Wednesday, November 14, 2007


It is not surprising that poets who are passionate lovers of words should also be passionate readers as well. It follows in turn that their poetical muse should occasionally lead them to reflect and write on the subject of books and reading. Two highly proficient B.C. poets who have done so are Susan McCaslin and David Zieroth. Susan, a Fort Langley based poet, has authored eleven volumes of poetry, seven chapbooks, a children’s book and is the editor of two anthologies. David, a North Vancouver poet, is the author of seven books of poetry, two chapbooks and a memoir. Both, of course, have appeared in numerous literary magazines. More information is available about Susan on her website at and at Alan Twigg’s ABCBookWorld website at More information is available about David at his website at or at the ABCBookWorld site.

Susan’s poem “Bookishness Banished” first appeared in the literary journal A Room of One’s Own in December 2002 (Vol. 25, No. 4). It was also published in her volume of Poetry A Plot of Light published by Oolichan Press in Lantzville, B.C. in 2004.


Book bag woman
nose in book

in the grocery line up
or on the toilet

after making love
or with a flashlight, tenting.

Fiction, biography,
classics or trash,

print rolls my head around.
I read in my sleep.

Words, my profession,
words, my accusers

and champions.
Word-haunted woman

word heated and chilled.
Itinerate wordsmith’s

open shop and season.
Zen feats of mindful

eating and reading.
Libraries relax me

more than boudoirs.
Secrets on vellum.

Heart is a hand press.
Letters set me dancing.

Alphabets fall from my ears
like from God in the beginning.

I am crazed with codes.
No wonder my Maker

is a silent word.
No wonder this opening

behind purple drapery
is to sumptuous silence.

David’s poem entitled “How Wise” will be newly published as one of seven heroic sestets in an upcoming issue (Vol. 36 No. 3) of Event magazine which will be ready in January 2008. Hopefully it will also take pride of place in a future book of poetry.


How wise to give away your books!
To keep yourself free from boxes
when you move, paradoxes
in every one: those words look
light and lovely on the page but turn out
leaden when you have to mess about

schlepping old classics up new stairs.
Better to hand them off one by one,
the novels to your sister, John Donne
to anyone who still says prayers.
Keep back a few, the special heroes
of your heart who soar past the common Joes

like yourself – like me – and make a life
we couldn’t make. One box of words will do,
to fill your need for guidance into
the new home, along with knives,
pillows, pants and postures, lamp and bed.
Sad tales of the old place stay behind (to live unsaid).

About Trading in Memories by Barbara Hodgson

Found Art: A photo, a memory, a story. Writer and designer Barbara Hodgson captures perfect moments in time from her travels around the world in her new book Trading in Memories (Greystone Books, 978-1-55365-199-4).

She cherishes the little things: the angel in a cemetery, the street vendor in a crowded market, the package of letters bought for a few dollars.

Trading in Memories is Barbara Hodgson's collage of souvenirs and travel stories about lost and found art picked up off the street, treasures discovered at flea markets and documents uncovered from between the pages of other finds.

Visit the site:

  • Enter Barbara Hodgson's world of found art, scavenged treasures and mysterious travel tales.

  • Look inside the book.

  • Read excerpts

  • Find out how Trading in Memories can be used as a book club selection.

About Barbara Hodgson

Trading in Memories, the latest book by Vancouver designer and writer Barbara Hodgson, is a collage of memories and souvenirs from around the world.

Her books are published by Greystone Books, an imprint of Douglas & McIntyre Publishing Group.

Travel Story Contest

Do Barbara Hodgson's works inspire you to tell your own story?

Submit your travel story for a chance to win a collection of travel books from Greystone Books, publisher of Barbara Hodgson's Trading in Memories: Travels Through a Scavenger's Favourite Places.

Contest closes November 30, 2007:

Friday, November 09, 2007

Who Said the Book is Dead! – Part Two

Though long, overdue, libraries are finally starting to get the respect they deserve. Despite reports of their demise, they have not only survived the onslaught of civic poverty and computerized knowledge, they have thrived.

Cities around the world are investing in libraries as never before. In some instances, new libraries have created their own ‘Bilbao effect,’ changing the very image and perception of the community. The most celebrated example is that of Seattle, which famously hired Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas to design its new branch. The result is one of the most original buildings of the 21st century. Most remarkable, it isn’t just another pretty face; it actually functions.
This blog item is excerpted from an article by Christopher Hume in the Toronto Star entitled “Librarians at the Gate.” The full article may be accessed here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Who Said the Book is Dead!

The first years of the 21st century have not been good ones for traditional media.

As more and more people, especially young people, flock online to get their information and their entertainment digitally, real-world TV and radio outlets, filmmakers and distributors, newspapers and the record industry have lost droves of clients and millions, if not billions, of dollars of business.

Case in point: digital piracy is shaving off 12 to 13 per cent of the United States’ total movie industry revenue, a real-world value of $20.5 billion, writes Andrew Keen, author of the Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture.

Yet, this Web 2.0 revolution has yet to totally savage the oldest of old-school media: books.

Spending on books in Canada actually increased by 23 per cent between 1997 and 2001, translating into an impressive $1.1 billion annually. Statistics are also showing that people in their teens, 20s and 30s – the folks quickest to jump on the Web and/or new media bandwagon – are still getting out there and buying books, graphic novels and other book-like media.

Furthermore, young North Americans are continuing to be fascinated by the whole spectrum of book culture, says Robert Demarais, Assistant Special Collections Librarian with the University of Alberta’s Bruce Peel Library.

‘Book-arts programs (courses in everything from book design, how to make paper, and how to run a letter-press) are enjoying a renaissance all over the place, even in high-tech centres like Seattle,’ he says.”

This blog item is excerpted from an article published in the Edmonton Journal by Gilbert Bouchard entitled “Ink on Paper is Just the Beginning of the Printed-Word Experience. For the full article please check here.