Tag Archives: Canada

New book: Shape Your Eyes By Shutting Them

It’s a delight to announce the publication of my debut book of poems, Shape Your Eyes By Shutting Them, from Athabasca University Press. At the link you can buy a print copy or download a free, open-access PDF copy. I’m a firm believer that open access doesn’t mean losing sales, it means gaining audience, and the audience for poetry (which has grown significantly of late) can always use broadening. Open access publishing with AU Press lets me extend a web-wide invitation to #OpenPoetry.

I’m surprised and honoured by the early praise given the book by two major Canadian writers. Di Brandt (author of Glitter & Fall) calls the book “a brilliant, crazy, deliciously carnivalesque romp through the surreal landscape of our times”; and Douglas Barbour (author of Listen. If) calls it “a wild mixtape of literary forms.” I’m inexpressibly grateful for these authors’ kind, generous words.

The book uses Surrealist techniques, like cut-up, juxtaposition, and détournement, in a fugue of poetic forms (centos, science fiction, sonnets, etc.) to tackle subjects ranging from love and work to anxiety disorders and ecological crisis. Moving from eroticism to the macabre and from transformative quotation to the individual idiom, the book enacts Northrop Frye’s claim that “poems can only be made from other poems,” and shows how citation is integral to creativity; authors need fair dealing too.

To give a sense of my work’s debts to others, I’ve created a mixtape of the songs that the book quotes, alludes to, or otherwise references. This mix sequences songs in the order in which their excerpts appear in the book. (Some poems quote no music, and some poems quote more than one song.) The mix includes all songs listed in the book’s Acknowledgments, and other songs from which the book uses short excerpts like titles or very short phrases. More than just further acknowledgment, this mix also means remuneration: Mixcloud pays royalties (to labels at least, and hopefully to artists too). And many artists featured in this mix are Canadian. (Support Can con!)

Whether you #OpenPoetry in print or digitally, I hope you like what you find. Thanks for reading.

Track list

00:00 Peter Gabriel, “Gethsemane”
01:36 Karyn Levitt, “Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life”
03:28 Heart, “These Dreams”
07:46 The Bee Gees, “More Than a Woman”
11:03 Shania Twain, “Man! I Feel Like a Woman”
14:51 The Zombies, “She’s Not There”
17:25 Wu-Tang Clan, “Da Mystery of Chessboxin'”
22:08 R.E.M., “So. Central Rain”
25:34 R.E.M., “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
29:12 The Tragically Hip, “New Orleans is Sinking”
33:13 Paul Robeson, “Ol’ Man River”
37:50 Michael Jackson, “Thriller”
43:47 The Jesus and Mary Chain, “April Skies”
47:44 Bob Geldof, “Thinking Voyager 2 Type Things”
55:54 Stevie Wonder, “Heaven Help Us All”
59:24 The Muppet Show cast, “Why Can’t We Be Friends”
1:01:35 The Boys Next Door, “Shivers”
1:06:20 Brewer and Shipley, “One Toke Over the Line”
1:09:43 The Velvet Underground, “Sister Ray”
1:27:05 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “Breathless”
1:30:11 Kate Bush, “Wuthering Heights”
1:34:48 Erasure, “Blue Savannah”
1:38:59 Sarah McLachlan, “O Canada”
1:40:39 Louis Armstrong, “I Guess I’ll Get The Papers and Go Home”
1:43:08 Tori Amos, “Tear In Your Hand”
1:48:06 The English Beat, “Mirror In the Bathroom”
1:50:55 Aphrodite, “Tower Bass”
1:56:24 The Spoons, “Romantic Traffic”
1:59:50 Enigma, “Mea Culpa”
2:04:21 Cowboy Junkies, “‘Cause Cheap is How I Feel”

Open letter to my MP demanding #climatecrisis action

[delivered via GoFossilFree.org — send a letter to your MP too]

Dear Mr. Diotte,

I’m a constituent here in your riding. I appreciate that the House of Commons has held an emergency debate prompted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s sobering report on limiting global warming to 1.5ºC.

That emergency debate was a great first step, but now we need emergency action. That’s why I’m delivering this letter today urging you to read the the IPCC report and pledge to take action.

Read the report here: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/.

After reading it, I urge you to propose, champion and support legislation to update Canada’s climate policies and bring them in line with the urgency called for in the IPCC report before the next federal election.

Right now, Canada has a climate plan that falls far short of what the science says we urgently need. We need to strengthen our international climate commitments, stop fossil fuel expansion that scientists keep telling us our climate can’t handle, and build a 100% renewable energy economy that respects Indigenous rights, and works for every single person in Canada. Our children’s future depends on immediate actions like these.

My contact information is below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Mark A. McCutcheon

Aside

It’s been a good week for writing: Carousel Magazine has accepted one of my poems for publication; Riddled With Arrows, one of my stories; and I just got my copy of the latest issue of Quills — Canada’s erotic poetry … Continue reading

My brief on fair dealing & education for Canada’s copyright review

Here is a copy of the brief I submitted last month to the Government of Canada’s current review of the Copyright Act (a review mandated among the Act’s 2012 amendments). This brief focuses on fair dealing and education. (Click here for the direct link to its Scribd page.)

Other excellent submissions to the review include Meera Nair’s and the Dalhousie Faculty Association’s.

Link

“Happy Birthday, Frankenstein!”

Athabasca University Press’ Open Book Blog has a new post about the Frankenstein bicentennial: “Happy Birthday, Frankenstein!” 
The post curates a sampling of links to just a few of the Canadian Frankenstein adaptations discussed in my book #TheMediumIsTheMonster: from Larissa Lai’s writing and Matt MacFadzean’s playwriting, to the music of Deadmau5 and more.

This blog posts makes a great multimedia supplement to the book, for readers who may not know of some of these works.

Six things the public & the government need to know about fair dealing

Amidst ongoing efforts by copyright-maximizing lobbyists to mislead both the public and the government (which is now undertaking its 5-year review of the amended 2012 copyright act) about what fair dealing is, and what it means for Canadian culture, innovation, and education, here are six evidence-based points worth understanding about fair dealing.

  1. Over a decade’s worth of Supreme Court rulings have firmly and consistently enshrined fair dealing as a users’ right in copyright law.
  2. If Canadian publishers are hurting, it’s not because of fair dealing.
  3. In the name of authors, lobbyists against fair dealing antagonize and vilify educators — but many educators are authors themselves.
  4. Far from “pirating” protected works, educators actively promote authors’ interests, e.g. by ordering Canadian authors’ works in large quantities for schools and students to buy. (See p. 2, item 4 of CARL-ABRC’s Fair Dealing fact sheet.)
  5. Authors need fair dealing too, no less than educators do.
  6. Fair dealing augments and reinforces our Charter-guaranteed freedom of expression: any change to fair dealing (or to copyright more generally) must be understood as a change to free speech rights.

All these points are supported by case law and rigorous, evidence-based studies (by nationally recognized experts like Bita Amani, Carys Craig, Michael Geist, Ariel Katz, and Meera Nair, among others).

So next time you read that teachers are killing Canadian publishing, or stealing Canadian content, don’t believe the hype.

Link

Fair Dealing Myths & Facts, from the Canadian Association of Research Libraries

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries has published a helpful, concise briefing on fair dealing in Canadian copyright law.
Get the facts, not the all-too-pervasive myths.
Fair Dealing Myths & Facts (PDF format; updated November 2017).

Two new poems

Thanks to EVENT Magazine for publishing two of my poems, “What a name’s in” and “No family one pictures” — alongside superb work by other writers — in the current issue (vol 46 no 2, 2017).

Meera Nair on Canada’s copyright review & fair dealing at Congress

English Matters, The blog of the Association of Canadian College & University Teachers of English (ACCUTE), features a talk by Meera Nair (NAIT) from the panel I organized & chaired at Congress on Monday, May 29, 2017: “Canada’s 2017 copyright review: academics’ perspectives.” The panel included three presenters: Sileshi Hirko (U Ottawa) made the case for re-framing copyright’s users’ rights (i.e. fair dealing) according to human rights and international rights agreements; Lisa Macklem (Western U) discussed the implications of intermediary lobbying (e.g. by Access Copyright) and international trade agreements (e.g. NAFTA) for users’ rights in Canadian copyright law; and Nair showed how not only users but also authors depend on fair dealing.
Read more about the panel at this link, where you can also read a free PDF version of Nair’s complete talk.

Stephen Harper as Killer Robot

“Stephen Harper as Killer Robot” is my new article in English Studies in Canada‘s just-published special issue on the automated body.

shaskillbot-screenshotWhile an article about Harper might seem like a political postmortem, the former prime minister’s popular caricature as a robot speaks to widespread fears about the implications of technology for democracy. These alarming implications have been analyzed recently in tech CEO Berit Anderson’s article “The rise of the weaponized AI propaganda machine.” Anderson’s article is a must-read for appreciating the extent to which digital technology now poses a real and present threat to democracy. Anderson’s article sort of picks up — and dives in — where mine leaves off, as a discussion of how that threat has been growing in Canada for some time now.

jffg3

Stencil by “myheadhurtsalot” (https://i.imgur.com/JFfG3.png). My thanks to this Redditor for their permission to reprint their image in my article.

“Stephen Harper as Killer Robot” is currently available online via the Project Muse database, but ESC‘s decent open access policy means the article will be publicly available soon, in 6 months to a year (that’s soonish, for academia). But in the meantime, if you want a copy and can’t access Project Muse, leave a comment below, or send me an e-mail at academicalism[at]gmail[dot]com.