Thrilled to be the featured reader at Speaking Crow this month! After I read, there will be an open mic, so feel free to bring along up to three minutes of your own poetry. Admission is free.

Date: July 8, 2014
Time: 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Event: Free Poetry Reading at Speaking Crow
Sponsor: Speaking Crow
Venue: Millennium Library
Location: 251 Donald Street
Winnipeg, MB R3C 3P5
Public: Public

My recents spate of readings will conclude with an appearance at the Pop Montreal festival, where I’m excited to read alongside Jon Paul FiorentinoSandra Alland; and Eileen Myles! The evening is hosted by Sarah Burgoyne, Matrix magazine, and the Summer Literary Seminars (SLS).

I was the LitPop Poetry Award winner in 2008, which earned me a free pass to this festival (amongst other things), and it remains a career highlight. I saw Nick Cave! It was killer. You should definitely check this festival out.

Date: March 30, 2014
Time: 8:00-11:00 p.m.
Event: Montreal reading with Sandra Alland, Eileen Myles, and Jon Paul Fiorentino
Sponsor: Pop Montreal Festival, Matrix magazine, Summer Literary Seminars
Location: Montreal, QC
Public: Public

Thrilled about another reading that will happen soon, alongside Elizabeth Bachinsky! Bachinsky is the author of four collections of poetry, The Hottest Summer in Recorded History, Curio, Home of Sudden Service and God of Missed Connections. Her work was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 2006, the Kobzar Literary Award in 2009, the Pat Lowther Award in 2010 and the Bronwen Wallace Award in 2004. She is Poetry Editor for Event magazine.

Date: March 25, 2014
Time: 08:30-10:00 p.m.
Event: Winnipeg reading with Elizabeth Bachinsky
Sponsor: Manitoba Writers' Guild
Venue: Winnipeg Free Press Café
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Public: Public

A book launch where you can see FREE films that are otherwise UNAVAILABLE and talk to the DIRECTOR! What’s missing? The book, I guess. Well, I’ll take care of that. You just worry about watching some of the funniest and most brilliant films ever made in Canada … for free! That you may never have a chance to see again!

(I promise that I will not read any poetry! That’s the “Jonathan Ball difference” (TM) that makes my live events so popular with readers!)

Come join me, myself, and filmmaker John Paizs for the launch of John Paizs’s “Crime Wave” at the Winnipeg Cinematheque!

Thanks to the support of the Winnipeg Film Group and the University of Toronto Press, this launch features FREE ADMISSION to otherwise unavailable films! You may never have another chance to see Crime Wave, a masterpiece of Canadian cinema, and a comedic cult classic. PLUS two other hard-to-find short films that are masterpieces in their own right.

Featuring an introduction and Q&A with writer Jonathan Ball and director John Paizs. Copies of the book will be available for sale. 

About the Book and the Films

Writer and filmmaker Dr. Jonathan Ball offers the first book-length study of this legendary Canadian film and Paizs’s other important films from the 1980s. Exploring Paizs’s postmodern aesthetic and his use of pastiche as a cinematic technique, Ball establishes Crime Wave as an overlooked but important cult classic. In this book launch and screening, Jonathan Ball will present three of Paizs’s best films with a reception to honor this new book.

The Obsession of Billy Botski, dir. John Paizs, 1980, Canada, 25 min
This film introduces John Paizs’s important “quiet man” figure, who reappears in Paizs’s subsequent short films as Nick and in Crime Wave as Stephen Penny (all “quiet men” played by Paizs himself). Billy Botski’s fantasy of possessing Connie, an imaginary, elusive, feminine ideal assembled from gender stereotypes, comes to life and dies in the same fateful night.

Springtime in Greenland
, dir. John Paizs, 1981, Canada, 24 min
The first installment in Paizs’s The Three Worlds of Nick trilogy, is sometimes called Canada’s first postmodern film. A backyard barbecue provides the setting for a diving competition between Nick and Corny Blower: a comedy of male rivalry, intertwined with a documentary about the suburban paradise of Greenland and a commercial about the House of Tomorrow.


John Paizs’s Crime Wave is a seminal film in Winnipeg independent film-making in the 1980’s – a work of incredible imagination and inventive ideas. Upon its release in the mid 1980’s the film played to terrific acclaim at film festivals across North America. Crammed with B-movie gags and pop cultural references the movie follows the story of Steven Penny, a crime writer who wants to create the perfect color crime movie but can’t because he is only good at writing beginnings and endings, not the stuff in-between.

Date: February 28, 2014
Time: 7:00-11:00 p.m.
Event: Winnipeg book launch at Cinematheque
Sponsor: University of Toronto Press, Winnipeg Film Group
Venue: Winnipeg Cinematheque
Location: Winnipeg, MB

Thrilled to be reading with Paul Zits and Lori Cayer!

Date: February 13, 2014
Time: 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Event: Winnipeg reading with Paul Zits and Lori Cayer
Venue: McNally-Robinson
Location: Winnipeg, MB

Join me alongside poets Lorna Crozier, Sue Goyette, Patrick Lane and JonArno Lawson.

Date: September 28, 2012
Time: 8:00-10:30 p.m.
Event: Poetry Bash! @ The Winnipeg International Writers Festival
Venue: Shaw Performing Arts Centre (MTYP), The Forks
Location: Winnipeg, MB

Join me as I advocate for Struan Sinclair’s Automatic World.

Date: September 21, 2012
Time: 8:00-10:30 p.m.
Event: Manitoba Reads! @ The Winnipeg International Writers Festival
Venue: Centre culturel franco-manitobain (CCFM)
Location: Winnipeg, MB

Robert Kroetsch (1927 – 2011)

I have been meaning to write something here about Robert Kroetsch, but I don’t know what I could write that would matter to anyone. If you don’t know who Kroetsch is, then nothing I say will make any difference to you. And if you do know who Kroetsch is, then anything I say is superfluous. You don’t need to hear from me.

Nevertheless, I would like to say something. I first met Kroetsch through his books. I didn’t know what I was doing in university, and was in danger of failing out because I just didn’t care that much about it. But then I read Kroetsch’s SEED CATALOGUE and was excited in a way I had never before been about poetry, about its possibilities, and right then decided to major in English and take my studies seriously. I ended up pursuing my studies through to complete a Ph.D., so even if I’d never met Kroetsch I could claim that he changed my life.

Then, while completing my M.A. at the University of Manitoba, I met Kroetsch on a number of occasions. I was always impressed that he remembered me (and everyone else — a friend recalls Kroetsch greeting him by name much later on, after meeting him once for 30 seconds in an elevator). At one point, I recall giving Kroetsch a chapbook I’d completed. I often give out such things to people I admire, hoping they will read them but not really expecting it. Kroetsch accepted politely, though I expected he’d forget about it and lose it or discard it once I was safely gone. Instead, he read the entire thing right there, in front of me — somewhat nerve-wracking, but certainly appreciated.

Later on, after my first book EX MACHINA was released, Kroetsch wrote to me to praise the book, calling me “one of our most exciting young poets.” I was so flattered that I asked if I could use that quote — unsolicited, from private correspondence — on the back of my book CLOCKFIRE, as I was trolling for quotes at the time, and he graciously agreed. And so I can say without exaggeration that Kroetsch made a tremendous impact on me personally, artistically, and professionally. He will be missed.

Spoony B in “How Spoony B Got His Ho Back” (7 minutes; Winnipeg Film Group, 2005)

Directed by Jonathan Ball

Written by Jonathan Ball and Patrick Short
Music by Patrick Keenan and Theme by Spoony B & Ugly D


Aleksander Rzeszowski as Spoony B
Ken Freund as Snidely S. Cracker
Melissa Best as Loshandra

Proving once again that no Winnipeg Film Group premiere would be complete without a reference to prostitution, Spoony B features the titular pimp (Aleksander Rzeszowski) rescuing his favourite employee from evil villains. Filmmaker Jonathan Ball avoids the usual WFG clichés, though, with the sneaky, inspired notion to combine silent-film melodrama and ’70s pimp-sploitation subject matter, Chaplinesque physical comedy and jive-talking inter-titles. – Winnipeg Free Press