I’m sitting at Alternative Grounds Coffee shop on Roncesvalles avenue where I used to work five years ago. It’s the friendliest place in Toronto, no contest. Strangers talk to each other, regulars are serious about being here every day at the same time. In fact, the same five guys are all here, five years later, ordering the same things and chatting each other up, though the staff has turned over many times since my summer of the perpetual latte. It's like a little small town.
I’m re-reading the queer poetry round-up in Xtra written by Sandra Alland which included a review of The Emily Valentine Poems and a review of Emergency Contact, poems by Tara-Michelle Ziniuk, that Lisa Foad and I edited for McGilligan Books.
Here is an excerpt:
“Zoe Whittall has bravely abandoned the lyricism of her first book to tackle prose poetry and fake fan letter-writing in The Emily Valentine Poems. In plain and talkative language, she deals with sex, relationships, pop culture and the wake-up call that is one’s 30s….Hunger and sadness floods the pages but she keeps us afloat with small, almost holy moments of connection. Snare Books complements these gems with beautiful shape and flow, partly growing out of the book’s size (a third shorter and a bit wider than most).
Despite (deleted negative point bc I’m a princess)…Emily Valentine is a fine collection by a writer who keeps getting better. Some pieces are bitchy in a good way – like your best friend is whispering gossip about someone who betrayed you – with Whittall delivering deliciously smart lines. “Language tries its best. Language gets straight Cs.”
Ps. I don’t know if I bravely abandoned the lyricism of my first book or if it was beaten out of me by my stern and lovely editor, Jon Paul Fiorentino.
My rave review of Heather O'Neill's Lullabies for Little Criminals appears in this weeks Now Magazine. Just in time for her launch in Toronto tonight at Ukula that I'm planning on attending.