Ephemera

Urban Graffiti Mix #3

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Usually a writer learns more from failure and rejection than from anything else, I suppose, given the tremendous amount of both the writers I know seem to have accumulated throughout the years. That is, except for one particular and peculiar occasion in which I learned more from what at first appeared a writing success.

It was May or June of 1986, the CBC radio program Alberta Anthology had accepted a suite of my poems for broadcast. Along with the letter of acceptance was a standard ACTRA contract which I was required to sign if I wanted to be paid the $140.00 the program was offering for the broadcast of my poems. Being a young and hungry writer, I signed the contract and mailed it back to the CBC.

To say I was dissatisfied with the broadcast of my suite of poems would have been an understatement. The actor the program had hired to recite my poems had no concept of each poem’s unique nuances, inflections, vernacular, tropes and idioms. Even worse was the hokey, mawkish background music which further altered the original meaning of my works.

As final insult, though, the same contract I had signed to get paid had also given them the right to censor language they deemed offensive. Fuck became Frick. Shit, crap. Hell, heck. And so on. To me, it was an early and important lesson I learned in the commodification of Canlit, and how it determines content in Canada’s conformist publishing culture.

That single experience has motivated me through the years as a writer, editor, and publisher to never take for granted what it is the writer says, and how it is they say it, never altering one word without their prior knowledge or approval. As you listen to this and other Urban Graffiti Mixes, imagine just how much their meanings would be altered by the arbitrary changing of a word here, or a phrase there.

Note:

Special thanks goes to CO-OP Radio 102.7 FM and the hosts of the program Wax Poetic from which the works of both Catherine Owen and Evelyn Lau have been excerpted. Click on each writer’s name, respectively, to listen to their entire interviews at length.

Listen to the entire Stuart Ross reading at the Test Reading Series, here.

Pretty Little Birds by C. J. Leon

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Urban Graffiti Mix #2

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Transgressive, discursive, tracks concerned with the struggles of hard edged urban living, alternative lifestyles, deviant culture – presented in their most raw and unpretentious form: music, fiction, poetry, monologues. We are the stories we tell. Yet another avenue for risky, dangerous writing: off the page. For far too long, and far too often literary recitals have been a literary crap shoot, depending on the preparedness and the oratory skills of the reader. At last, the technology has reached the level where individual authors, poets, and fiction writers can produce their own audio works to promote their printed counterparts. As editor, I welcome any and all such audio works for inclusion in the ongoing series of Urban Graffiti Mixes.

Urban Graffiti Mix #1

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Transgressive, discursive, tracks concerned with the struggles of hard edged urban living, alternative lifestyles, deviant culture – presented in their most raw and unpretentious form: music, fiction, poetry, monologues. We are the stories we tell. Yet another avenue for risky, dangerous writing: off the page. For far too long, and far too often literary recitals have been a literary crap shoot, depending on the preparedness and the oratory skills of the reader. At last, the technology has reached the level where individual authors, poets, and fiction writers can produce their own audio works to promote their printed counterparts. As editor, I welcome any and all such audio works for inclusion in the ongoing series of Urban Graffiti Mixes.

Mike Keneally Band “bakin’ @ the potato!”

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The Mike Keneally Band performs “My Dilemma” and “Kedgeree” from the new live DVD/CD set “bakin’ @ the potato!” on Exowax Recordings. Directed by Mike Keneally and Dave Foster. The release comes with the full-length concert on DVD in stereo, Dolby Surround and DTS Surround, plus two band commentary tracks; and an 80-minute CD of most songs from the performance. Available from Moosemart.
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