Editor’s Notes

Hope everyone is enjoying the poem-inspiring greyness of November. Curl up with the fall issue of the Bywords Quarterly Journal, the latest calendar of literary events, and a good cup of chai tea to cheer you! We still have lots to look forward to in 2003.

For those of you who go online to seek comfort, steep yourself in this month’s issue of Bywords.ca. Our contributors are currently living in such exotic places as California, France, and of course the soon-to-be snowy regions of Ottawa. It’s wonderful when former Ottawans find us, and send in their work for publication—especially those who were published in our predecessor, the 20th Century Bywords monthly magazine. If you know of any lost poets from our past, please e-mail lostpoets@bywords.ca.

Bywords volunteers and poets were active in Ottawa’s literary scene this month: attending readings, the small press book fair and even an exclusive sneak preview film.

Our own Autumn Mystique reading drew a large and attentive crowd on a stormy October afternoon. Chapters hosted a magnificent celebration, making sure we had everything we needed, including water. Books for sale at a nearby table featured local poetry by Seymour Mayne and David O’Meara to name only a few. Paul Lafrenière, of Cafe Nostalgica fame, strummed us all into a mystical mood, moving his fingers over the sitar, and luring both children and adults over. The reading featured both experienced and new readers. One poet had never read to an audience before, but did so beautifully. We calmed everyone’s nerves with pumpkins and a few laughs. Charles snapped a few shots of the reading as you see here. I thank all the readers and the staff of Chapters for making Autumn Mystique a memorable and provocative event. Stay tuned for our next reading at the end of January. We promise to warm you on a cold Sunday afternoon.

Bywords Autumn Mystique Reading
October 2003
Ottawa Small Press Book Fair
Fall 2003
Paul Lafrenière JC Sulzenko and
Paul Lafrenière
Stéphanie, Krisha and Amanda

The Small Press Book Fair took place on a brilliantly sunny November Saturday at the Jack Purcell Community Centre. It was great meeting with other small pressers, poets and readers at the fair. The tables featured everything from bottle-caps and home-made rings, to funny stories by kids, to beautifully bound poetry collections. It was difficult to keep some money in my pocket. We managed to make decent sales for Bywords, Friday Circle and even sold a few books written by Bywords-published poets. Take a look at our mystical table in the pictures below and our team of Bywordians.

The excitement and inspiration continued with a Hollywood movie about one of America’s most well-known poets. We invited our volunteers and local Bywords contributors to a sneak preview of the Sylvia Plath film courtesy of Alliance Atlantis Films. Our reactions ranged from complete loathing by one or two filmgoers to rapture by others. Personally, I went home and reread my collection of Plath poems, and avoided dark corners where sad ghosts might haunt me. Stay tuned for a few reviews of the film and special surprises in the December issue.

Aside from our day-to-day operations (putting together the calendar of events, the monthly and quarterly issues and making regular website updates, we are now also in proposal writing mode for 2004. We are in the process of setting Bywords’ direction for the upcoming year, and have some exciting ideas to support the literary community, and to generate much needed revenue. If you have any comments, or ideas about Bywords in 2004, we would really appreciate hearing from you.

We are also in fundraising mode. If you wish to act as a sponsor of Bywords activities, please contact me at editor@bywords.ca. We are specifically looking for funds for our Quarterly Journals, promotional posters and broadsheets, and our calendars. We need to firm up all sponsorships before our 2004 deadlines early in the new year.

Thanks to this month’s selection committee: Erin Gouthro (from Brantford, Ontario!), Stéphanie Lafleur, Megan McGrath (from London, England!!) and Krisha Wignarajah.

If you have comments or questions, please feel free to e-mail me at editor@bywords.ca. Have a wonderful November, and if you see us at readings, please stop by and say hi. Getting a chance to meet and chat with all of you is one of the most rewarding parts of taking care of Bywords!


Amanda Earl

(not yet dipping into the egg nog, but starting to have the Christmas spirit anyway)