Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: Sleeping with Satan: Salem Witch-hunt, 1692

This poetry collection chronicles the stories of the women of Salem during the witch-hunt of 1692. They roughly take the reader from the bones of the events, through the tragedy and its impact on the lives of the survivors and perpetrators alike. Nearly all of the poems take the point of view of one of the women or girls, accusers and accused.

I chose this book for the Hallow e'en book review because the subject of the witch-hunt is so often brought up around this time. This isn't a book to thrill or entertain; it is a melancholy and sober work. It is not merely about the events of the witch-hunt, but the persecution of women which is ongoing in so much of our world. These poems touch very lightly on folk religion, mostly in the early poems featuring Tituba. The focus is largely on misogyny, the victims targeted because they are wealthy, fashionable, or prominent women of influence.

Mary Ann Mulhern, from St.Thomas, Ontario, now lives in Windsor. Her poems have appeared in Tower, the Windsor Review, Room of One's Own, and Windfall. Click here to read my review of Mary Ann's book Touch the Dead.

Inside Out

I wear hats
with golden plumes
my bodice scarlet
roses threaded
round and high
sultry underskirts
edged with lace

in a Salem court
my clothes turn me
inside out
a witch hidden
in silky seams
sewn by
the Devil's hand

on Gallow's Hill
my eyes feed
a midnight owl
my dress lines
nests of crows
torn lace
trailing down

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Press Release: Bookfest Windsor

Bookfest returns to Windsor October 25-27 at the Capitol Theatre and Arts Centre! Here is the current schedule of events, but don't forget to check the Bookfest Windsor website for the latest information.

Thursday, October 25th:

4pm to 4:50pm – Kill Shakespeare, the graphic novel. Anthony Del Col, Kagan McLeod. Moderator Shawn Cousineau. Joy Family Theatre
5pm to 7pm -  WORD to IMAGE: a panel discussion on the arts and poetics of the word as materiality, presented by Artcite as part of BookFest Windsor 2012.
Moderated by Susan Gold (Windsor ON) and featuring Karl E. Jirgens (Windsor ON), Dennis Michael Jones (Plymouth MI USA), Amin Rheman (Lahore, Pakistan and Toronto ON)
A reception with refreshments will follow, featuring the performance “Headlines”, brought to you by Slow News. Attendance is free and open to the public. Artcite
7pm to 7:15pm -  BookFestWindsor Bound – Presentation of Contest Winner. Pentastar Theatre
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm Windsor’s Poet Laureate and Friends. Maxine Gadd, Marty Gervais, Peter Hrastovec, John B. Lee, Bruce Meyer, Ray Robertson. Moderator John B. Lee. Pentastar Theatre
7:30 pm – Who’s Nesta Webster? Conspiracy Rising. Moderator Madam Justice Micheline Rawlins, with author Martha Lee. Joy Family Theatre

Friday, October 26th:

2pm to 2:30pm -  Eugene McNamara reading from his new book of poetry, Dreaming of Lost America (Guernica Editions, 2012). Host Phil Hall. Joy Family Theatre
3:30pm – Picturing the Story: illustration and graphic art. Sheldon Cohen and Alexander Finbow. Moderator Karolyn Hart. Film compendium of Mr. Cohen’s animated films to follow discussion. Joy Family Theatre
4:30pm to 5:20pm -  The untold story of the Black refugees of the war of 1812. Presentation by George Elliott Clarke. Moderator Paul Vasey. Kelly Theatre
7:15pm to 7:5opm -  A Love Affair with Quebec Fiction. Translator Sheila Fischman in conversation with Ferdinanda Van Gennip. Joy Family Theatre
7:30pm – Student Poetry Contest: the Winners Read!!! Moderators Vanessa Shields and Richard Scarsbrook. Kelly Theatre
8pm – Dark Diversions. Presented in partnership with IFOA (International Festival of Authors – Ontario). John Ralston Saul in interview with Susan Pedler. Pentastar Theatre

Saturday, October 27th

At the Central Library 10am – Creative Writing Kick Start! Creative writing workshop for ages 12 to adult with Richard Scarsbrook
In the Foyer of the Capitol, 10am and throughout day Poetry on Demand. Vanessa Shields
10am to 10:50am  – Nigerian Dreams. A celebration of Nigerian arts and culture. Yejide Kilanko with moderator Kenny Gbadebo. Joy Family Theatre
11am to 11:50am – Local Heroes in War and Peace. Bryan Prince, Rosemary Sadlier, and Peter Meyler with moderator Chris Edwards. Kelly Theatre
12noon to 12:50pm -  Literary Undertakings. Multi-award winning poet and author Thomas Lynch in conversation with Peter Hrastovec. Thomas Lynch’s essays, poems, and stories have appeared in The Atlantic and Granta, The New York Times and Times of London, The New Yorker, Poetry and The Paris Review and elsewhere. He lives in Milford, Michigan where he has been the funeral director since 1974, and in Moveen, Co. Clare, Ireland where he keeps an ancestral cottage. Pentastar Theatre
1pm to 1:50pm – TD Bank presents a scene from The Loxleys and the War of 1812. A dramatic production directed by John Nabben. Kelly Theatre
2pm to 3:20pm -  Poetry Cafe. George Elliott Clarke, Phil Hall, Laura Lush, Thomas Lynch, Nicole Markotic, and E. Alex Pierce with moderator Stephen Pender. Joy Family Theatre
2pm to 3:20pm -  L’art de la traduction littéraire : les vedettes en direct! (participation de l’ATTLC) avec Helene Rioux, Lori Saint-Martin et Paul Gagné. Animateur: Jean-Guy Mboudjeke. Pentastar Theatre (sur la scene) / The Art of Literary Translation: Meet the Stars! (cosponsored by LTAC) with Helene Rioux, Lori Saint-Martin et Paul Gagné. Moderator Jean-Guy Mboudjeke. Pentastar Theatre (on the stage)
4pm to 4:50pm – Chilling secrets and betrayals large and small. Anita Rau Badami and Alison Pick with moderator Nicole Markotic. Kelly Theatre
7:30pm to 8:45pm -  Generations X, Y, and Z. On writing for teens and young adults. Eric Walters, Paul Vasey, Richard Scarsbrook, and Carol Anne Biddle with moderator Sara Elliott. Pentastar Theatre
9pm to 10:15pm -  Canada’s Journey: Points of View. Richard Gwyn, James Laxer, and Noah Richler with moderator Veronique Mandal. Pentastar Theatre.
Visit the Bookfest Windsor website for more information on scheduled events and to order tickets. Tickets can also be purchased in person from at the following locations:

Capitol Theatre Box Office (off the street, to the RIGHT, or WESTof the main doors)
from Saturday, October 20 to Wednesday, October 24 from 1 - 5 pm. Visit our volunteers there for tickets and information. 121 University Ave. W.

Windsor Public Library Self-Publishing Lab at the Central Branch downstairs off Ouellette Ave.
Self-Publishing Lab Opening Hours
Monday 10am-4pm
Tuesday 1pm-8pm
Wednesday 10am-4pm
Thursday 1pm-7pm
Friday 2pm-5pm
Saturday* 10am-4pm
*2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month by appointment 519-255-6770 x4603

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Book Review: The Nightcrawler by Mick Ridgewell

Think back to the old stories, the fairy tales and myths. The hero is approached by a man, or a woman, desperately poor and almost unimaginably ugly. They ask for something simple, maybe some bread or shelter for the night. The hero is disgusted and turns them away. When does that ever end well?

Today I will be reviewing The Nightcrawler by Mick Ridgewell. Earlier this year, I interviewed the author. Since then, the Nightcrawler has been placed on the Horror Writers Association's Stoker Reading List and recommended for the Bram Stoker Award.

 I will admit that I my experience with the horror and thriller genres begins and ends with academic work with Gothic novels so cannot make any comparisons with other works. But I can commend the storytelling which is, after all, what is most important.

My personal taste is for novels where engaging characters drive the plot, and the Nightcrawler certainly delivers there. It is a story about journeys for two men, but primarily of corporate VP Scott Randall. Despite the modern urban setting of the story, there is a deep, mythic quality to Scott's trip to L.A. It seems the spirit of Nemesis has come to visit in the form of a homeless man in Detroit. Given the current global recession, having Randall chased by the furies of the homeless does have its resonance, especially when the story unfolds from Detroit across the U.S.A.

Ridgewell carefully works up to the surreal so gradually that, like Randall, the reader has one foot in the realm of psychological terrors when the Nightcrawler is fully revealed. The chilling atmosphere is insidious. If nothing else, you'll never be able to hear the phrase 'okey dokey' quite the same again.
The Nightcrawler is available in digital formats from Barnes and Noble, Samhain Publishing, and in print and for the Kindle at Amazon.

Mick Ridgewell will be signing copies of The Nightcrawler in the upcoming months:
Mason's Haunted House of Shalom in Amherstburg. Oct. 19, 20, 26, 27, 28, and 30, from 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm. A portion of the proceeds from each book sold will be donated to the House of Shalom Youth Center.
Oct. 23rd Stars of the Game will be hosting a launch party for The Nightcrawler at 7:30.
The fine people at Stars will be serving up some tasty treats and I will have copies of The nightcrawler available.
Oct. 21st at the Caboto Club attending a fundraiser for Windsor Essex Literacy Leadership Student Program.
Dec. 2nd in Maidstone at the Windsor Essex Local Authors Book Expo at St. Mary's Hall, from 10:am - 4:00 pm.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Press Release: A Girl's Night Out and Sample Sale

Think Pink and Think Art and Think Sale!

A group of local artists is partnering with The Canadian Cancer Society to show some appreciation for women. The Back Room Gallery is hosting A Girl's Night Out and Sample Sale to help raise money for Breast Cancer awareness and to offer women a bargain at the same time!

Ladies consider yourselves invited and get your gals together for some great deals on one of a kind and rare art, fashion, glass, pottery, jewellery, giftware and so much more all at discounted prices. Back Room Gallery artists are clearing out inventory and thought what better way to do that then to help out local women in the process!
Girl's Night Out is being held Friday, October 19th from 5pm-9pm at The Back Room Gallery located at 4749 Wyandotte Street East in the heart of Pillette Village in Windsor. Ladies who attend will be treated to light appetizers, refreshments and even "cup-sized" cupcakes all in the name of breast health and drastically marked down beautiful items.

There is a modest fee of $6.00 to attend and have first crack at the great deals to be had. The theme is women and there will also be outside vendors offering all kinds of girlie stuff!
The first 50 women through the door will be treated to free goodie bags.
 The sample sale continues on and will be open to the public on Saturday October 20th from 10am-3pm.

For more information and to get your ticket/invitation contact:

The Back Room Gallery
4749 Wyandotte Street East
Windsor, ON

Friday, September 28, 2012

Culture Days Kicks off In Windsor & Essex County

Culture Days 2012 is finally here! Get out and experience these free studio tours, workshops, and events happening all over Windsor and Essex County this weekend! You can get started by checking out this collection of local events on the Windsoriana Culture Days Bulletin Board.

There are many ways you can get involved in the free cultural and artistic activities this weekend. Just take a look at this link for information about registered Culture Days events in your area:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Press Release: Writing Salon with Marty Gervais


    Every other Monday starting Monday September 24th at the Arts Council Windsor Region starting at 5:30pm. 

    “The Writing Salon” is an opportunity for both established and aspiring writers to meet and workshop their work in a productive setting under the guidance of Windsor writer and publisher Marty Gervais. This is sponsored by the Resident Writing program at the University of Windsor in partnership with the Arts Council Windsor and Region. Writers are asked to bring 
    one or two pages of poetry or prose, but not exceeding 750 words (fiction or non-fiction).

    It is suggested that writers bring multiple copies (7 to 10 copies) of these works so they can be distributed to other workshop members. This program is free of charge and runs every two weeks. Writers will gain knowledge of how to improve their work, and details about editing and publishing. The sessions are held between 5:30 and 7 p.m. every two weeks beginning Sept. 24 at the Arts Council Windsor Region Office (Artspeak Gallery) 1942 Wyandotte St. W., Windsor.


    Marty Gervais is an award winning journalist, poet, playwright, historian, photographer and editor. In 2011, he was nominated as the City of Windsor’s first Poet Laureate, and runs a Poet Laureate’s Blog.

    In 1998, he won the prestigious Toronto’s Harbourfront Festival Prize for his contributions to Canadian letters and to emerging writers. In 1996, he was awarded the Milton Acorn People’s Poetry Award for his book, Tearing Into A Summer Day. That book also was awarded the City of Windsor Mayor’s Award for literature. In 2003, Gervais was given City of Windsor Mayor’s Award for literature for To Be Now: Selected Poems.

    As a writer, he has written more than a dozen books of poetry, two plays and a novel. His most successful work, The Rumrunners, a book about the Prohibition period was a Canadian bestseller in 1980 and was re-released in an expanded format in 2010 and was on the top ten Globe and Mail bestseller list for non-fiction titles. Another book, Seeds In The Wilderness (a collection of essays with Quarry Press/General Publishing) stemmed from interviews he conducted with such notable religious leaders as Mother Theresa, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Hans Kung and Terry Waite. With this latter book, Gervais photographed many of these world leaders.

    Gervais received his M.A. in Creative Writing under the supervision of Morley Callaghan. He is founder of Black Moss Press, one of Canada’s oldest literary publishing firms, and is managing editor of The Windsor Review

Press Release: Having Words; Art Talks with Marty Gervais

HAVING WORDS; ART TALKS WITH Marty Gervais, Windsor’s Poet Laureate. This new monthly series brings together writers who will read and talk about their work with Marty Gervais at ArtSpeak Gallery. The series is intended to promote informal discussion about the craft of writing, exploring the challenges and joys related to poetry. The event to be held on Thursdays is free. It begins at 7 p.m. The event is sponsored in part by the Poet Laureate program of the Cultural Affairs Office of the City of Windsor and the English Department at the University of Windsor.