Tag Archives: Aural Heather

Poetical Canuckian love letters, “Voracious”-new AURAL Heather & Vancouver’s female punk rockers


Lots of action on the HS Haley front! 2015 looks promising. Last summer poetry impresario and scholar Dave Eso contacted me regarding a Goose Lane Editions anthology of love letters by Canadian poets that he and Jeanette Lynes were co-editing called Where the Nights are Twice as Long. I was intrigued and he was interested in some Peter Trower letters that he’d found through his research. Dave asked if I had anything I’d like to contribute. My instinctive reaction was a resolute “No.” But as Pete’s friend and literary executor, I assisted for several months in procuring the Trower material. A peksy idea began to seep in; I do have amorous correspondence, stored away. I would have to read it again, in the process reliving the pain and heartache of John and mine’s implosion four years previous. Which I did. Naturally. ‘Cause I’m a sucker for romance, a glutton for punishment. I showed it Dave who was keen for it and here I sit six months later admiring this lush, hefty, gorgeous book.  “Here are odes and lyric ecstasies, tirades and tantrums, pastoral comforts and abject horrors – all delivered with the vibrancy, wit, and erudition of our finest poets. Under the covers of Where the Nights Are Twice As Long, David Eso and Jeanette Lynes collect letters and epistolary poems from more than 120 Canadian poets, including Pauline Johnson, Malcolm Lowry, Louis Riel, Alden Nowlan, Anne Szumigalski, Leonard Cohen, John Barton, Di Brandt, and many others, encompassing the breadth of this country’s English literary history.”  Kudos and congratulations Dave and Jeanette! I know how hard, and how long you’ve worked on this wondrous tome. Thrilled as I am to be included, I get squeamish at the thought of such intimacy on full display. But it will appeal to the voyeur I believe resides within us all.

Speaking of connections, I recently reconnected with a dear friend, one Mark Deutrom, musician/composer/producer extraordinaire. As Mark puts it: “I first knew Heather in what seems to be another life at this point – we were neighbors sharing some affinities in the existential miasma that was Hollywood at the dawn of Ronald Reagan’s so called “shining city on a hill”. Many years later, through the miracle of the Interweb, we are back in touch and have begun what will hopefully be the start of an adventure in the spoken word with accompanying soundtracks.” What I call AURAL Heather. Our first effort/collaboration is Voracious, written at the height of, and as a result of the mad affair depicted in the aforementioned anthology. I will select another poem in the next few weeks, record the voice-over, send it along to Mark, who happens to reside in Austin, Texas, and we will go from there. I’ll be doing a Twisted Poets reading in Vancouver Jan 29 which will help put me in the zone. I need to sing! Determined to incorporate some vocalizations into our next piece.


Last fall, in the midst of fervent Visible Verse Festival curating and preparations, a writer named Connie Kuhns got in touch regarding her article on Vancouver’s female punk rockers. I managed to answer her interview questions in time and it’s hot off the presses. “Geist 95 is on newsstands now! See the full Table of Contents and order this brand-new issue for only $6. Our loudest issue yet features punk, politics and feminism by Connie Kuhns; winners of the Tobacco Lit Writing Contest; David Albahari’s child-free neighbourhood; the Arctic photography of Bogdan Luca; Stephen Osborne on dog walking and story writing, and more!” The guitarist depicted on the cover in the foreground is Christine de Veber rippin’ it at one of our first Zellots shows at the Smilin’ Buddha, a couple of lifetimes ago.


Yikes! No wonder I’m looking over my shoulder. The world is running out of redheads. We are predicted to be extinct within 100 years. And we experience pain differently. I knew it. I’m not just a sensitive artist as my friend Gretl so kindly pointed out.

Musings. Such musings are pretty much all I can muster today; struggling to shake malaise, the flu and my inner misanthrope, mood nearly as foul as the weather. Why bother? Why bother blogging? I am a barometer of the times if nothing else. A speck. A speck that can’t stop striving to be more than a speck.

“When you feel happy it somehow seems that you’ve always been happy and that you’ll always be happy. The same is often true when you feel sad, or lonely, or depressed, or broke, or sick, or scared. Something, perhaps, to remember.”-One of those silly albeit often prescient Notes from the Universe. What a relief. It’s only a matter of time. Not sure there’s much consolation in that.

Music helps. At the moment, I am listening to a favoured Internet radio station, Cluberry Chill, ‘cause I needs to chill don’t you know. Rest. Recover. They just played Laurie Anderson’s Mr. Heartbreak and are now onto some swanky 60s noir soul. Sometimes I move over to Mountain Chill where the DJ drawls song titles reminiscent of the classic, late night DJ portrayed by Clint Eastwood in Play Misty For Me, the original Fatal Attraction. “Stay tuned.” Old school. Who gets to program their own program these days? We are very adept at bringing back the tried and true way of doing things though. Rock and roll will never die and neither will DJs. My favourite rock station lately is AndHow.com out of New Zealand. I love Internet radio, its infinite selection. I cannot abide commercial radio and refuse to listen to it in the car, plugging in my iPod instead. I can’t believe they’re playing essentially the same playlists they played in the 70s.

Creating helps. Family affair. I’m writing songs with my nephew and gearing up to Continue reading

This dream, this precious life

Stormy weather and animal dreams. I was in a slaughterhouse, looking at a hole in the wall. A mouse hole? A hand reached out to stroke the snout of a hippo. To soothe it? Are they related to swine or do they just look like they are? Then many hands emerged from the hole, not exactly waving. Next night, with a guinea pig on my shoulder, I watched as a woman in a window frolicked with four little lap dogs, all different breeds, housed within a kind of four-plex cage. So I don’t know what’s up with that but perhaps such bizarreness was triggered by news of an incident in North Carolina, a sheriffs’ department using stray dogs for target practice, which made me think of the sled dogs that were euthanized in Whistler post-Olympics, after they lost their usefulness. Ah, human cruelty knows no bounds. We treat each other like garbage too.

Word on the Street Festival endured more weather challenges than usual, tents on Hamilton Street blown down by high winds. I was astounded, thought they’d cancelled or something. That would be a first. Then we endured a colossal downpour. An hour later, rainbows and sunshine, me cursing. I always travel with sunglasses and an umbrella but that morning couldn’t imagine the sun emerging. I should know better after all these years of Vancouver weather. Highlights, Elizabeth Bachinksy’s Event Magazine writers/readers Wayde ComptonCharles Demers and Amber Dawn. They’re celebrating 40 years, as is Talonbooks. As usual I ran into many fellow maniacs, happy to see the majority. (Some) people will treat you like garbage, if you let them. One perk of maturity; I know life is precious. Ditto time.

And we are not dogs. Dinner with precious friends. Does wine tastes better in a restaurant or is it just me I asked? Laughter. It’s just you Heather. True enough. It’s just me.

Recovering from an intense weekend of Visible Verse Festival programming. Whew! It really has grown, this festival and I was forced to make some very tough decisions. There were more than a few submissions in the Maybe pile that I wanted to screen but ran out of time. I announced the program Monday, making quite a few artists very happy in the process. Guess it’s all worth it.

I’m posting the essay I wrote for Sheri-D’s Spoken Word Workbook earlier this year. She’ll be in town to perform at the Vancouver International Writers Festival next month and will facilitate a master class in spoken word as well. I’ve been asked how collaborating in music and video affects my practice, thought this answered the question:


By Any Medium Necessary

Subversive, sub rosasidewayslike a snake in the grass is often how an artist must move and technology can help us cover more ground. I address social issues in my work but I dread dogma as much as cliché. I believe that being an artist is a political statement.

Though founder of the Edgewise ElectroLit Centre, I am not a technocrat. I felt strongly it was Continue reading

Announcing the SEE THE VOICE @ Vancouver International Poetry Festival program!

Mostly chronological, from 1999-2010. The order might change a bit, but probably not.


Bubblegum Alley                        Zaffi Gousopoulos

That Which Takes Flight Laurel Ann Bogen/Doug Knott

Airplane Paula Sheri-D Wilson

Chinese Cucumbers Patricia Smith/Kurt Heintz

Alphabet City Adeenda Karasick

Sturgeon Song Alice Tepexquintle

Hundred Block Rock Bud Osborn/Dave Lester

Hopscotch Tom Konyves

Sista Someone Seth Adrian Harris

Kingsway Michael Turner

Cocteau Cento Dan Boord/Luis Vadlovino

Memory Block Hari Alluri

Lost In The Library George Bowering

Almost Forgot my Bones Tanya Evanson/Katrin Bowen

Spinsters Hanging In Trees Sheri-D Wilson

Missed Aches Joanna Priestley/Taylor Mali

Enter the Chrysanthemum Fiona Lam

Car Wash Leanne Averbach

What Did You Do Boy? Janet Rogers

Vita Means Life Gabrielle Everall

Psychic Defense Training

for Ex-Lovers Doug Knott

To Erzulie Lennelle M. Moise/Mara Alper

Buffalo Roaming Kirk Miles

Candle Dance,

The Crossroads David Bengtson/Mike Hazard

Intersecting Circles Moe Clark

Financially Strapped Katrin Bowen

Purple Lipstick Heather Haley/Alexandra Oliver

Being An Artist Ellyn Maybe

Turtleheart Susan Cormier

The Bather David Bateman

Dirty Bomb Mac Dunlop

Beware Of Dog Tom Konyves

Cellophane Girl Alain Delannoy/Pamela Mansbridge

The Knotting of Rope,The Mechanics of Plastic,

The Right To Remain Francesco Levato

Deersigns Taien Ng-Chan

The Book Of Green Gerard Wozek/Mary Russell

How To Remain AURAL Heather

Retro disk chunter Stuart Pound

HOW TO REMAIN, the videopoem, or music video, as required

Frazzled! I may not look it here but I am fried! Wiped out! Crashing post-wrap, but surfacing too, to all the tasks that have piled up back at the ranch. O isn’t it fun being an artist? Okay, I’m going to refrain from bitching, whining and moaning. For now.

O my poor blog! One Life is not enough! I’ve neglected it for the past few weeks, along with several other fronts, as I scrambled to finish up production on two videopoems in order to make Monday’s Zebra Poetry Film Festival deadline. How To Remain by AURAL Heather and Bushwhack, adapted from the book with visual artist Tina Schliessler. Both projects have left the building! In the post on their way to Berlin.

My old school punk rock cohort Chris Coon and I composed music and he scored Bushwhack in the 11th hour. We made several major changes in editing and worked through a mountain of snafus, naturally. Woo hoo! Josef and I were just discussing the incredible amount of work that’s gone into the 2:32 minutes of How To Remain and 5:07 minutes of Bushwhack. Lots of hoops to jump through for the application as well including the following synopses: Continue reading

Gestation leads to frustration

Ah, it’s an artist’s life . . . the only life for me, alas. It appears Roderick (Shoolbraid) and I—AURAL Heather—are stuck. A filmmaker friend said he would help with crucial digital/special effects for our How To Remain video but has disappeared. I said we need to come up with a Plan B, Roddy. Not surprisingly he’s been wrapping his brain around the problem. “It’s old school,” he said of a possible solution. “I think it will work.” Fine by my old school self. Whatever it takes.

Frustrations on another front as well, the Bushwhack front, the book I’m collaborating on with Vancouver photographer Tina Schliessler. We’ve been seeking a publisher for a while and she is starting to second-guess the title and become discouraged. Par for the course Tina. It’s f***ing hard to get published and only getting harder as the medium dies out. Bushwhack is a powerful vision, a provocative book, finding a home for it a huge challenge under any circumstances. We must not weaken. We’ve decided to drum up a videopoem version and a gallery show which should help raise its profile and find a publisher. Ultimately. It took (too many) years to get Three Blocks West of Wonderland published. It sucks but that’s that’s show biz. Long gestation, longer frustration, what we artists are in for.

The importance of being aural

I’ve been extremely nostalgic lately, iPod blasting out Wire, X, Pylon, Pointed Sticks, Young Canadians, the Germs, Gun Club, PiL, Patti Smith and Joy Division, sharing their tunes with friends, both old school punks and young champions of the genre. I revel in it as much as I ever did and dammit, it’s timeless.

Life, including recording and performing music, was so much simpler then, hence the nostalgia, even melancholy. Just do it was precisely how we did it. These days it seems there is so much more crap to surmount! Why does it have to be so bloody hard to get together to jam, write, rehearse, record, perform? I miss singing, though singing lyrics—singing the way I used to with my previous bands—is not quite what I do with Roderick Shoolbraid and our AURAL Heather duo. My throat slings (spoken) word along with, and in and out of, melody. I described AURAL Heather in our press release as a sublime fusion of music and poetry and dubbed our material spoken word song. Though our logistics are daunting and AURAL Heather is currently simmering on a back burner—as we work to complete our How To Remain video—our sound, once described as “Lynchian,” keeps right on cooking.

Recently, I found myself getting defensive when a friend complained that Roderick’s guitar drowns out my vocals. I sighed. It’s difficult to explain our aural challenges, that what we’re attempting to pull off is a delicate balancing act. Maybe I sighed so loudly because Continue reading

My first time! (On a horse) AURAL Heather video shoot

I did it! I rode a horse! A stallion no less! A black stallion! For the first time in my life. I think. I told Josef that I vaguely remember trying to get on a horse once, long ago, when I was a girl and maybe I got scared or the horse spooked or something. It’s strange. I’m obsessed with the creatures. I told Laura Doyle, consummate horse woman and fellow artist, who gave me my first riding lesson today, that I dream about them, write about them, am always completely in awe of their grace, power and beauty.

I’m so lucky to have met her. Laura made the experience so wonderful, said I did well. I even got up to a trot! So naturally I’m inspired, want to learn to ride, want my own horse! Hers, a handsome black Friesen, named Orion. The Friesen is a “uniquely kind breed with loads of willingness, stunning to watch as they show their beauty in movement.” *sigh* I think I’m in love. I was nervous, but not scared. I have been around horses most of my life. I went to school in Cloverdale, many of my girlfriends equestrians and I even had a job watering and feeding a small herd of Palominos.

Orion was great, likes to be scratched at the base of his neck. Very affectionate, mellow. I am good with animals, dogs especially, tried to pretend, or approach him like a big dog. 1000-pound dog! I looked over at one point to see one of the mares on her back, rolling around in the dirt, just like Sam loves to do.

Great day! It even stopped raining and we shot out in the pasture and willows. It couldn’t have turned out better. A great day despite starting off in a quandary about what to wear. I wanted to spoof Lady Godiva and had the costume all worked out—made a hair piece, bought a body stocking— but Continue reading

Life with & without *Slam*, AURAL Heather @ the &Now Conference in New York, Ferry Godmother

Finally coming up for air and an opportunity to write! Some home improvement is on the agenda this weekend, a little fun as well. We plan to cavort a bit down at Bowfest this evening. I wonder if the beer tent sells wine. I can’t drink beer anymore; not sure why and there are only a few wines I enjoy. The weather is cooperating, no rain on the parade this morning.

Injured my knee thanks to our brute of a pup, SamIAm. Some kid and his mutt came by the house with a flyer and Sam went ballistic. Junior pays no attention to what the hounds are up to so I had to Continue reading

Heroic as a high school graduate… “Window Seat”

Art Bergmann at our home studio on Vancouver Island

In a major funk, not sure why. Probably pre-show anxiety (AURAL Heather @ the Media Club tomorrow, April1). Maybe I just need a break from reality, been feeling restless, suffering a severe case of itchy feet. At least the sun is out today, had to use the goLite yesterday for a shot of Vit D, it was so dark. I am listening to some lovely songs my peripatetic and talented friend Emaline Delapaix sent. She’s in a Montreal suburb right now, a little lovesick I fear and cooling her jets until she moves to Toronto.

All right, well I’m not going to write a review of Art’s (Bergmann’s) show, return to the stage. I’m sure others will. I was overjoyed to see him performing again. I will talk about the influence he has had on me and Continue reading