Landscape: Subject Matter or Technique?

A poem by Charles Wright has entirely captured and enraptured me. Thanks to Lorri for reading it aloud in the Severin Hall lounge at St. Peter’s Abbey one day last week.


Landscape was never a subject matter, it was a technique,

A method of measure,

                    a scaffold for structuring.

I stole its silences, I stepped to its hue and cry.

Language was always the subject matter, the idea of God

The ghost that over my little world

Hovered, my mouthpiece for meaning,

                                   my claw and bright beak…


                                              --Charles Wright


I’d love to hear what others think of this concept of landscape as technique.

Book Tag

Skdadl’s playing this, so I joined in.

First, the rules of the game

The instructions:
Find the nearest book.
Turn to page 123.
Go to the fifth sentence on the page.
Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
Name the book and the author, and tag three more folks.

— Tu es un papillon, vole jusqu’à elle.

— Mais ceci n’est qu’un rêve!

— Ne sous-estime jamais le pouvoir d’un rêve.

From what must be one of my kidling’s books, Amelia et les papillons by Martine Noel-Maw, which was sitting immediately to the left of the monitor.

I’m tagging Rhett (so he won’t cry like a baby again) and Book Ninja (pretty obvious choice) and the centre of the universe (aka the Book Chick) and anyone else who feels like playing.

A great restlessness

A timely book launch, given what’s going on in Canada right now.

A Great Restlessness: The Life & Politics of Dorise Nielsen
Thursday, October 19, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.
Book & Briar Patch
4065 Albert Street, Regina SK

The University of Manitoba Press invites you to join us for the launch of
A Great Restlessness: The Life and Politics of Dorise Nielsen
by Faith Johnston

This event is open to the public, so feel free to pass this invitation along to family and friends.
Please R.S.V.P to Cheryl Miki, U of M Press(204) 474-9495 or

“From a rural school house in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, to burial in a hero’s cemetery at Babaoshan, China, Dorise Nielsen was an extraordinary person, champion of women’s rights, a communist, and the only woman elected to Canada’s House of Commons in 1940. A Great Restlessness is a finely crafted, well-researched biography of a Joan of Arc figure in Canadian politics.” —Stephen Endicott, Senior Scholar, York University

Aldous Huxley & Planned Parenthood

Here’s a quote from the book I’m reading. This piece, from Aldous Huxley’s, Island, seems relevant now, almost 45 years after it was written:

Armaments, universal debt and planned obsolescence — those are the three pillars of Western prosperity. If war, waste and moneylenders were abolished, you’d collapse. And while you people are overconsuming the rest of the world sinks more and more deeply into chronic disaster. Ignorance, militarism and breeding, these three — and the greatest of these is breeding. No hope, not the slightest possibility, of solving the economic problem until that’s under control.

The quote is in reference to the Utopian society, Pala, a place where there is no over-consumption of goods, where militarism and ignorance do not exist, and where family planning is learned at an early age.

Fast-forward to present day and it’s clear that the Bushite has promoted ignorance, militarism, and breeding.  Didn’t he cut monies to Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the like in order to fight his dirty war?

And now, PMS is following in those footsteps. What’s the chance of Planned Parenthood / Canadian Federation for Sexual Health being able to access Status of Women Canada funding?  They clearly violate the new funding guidelines because they lobby for education around sexual health at the local, provincial, and federal levels.

Writers Decry Cuts

From The Writers Union of Canada:

October 6, 2006


“The fresh round of cuts to Canada’s cultural programs by Harper Conservatives will be a serious impediment to all Canadians who enjoy visiting museums and reading books,” says The Writers’ Union of Canada chair Ron Brown.

At a recent meeting of its National Council, the Writers’ Union of Canada unanimously agreed to demand a meeting with Minister of Canadian Heritage Bev Oda to discuss the cutting of funds to a variety of cultural programs including regional museums, adult literacy and programs that promote Canadian culture abroad.

“It has become clear that this government is no great admirer of Canada’s culture,” said Brown. “Canada’s regional museums, like our writers, help tell the story of Canada to other Canadians. These institutions are strapped for funds at the best of times. This is a slap in the face of local heritage,” he said.

Adult literacy programs have also been slashed. “At the same time as the Ontario government recently launched its Spirit 2006 program to promote literacy, the federal Conservatives are placing a serious hurdle in the way of adults who want to enjoy the rewards of reading books, many of which Canadian writers create,” Brown added.

Regarding the cuts to the Department of Foreign Affairs’ “public diplomacy” program Brown added, ” It is odd that at a time when the U. S. government, which Mr. Harper so admires, has tripled its cultural diplomacy budget, our government is working to reduce ours. What better way to tell Canada’s many cultural stories abroad than through programs like these?” said Brown. ” When all these cuts are factored together, it’s as if the Harper Conservatives were ashamed of their own culture.”

The Writers’ Union of Canada is our country’s national organization representing professional authors of books. Founded in 1973, the Union is dedicated to fostering writing in Canada, and promoting the rights, freedoms, and economic well being of all writers. For more information, please visit


– 30 –

For additional information
Ron Brown, Chair -The Writers’ Union of Canada
Deborah Windsor, Executive Director -The Writers’ Union of Canada

Women Are Now Equal!

This is a must-read!  Why, I'd say it's almost a poem! I love Newfoundland/Labrador women's humour!

Media Release 

October 5, 2006

"Women Are Now Equal!"

Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women Responds to Minister Bev Oda's
Assertion that Canadian Women Have Achieved Equality

This week, Minister Oda, the Federal Minister Responsible for the Status of Women,
declared that women are equal. If we have any trouble along the way, all we need to do
is simply pick up the phone and ask for our rights.

Yes, Minister Oda is positive that women are equal. So as of October 3, her department
will no longer fund women's groups to advocate for change. Yep, women's groups won't be
allowed to talk with municipal, provincial or federal governments on her nickel.

Here's what her new funding guideline says: "Status of Women Canada does not provide
funding for. Domestic advocacy activities and lobbying of federal, provincial, and
municipal governments."

It looks like the only domestic activities we're good for now is looking after our homes
and families. So, women, slip on those aprons and oven mitts and head to the kitchen!
The rest of our work is done! And by the way, that family of yours better be one of
those "traditional" ones.

It's time for women to put down that hard and tiresome EQUALITY work. Never mind that
still haven't achieved the things our mothers and grandmothers were demanding 30 years
ago. We no longer have to struggle for change because, baby, we've got it all!

Don't have childcare? Just call someone. Being harassed at work? Not to worry, your
equality is only a phone call away. And for goodness sakes, stop complaining about how
hard it is to live on minimum wage. You can find a better paying job if you just try
harder. But remember, women don't deserve equal pay for work of equal value.

Having trouble getting legal aid or access to justice? Sorry, Status of Women Canada is
no longer interested in your legal troubles. And golly gee, stop fretting about the
lack of women in leadership. If more women want to get into politics, they should just
do it! But don't forget to bring your oven mitts. And remember, all the "good moms" are
at home with their babies.

Oh, the Minister does recognize that violence against women is a problem. But that's
"advocacy", so don't expect to talk to anyone with any power to do anything about it.
It looks like Minister Oda plans to take care of that issue all by herself.

With all this news from Ottawa, you'd expect women everywhere to be dancing in the
streets! The reality is, we have to work even harder now. The only women celebrating
are the members of "R.E.A.L. Women". The rest of us are just plain angry.

And by the way, of course we're equal. We just don't have equality!

                                                                - 30 - 

Media Contact: Leslie MacLeod, PACSW President: 709-753-6124
Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women
709-753-6124 Toll-free: 1-877-753-7270
131 LeMarchant Rd., St. John's, NL A1C 2H3

Hugo Chávez Helps Noam Chomsky’s Book Sales

Hey Hugo, I like what you’re reading!  From the New York Times:

Hugo Chávez Helps Noam Chomsky’s Book Sales – New York Times

Ever since Mr. Chávez held up a copy of a 301-page book by Noam Chomsky, the linguist and left-wing political commentator, during a speech at the United Nations on Wednesday, sales of the book have climbed best-seller lists at and, the online site for the book retailer Barnes & Noble, and booksellers around the country have noted a spike in sales.

The paperback edition of “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance,” a detailed critique of American foreign policy that Mr. Chomsky published two years ago, hit No. 1 on Amazon’s best-seller list yesterday, and the hardcover edition, published in 2003, climbed as high as No. 6. At both Borders Group and Barnes & Noble, sales of the title jumped tenfold in the last two days.

Oh, I can see it now!  Writers, desperate to boost their books’ sales send tonnes of books to Venezuela, on the off-chance Hugo would hold it up before a camera.

Nice touch.

Thanks to the Saskatchewan Publisher’s Group email listserv for the heads-up.