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November 2020
by Phil Hall

 At first     leaving Latin    we took the Latin Rd    west 

all of the landmarks    were familiar   zebras under bridges
 solariums      gurgling cores     roundabouts

by noon    Greenwich     had begun to offer    storied gardens
 Forsooth in bloom     Spilled Milk Lungwort

a snake      had to keep near     a wishing-well

 purple Indeedium      covert dovecotes    elevated rest stops

by evening     a coast through     mangled savannahs
 toward Kingfisher's Pt

on the radio    Ornette Coleman's Soapsuds     Charlie Haden bass

 next morning     heading out     saw oxcarts abandoned
waved to local circuses

 dabblers     on their knees     in the fields
shouted out to us     in a tongue half Tenure      half Congo

 we roll in late      on fumes      to Howl Town
note     Everyone at Fair Grounds 

 the World Saxophone Orchestra      on stage      playing "Selim Sivad"
we were sucked toward David Murray's scribble
 pit-lights      running off generators      shone harsh     alternative girders
through the gallimaufry      the farrago

 we blended in     started dancing
 © Phil Hall 2020. Published in Niagara & Government (Pedlar Press)

Niagara & Government
Phil Hall
Pedlar Press
ABOUT:  Niagara & Government is Phil Hall’s seventeenth book of poetry. His poetic practice spans almost fifty years. In 2011 Hall won Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry in English for his collection of essay-poems, Killdeer, which the jury called “a masterly modulation of the elegiac through poetic time.” Killdeer also won Ontario’s Trillium Book Award, and was nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize (as was his 2005 collection An Oak Hunch). Hall’s 2016 collection, Conjugation, was praised by Douglas Barbour as “a major addition to a major oeuvre."

Hall has published many small press chapbooks, and is a visual artist who works in collage. He has taught writing at the Kootenay School of Writing, Ryerson University, Banff Centre, and Toronto New School. He has been writer-in-residence at Sage Hill Writing Experience (Saskatchewan), Berton House (Dawson City, Yukon), Queen’s University, University of Ottawa, and most recently at University of New Brunswick, Fredericton (2018/19). While at Queen’s in 2012 he inaugurated an annual lecture series, The Page Lectures, in honour of Kingston poet and artist Joanne Page.

From Quill & Quire:  Canada is about to lose one of its most consistently impressive small literary presses.
Pedlar Press, located in St. John’s, will officially cease publishing at the end of 2020, says founder and co-publisher Beth Follett. Pedlar debuted in April 1996 as a small house based out of Toronto. Follett relocated from Ontario to Newfoundland in 2012 and Monica Kidd was brought on board as co-publisher in 2018. Financial constraints resulting from COVID-19 hit Pedlar as hard as any other publisher; this fall has seen only two books appear – Phil Hall’s poetry collection, Niagara & Government, and Su Croll’s novel, Seeing Martin. Sales and distribution agreements with the Literary Press Group and LitDistCo end as of Dec. 31, 2020. In the months following, Follett plans to sell directly to booksellers across the country as well as do “all [she] ever would do” in terms of submitting 2020 titles for awards consideration and trying to sell foreign and subsidiary rights. “I’m imagining that I’m doing very little by mid-2022.”

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