Those are good questions and I have no answers for them.

the indefatigable rob mclennan interviewed me as part of his ‘Ottawa small press fair at home.’ You can read the whole interview here.

This whole endeavour has all brought me back to my roots, photocopying and stapling black and white art together and just getting it out there. It feels great.

The Desert and The Flood

Horsebroke_2 Production previewProud to announce The Desert and The Flood, new poetry from Amanda Besserer, is now available for pre-order via Horsebroke Press.

The Desert and The Flood is the first collection of poetry from Amanda Besserer in nearly a decade. After a long hiatus, Amanda has made re-emerged with a voice both romantic and grounded. Her poems tour the wreckage of lunar accidents, hop Charybdis, and dangle their feet from the rings of Saturn. Most of all, this is the poetry of a survivor; of someone who has learned when to purr—and when to roar.

Amanda will be reading at the Factory Reading Series in Ottawa on Friday June 17 at the Carleton Tavern (FB link). The book will be available there and at the Ottawa Small Press Fair the next day, Saturday June 18, at the Jack Purcell Centre (FB link). Pre-orders via Etsy will ship on June 17.

Want a taste of Amanda’s work? Visit and follow Revolution From My Bed.

“Ok, now steal their diaries.”

rob mclennan (the working man of Ottawa poetry), was good enough to feature me in his 12 or 12 Questions (second) series. Lucky me, I got twenty. Here’s a taste:

What made you write, as opposed to doing something else?

It was liberating. I was that one kid in high school who gave a damn about world events. 9-11 + an inspirational grade 12 English Teacher (Ms. Louise Kee, York Region School Board) = yeah, Jeff, you need to keep writing.

What do you see the current role of the writer being in larger culture? Does s/he even have one? What do you think the role of the writer should be?

I have no idea; maybe to think of themselves more akin to painters, filmmakers, actors, and other creative types.

What fragrance reminds you of home?


Lots more on my relationships with other poets, Weird Al-fueled parody writing at age nine, and what Justin Million & I get up to at night.

It’s a kinda family

So In/Words Magazine & Press is officially an Ottawa institution. As old as the GWOT, Carleton’s little mag that can has published authors from across the country, but mostly from Carleton University. Most of my friends have appeared in its pages and I wouldn’t be the semi-confident specimen I am today if not for that community/myriad of opportunity, so I was tickled when a month ago rob mclennan, whose “omni-presence is exciting to some, annoying to others,” approached myself and other editors from the mag’s middle years (~2006-2011) to contribute to a piece for Open Book Ontario on In/Words’ history/identity/etc. Since then almost everyone interviewed has been on a wonderful nostalgia kick and published histories of their own. I’ll update this little list with new bits. You should definitely start with Dave Emery’s, and work your way backwards, if only because that one features the most embarrassing anecdote about yours truly. Also his piece satisfies my desire to see (almost) everyone involved over the years get a mention. It’s a kinda family you know?

Profile of In/Words, with a few questions
rob mclennan, Open Book Ontario, 11 Feb ’13.

What has really left a sustained mark is the list of writers that have come through the other end, a number of whom are producing increasingly interesting writing, and beginning to receive attention beyond the immediate borders of the informal group.

In/Words: A Personal Memorir
Peter Gibbon, Conduit Canada, 21 Feb ’13
Includes my previously unpublished poem ‘WEDDED’

Another watershed moment for In/Words writers was a semi-impromptu wedding ceremony between two founders of the press’ erotic lit mag The Moose & Pussy Jeff Blackman and Kate Maxfield. This occurred in my back yard. For this occasion, Cameron Anstee, Ben Ladouceur and I formed an acoustic covers band as entertainment. Every preceding Sunday for a month-and-a-half Ben and I rehearsed in my apartment, arranging songs with percussion, guitar, harp, organ and egg shaker. Half the guests were either a former editor or contributor to In/Words.

The Derelict Narrative: An Account of In/Words
Dave Emery, Angel House Press, 26 Feb ’13
Includes my old, old poem ‘University’

I felt sick to my stomach after those shows were over, like I’d been pushed unceremoniously from a carnival ride and left buzzing, buzzing. I’d often go home and write. It was the only way to calm myself down. Inspiration came fast and furious from that foot-high stage, sometimes in odd packages.

And apparently I’ll be sick to my stomach as I open the Reading Series Tonight @ the Clocktower Pub, @ Isabella & Bank here in snowy Ottawa. The main act is Dave De Bruijn, who also is In/Words’ bartender/amp man/resident Egyptologist. As I was the first official feature of the Reading Series some 2.5 years ago, I’m delighted to be opening for Dave. Get there for 8:30 for a seat upfront. I promise not to call anyone a suit.

Event details via Facebook:

Update! Two former/current(?) partners-in-line have written about chapbook series put together ‘back in the day.’ Both featured work I’m proud to have produced.

“nostalgia to me:” Reading In/Words Chapbook Series 8
Ben Ladouceur, 10 June ’13
Featuring my collaborative poetry & prose book, “BLIZZARD: Ottawa City Stories,” which I wrote with Peter Gibbon over about 2 years. It was supposed to be about being lonely virgins but things change, donchaknow?

In/Words: the longpoem envelope (2008)
Cameron Anstee, 13 June ’13
Featuring my Passover-centric text, “Tonight We Be A Rebel People.” Technically I never took that long-poem class but I definitely absorbed it through osmosis.

I’ll update with some excerpts next week. (JB – June 13, 2013)