Tag Archives: Where the Nights are Twice as Long

Literary Happenings & Lost in an Eerie Orange Haze


Or distracted, at the very least. The worst of the heat wave is over, smoke from forest fires clearing. Naturally it rained the day of my summer soiree but we still need more to dampen drought conditions. Considered wearing a mask with air quality comparable to Beijing’s, but as friend Nathaniel Poole pointed out in his blog, Loose Moorings,  the dread the eerie orange smoke instilled in people is more likely due to their own fears.  He contends that fires are a normal part of the ecosystem. For me it’s been a nuisance, the fallout annoying, though on our island, a major conflagration would be devastating. We are woefully unprepared and have a small, volunteer fire department.

I have no time to write, between working, house hunting and dealing with government bureaucracies, clawing through red tape. Ditto book promotion, though I recently appeared at the Storm Crow Tavern Reading Series, hosted by Sean Cranbury, and sold a few copies of The Town Slut’s Daughter. I’m trying to complete Detective Work, a new collection of verse. About three quarters of the way there, this last bit constitutes a formidable hurtle. Can’t seem to compose but I accomplished a little editing today.

The Goose Lane anthology that I’m featured in, Where the Nights are Twice as Long, got a good write-up and made the the cover of Literary Review of Canada. The author Méira Cook gets it, what editors Dave Eso and Jeannette Lyons are trying to do. By arranging the correspondence according to the poet’s age at the time of writing, the experience reveals much about love’s vexing nature, poets and Canada. Fascinating, and I am savoring this read.

I was happy to hear from the folks at Rebus Creative who invited me to read at Word Vancouver, AKA Word on the Street, in September. An esteemed festival, I’m looking forward to it. The gathering also provides a good opportunity to catch up with friends and associates, as it seems everyone and their dog comes out for it.

Also heard from indefatigable Mona Fertig of Mother Tongue Press who has published my work in several anthologies, regarding their forthcoming, THE LITERARY STOREFRONT: THE GLORY YEARS, Vancouver’s Literary Centre 1978-1984 by Trevor Carolan. Mona ran the place in Gastown. I believe the first time I was ever published was in their newsletter and I was thrilled. Swept up by punk rock along with poetry, this was right around the time I started my first band, the Zellots and played the Smilin’ Buddha. Heady times, for all of us. As BC Bookworld’s Alan Twigg states: “Just as Alan Crawley and Dorothy Livesay organized Vancouver writers in the Thirties and Forties, Mona Fertig took the job seriously in the late ’70s and early ’80s, long before city culture bureaucrats were upbraided in 2012 for allocating less than 2% of their arts budget to literary arts. A Literary Arts Centre will finally come to pass, but Fertig led the way.” The launch is at the Western Front Oct 10.

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.