Hello, dear reader! As 2019’s 11th month nears end, I’m thinking about space—being made for my poems and me—and those who generously made it .
I’ve offered this before and I’ll offer it again: Making space for makers is a community-minded, inclusive action of high order!
Gratitude all around to those generous souls who have made space for my poems and me the months of this year in their readings series, at their microphones, around their fires, in their ears, in their eyes, in their bookshelves, in their imaginations, in their conversations, in their publications…
Come with me on this tour of gratitude for makers making spaces for me, my poems…
In reading series–
Most of the readings I offered and participated in this year took place in October and November, and of those, two took place on islands.
First island hop, Gabriola Island
Nice poster! Right? Poetry Gabriola asked if they could use the cover image, taken by Vincent Wong, and the title of my 2018 chapbook Instinctive Acts for the poster. How could I refuse?
Hosted by Poetry Gabriola at the Roxy on Friday, October 4, 2019 at 7:30 p.m., Lawrence Feuchtwanger, a terrific poet, former student, and new resident of Gabriola Island opened our joint reading to a beautiful poetry audience of ~40 souls with attentive ears and big hearts. Lawrence read from his collection Refugee Song (Signature Editons, 2014) and from newer work. For my part of the evening, I read poems from Landscape of The Wait and Instinctive Acts, followed by a handful of poems from The Minuses. I loved how Lawrence’s and my poems conferred, sometimes joining , sometimes diverging—and it was heart-gratifying to be in conversation with Lawrence and his poems again.
Lawrence, I hasten to add, not only invited and hosted me for the Poetry Gabriola reading, he and Deb, his partner, also put me up at their marvelous wood-frame house in the woods. O, the quiet! The fire place! The bright, open space where I offered the workshop the next day was absolutely perfect for our conversation about radiances—the brilliances of light, heat, emotion, etc.—within poems. Lawrence even baked gluten-free brownies to provide nourishment to me and workshop participants. I returned to Vancouver from my 24-hours on Gabriola, feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Thank you Lawrence, Deb, The Poetry Gabriola Society, The Roxy, and the lovely, welcoming residents of Gabriola Island for hosting me!
Second island hop, Orcas Island
This warm and warming poster is designed by Jill McCabe Johnson. As well as being a graphic designer, Jill is also a terrific poet (we’re Finishing Line Press sisters), an editor, and with her good partner Charles, an innkeeper of Kangaroo House B&B.
Hosted by Artsmith on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 7:00 p.m., Debra Babcock opened the salon by reading two excerpts from her memoir-in-process, focusing on her relationship with her mother, a polio survivor and hearty soul. I read poems from Landscape of The Wait and Instinctive Acts, followed by a handful of poems from The Minuses. Surrounding Debra, me, and our words were the warmth and light from the fire, and the open and welcoming attention of listeners. Following our readings, the audience joined us in a special conversation that got at the core of writing impulses, subjects (especially related to family), and connections between writing, ecology, and spirituality. Then, we supped on delicious potluck fare and continued our delving conversations.
Not only did Jill and Charles host me for the salon series reading and potluck, they hosted me and John for two nights in their B&B, Kangaroo House. We were very well taken care of; these two whip up three-course breakfasts! We loved the quiet, the hottub soak in the rain, and the king-sized bed. We returned to Vancouver with our hearts filled. Images: John R. Welch
Thank you Jill, Charles, Artsmith, Kangaroo House, Debra, and the salon’s generous audience for sharing word-love with me! Images: John R. Welch
In celebrations of diversity and language–
with Tasai Collective & Soramaru Takayama
Hosted by Tasai on Saturday, July 20, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Vancouver Art Gallery, the second annual perfomance of the poem “Tower of Babel” by Soramaru Takayama took place. Once again this year, it was my honor to participate in this powerful, heart-expanding poetry reading and performance that seeks to honor diversity in a city of immigrants who live on the unceded lands of First Nations peoples. I gave my voice in American English to the poem, just as the speakers of 15 other languages gave their voices and first languages to celebrate diversity in Vancouver on a hot summer’s day.
Thank you bows to gracious hosts: Tasai Collective, Steve Frost, Yurie Hoyoyon, Soramaru Takayama, Vancouver Art Gallery, and the people of Vancouver who joined their voices with ours! Images: John R. Welch
with Nomados Literary Publishers, Meredith Quartermain, & Peter Quartermain
Hosted by Nomados Literary Publishers, Meredith Quartermain, and Peter Quartermain at People’s Co-op Bookstore on November 14, 2019 at 7:30 p.m., a community of writers and readers gathered around Meredith and Peter Quartermain and their 51-title publishing endeavor, Nomados Literary Publishers. The evening opened with a slide show, featuring the Nomados’ titles’ covers, most authors, the printers, the publishers, and everyone else who contributes to the success of the chapbook series, including Rolf Maurer, who runs People’s Co-op Bookstore, where the readings by Nomados authors typically take place. After the slideshow, Meredith Quartermain offered her humble remarks, followed by those of humourously askew Peter Quartermain. Then, Judith Penner, Jacqueline Turner and I, offered a pop-up panel on nomadism. Images: Meredith Quartermain
My comments focused on the flâneuse, walking in the poems of Instinctive Acts, my chapbook published by Nomados (November 2018). This walker is a woman, considering home, violence, and belonging in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Flâneur, from the French, meaning “stroller,” “lounger,” “saunterer,” or “loafer” (Merriam Webster), has long been seen as a man’s role…, but what, I asked in my five-minute comments, about the transgressive work of the flâneuse? She is every bit the wanderer, wondering. “Sometimes she would like to be a settler, but curiosity, grief, and disaffection forbid it” (Deborah Levy, Swallowing Geography, Penguin, 2019).
Thank you to Meredith, Peter, Nomados Literary Publishers, my press colleagues, including Joanne Arnott (#50), Renee Rodin (#16), and Fred Wah (#25), who offered the evenings readings, plus John Welch and SFU’s Archeology Department for the loan of the projector screen, Rolf and People’s Co-op Bookstore. Images: Jami Macarty
Lucky I have been this year to have poems and an essay accepted for publication. Published in 2019: Autumn in the East / The Journal 43.3; Inexorably Tangled, a collaborative poem written w/Jacqueline Turner / The Capilano Review 3.39; Who The Strummer in Vallum 16:1 (digital extras); three poems from A Body in Liberating Strife in Another Way Round. Forthcoming: The Daughter / Dusie Blog; Cultivated Aftermath of Posts & She-Civilian in Tiny Spoon; Letter in Name of Country in Global Geneva; The Shelter in The Rumpus: ENOUGH column; Memory Predator & Neighbors in EVENT; Digging for Heart, a chapter in Archaeologies of the Heart.
Thank you to editors Molly Brown and Robert J. Schumaker, Jr. at The Journal; to Juliane Okot Bitek and Matea Kulic at The Capilano Review, to Eleni Zisimatos and Leigh Kotsilidis at Vallum, to Edward Wells at Another Way Around, to rob mclennan at Dusie blog; to C. M. Chady and Stephanie Hempel at Tiny Spoon; to Carla Drydale at Global Geneva; to Marisa Siegel at The Rumpus; to Joanne Arnott at EVENT, and to Kisha Supernant et al. of the volume Archeologies of the Heart for their support of and confidence in my work.
In ears, eyes, reviews, & bookshelves–
Kevin Spenst offered to Instinctive Acts a brief, but salient review in subTerrain #81 “Chuffed About Chapbooks” column…
Dr. Martin St. Andre gave Landscape of The Wait 5 out of 5 stars, and in November on Amazon, offered the poems a full, most thoughtful, expansive, and most special to me review. I include it in its entirety here…
“Jami Macarty wrote this collection of poetry in honor of her nephew William who was hospitalized in an Intensive Care Unit after sustaining multiple physical and neurological injuries following a car crash. Her series of poems conjure up the harrowing experience of accompanying a loved one during a coma episode: the inability to validate any form of communication with the person, the enforced passivity, the entrapment in a highly technological environment, the dependency on a dazzling number of healthcare professionals, the repetitive attempts to create a coherent trauma narrative, the exhaustion, the resurfacing of family tensions–and solidarity–in the midst of forced hospital cohabitation, the sense of time unfolding and yet somewhat stagnating.
That great beauty could emerge from such an apparently bleak landscape speaks of Macarty’s literary brio, exquisite observational skills, deep capacity to straddle ambiguity and appreciation of life as it is. The superb visual layout of words on the page creates intriguing associations and conveys the sensory choppiness of traumatic experience. The percussive alliterations, the reiterations and the stuttering quality of certain passages convey the attempts to transmute disparate sensations into words. The repeated references to scientific terminology illustrate our striving to overcome ignorance and to conquer reality; yet this very quest acutely shows how language is but an island in the midst of the unknowable.
This series of poems should join the expanding literature in narrative medicine and be recommended reading for anyone involved in critical care medicine. For family members and friends of patients, this text could provide hope about creating meaning in traumatic circumstances. For writers, this series will demonstrate how technical breadth can be used graciously and purposefully. And for the rest of us readers, this series will have us marvel at the power of poetry for expressing the inexpressible.”
Thank you very dearly Kevin and Martin for offering my poems your special attention and thoughtful reader’s responses.
On day 334 of the year 2019 and all seven days of each week in these 11 months, dear reader, I thank you for welcoming the words of this blog, and thank you to those of you who have purchased my books and read my books, welcoming my poems and me into your ears and eyes and bookshelves. Thank you with my whole heart for your welcoming! Poetry Love! Love Love all around you!