Saturday, June 25, 2011

Strangers in Paris

am so pleased to be part of a new Paris anthology, edited by Megan Fernandes & the illustrious, frequently top-hatted David Barnes.
Strangers in Paris is a museum of experience and objects that is anything but iconic; the collection establishes a new hunt for language worthy of a changing city. It is possible to find Paris in these pages, but it is just as possible to find everything else.
Launches have been happening in Canada & Paris & New York, and i've somehow managed to be in the wrong city at the wrong time to miss each & every one of them so far...but hey, it's amazing technology, this book thing, possible to experience even if one misses the launch.

in the official blurb about the anthology, Tightrope says: The stunning variety of writing in this volume addresses the city of Paris in all its complexity, while challenging the mythology of expatriate Parisian literature. The anthology contains entries as diverse and disparate as an excerpt from John Berger’s novel, Here is Where We Meet; Suzanne Allen’s ekphrastic poetry, a tongue-in-cheek take on the nineteenth-century novel by Helen Cusack O’Keeffe; Canadian writer Lisa Pasold’s story of a forced extended stay in Paris; and an interview with the celebrated American poet Alice Notley.

i'm so pleased to be part of the book...and i'm particularly sorry i missed the KGB event, as it was one of my favourite literary booze locations when i lived in New York back in the dark ages (ie. the Giuliani years). i wonder if KGB (above) still has the series of Stalin's official photographs--where Stalin's colleagues were mysteriously air-brushed out over the years, very creepily.

order info for the book here...or find it at Shakespeare & Co in Paris.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Montreal street corner

standing at the corner of Saint-Laurent & Laurier, i notice this plaque by Gilbert Boyer. i've only walked past this corner a thousand or so times since this was installed in 1988, to notice it for the first time on this appropriately hot lazy Montreal day. perhaps i've just never before waited for the light to change...

this corner is part of a larger project--the whole layout of the art piece is here, but i'm going to keep Boyer's words in reserve, to stumble across serendipitously when the weather's just right.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

eating & reading Savannah

The sidewalk in Savannah, Georgia, shines with mother-of-pearl from the old oyster shells buried in the concrete. Forget streets paved with gold...i'll take oyster shells any day. Mostly to eat (because there is no better town for food in the whole USofA). But the streets are also wonderful for book-browsing, as i discovered when i stumbled upon the marvellous indie bookshop E. Shaver Booksellers, which nestles beneath the Spanish moss of a live oak.

I expected a shop dedicated to tourist books & innumerable editions of Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil (which kicked off the historical district's relentless walking tours). But Esther Shaver's bookshop is much much more, a real resource for readers and writers. See what i mean by checking out their current recommended reading list--the kind of bookshop where you can throw a dart & know you'll hit something interesting. (no, don't actually DO this or you'll stab the bookseller.)

After Shaver's, i walked around wondering what Midnight author John Berendt is working on these days. His follow-up to Midnight was a book about Venice, which didn't suit him so well as the lazy hot streets of Savannah. I tried to be positive when i reviewed his City of Falling Angels for The Globe & Mail in 2005: 'Berendt's charm as a raconteur suits the narrow Venetian streets, but some of his stories lead straight into a dead-end calle.'

Later, i read an even more cutting review by Jan Morris, travel writer & Venice expert extraordinaire. Reviews are hard...should you always be honest? Well, yes... But i still love Midnight in the Garden. And wandering around Savannah as a tourist, it's hard to imagine the city without Berendt's book.

ps. here's a full list of bookshops in Savannah, including Shaver's address