Chaudiere Books Launch at the Ottawa International Writers Festival
Hosted by rob mclennan
Ottawa International Writers Festival
Monday October 27, 8pm
Fox and Feather, 2nd Floor • 283 Elgin St.For further information on this event, and other events in this year's Ottawa International Writers Festival, click here: Ottawa’s Chaudiere Books was recently relaunched by rob mclennan and new co-publisherChristine McNair, and the Writers Festival is proud to be launching their 2014 poetry titles.A riotous assemblage of long poems focusing on the crazy years of 1920s Montparnasse—a melting pot of artists and poets. Amanda Earl’s Kiki plays with language and form, taking the familiar first-person format of journaling to streams of language to snippets of visual imagery to present the wildness of those years, focusing on the persona of Kiki de Montparnasse, a maverick who—much like the poems presented here—cut across intellectual and artistic boundaries. Sexy and smart. Read more... An incisive and playful first book exploring language and space, Singular Plurals presents us with fictive—often surreal—images encapsulated in text that is layered in meaning, playful with language and polyphonous in tone. The poems explore the irregular spaces and tangential lines that separate and connect us, sometimes by gazing from a great distance, then zooming in for the close-up shot. Roland Prevost is a winner of Bywords’ John Newlove Poetry Award and a self-described “explorer of here/now’s edge.” Singular Plurals is his first full-length book of poetry. Garden is a cycling and recycling meditation on the garden, its edges and ecologies, throughout an entire calendar year. Award-winning poet and under-performing gardener Monty Reidexplores and reinvigorates the possibilities of poetic meditation over twelve full months of his home garden in Ottawa’s east end.
Monday, October 27, 2014 at 8:00 pm
Doors Open 7:30 pm
Kiki is featured in Top 10 list by All Lit Up.
From Kiki by Amanda Earl (Chaudiere Books)
Amanda Earl’s collection of poetry stars roaring twenties’ self-made star Kiki de Montparnasse; performer and artist, felon and fetish item. Her delicious collection indicts you in Kiki’s revelry, making you a willing participant before you even realize it. From All Lit Up’s Top 10 – a literary list of ten things we’re thinking about right now.
Alice Ernestine Prin became Kiki, the Queen of Montparnasse, during the height of the Crazy Years when creativity and unbridled passion had reached a fever pitch.
Kiki performed in cabarets, made art, posed nude, was incarcerated, starred in avant-garde silent films, modelled for Man Ray, Gargallo, Foujita, Kisling, Sandy Calder and others. "Kiki" is an homage to an era where freedom, innovation, l'amour fou, creative risk and celebration of life were paramount. Journal entries, silent film play-by-plays, cut ups, boldfaced lies, gossip and whimsy provide readers with playful and provocative fodder for their imaginations in order to recreate the spirit of Montparnasse between the wars. The author urges you to grab a glass of champagne and dance.
Inventive mash-ups, creative cut-ups, an emotional imaginary memoire: in Kiki, Amanda Earl turns “the crazy years” of 1920s Montparnasse—les années folles—into poems folles, a playful, sensual and vivid world of language where the vital zeitgeist of artistic Paris becomes a sexy, surreal, witty and incisive verbal cabaret, “a mechanical contraption, all dancer. A star.”
In the deliriously surreal poems of her debut collection, Amanda Earl channels Kiki, celebrated Queen of Montparnasse, to take us on an absinthe-infused tour of 1920s Paris. In “Alice,” Earl offers a compelling and sympathetic vision of Kiki, the sexually liberated “it girl” drawn to bohemian life like a moth to flame. A complex portrait emerges of a free spirit earning her bread as muse and model to dozens of avant-garde artists who objectified her (she is Man Ray’s “made up doll, his ticket to Montparnasse”), revelling in the power of her sexuality (“he is Kiki’s man”), and keenly feeling her vulnerability (“I am a window made of paper, / a fragile silhouette that goes up in flames / with the merest touch of light”). Among my favourites: a drug-laced dream featuring Kiki and Williams Burroughs verbally sparring in a one-upmanship game of debauchery, and a Montparnasse mash-up in which “frizzy femmes damnées / shiver with Schwitters.”
Les Années Folles never had it so deliciously decadent. Now grab a pack of Gauloises and a bottle of absinthe and slip into Kiki’s time machine . . .
Describing this work calls for mixing as many metaphors as Ms. Earl mixes genres. It is as arresting as it is unique/ And you can set your brow high or low. This is serious, intense and fun.
The book is a vision delivered through collage, a canvas populated by giants; a portrait of the unsung and overshadowed. There are clear days, there is fog. Kiki bestrides Montparnasse like a Colossus. Her vision is unclouded and her voice as pure as the rain. Each picture is starkly drawn and each flowers into a beautiful mosaic. Take a breath and it's a finger painting in the Louvre. It lives behind a velvet rope and it's stuck to the fridge with magnets.
This is a musical composition celebrating a time and place. Celebrating love, sex, death. It is divided into movements; it is a Greatest Hits compilation. You can hum it, sing it, dance it with a friend.
There is no single category to contain it.
File it under Lucid Delirium.
i read at VERSeFest 2015 on opening night along with Gillian Wigmore, EL Jones and Arlene Pare.
U of Ottawa reading
i'm reading on April 7 at 7pm at the University of Ottawa, Arts 509 with Marc Charon, Margento and Seymour Mayne.
Lit Live Hamilton Reading on March 6, 2016
reading from Kiki at Hamilton's venerable series. Kiki's first visit out of Ottawa.
link to recording of reading here