books on the radio


“There’s Nothing Precious About [Poetry]”: Heather Haley

Heather Haley & the 45s Back in the Day. Photo: Bev Davies.

I recently sat down with the semi-reformed punk rock vocalist, trailblazing poet, self-proclaimed anarchist and creative technophile, Heather Haley to discuss her new book, Three Blocks West of Wonderland.

It was a blazing afternoon in June and we sought relative relief in a Thai restaurant on Commercial Drive.

Click here to listen to our informal chat.

It’s kind of like a studio demo. Loose and meandering and rough around the edges.

We start off riffing about the possibilities for poetry on the iPad and then move into Heather’s influential work in video poetry, her years rocking Cascadia in punk rock bands and a million other things.

Heather was a part of the ‘Night of the Poets & Other Writers‘ at W2 Real Vancouver Writers’ Series during the Olympics this year at the W2 Culture and Media House.

She’s launching her most recent book of poetry, Three Blocks West of Wonderland, at the new W2 Storyeum space on Saturday June 17th at 7PM.

We’ll be there and will probably record the show for future BOTR episodes.

Here’s the launch details:

Emcee Kedrick James: featuring Shannon Rayne, Peter Trower, Videopoem Screening-“Bushwhack”, Jenn Farrell.

Intermission

Music by Chris Coon, Videopoem screening-“How To Remain”, Heather Haley.

Saturday July 17 at 7PM – W2 @ Storyeum 151 W. Cordova Vancouver, BC

After the interview Heather and I walked down Commercial Drive toward her car and talked about our mutual history of self-directed reading and some of the authors and books that we came across by fluke or reco over the years and how that process of seemingly random discovery has influenced us creatively.

Here’s a great list of writers that Heather sent me that was inspired by our conversation:

Andre Breton, Gustave Flaubert, Jean Cocteau, George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Pynchon, Rimbaud, Oscar Wilde, John Steinbeck, Octavio Paz, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sarte, ee cummings, Kenneth Patchen, Dostoyevsky, Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, J.D. Salinger, Hemmingway, Melville, bp nichol, Earle Birney, bill bisset, Susan Musgrave, Alice Munro, George Bowering, Nathanial Hawthorne, Germaine Greer, DH Lawrence, William Burroughs, William Faulkner, Kafka, Doris Lessing, Barry Lopez, James Dickey, William Carlos Williams, Walt Whitman, Kafka, Robertson Davies, Philip K Dick, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Marshall McLuhan, Anais Nin, Robert Stone, Darcey Steinke, Anne Sexton, Martin Amis, Wanda Coleman and the two Margarets, Lawrence and Atwood. Sylvia Plath, Lorna Crozier, Germaine Greer, Richard Brautigan, Emily Dickinson, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Other creative influences: Art Bergmann and the Young Canadians, John Waters, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, the Dishrags, DOA, the Clash, Luis Buñuel, Lincoln Clarkes, Lenny Bruce, , Lydia Lunch, Frida Kahlo, Diane Arbus

In LA, Merilene M. Murphy, the Electronic Café, Beyond Baroque’s poetry workshop, Wanda Coleman, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Los Lobos, Run DMC, Harvey Kubernick, Excene Cervenka and X, the Woman’s Building, performance artists Cheri Gaulke, Joanna Whent, John Fleck, Rachel Rosenthal, painter Jeff Isaak, video artists Yonemotos, Mose Allison, Johnette Neapolitano of Concrete Blonde, Keith Levene, Chet Baker, Victor Noel, High Performance magazine, Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh, Laura London, Diane Gamboa, Daniel J. Martinez, Black Flag, Zero One Gallery, neo-surrealists Malocchio, L7, Pam Ward, Penelope Spheeris.

Post Edgewise and Internet… Kurt Heintz, Western Front, Alexandra Oliver, Sheri-D Wilson, Michael Turner, Raquel Alvaro, Ian Ferrier, Catherine Kidd, Jill Battson, Geoff Inverarity, Adeena Karasick, Jim Andrews, Andrea Thompson, Kedrick James, Miranda Pearson, Bob Holman, Neil Campbell, Hank Bull. Montrealers Catherine Kidd, Victoria Stanton, Corey Frost, Ian Ferrier…etc etc

Advertisements


Cory Doctorow Interview Redux: For the Win

Cory Doctorow's new book is For the Win, published by Tor Teen. Photo by Joi Ito.

I recently had a chance to hook up with Cory Doctorow again via skype for a quick 37 minute interview about all kinds of interesting things.

Click here for the audio edit of our skype interview.

For the Win

He’s on tour for his new book, For the Win, and was in Toronto and environs doing publicity ahead of an event at the Merrill Collection.

In this wide-ranging talk we cover quite a lot of ground.

I start off by asking Cory about his new Print on Demand (POD) project that he’s been documenting for Publisher’s Weekly that’s called With a Little Help.

What I love about this project is that Cory is leading from the front.

He’s seen the opportunity to put some real numbers behind a POD project, has laid his process bare and is experimenting with a number of price points for fans and consumers.

Anyone interested in self-publishing or Print on Demand needs to know more about this project.

From there we discuss his new book, specifically the idea of ‘gold farming’, which, very generally, is the act of gamers in 3rd world countries working their way thru complex gaming levels and amassing treasure, loot or gold which they then sell to 3rd parties who then sell it on to others.

Sounds ridiculous, right? Sounds like something out of a science fiction story, right?

Except that it’s real. A weird new kind of colonialism, or a virtual sweatshop.

This leads us to discuss ‘Benevolent Dictators’, hackable devices, technical vs information challenges before moving on to discuss DRM, digital locks and possible consequences of the proposed new Canadian copyright legislation contained in Bill C32.

The conversation ends with Cory offering some advice to young creators – digital natives – who may be confused by the current discussions of ‘piracy’, DRM, windowing, POD.

Some very interesting insights on creative strategy, partnerships.

What do you think about the ideas that Cory expresses in this interview?



Let the Great World Spin: The Colum McCann Interview

Check out my conversation with Colum McCann, plus a reading from LTGWS.

CLICK HERE FOR THE BOTR / COLUM MCCANN INTERVIEW

I had the great pleasure of speaking to Colum McCann this past week.

Unfortunately, we only had a little more than 10 minutes to talk as he was ripping thru a media junket in Toronto on his way to meet with the dudes at the Afterword.

It was still an excellent conversation and I’m grateful to the folks at Harper Collins Canada for making it happen.

I have filled out the half-hour time slot on CJSF 90.1 FM (Simon Fraser University Independent Radio) with some found audio of Colum talking about the book and also reading from the first chapter.

Let me know what you think.



Makers: The Cory Doctorow Interview (Built from Scratch)
Cory Doctorow Banner

Cory Doctorow Photo by Jonathan Worth.

This interview has it all.  Well, some of it.  In pieces.  Kinda glued together.

Click here to hear the podcast of my interview with Cory.

I called Cory on Thursday November 12th, 2009 from Control Booth B at CJSF.  He was in his hotel room getting started on a day of media publicity for the launch of his new book, Makers, published by Tor Books.

I have no idea whether I was his first interview of the day but I am certain that I wasn’t his last.

He did TVOntario, CBC’s The Hour with George Strombo and countless other interviews throughout the day.

He eventually finished with a talk at the Toronto SF reference library, the Merril Collection, where his old friends at Bakka Phoenix Books (where Cory once worked as a bookseller) sold out of books for him to sign.

His talk the next day at the National Reading Summit was a huge success according to all of my sources in Toronto.

Well, all of my sources except the Globe and Mail’s John Barber, who apparently couldn’t be bothered to actually show up.  Not that a little detail like being physically present prevented him from writing about it.

But back to the interview that you may or may not have already started listening to.

It’s a bit of a reanimated corpse brought together by magic and electricity.  The sound quality is off and my recording software kinda crashed about half way through then came back to life again and then died for good.

So I apologize for the quality and I promise that I’m going to get this whole ‘sound’ thing figured out.  I finish the show off with a recording of Cory’s reading from the Makers that night at the the Merril Collection Science Fiction Reference Library in front of his home town audience.  It’s a great piece about Suzanne Church’s first encounter with a few of the Makers. A scene that I allude to earlier in our talk.

I still like the interview, though.  I’m sorry that an infernal machine ate chunks of our conversation about DRM and most of the talk on Google Books and everything about his With a Little Help Project that he’s cataloging for Publisher’s Weekly.

Here’s the video from his excellent talk on TVOntario:



Joseph Planta Interviews Sean Cranbury: thecommentary.ca

Picture 18

I spoke to Joe Planta last week as part of his excellent series of podcasts for thecommentary.ca.  It was an great opportunity for me to speak about the various projects that I am involved in these days – namely Books on the Radio, Bookcamp Vancouver 2009 and the Vancouver Biennale.

Many thanks to Joe for doing such an excellent job and for being a kindred spirit in the podcasting game.

A quick look at his website shows Joe to be someone with a huge range of interests and a lot of dedication.  I look forward to watching his site continue to grow and maybe even contributing something to it in the future.

To listen to my interview with Joe please click this link.

About thecommentary.ca

The Commentary began in June 1999 as an e-mail newsletter of editorial comment.  Online since September 2003, THECOMMENTARY.CA featured other contributors as well commenting on a wide variety of subjects.

In August 2004, Joseph Planta premiered feature audio interviews with unique and diverse guests from renowned bestselling and prize winning authors, Canadian newsmakers and political figures, internationally known print and broadcast journalists, prominent academics and public intellectuals, as well as noted artists and personalities.

For over 350 interviews and five years now, the Planta: On the Line interview program continues as a forum for engaging, informative conversations on current affairs and a wide variety of subjects.

Planta




Fame Whores, Cocaine and Smelling Tom Ford: The Shinan Govani Interview

Shinan 02

It wasn’t a famously grim Vancouver day on the cusp of autumn.  It was a little overcast, a little rainy.  The weather couldn’t quite decide what it wanted to be and so settled on a kind of consistently unadorned greyness with a minor chilling, insubstantial breeze.

This was the backdrop to my interview with Shinan Govani at the Elephant and Castle Pub in downtown Vancouver.

Shinan showed up for the interview umbrella in hand, clearly having heeded the advice of the concierge at the Shangri-La Hotel where he was staying.

We ordered a round of gin & tonics and settled in for the interview.

You can listen to the interview by clicking this link.Bold Face Names

Shinan is the National Post’s “resident snoop, town crier and people watcher.”

According to Richard Johnson of the New York Post’s legendary Page 6, “Shinan Govani works with bemused detachment in a bizarro world of fame whores and the truly famous, and he knows the difference. In Boldface Names, he plumbs the depths of the shallow party circuit, and finds humanity beneath the celebrity, and wisdom beyond mere wit.”

Shinan was in town to promote the launch of his new book, Bold Face Names, which, if the back cover copy is to be trusted, carries a narrative that sweeps “…from the beaches of Anguilla to the towers of Dubai, from LA to London to the social mines of Toronto…”

Social mines of Toronto?!!?  Dear god help us all.



The Shinan Govani Interview: Bold Face Names

Govani_ShinanPimentalPhoto

This Thursday afternoon at an undisclosed location in downtown Vancouver I will be interviewing Canada’s finest disher of celebrity gossip turned wisecracking novelist, Shinan Govani.

Shinan is the National Post‘s “resident snoop, town crier and people watcher.”

Bold Face Names

According to Richard Johnson of the New York Post‘s legendary Page 6, “Shinan Govani works with bemused detachment in a bizarro world of fame whores and the truly famous, and he knows the difference. In Boldface Names, he plumbs the depths of the shallow party circuit, and finds humanity beneath the celebrity, and wisdom beyond mere wit.”

Shinan is in town to promote the launch of his new book, Bold Face Names, which, if the back cover copy is to be trusted, carries a narrative that sweeps “…from the beaches of Anguilla to the towers of Dubai, from LA to London to the social mines of Toronto…”

Social mines of Toronto?!!?  Dear god help us all.

I just received my copy of the book and I’m going to burn through it this afternoon.

Stay tuned for hijinx.