Two out of three of our poets this month live in Ottawa, but one, Andrew, is a former resident who is living in Argentina. It’s highly satisfying that Bywords range is so far reaching. I asked Andrew how he’d heard of Bywords and he mentioned a reading many years ago where he may have heard the name or seen the old Bywords magazine. Stephen was referred by a member of Ottawa’s literary community and friend, and Adam was referred by a recently published poet. At one point some people thought Bywords would never be able to find enough submissions by focusing on current and former Ottawa-based writers. I’m so glad that these writers are finding us and seem to be in unlimited supply.
In order to help spread the word, we also attend various readings and small press fairs. In May we had a table at the Toronto Small Press Book Fair. We got a chance to talk to lots of interesting writers and publishers and even sold stuff too. Thanks to the Bywords poets who let us republish their work on our poem-velopes. They were the hottest item on our table and from what I’ve heard, at the show ;)
Don’t forget to attend Ottawa’s own small press fair on June 18, organized by rob mclennan of SPAN-O. You can find the details on the calendar of events. It’s always full of excellent and creative work by small presses from Ottawa and beyond.
The local literary scene is vibrant this summer. I recently went to the most well-attended reading I’ve ever been to in Ottawa: the poetry cabaret organized by the Ottawa International Writers Festival and featuring Ken Babstock and Simon Armitage with David O’Meara as host. The Writersfest is doing a spectacular job organizing literary activities throughout the year. Members get free or cheaper access to the events. I suggest you pick up your membership for 2005/2006 season soon. Go to www.writersfest.com for more details.
People like mclennan and the Wilsons are Ottawa’s literary visionaries. They are people of action and motivation. I see the same thing in Ottawa’s spoken word community. You want some kind of magazine or literary activity to exist in Ottawa? Create it yourself.
Speaking of creation, Bywords has some great poetry for you to read in this issue and a whole lot of interesting projects coming along in the summer and fall. Come visit us at the Small Press Fair on June 18. Then again at our Bywords Summer Beat reading on July 17 at Chapters.
Thanks to this month’s selection committee:
Jesse Ferguson, Joe Goski, Stéphanie Lafleur, Nicholas Lea, Kemisha Newman, Sarah Ruffolo, Genevieve Wesley, and Christine Zadorozny.
See you out in the sunshine. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and your money to our mailbox: Bywords, P.O Box 937, Station B, Ottawa, K1P 5P9.