Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Is Halifax Canada's Miss Congeniality? If anyone is interested in reading about my trip to Halifax, I ended up writing a gay travel feature about the city for Capital Xtra.

So much ended up on the cutting room floor. I'm sure there's a poignant story to be written about two NZ expats I spent some time with who flew back to Canada to get married. Or a dishy column about my fear of getting arrested when I flew home with a glam obelisk acquired at a Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project fundraiser. Or about my misadventures trying to peg a sailor. Alas, a story can only have so many words.

One such: speaking to Wayves editor Dan MacKay while I was in Halifax about punoqun (“unbound” upside down), he suggested it might represent the biggest print run of gay poetry in Canada ever. It wouldn't surprise me. He said 6000 copies – which is way more that most presses in Canada print of anything with linebreaks, right? Let alone cocksucking. It shipped with Wayves, the East Coast gay newspaper run by a non-profit collective, at the end of September.

Bareback Mountain Camp: A Fucking Greek Tragedy

Sheepherders dot the “i” in Brokeback Mountain
like a Newfoundland fishing ship sinking into a sea of
Colorado prairie grass. Comic book cowboy clones
ride to the coitus camp. Bareback they saddle up and
drive the mutton into the no grease and lease, longing
after loves empty promise if a cold shack spit dip
up the old dirt road. They clean the caught brown
trout in the cold mountain with no luster lost
on the lures in the tackle. Fellatio, the son of the god
Urophile, chokes and dies on the bitter taste of a
tirer iron. It tastes like a life wasted wrestling with the
four-legged double dick mountain monster locked in
a labyrinth of lodge pole pine. The orphaned Penis
smells the sweet stale scent of a long closeted shirt
and remembers the sting of separation. It feels like
the throbbing aching of a cold cock to the chin.

(Jeff Higgins, pg 11, punoqun 2007, published by Wayves)

There are too few intersections of poetry and faggotry these days. It's not that gay poetry is not being written or read these days, but rather it's not getting the kind of distribution it could really benefit from. It leaves people like me to root around in library databases like I'm looking for my brother's Playboy. Higgins's tongue-in-cheek “Bareback Mountain Camp: A Fucking Greek Tragedy” (the best poem in the collection – a gay poet who cares about word sounds... swoon!) appears with poetry by Joel Arseneau, Rebecca Power and gay activist Albert McNutt and prose by Mike Wedge, Ethan Stillman and Julie Vandervoort.

On a related note, Seminal editor John Barton put me onto Midsummer Night's Press, which is inviting submissions of previously published gay-themed poetry from 2007 for what they hope will be an annual book of gay verse. Which, if you ask me, is fucking awesome. Read the submissions guidelines carefully – the work has to have been previously published elsewhere in the last twelve months.