Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Subtlest of Excellent Sign Offs

We're not going to just come out and say we're signing off. We're going to work it into the Das Boot record real subliminal-like.

First, back to Halifax. Tierney and Connolly arrived pumped after their conquest of the Gonish of the North, a one-eyed, saccharine town where the panhandlers are flinty in the face of the same-old. Overheard on Main:

Q: How ya been, Deidre?

A: Yep, OK. Not dead yet.

So Halifax was a shovelful of sand. We arrived, dwarfed by the mother of all Lusitanias docked on the pier, checked in and then supped healthy for a change at The Wired Monk. "Best eats all trip," Connolly thunk in his out-loud voice. Tierney 'membered a chowder and soda in Wolfville and kept mum.

The Haliburton Club hosted our reading, a modest but nimble-minded crew that shook Tierney more than once with their depth-charged Q’s pre- and post-reading. They quickly turned their guns on Connolly, promoted to the brains of the op, whose evasive maneuvers kept them entertained and flummoxed for a wild 1/2 hour or so. Connolly emerged Nicked and Needled and clutching his keel, but chuffed at the promise of youth.

Boxed wine was drunk like punch. The cheese (what's with undergrads and curdled milk?) scarfed down and/or crackerwiched for later. A photog from Halifax Chronicle made like a National Geographic journo: swooped in for some action shots, careful not to disturb the poet in his natural habitat. Then gone. As we soon were, into the night, a few slider beers at Henry House, then a sigh of belief. It's done like donair.

Which is to say nothing of the 20-hour drive back. The less, the better. So this is us, singing off. As Connolly said to Tierney after this coastal shot: Thanks for the mammaries.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

You Are Now on the First Floor

Antigonish has officially been Kafka-inated.

We're here at St. F/X with the poet/novelist Jeanette Lynes, who told us, on arrival, to meet her on the 4th or 6th floor. Defying three-dimensional space, we did.

Things we've discover in our oh-so-brief time at the 'Gonish:
  1. The 5 cents to $2 store ain't got nothing for a nickel
  2. A nickel doesn't buy you much more at the Respect For Life Thrift Store, but the sanctimony is free
  3. $10,000 buys you a patch of fake blue stadium grass or a consultant who'll tell you you need to renumber the universe-ity
  4. Retirement communities can be ballsy: the local paper here is called The Casket
  5. Scandal is the meat in the pie that is 'G-nish. Smile, you're on Candida Casa Camera.
The kids who found their way to 20th Century Canadian Literature were young & wreckless, coming off the hang'em-high of F.R. Scott but still primed for Connolly and Tierney's brand of CanPo.

Qs from the students were insightful and whipsmart. Numbers came up, their tendency towards duplicity, mendacity, multiplicity--"It's brutal," said one young buck, trying to find his classroom going on a month now. We hear the admin is going to fly in a relief-drop of GPS units. The kids will be stoked to exit the bewilderness.

Connolly has just now successfully driven Jeanette and David back into "The Cave." Tierney has taken full control of the 3rd and 7th floors of their stylish bungalow! Now we just have to figure out how to get the cat out of the elevator.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Where Wolfville? Here Wolfville.

Stirred up after Wallace, pilgrims C and T travel overland via north coast road to Wolfville. Weather bluster not a factor, but Anita Lahey's knockout poem from Freddy weekend a good stand in. Enjoy.

Hurricane Bill

Our stores were rye bread and cans
of wild salmon. Water and D batteries.
We rolled the green bin into the cold
dirt basement. Bought a bag
of Dutch Crunch BBQ, a litre of Coke
and a mickey of the hard stuff.
With thick yellow rope in elegant knots
we moored the house to the fields

of angelica. They said he would gust
to 160, flatten whole stands of spruce
with his low tropical laugh,
strew the harbour with dark rum and shingles,
swat like flies the tidy white trailers,
swipe Louisbourg's pretty light right off the point
and do-si-do the biggest ocean liner you ever saw.
Before hitting landfall on the Rock.

Do your worst, we said. Whisk us
off to Gander. We stood by the clothesline
in our bathing suits. The first rains
pelted the siding. The pines clattered,
Hang on! Cars crept down the shore
to watch the ocean chew holes in the sky.
Just when it seemed time he'd come for us
he strolled up, sat on the step and kicked

off a sneaker. "What a godawful mess." He spit
on his thumb and scrubbed. We were bursting
to remind him he was a hurricane--
as the sneaker turned whiter, he started telling how
last night, coming in from the Mira, his buddy
put his leg through the one whole in the wharf.
"The stench when he pulled that out." I tried to stir
him up, the way his buddy'd bothered

the mucky bottom. "Look now,
you missed a spot." He turned
and turned the shoe. Finally, he whistled (barely
a breeze). The rain went from sidelong
to straight. We shrugged and brought him
indoors. We all towelled off, and drank
the hard stuff down. Not one
stinking foot left the ground.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Holed up here in inexplicably poetry-mad Wallace, Nova Scotia. Connolly loses the coin toss and has to open for Tierney. Tierney catcalls from the back row. Row follows between Connolly backers and Tierney supporters. But...we're getting ahead of ourselves.

Lovely dinner with Linda Little and Reading-by-the-Sea folks, a mild curry that's sure to be terrific at both ends. Booked into the Jubilee Cottage, also by the sea, with rooms locked by skeleton key. "Woowhee," says Connolly.

Surprise eco-amubush by Harry Thurston who was a mere 45-minute drive away. Selected Poems coming soon from Signal Editions. Also present, a couple of recently transplanted Upper Canadians from Elmira--brought out because of the Ontario-nacity of Connolly and Tierney.

ExSellEnt Rode AdVenChure Kwiz. Which of these are not in our room right now?

1. Mickey of Crown Royal
2. Sixer of Oland
3. Propane-less fireplace
4. Jacuzzi tub with rubber ducky
5. Dessicated bow-tied Teddy
6. Two ambidextrous Wallace Bay hookers

Answer: #6. ("Hookers" in Double-U Bay parlance are arts and craft artisans.)

For 60 minutes tonight, Wallace was by all accounts the poetry capital of the Northeast NS shore. And for these two pilgrims that feels pretty good.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Survivor: Freddy Beach

Well, we're in Day Two of the Fredericton Poetry Love-In, and as much as it surprises even us, this place gives a good name to the normally dreaded term "poetry marathon." Established and mid-career poets of all stripes reading with newbies and smart-as-whips grad writing students in three (count'em) daily sets of eight (multiply'em) readers each. The key may be the variety, or the fact everyone is sticking to the 3 1/2 poem limit, but this weekend has been (can we admit this?) fun.

Connolly keeps flogging his goddam "Plenty" poem, Tierney never seems to tire of his "Love Triangle" puns, but its best to play the old nuggets in new territory where the locals have been near-universally friendly. We both wish we could have heard a little more, but standouts among the students have included:
  • Jennifer Houle's engaged sarcasm
  • April Ripley's phenomenology of mountains/skies
  • Danny Jacobs' Dodds-influenced image streams
  • Carson Butts getting his teeth kicked in by a variety of European women
The young'uns are coming.

Party Saturday at ceremonial master Ross Leckie's digs. Connolly, in the micro window of sober-time these things offer, managed to dump precious NB craftbrew on his Strong-Bad shirt and the Leckster's kitchen floor. One for the Upper Canadians.

The Leckin8tor later cheerfully related an overheard snippet: Poets are like rats. We're thinking, those big gloomy Norway fuckers?

Someone mentioned fishnet stockings. There was a reprise of the ever-popular (all the kids are doing it) Pound vs. Stevens debate. Decision: Stevens by TKO. Finally, is there such a thing as an objectively bad poem? Jury is still sweating this one out and, in most cases, reading tonight at 8.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Gimp & The Geezer

Yes, the circus is back in Edmunston town, checked and settled into HAPPYCLUB motel, and the head clowns are about to eat Texas Red, in style. Winner of the 1984 Texas State Chili Cook-off. (Not this particular pot. That would be like bungee jumping with your large intestine.)

Two grown and growly men quaffing the Brahma and bingeing on late-night chili. Should make for inner'esting nocturnal stirrings. One word: malodour. Or is it two words?

List of topics discussed thus far en route in transit:

1. Whingeing, re: physical signs of aging
2. Special AND general theories of relativity
3. How to get trapped in Czech Republic (hint: absinthe plus early checkout time)
4. 10-minute poems: how long do they take to write?
5. Catch and release policies on mosquitoes
6. Gabe Freakin' Foreman

As we sign off, Connolly, brandishes the pack of wooden matches. "We all know what these are for," he says and places them gently on the porcelain toilet-top.

Sleep well, gentlefolk.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Welcome friends, to the tour blog of Kevin Connolly (Revolver) and Matthew Tierney (The Hayflick Limit), as they traverse Canada's Atlantic provinces.

Early this October, these two acclaimed Canadian poets will travel through the Atlantic provinces in support of their newest books: Revolver (House of Anansi) and The Hayflick Limit (Coach House Books).

Driving from Fredericton to Halifax, with several stops in-between, the two poets will bring their new books to bookstore, festival and university audiences across the East Coast, in a poetry tour we've (perhaps foolishly) titled 'Kevin and Matt's Excellent East Coast Adventure'. More details are below (and on the image of the tour poster).

The poets themselves will update the blog with the latest tour updates.

Kevin and Matt's Excellent East Coast Adventure
featuring Kevin Connolly and Matthew Tierney
Saturday, October 3 to Thursday, October 8, 2009

Oct. 3 & 4 - Fredericton - UNB Weekend Poetry Festival
also featuring A.F. Moritz, John Reibetanz, Sue Sinclair, John Donlan, Brent MacLaine, Katia Grubisic, Holly Luhning, Matt Robinson, Anita Lahey, Shane Neilson, others
University of New Brunswick at Fredericton
Memorial Hall, 51 Dineen Drive
11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Oct. 5 - Wallace, NS - The Village Reading Series
The Wallace Museum
13440 Route 6
7:00 p.m.

Oct. 6 - Wolfville - Acadia University
Acadia University Art Gallery, Beveridge Arts Centre
Corner of Highland and Main
7:00 p.m.

Oct. 7 - Antigonish - St. Francis Xavier University
St. Francis Xavier University
5:15 p.m.

Oct. 8 - Halifax - The Haliburton Club, King's College
Arts & Administration Building, King's Campus
Senior Commons Room, 6350 Coburg Road
7:30 p.m.