Arse Poetica: On Pain Pimping at the Slam

You know that feeling you get when you hear a story, or watch a documentary, or read an article, about some widespread systemic or deeply personal suffering; the sort of thing that leaves you feeling angry about all the fucked up things humans have proven themselves capable of doing to one another on scales variously large and small; the sort of thing that makes you want to disown or destroy whatever forces or people have caused this feeling to exist; the sort of thing that brings steam to your eyes, because you feel it, or people you are close with feel it, or because you’re a human being, meaning you’re an empathic socially organized organism, and so you have the capacity to feel the pain of other human beings deeply, regardless of shared experience or emotional intimacy.  The sort of feeling that makes you grind your teeth and say, “Fuuuuuuuuuuuck ________(s).”

You know… the sort of feeling you often get at a poetry slam?



Well – given the current state of things, the world should make most people feel that way.

Just don’t confuse that feeling with the feeling you get from hearing a good poem.

Caveat: this is not to suggest good poems don’t ever make you feel this way – but it’s probably not that feeling that makes them good poems.

Return of the Garbage Bunny

Some years ago, when I first published a chapbook, I called it “Garbage Bunny and Other Extreme Daydreams.”  My friend Jeneen Frei Njootli provided much of the inspiration for its contents with her fantastic rendition in watercolour of the “Garbage Bunny.”  Now, some years later, I am putting forth the first “album” of my work, largely live recordings from Vancouver Poetry Slam.  Once again, I have invoked the spirit of the Garbage Bunny, my creative guardian, to bring this work of weirdness into the world.

Also – it’s free to download until next Sunday.  I know, right?  Check it out!

I Bike Fish

I’ve been performing this poem for over three years, closer to four, and it’s always been one of the most fun things I get to share with any group of people anywhere. One of those pieces from which I often hear the feedback: “I don’t normally like poetry, but I liked that poem.” Probably one of the best compliments a poet in this community can get!

But until now, until Spoken Word Canada recorded my first bout with Vic Slam at Casa del Popolo in Montreal, as part of the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, I haven’t had a live recording of the poem that reflects the version of the poem I’d like to share with people.

I’m very stoked to be able to share this, and grateful to SpoCan for such excellent documentation of an excellent festival.

5 Things No One Is Actually Saying About Ani DiFranco or Plantations


Scott Woods. Someone well worth listening to when the fan is scattering shit everywhere.

Originally posted on Scott Woods Makes Lists:

The Great Ani DiFranco Plantation Kerfuffle of 2013 has been something of a boon to people who debate and study race in America. In DiFranco, anyone who’s ever cared about race or Birkenstocks has had a light cast on the perception of just how far race matters have really progressed, which is to say, not as far as we thought. DiFranco is progressive and hip and down for the cause…and, as it turns out, completely full of white privilege. She rolled with booking a plantation for a retreat, then faux-apologized (poorly) for that decision, then a couple of other notable friends defended her abysmally, and finally she issued what most people consider a more genuine – if late – apology with all the appropriate feels (and 80% less foot in mouth). So while she isn’t Michael Fassbender from 12 Years a Slave, it turns out she might be kicking…

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Three-piece Suit? No, Four-piece Suite!

This just in: The Dambassadors are getting better.  I mean, when something’s already awesome, why not make it more awesome?
Check the announcement:

The Dambassadors: “After hours of calculations regarding the tetris of bodies and backpacks, we are pleased to announce we are being joined by CHELSEA. D.E. MOTHERFUCKIN. JOHNSON!!”

Chelsea will be joining us for the first seven shows of the tour.
Tonight the four of us are playing loner sets in Quesnel.  Tomorrow we’ll pack ourselves into a tiny car and drive straight to Saskatoon, where the madness will be unleashed for the first time.