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Giving Back to the Community: Elana Wolff and Kate Marshall Flaherty Read at Hesperus Village

On November 30, from 7:00 – 8:30, Hesperus Village will be hosting an evening of poetry and music for its residents, their friends, and other members of the community.

The evening will include music by singer-songwriter Layah Jane Singer-Wilson, guitarist Oliver Johnson, as well as a performance by Elisabeth Yetman & the Hesperus Choir. There will also be a dramatic reading by Alexandra Barbara Günther and friends, who will read “Guess We Beat The Odds”. The evening will also feature readings by two Guernica poets, Kate Marshall Flaherty and Elana Wolff.

Kate Marshall Flaherty will be reading from her latest poetry collection: Reaching V. The poems in the collection explore moments of epiphany. They investigate moments when supports crumble, and new patterns must emerge. They seek the spark in the ordinary, meaning in loss, and circle back to nature.

Elana Wolff will be presenting and reading from her latest translation, Poems and Songs of Love, from Guernica’s dual translation and first-ever flip book. A Hunger Artist and Other Stories; Poems and Songs of Love includes fresh translations of Kafka’s short stories, as well as the never-before seen poems of Kafka’s good friend and contemporary, Georg Mordechai Langer.

Kate Marshall FlahertyKate Marshall Flaherty has published in journals such as Descant, CV2, Freefall, and Windsor Review. She was short-listed for Nimrod’s Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize, the Malahat Review Long Poem and Descant’s Best Canadian Poem. She lives in Toronto with her husband and three spirited children, where she guides yoga/retreats/writing workshops.

 

Elana Wolff Black and WhiteElana Wolff has published four collections of poetry with Guernica Editions, including You Speak to Me in Trees, awarded the F.G. Bressani Prize for Poetry. She is also the author of Implicate Me, a collection of essays on contemporary poems; co-author with the late Malca Litovitz of Slow Dancing: Creativity and Illness (Duologue and Rengas); and co-editor with Julie Roorda of Poet to Poet: Poems written to poets and the stories that inspired them. A bilingual edition of her selected poems, Helleborus & Alchémille (Éditions du Noroît), was awarded the 2014 John Glassco Prize for Translation (translator: Stéphanie Roesler). Elana has taught English for Academic Purposes at York University in Toronto and at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She currently divides her professional time between writing, editing, and designing and facilitating therapeutic community art courses.

When: November 30, 2014 from 7:00 – 8:30

Where: Hesperus Village Lobby & Hall, 1 Hesperus Rd., Thornhill, ON L4J 0G9

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“Kafka’s Gay, Hasidic Hebrew Teacher”: Kenneth Sherman reviews Elana and Menachem Wolff’s translation of Georg Mordechai Langer’s Poems and Songs of Love

A Hunger Artist and Other StoriesPoems and Songs of Love is one of two titles that make up Guernica’s first-ever flipside book. This two-in-one work includes Franz Kafka’s late short-story collections A Country Doctor (1919) and A Hunger Artist (1924), newly translated by Thor Polson, and Poems and Songs of Love, Elana and Menachem Wolff’s first-time translation of Georg Mordechai Langer’s collection Piyyutim ve-Shirei Yedidot, originally published in Prague in 1929.

“Langer comes alive in the introduction Elana Wolff has written for the translation,” writes Sherman.

“Georg Mordechai Langer turns up from time to time as a curious sidebar to the life of Franz Kafka,” notes Sherman: “One biographer of Kafka describes Langer as ‘a medieval Jewish mystic born into the wrong century'; another refers to him as ‘the Orthodox fanatic.’”

In his Diaries Kafka himself describes Langer as the “western Jew who converted to Hasidism.” The two men met in 1915 and first connected over a mutual interest in Jewish folk and mystical  traditions.

Elana Wolff came to Langer through a study on Kafka for a biography course. She was intrigued by brief mentions of Langer in Kafka biographies as well as by references to Langer in Kafka’s own Diaries and Letters. She was particularly intrigued by an entry in A Franz Kafka Encyclopedia asserting that Langer’s importance in Kafka’s life had been “largely overlooked.” Also by references to an elegy for Kafka, written by Langer in Hebrew and published in a small collection at the Prague Jewish printing works in 1929. “Wolff’s search for the book,” relates Sherman, “led her to Israel’s National Library, at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem,” where she discovered (in storage) a copy of the original volume.

The 12th poem, “On the Death of the Poet—after Franz Kafka,” composed shortly after Kafka’s death,” [was] the elegy Wolff was searching for,” reports Sherman. “But Wolff made a more surprising discovery as she read through the poems…Langer was gay—an item not mentioned by any of Kafka’s biographers.”

Wolff calls Langer’s disclosure of his homosexuality through his poetry “a daring act of self-expression,” writes Sherman, and she “tantalizes by proposing that Kafka may have been the love interest in Langer’s poems.” Kafka is, in fact, the only person named in any of Langer’s pieces.

Sherman praises the Wolffs’ translations for their success “in capturing the tone of an alienated and at times desperate man on the margins of his community.” He lauds Kafka’s “anti-poetic” restraint, “but for the most part,” finds “Langer’s poems archaic… florid… abstract… and heavy-handed. “

Sherman is especially fascinated by the prose piece, “Something About Kafka,” written by Langer in Hebrew and published in the Tel-Aviv journal Hegeh in 1941. The Wolffs bring this piece to the English-reading public for the first time as well, appended to Elana Wolff’s Afterword. Sherman quotes from this article at length and closes by commending the overall investigation.

To access Kenneth Sherman’s full article, visit Tabletmag: http://tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/books/186696/kafka-langer

Copies of A Hunger Artist & Other Stories; Poems and Songs of Love are available on the Guernica Editions website: http://www.guernicaeditions.com/title/9781550718676

Posted in Poetry, Reviews.


Garebian Secures Third Prize and a Win for His Poetry

Keith Garebian“Garebian, 71, is no stranger to winning awards; last year alone he won the Mississauga Arts Award (Established Literary) for his book Moon on Wild Grasses and the prestigious William Saroyan Medal, named in honour of the great Armenian American dramatist and author.” writes The Mississauga News about Garebian’s latest win: the Surrey International Writers Conference Poetry Award. This year, Keith Garebian is the winner of the 22nd annual Surrey International Writers Conference Poetry Award. The announcement was made on October 25th. The award was for a single poem (about 100 lines long), entitled “Armenian Elegy,” which is to be printed in the award anthology.

The topic of the poem – the 1915 Armenian genocide – is one that hits close to home for Garebian, who was born to an Armenian father and Anglo-Indian mother.

“I am particularly gratified that a poem about the Armenian half of my ancestry has touched a chord because as I get older, I seem to be exploring more deeply that part of my psycho-literary self,” he has said about his heritage, which he has written about before. Garebian previously wrote on the Armenia Genocide in his memoir Pain: Journeys Around My Parents, and poetry collection Children of Ararat.

In true Garebian fashion, the next day after the announcement, he won third prize for another of his poems at the 29th annual Canadian Authors Association (Niagara Branch).

Keith Garebian is a widely published, award-winning freelance literary, theatre, and dance critic, biographer, and poet. Among his many awards are the Scarborough Arts Council Poetry Award (2010), the Canadian Authors Association (Niagara Branch) Poetry Award (2009), the Mississauga Arts Award (2000, 2008 and 2013), a Dan Sullivan Memorial Poetry Award (2006), the Lakeshore Arts/Scarborough Arts Council Award for Poetry (2003), and an Ontario Poetry Society Award for Haiku (2003). This is his fifth book of poetry.

To read the full article, you can visit The Mississauga News at: http://www.mississauga.com/community-story/4960210-mississauga-s-garebian-wins-pair-of-poetry-awards/

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Shab-e She’r Poetry Night on November 25 with Shaista Latif and Antonio D’Alfonso

On November 25th Beit Zatoun will be hosting its second annual Shab-e She’r Poetry Night. Hosted by Bänoo Zan and Guernia poet Kate Marshall Flaherty, the evening will feature both poetry and music, as well as an open mic session. The featured poets for the evening will be Shaista Latif and Antonio D’Alfonso, with music by Shahriyar Jamshidi and Raphael Weinroth-Browne.

Writer, editor, translator, publisher, and filmmaker Antonio D’Alfonso is the author of over 30 books. His novel Un vendredi du mois d’août won the Trillium Award in 2005. His feature film Bruco won best director award and best foreign film award at the New York International Independent Film Festival in 2010. His most recent film Antigone (an adaptation of Sophocles’ play) won the Bronze award at the Prestige Film Festival. Aside from his own award-winning writing, he has translated some of Quebec’s finest poets.

Shaista Latif is a storyteller, playwright and facilitator. Her play Graceful Rebellions was presented at the 2014 SummerWorks Theatre Festival. She has been awarded The Theatre Centre’s Emerging Artist Award and is also a facilitator for PrideCab (Buddies) and for Crossing Gibraltar (Cahoots).

Shahriyar Jamshidi was born in Kermanshah, Iran and is a devoted composer who works hard to preserve the ancient music history of Kurdistan. His works include Alvanati (2004), Call of the Mountain (2008) and A Yellow Flower (2014). He has performed at various events including the Iranian Heritage Day at Royal Ontario Museum on May 2013 and the Tirgan Festival in Toronto, Canada. He has also performed on several well-known Kurdish TV channels including KTV, Norooz, and Kurdsat.

Raphael Weinroth-Browne is a cellist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer who has performed at several renowned festivals around the world, including Nouvelle Prague in the Czech Republic. He recently placed second at the 2014 International Cello Festival of Canada in the finals of the Zara Nelsova Award for Canadian Cellists. Since 2009, Weinroth-Browne has composed and performed music on over 30 full-length albums (including the Juno Award-winning Woods 5: Grey Skies and Electric Light) and has appeared in professional music videos with acclaimed artists such as two-time Juno Award-winner Gowan.

Non-alcoholic refreshments will be served. Tickets are $5 and all are welcome.

Time: Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Place: Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham Street, Toronto, ON

Doors open: 6:15 p.m.

Sign-up for the open mic: 6:30 p.m.

Start: 7 p.m.

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The 2014 Bressani Award Winners at the Windup Bird Cafe: an Evening of Delicious food and Wonderful Prose and Poetry

WindUPBirdCafePoster

On Tuesday, November 18th at 6:30pm, the acclaimed executive chef of the Windup Bird Cafe will be serving up a delicious three-course meal alongside the wonderful prose and poetry of the 2014 winners of the Bressani Award.

The winners for this year include Darlene Madott, Michael Mirolla, Eufemia Fantetti, and David Macfarlane.

Darlene Madott      

Darlene Madott is a Toronto lawyer and writer. Prior to law, she worked at Saturday Night and Toronto Life magazines. Her call to the Bar in 1985 coincided with the publication of a collection of short stories, Bottled Roses, (Oberon, 1985). A film script, Mazilli’s Shoes, was published by Guernica in 1997, then Joy, Joy, Why Do I Sing? was published by Women’s Press/Scholar’s Press in 2004. Included in that collection was “Vivi’s Florentine Scarf,” which won the 2002 Paolucci Prize of the Italian American Writer’s Association. Her short fiction has garnered literary awards, including the title story “Making Olives,” which won the Bressani Literary Award in 2008.

Michael Mirolla

Michael Mirolla is a novelist, short story writer, poet and playwright. Publications include two novels, the recently-released The Facility, and Berlin (a 2010 Bressani Prize winner and finalist for the 2009 Indie Book and National Best Books Awards); two short story collections – The Formal Logic of Emotion (recently translated into Italian and released in 2010) and Hothouse Loves & Other Tales; and two poetry collections: the English-Italian Interstellar Distances/Distanze Interstellari (2008), and Light And Time (2010), His short story, “A Theory of Discontinuous Existence,” was selected for The Journey Prize Anthology, while another short story, “The Sand Flea,” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Eufemia Fantetti

Eufemia Fantetti is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at SFU and the University of Guelph’s MFA in Creative Writing. Her fiction, nonfiction and plays have been published in the anthologies ContoursBeyond Crazyeye wuz here and Fish 2012. She has won the 2009 Event Magazine Non-Fiction Contest, the 7th annual Accenti Writing Contest and is a two-time finalist for the Theatre BC National Playwriting Competition.

David Macfarlane

David Macfarlane has published several books to much acclaim. His first book, The Danger Tree, won the Canadian Authors’ Association award for non-fiction while Summer Gone, was nominated for the Giller Prize and won the Chapters / Books in Canada first novel prize. Currently, Macfarlane writes a weekly column for the Toronto Star.

The menu for the evening: Bressani Prize Menu

To book a ticket for the dinner, send an email to events@windupbird.ca

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This Weekend: Lorne Elliott at Mill Street Books

Lorne Elliott at Mill Street Books Poster

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Garebian Secures Third Prize and a Win for His Poetry

Keith Garebian“Garebian, 71, is no stranger to winning awards; last year alone he won the Mississauga Arts Award (Established Literary) for his book Moon on Wild Grasses and the prestigious William Saroyan Medal, named in honour of the great Armenian American dramatist and author.” writes The Mississauga News about Garebian’s latest win: the Surrey International Writers Conference Poetry Award. This year, Keith Garebian is the winner of the 22nd annual Surrey International Writers Conference Poetry Award. The announcement was made on October 25th. The award was for a single poem (about 100 lines long), entitled “Armenian Elegy,” which is to be printed in the award anthology.

The topic of the poem – the 1915 Armenian genocide – is one that hits close to home for Garebian, who was born to an Armenian father and Anglo-Indian mother.

“I am particularly gratified that a poem about the Armenian half of my ancestry has touched a chord because as I get older, I seem to be exploring more deeply that part of my psycho-literary self,” he has said about his heritage, which he has written about before. Garebian previously wrote on the Armenia Genocide in his memoir Pain: Journeys Around My Parents, and poetry collection Children of Ararat.

In true Garebian fashion, the next day after the announcement, he won third prize for another of his poems at the 29th annual Canadian Authors Association (Niagara Branch).

Keith Garebian is a widely published, award-winning freelance literary, theatre, and dance critic, biographer, and poet. Among his many awards are the Scarborough Arts Council Poetry Award (2010), the Canadian Authors Association (Niagara Branch) Poetry Award (2009), the Mississauga Arts Award (2000, 2008 and 2013), a Dan Sullivan Memorial Poetry Award (2006), the Lakeshore Arts/Scarborough Arts Council Award for Poetry (2003), and an Ontario Poetry Society Award for Haiku (2003). This is his fifth book of poetry.

To read the full article, you can visit The Mississauga News at: http://www.mississauga.com/community-story/4960210-mississauga-s-garebian-wins-pair-of-poetry-awards/

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Ellen Jaffe at INSPIRE, the Locke Street library, and her Latest Review in the Maple Tree Literary Supplement

Skinny-Dipping MuseGeorge Elliott Clarke reviewed the collections of both Tim Bowling of Gaspereau Press and Ellen Jaffe in the latest issue of the Maple Tree Literary Supplement. He praises  their work, Bowling for his sharp insight and Jaffe for her wry wit.

“she thinks about time past and its metaphysical import, and also about mortality.” He says, of Ellen Jaffe’s latest collection of poetry, Skinny-Dipping with the Muse.

In her collection, Jaffe explores darker themes when she juxtaposes the Holocaust with current domestic life, but her poems also explore lighter topics like Dorothy’s ruby slippers.

In her tougne-and-cheek poem “Fay Wray Writes to King Kong,” the now-aged actress writes to King Kong to say that: “Marriage wouldn’t have worked out— / you couldn’t be house-broken, / and, of course, we were an inter-racial couple….”

Grouped into four sections, the poems in this collection relate to the writer’s experience of diving “into the destructive element” (in Joseph Conrad’s words), naked, vulnerable, stripping off clothes, masks, and preconceptions in a process of connecting with the “creative spirit” in a way that is playful, loving, emotionally rich and wet, care-full, and spontaneous. These poems are conversations with the living, the dead, and the world itself.

Ellen Jaffe will also be making an appearane at the Guernica booth at INSPIRE, Toronto’s International Literary Festival. From 3:30-4pm Saturday, Nov. 14 Ellen Jaffe will be at the Guernica booth to sign copies of  her book.

Ellen Jaffe will also be reading from her work at the Locke Street Library, Hamilton, on Jan. 15, 2015. The reading starts at 2:00 p.m. and all are welcome.

To read George Elliott Clarke’s full review of Skinny-Dipping With the Muse, you can visit the Maple Tree Literary Supplement website at: http://www.mtls.ca/issue18/writings/reviews/george-elliott-clarke/2/

Skinny-Dipping with the Muse is available on the Guernica website at: http://www.guernicaeditions.com/title/9781550718430

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Elana Wolff at INSPIRE and her latest interview with Open Book

A Hunger Artist and Other StoriesElana Wolff recently sat down (albeit electronically) with Open Book to talk about her latest publication and the books that inspired her as a young reader and writer.

Although many books have influenced Elana as a writer, she confesses that “Kafka has been with me the longest though and has influenced me in more amorphous ways.” When asked which book she has re-read many times, she replies that, for her, it is “Kafka’s The Trial. Actually almost everything by Kafka.”

No surprise then that her latest book, Guernica’s first flip book, is a dual translation of Kafka and Langer’s work. Having stumbled upon several mentions of Langer, one of which stated that “the importance of the friendship between Kafka and Langer had been ‘largely overlooked.'”, Elana  decided to set out and find Langer’s elegy of Kafka and uncover what she could about the little-known writer. The hunt that followed, which included a trip to Tel Aviv and fruitless searches in rare bookstores, is a story in itself and was recently written about in The Huffington Post.

The final translation, available for the first time to English readers has been described as “absorbing” and a “rare gift”.

Copies of A Hunger Artist and Other Stories; Poems and Songs of Love will be available at the Guernica booth at  the INSPIRE! Book International Book Fair. And, on Sunday, November 16, 2014, Elana Wolff will be signing copies from 2:00pm to 2:30pm.

Elana Wolff has published four collections of poetry with Guernica Editions, including You Speak to Me in Trees, awarded the F.G. Bressani Prize for Poetry. She is also the author of Implicate Me, a collection of essays on contemporary poems; co-author with the late Malca Litovitz of Slow Dancing: Creativity and Illness (Duologue and Rengas); and co-editor with Julie Roorda of Poet to Poet: Poems written to poets and the stories that inspired them. A bilingual edition of her selected poems, Helleborus & Alchémille(Éditions du Noroît), was awarded the 2014 John Glassco Prize for Translation (translator: Stéphanie Roesler). Elana has taught English for Academic Purposes at York University in Toronto and at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She currently divides her professional time between writing, editing, and designing and facilitating therapeutic community art courses.

To read the full interview, you can visit Open Book at: http://www.openbooktoronto.com/news/war_series_writers_readers_with_elana_wolff

To read the article about Elana’s hunt for Langer’s lost works, you can visit The Huffington Post at: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/beverley-golden/kafka-langer-friendship_b_5779978.html?utm_hp_ref=canada&ir=Canada

A Hunger Artist and Other Stories; Poems and Songs of Love is available on the Guernica website at: http://www.guernicaeditions.com/title/9781550718676

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Orville Lloyd Douglas at INSPIRE and in Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews

Under My SKinOut in Print: Queer Book Reviews is an American online review of books, and they recently read through Orville Lloyd Douglas’ latest book of poetry. And loved it.

In their Fall Poetry Roundup, Out in Print states that the poems in Douglas’ Under My Skin are “Powerful and muscular, these pieces are not to be consumed all at once. One or two bites are all you need to digest before you go back, but Under My Skin is a harsh meal that deserves to be finished because its lessons are so vital for everyone.”

Under My Skin asks a lot of questions, questions that demand answers: Why are young black gay men invisible in Canada’s queer and black communities? Do their lives really matter? How do young black men deal with the daily challenges of dealing with multiple oppressions in relation to our race and gender? Is Canada truly a multicultural nation? Why are the brothers dying due to gun violence on the streets of Toronto?

Orville Lloyd Douglas is a writer and social activist. His writing examines image versus reality of tolerance and multiculturalism in Canada from the perspective of a young, gay, black man. His poetry has received critical acclaim from George Elliott Clarke, who described Douglas’ first collection, You Don’t Know Me, as “bold and brash” and Ginsbergesque in “the same pell-mell rush of ideas and images that drives Howl.”

Copies of Under My Skin will be available at the Guernica booth at the INSPIRE! Book International Book Fair. And, on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014 Orville Lloyd Douglas will be at the Guernica booth from 1-1:30pm to sign copies of his book.

To read the full review, you can visit Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews at: http://outinprintblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/fall-poetry-roundup/

Under My Skin is also available on the Guernica website at: http://www.guernicaeditions.com/title/9781550718492

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