you were determined, in possession of your pronoun. The white lino floor reflected the fluorescents above, allowing the aisle its luge track allusion. “The fuck out of my way!” you roared, bowling me over. 

When: October 25, 2018
Where: Hudson’s Bay Department Store, Granville and Georgia.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Powers of Association



Whale Hunt (2017) is a large oil painting by Megan Kyak-Montieth.


Glue Pour (1970) was a performance by Robert Smithson.


In 2016, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun exhibited some ovoids at Larwill Park.


Thirty Below (1980) is an installation by Nancy Holt.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Red Cloth



On Friday March 4, 2016 Dana Claxton performed Follow the Red Sinew at the Belkin Art Gallery. At the end of the performance, she gave me a piece of red cloth, which I tucked into a red folder and filed on a shelf devoted to Vancouver art and artists.

After Dana and Skeena Reece's on-stage conversation at last Sunday's Vancouver Art Book Fair, Dana asked if I still had the cloth, and could she borrow it for her VAG show. "But it opens on Friday," I said somewhat incredulously. "Yes, I know," said Dana smiling, "so I'll need it soon."

Because I was out most of yesterday I had told Pauline, Dana's assistant, that I would leave the cloth on my porch. Not on the chair, as it says in the picture, but under its cushion, which I did.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The late modern achievement-subject is poor in negation. It is a subject of affirmation." (24)



I am finding this helpful.

Auto-aggression develops out of the gap between the real ego and the ideal ego. The ego struggles with itself, is at war wth itself. The society of positivity, which believes it has freed itself from all external compulsions, entraps itself in destructive self-compulsions. Psychic ailments such as burnout or depression, the exemplary ailments of the twenty-first century, all exhibit auto-aggressive tendencies. One does violence to oneself and exploits oneself. External violence is replaced by self-generating violence, which is more devastating because its victims imagine themselves to be free. (36-37)

Thank you Byung-Chul Han.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Black Twitter



Some great tables at the Vancouver Art Book Fair this year. One of them belonged to L.A./Berlin-based artist Kandis Williams.

Kandis was giving patrons a rapid-fire tour of her Cassandra magazines when I noticed her Black Twitter anthology. "Wallace Berman," I said to myself. "Of course," said Kandis, without missing a beat.


Yesterday I attended Kandis's talk, which began with a Charles Sanders Peirce abductive reasoning inspired schemata ("Lover", "Artist", "Fetishist"), followed by some video clips of Hortense Spillers ("Shades of Intimacy") and Rachel Dolezal, then some light on writers and artists Michael E. Jones, Adrian Piper and Kazimir Malevich, whose Black Square (1915) was an important moment for an artist who, like Malevich, identifies as a Suprematist.


Black Twitter was priced at $25. After Kandis's talk I gave her $40 and she gave me $4 back. "Twenty-five dollars, right?" I said. "Twenty-five American," she said, moving on. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Return to Gender



Last Tuesday Catriona Jeffries took me on a tour of her nicely apportioned new gallery at 950 East Cordova. Thought it best not to take pictures of the interior until the February 2018 opening. In the meantime, two Pit Stops in the parking lot. Gallery design: Patkau Architects.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Boss Twigg (updated [twice])



A quote often attributed to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965) has it that "If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain."

A variant came to mind in the 1990s when I began to notice how certain post-war Baby Boomers who self-idenitifed as anarchists in their youth were suddenly behaving like libertarians. And yes, BC Bookworld's Alan Twigg appeared to be among them.

During a Writers' Union of Canada event at the Vancouver Writers Festival last Wednesday, TWUC equity, membership and engagement co-ordinator Rebecca Benson, who is Tuscarora from Six Nations, was interrupted by Alan while presenting an outline of the TWUC's "equity policy and programming and subsidies for writers." Apparently Alan felt it okay to shout out his two-bits. But to what end? An instance of free speech -- for free speech's sake? Failing to hear ceremony where he only felt exclusion? Apparently, according to a statement he posted on his B.C. Booklook site.

I have pasted Alan's disturbing I-wrote-about-you-so-I-own-you statement below (followed by his revised version that appeared later this morning [and after that a more recent update, as of October 27th):

A public message from Alan Twigg

In an age when tweets can easily be misconstrued as truths, I wish to make a public statement beyond 140 characters.

Firstly, I wish to sincerely apologize to any person who was upset by the discord that ensued during a private function for Writers Union members in October.
I responded to an Indigenous speaker as an equal but organizers hastily intervened to eradicate any discussion or feedback—from anyone. I particularly wish to apologize to Rebecca Benson, from Six Nations, who was therefore placed in an awkward position.
I was only permitted to voice an initial criticism of the unusually doctrinaire nature of the address, but in absolutely no way did I object to the person who made it. There is a big difference.
One organizer threatened me with removal if I persisted in trying to speak my mind. There was to be no freedom of speech at this gathering. Ironically, I was prohibited from voicing a suggestion that I had hoped might be useful for enhancing Reconciliation. [View that proposal below.]
Now my frustration with the organizers–not with TWUC itself–has been misrepresented by one person who has maliciously branded me as a racist in a Tweet. If that person—or, for that matter, anyone—cares to read the thousands of pages I have written and/or published about and for First Nations cultures and Indigenous authors over the past 40 years, they could make a fairer assessment.
The wonderful growth of appreciation and understanding of Indigenous peoples that we are now witnessing in this country is the result of constructive actions and some difficult conversations.
Today, there are at least 266 Indigenous authors in B.C. and I know that because I’ve written about every one of them. I have provided extensive and respectful coverage of books pertaining to First Nations in every issue of B.C. BookWorldsince 1987 and I’ll continue to do so.
Along the way I wrote and produced a CBC documentary, Jeannette ArmstrongKnowledge Keeperof the Okanagan, in 1995, and published the first and only book entirely devoted to Indigenous authors of one province, AboriginalityThe Literary Origins of British Columbia, in 2005. I also had the honour of presenting Jeannette with the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award, making her the first Indigenous writer in BC to be so recognized, in 2016.
While I might not agree with absolutely every TWUC policy and action that has been taken during more than thirty years of membership, I understand that overall the work accomplished by TWUC has been vital and progressive. If someone says or does something that we find problematic in some way, well, historically we have always been welcome to voice our views within TWUC. That level of candour and honesty and engagement is important for the integrity of any union.
*
A VOLUNTARY REPARATIONS FEE
Here is what I was prevented from proposing at the TWUC event.
“A reminder to audiences that we have gathered on unceded territory has been effective in raising public consciousness. Possibly it could be rendered more effective. As it stands, many earnest people now get to feel repetitively guilty. It is human nature to resent admonitions. Therefore, we need to constructively recognize this phenomenon and find a way to enhance this announcement.
“I believe there are many homeowners and condo-owners — and possibly others — who would welcome an opportunity to annually remit, on a voluntary basis, a Reparations Fee. This amount could be decided voluntarily by the “settler” or it could be established by the jurisdictions of First Nations in particular areas.
“Funds accrued could go either to individual First Nations or be shared communally, provincially or federally, among First Nations. Obviously, it should be up to the First Nations to decide such administrative matters.
“Therefore, I would suggest some discussion of the feasibility of inviting theatregoers and concertgoers, or attendees at sporting events, etc., to provide some financial reparation, if they wished to do so, on an annual basis.”
Respectfully,
Alan Twigg

*

Here is Twigg's revision of the above:

How to be branded racist by a Tweet

In an age when false tweets can easily be misconstrued as truths, I wish to make a public statement beyond 140 characters. -- Alan Twigg

Firstly, I wish to sincerely apologize to any person who was upset by the discord that ensued during a private function for Writers Union members in October.
When I responded to an Indigenous speaker as a colleague, organizers hastily intervened to eradicate any discussion or feedback—from anyone–so I particularly wish to apologize to Rebecca Benson, from Six Nations, who was therefore placed in an awkward position.
While I did express some initial criticism of the doctrinaire nature of her address, in absolutely no way did I object to the person who was making it. Possibly the fact that I was responding to Rebecca as an equal colleague, regardless of ethnicity, stirred the ire of the event organizers.
What has not been made clear is that this was not a public event on a stage at the Writers Festival. We were in a private room in a hotel. This gathering was for Writers Union members only. One organizer threatened me with removal if I persisted in trying to speak my mind. I do admit that I expressed consternation when it became clear to me that no freedom of speech was to prevail at this gathering; but at no time was any of my behaviour the least bit racist.
I was therefore, ironically, prohibited from proceeding to voice a constructive suggestion that was to be the main reason for my speaking; an idea that was intended to benefit First Nations.
Soon thereafter one person, Dave Bidini, maliciously branded me as a racist in a Tweet. I believe Mr. Bidini has misguidingly and purposefully misinterpreted my criticism of the methodology that Ms. Benson was employing to communicate Writers Union guidelines. [It should be noted that criticism does not necessarily constitute dissent; although dissent should be tolerated, as well, within any union. I support completely the Reconciliation agenda, as evidenced by the suggestion I was not permitted to make, and by my track record as a writer and publisher.]
If anyone cares to read the thousands of pages I have written and/or published about and for First Nations cultures and Indigenous authors over the past 40 years, they can make a much fairer assessment of whether or not I am a racist, rather than entrusting Mr. Bidini incendiary tweet seemingly designed to generate more followers on his Twitter account.
When Dave Bidini was unable to substantiate exactly why my critique of the speaker’s didactic methodology constituted racism, he subsequently proceeded to fabricate an outrageous quote allegedly gleaned from a brief parking lot conversation. He alleged in a Tweet that I feared Indigenous people wanted to take control of my home. In a Trumpian age, apparently many people are more than willing to believe in an outrageous lie.
If Dave Bidini did some research, he would discover I have done more work to enhance and elevate the appreciation and understanding of First Nations culture than most non-Indigenous members of the Writers Union. I am not entirely sure why I was made a member of the Order of Canada, but that might be one of the reasons.
The wonderful growth of appreciation and understanding of Indigenous peoples that we are now witnessing in this country is the result of constructive actions and some difficult conversations. I am willing to undertake constructive actions and difficult conversations.
Today, there are at least 266 Indigenous authors in B.C. and I know that because I’ve written about every one of them.
I have also provided extensive and respectful coverage of books pertaining to First Nations in every issue of B.C. BookWorld since 1987 and I’ll continue to do so.
Along the way I wrote and produced a CBC documentary, Jeannette ArmstrongKnowledge Keeperof the Okanagan, in 1995.
In 2005, I published the first and only book entirely devoted to Indigenous authors of one province, AboriginalityThe Literary Origins of British Columbia.
In 2016, I had the honour of organizing the presentation of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award to Jeannette Armstrong, making her the first Indigenous writer in BC to be so recognized.
While I might not agree with absolutely every TWUC policy and action that has been taken during more than thirty years of membership, I understand that overall the work accomplished by TWUC has been vital and progressive. If someone says or does something that we find problematic in some way, well, historically we have always been welcome to voice our views within TWUC. That level of candour and honesty and engagement is important for the integrity of any union.
When criticism is disallowed, we move more towards autocracy.
Respectfully,
Alan Twigg

*

The October 27th version:

How to be branded racist by a Tweet

In an age when false tweets can easily be misconstrued as truths, I wish to make a public statement beyond 140 characters. -- Alan Twigg

Firstly, I wish to sincerely apologize to any person who was upset by the discord that ensued during a private function for Writers Union members in October.
When I responded to an Indigenous speaker as a colleague, organizers of this gathering of peers hastily intervened to eradicate any discussion or feedback—from anyone–so I particularly wish to apologize to Rebecca Benson, from Six Nations, who was therefore placed in an awkward position as TWUC’s newly appointed Equity, Membership and Engagement Co-ordinator.
We were at an informal wine ‘n’ cheese stand-up affair. I was not aware in advance that Ms. Benson had been invited to give a formal address. I was near the back of the room. When Ms. Benson completed her address, I raised my hand and stepped away from the wall so that she might be able to see who it was among the TWUC members-only gathering who wished to comment.
I did not have a microphone. No microphone was supplied to the gathering for purposes of any feedback. It was a very large room. Ms. Benson was at the other end of the room. I therefore had to raise my voice so she would be able to hear me. With about twenty yards between us, I began by first trying to express an opinion about the nature of her speech, with regards to tone and its content.
I am an editor who has worked as a professional theatre critic over five decades. If she was a colleague who had been hired to make addresses for my union across the country, some critical response would surely be in order, in our collective best interest. And if I believed the line between principled rhetoric and indoctrination had just been crossed, surely this private venue for TWUC members-only was the best place to speak up. Doing so in a public space would have been inappropriate.
The intentions of newly mandated TWUC policies are no doubt laudable; I support those good intentions. My criticism was essentially an editorial one. I addressed Ms. Benson as a colleague and at no time was my response the least bit racist. In a nutshell, I said, “You are telling me how to think.” There were no profanities; I did not come in contact with any other person. We were in a private meeting room in a hotel, not on a stage at the Writers Festival. Nonetheless, one male organizer/volunteer, who was not a member of our Writers Union, felt self-elected to threaten me with removal if I persisted in trying to speak my mind.
When it became clear to me that freedom of speech was to be denied at a Writers Union function, I responded with overt indignation largely because I had intended to proceed with a constructive suggestion, but I was not permitted to continue. [It should be noted that criticism does not necessarily constitute dissent; although dissent should be tolerated, as well, within any union. I support completely the Reconciliation agenda, as would have been evidenced by the suggestion I was not permitted to make, and also by my track record as a writer and publisher.]
Thereafter, one person, a TWUC member named Dave Bidini, maliciously branded me as a racist in a Tweet. Before doing so he had verbally asserted I was a racist, whereupon a fellow TWUC member had told him he was daft. Possibly this rebuke from her had stirred him to a retaliatory action.
If anyone cares to read the thousands of pages I have written and/or published about and for First Nations cultures and Indigenous authors over the past 40 years, they can make a much fairer assessment of whether or not I am a racist. It is so much easier to formulate a severe judgment based on Mr. Bidini’s incendiary tweet that was possibly designed to generate more traffic on his Twitter account.
When Dave Bidini was unable to substantiate why my truncated critique constituted racism, he subsequently proceeded to fabricate an outrageous quote allegedly gleaned from a brief parking lot conversation. He stated in a Tweet that I feared Indigenous people wanted to “boot us off our land.”
In a Trumpian age, apparently many people are more than willing to believe in an outrageous lie.
If Dave Bidini did some research, he would discover I have published and written a great deal more work to enhance and elevate the appreciation and understanding of First Nations culture than nearly all other non-Indigenous members of the Writers Union. I am not entirely sure why I was made a member of the Order of Canada, but that might be one of the reasons.
The wonderful growth of appreciation and understanding of Indigenous peoples that we are now witnessing in this country is the result of constructive actions and some difficult conversations. I will continue to provide preferential treatment — at my own discretion, not because of any governmental dictum — to books from and about Indigenous societies, as I have been doing non-stop, in every issue of BC BookWorld, since 1987.
Today, there are at least 266 Indigenous authors in B.C. and I know that because I’ve written about every one of them.
Along the way I wrote and produced a CBC documentary, Jeannette ArmstrongKnowledge Keeperof the Okanagan, in 1995.
In 2005, I published the first and only book entirely devoted to Indigenous authors of one province, AboriginalityThe Literary Origins of British Columbia.
In 2016, I had the honour of organizing the presentation of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award to Jeannette Armstrong, making her the first Indigenous writer in BC to be so recognized.
In the past two years, 47 of the first 400 reviews and essays generated by the new Ormsby Review directly concern First Nations–12% of the content. I co-created and publish Ormsby Review; I don’t take any salary.
While I might not agree with absolutely every TWUC policy and action that has been taken during more than thirty years of membership, I understand that overall the work accomplished by TWUC has been vital and progressive. If someone says or does something that we find problematic in some way, well, historically we have always been welcome to voice our views within TWUC. That level of candour and honesty and engagement is important for the integrity of any union.
When criticism is disallowed, we move towards autocracy.
Five days after Mr. Bidini’s tweet, I got news that I’ve now raised enough money to buy a new pick-up truck for the remote village of Luhombero in Western Tanzania. It’s just the sort of thing that we racists do.
Respectfully,
Alan Twigg
*
“Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it.” — Jonathan Swift in “The Examiner” (1710)
“To call Alan (Twigg) a racist with the kind of progressive work he has undertaken over the years is slanderous.” — Irene Watts, Holocaust survivor and author


Friday, October 19, 2018

derek beaulieu



Earlier this month Calgary's derek beaulieu was announced Director of Literary Arts at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The following day I received a package from derek, inside which were some recent publications from his No. Press, including a piece of mine, entitled "PutFord [Mad".

PutFord [Mad
after Ezra Pound

oxFord] inane
mp tyro omna
ked foran hou
randbe holdt
otalcha os


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Page 10



The Vancouver Art Book Fair is this weekend. This is the seventh year of the Fair, and ECUAD is hosting a number of its events.

On Friday evening the Contemporary Art Gallery is launching Robert Kleyn's Page 10 (Brussels: Gevaert Editions, 2018), an artist's book comprised of scanned page 10s from a number of academic and literary sources, including a page from my 1999 novel The Pornographer's Poem.

The pages are organized alphabetically based on the first word that appears on the page. For example, Susan Sontag's page 10 (from On Photography, 1978) is in the "B"s because it begins: "be exacerbated by travel." I am in the "B"s too: "But a funny thing happened." And it's true -- it did!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Indian Dolls



When I was in elementary school (late-60s/early-70s), some of us came to school in our Brownie uniforms (Brownies met after school, while Cubs met after dinner). Of those I know with kids, none attend or attended Brownies.

Yesterday, while walking on Main Street, I noticed The Brownie Handbook in a book bin. I almost bought it, but I am trying to cut down on my book intake, so I took its pictures instead.

Here is the page (74) I was looking for:



Indian dolls

find long and short weeds and grasses

fold them

tie at neck, wrists, waist and legs

to make an Indian grass doll



Indian rattles

cut heavy paper in this design

fold at the dotted lines and paste the sides together

drop in a few grains of rice

tape it to a stick holder

and you have an Indian rattle

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Spotlights



A picture of Neil Wedman early in September at his Wednesday Ouisi salon on South Granville.

Neil has an opening at Equinox this Saturday. Entitled Spotlights, the works consist of a dozen or so large acrylic on canvas paintings of a spotlight on a curtain above a stage.

Later that day the spotlight will be on Vancouver's Mayor elect, as British Columbians will be voting in municipal elections.

Who am I voting for? Looking through the CoV's list of candidates, I still think Hector Bremner makes a better cartoon character than Sophia Cherryes Kaur Kaiser. Katy Le Rougetel impresses (a Walmart cashier and Communist League member), while Kennedy Stewart fills me with inertia.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Downtown Eastside



Yesterday I visited Mina at her studio. Because I am always early, I walked around the neighbourhood and took in its changes.

A notable change was the demolition and replacement of what was once the Exercise (and later Model) Gallery and artist studios at the 100-block of Main Street. But a bigger change was to the overall volume and density of the area.

Lots that sat empty for years suddenly had buildings on them. And unlike past buildings, these new ones were built to the street, with guarded porticos. Same for the spaces between these buildings -- nooks and crannies where people once took refuge.

The picture above is from a location that was once the Helen Pitt Gallery. The Sardine Can refers to itself as Spanish tapas, but when I caught its sign from the corner of my eye, I saw not its can but its ovoids.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

"5 a.m. in Amsterdam" (1986)



There's a church beside a park
And it fills the dying dark

With five strokes

Saturday, October 13, 2018

7-11



Two blocks west of the Commercial Hotel was the opening of a 7-11.

I have never seen an opening for a 7-11 before. They just appear, as if they were always there.

Not sure who these figures are, how they figure into the store and its story.

Friday, October 12, 2018

While Waiting for a Ride Outside the Commercial Hotel



During my studio visit with Brenda Draney we talked about eye-balling. I was tempted to share with her this picture I took from my hotel, my attempt to get things to line up. I am happy with my work on the vertical axis, the cinder block wall to the right.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Edmonton



It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, you notice. I am speaking of when a Canadian government enterprise that works in both official languages provides its public with a text that has been translated into French, and later, from French back into English. How else do you end up with Air Canada in-flight movie descriptions like the above?

A 105 minute movie on a 90 minute flight.


My hotel.


For my protection.



Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Spill? Graffiti?



I took this picture a couple of weeks ago on 20th after turning east off Main Street. I thought it was spilled paint. Then I noticed the "K", then the "O"s. Then I thought of Raymond and what he might make of it, what he's up to.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Highway Driving



A sunny drive to Little Kingdomville last Thursday, via the Coquihalla, to winterize the trailer, returning four days later, via the Canyon.

I like the Canyon on the way back, its modulating scenery. Under six hours door-to-door, with a gas stop halfway in Lytton. The Coquihalla route has fewer miles and more driving lanes, but is more harrowing, with longer stops, though I never intend to stop longer.

The picture above was taken in Merritt, on the way up.