. . . and a pot of chicken soup. I start battling the flu the moment the clocks turn back. Every godamn winter; I wish I could make like a snowbird and fly south, to an abode in the desert. I’ll put it on the list.

My buddy Sean Cranbury of Books on the Radio invited me to contribute to his delightful Advent Book Blog. Despite the aforementioned bug and a dearth of time for fiction, here is my recommendation.

I’ve long been a fan of Dennis E. Bolen’s uncanny dialogue and unadulterated prose, the economy of which adapts well to the short story genre and his new collection, Anticipated Results. Though Bolen skillfully renders male Boomer ennui entertaining, not every tale wags in Loser Ville. As affecting as his unflinching portrayals of disaffected, middle-aged lost boys may be, I was moved by other premises: the emotional intensity of a child fleeing a bizarre outburst of patriarchal rage, the twisted, lustful hilarity of Kitty, the genuine poignancy of Lena, an account of driving with offspring as fraught with a father’s palpable longing, regret and resignation as his daughter’s intractable anxiety, seething and clumsily concealed reproach. The result? A thoroughly engaging read. Check out the book trailer, which we just screened at Visible Verse Festival.

Another friend, Max Layton, son of Irving Layton, has asked me to participate in a nation wide Layton centenary celebration in March. I said I’d be happy to and have started planning an event here on the island. It will provide an opportunity to celebrate my birthday as well. If it’s half as wild as 2011’s, we’re in store for a memorable occasion.

And oh, other books I’d happily recommend; and also sharks by Jessica Westhead, Jenn Farrell’s The Devil You Know, Michael Crummy’s The Wreckage and The Spoken Word Workbook, edited by Sheri-D Wilson, with “inspiration from poets who teach, 27 of the most influential Poets, Griots & Bards working in jazz, hip hop, dub, slam, storytelling and sound from across North America,” moi included.