|Read All Over celebrates the bookworm in all of us, showcasing readers in Vancouver and the books they love most.|
|Chris is a writer, videographer, and arts educator living in Vancouver, Canada. He is the Managing Director of the Verses Festival of Words, running this year from April 5-12, 2014. Chris is the Executive Director of the Vancouver Poetry House and founder of the East Van Poetry Salon. He wants the world to celebrate the transformative power of words at the Verses Festival, which presents the Canadian Indie Poetry Slam Championships April 10-12, 2014.
“For a white guy, he’s actually pretty cool.”
What’s on your nightstand right now?
Impure, Reinventing of the word: The theory, practice, and oral history of spoken word in Montreal. It’s a collection of interviews organized according to topic by Victoria Stanton and Vincent Tinguely. I’m interested in the theory of spoken word, or oral literature, as it is often called in Quebec. How is it different from the written word, from theatre? What makes orature distinct from literature and what similarities do they share? It provides multiple perspectives on each question. Spoken word is the fastest-growing art form in Canada. This book is the best resource for understanding why that’s happening. Local poets, and especially spoken word artists, need more opportunities to discuss poetics in a critical but non-pretentious way. That’s what’s achieved in this book. It’s also why Julie Peters and I founded the East Van Poetry Salon.
If you read them, what magazines or journals are essential to you?
Besides tumblr? The only magazine I read in print is POETRY from the Poetry Foundation in Chicago. Online there’s a ton of blogs I frequent including lemonhound.com and litlive.ca
Where is your favourite place to crack open a book in the city?
The Far Out Coffee Post on Powell near Nanaimo. There’s a bookshelf full of interesting reads. Also, The Brickhouse on a week night is a great reading spot, and Leo, the bartender, is an extremely well-read guy.
Which books/authors have influenced you the most?
Samuel Beckett, Monty Python, The Kids in the Hall. They’re all comic geniuses and great writers.
Is there a memorable quote you’ve read recently that you’d like to share?
“No poems can please for long, or last, that are written by water-drinkers.” – Cicero
What were your favourite books or stories growing up?
I read a lot of science fiction as a teenager. Isaac Asimov was a favourite. I also loved the literary dystopia classics: 1984, Brave New World, The Handmaid’s Tale, Fahrenheit 451, these books really called to me when I was young.
Who is your favourite Vancouver author?
It’s a toss up between Ivan Coyote and Geoff Berner. Both live in the same neighbourhood as I do (Grandview area) and both write about it: Ivan through books and storytelling; Geoff mostly through song, though he just had his first novel published called “Festival Man.” Ivan and Geoff will both by performing at the Verses Festival of Words 2014.
What is the most cherished item in your library?
The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. It’s a fantastic resource for finding poets that the literary canon rejected because they were too loud or too political or too crass. It’s not the easiest book to find. Running a close second would be I Have No Gun But I Can Spit: Funny, Cruel, Satirical–The Best of Hate Verse. I can’t believe this book exists. It is filled with the art of snark.
Your life story is published tomorrow; the title is…?
But I Digress: One Man’s Guide to the Winding Path Away From Respectability