Test Reading Series: Susan Holbrook and Camille Martin

14 February 2008 12am

Test Reading Series

February 15, 2008 at 8pm

Please join us on Friday February 15th at 8pm for the TEST READING Series featuring Susan Holbrook and Camille Martin.


Susan Holbrook teaches North American literatures and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor. She has just co-edited The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson: Composition as Conversation (Oxford UP, 2008). Her poetry books are misled (Red Deer, 1999) and Good Egg Bad Seed (Nomados, 2004).

Poet’s Note

On the number of source-text-generated poems in Joy Is So Exhausting:
Perhaps I don’t like to start conversations, more of a follower than a leader – I’ve never been called presidential. But what are the various translative effects – what can intervening in a source text produce? Applying an Oulipian noun swap to tampon instructions is partly just fun, creating a textual environment of absurdity and flux, but then momentarily there’s a spike in the stakes, as “the tomboy should now be comfortably inside you,” not Tampax’s idea of hygiene, but my idea of a lovely afternoon. Sometimes I just want to rip a phrase out of a science textbook so its gorgeousness won’t go unnoticed: “The eyes of limpets are open cups.” Working from Gertrude Stein’s manuscripts, the misreadings are inevitable, her illegibility makes it easy, her legible surprises an invitation. Sudoku-izing Stephen Harper is just satisfying. How to become more alert to the multiple, incessant acts of reading structuring our days, and to the attendant multiple ways we are read. To resignify, reimagine, perforate, flip, question, to intervene in the written world.


Camille Martin, a poet and collage artist who recently moved to Toronto from New Orleans, is the author of Codes of Public Sleep (Toronto: BookThug, 2007) as well as several earlier chapbooks. Recent work is published or forthcoming in The Literary Review, PRECIPICe, The Walrus, West Coast Line, This Magazine, White Wall Review, and Peter O’Toole. Her current project is a collection of sonnets. She has presented her work in numerous cities in the United States and Canada. She teaches writing and literature at Ryerson University.

Poet’s Note:

Codes of Public Sleep breaks open the code of private thought to modes of knowing catastrophe that defy insufficient isolating sagas. Camille Martin’s poetry is the shattering signal from a laudably wild tongue that will not keep still for our death-drive culture. This is a remarkable collection. —Carla Harryman

Codes of Public Sleep bridges two cities: New Orleans and Toronto. I wrote the title poem to investigate private acts in public spaces in that most eccentric of Southern cities. The telltale signs of the poems written in Toronto are the images of ice and snow. I wrote my Katrina poem long before Katrina.

I’ll also read from a work-in-progress, a collection of edgy sonnets that set language loose on a playground of fourteen lines to see what games it can invent.