Thursday, June 30, 2016

Thursday, June 16, 2016


Friday, June 17, 2016, 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto, 1 Harbour Square, Toronto. Chartroom Bar and Lounge, just off the main lobby.

An informal reading and launch of Shimmer Report; open mike.  Event taking place alongside the Canadian Writers’ Summit.  For all who are coming, I look forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Poetry as fact-finding: "MOUNTAIN" and The Mount Royal Tunnel

In this intriguing CTV News video, "Forbidden Montreal: Inside the Mount Royal Tunnel", we see the railway tunnel through Montreal's mountain.  The tunnel also appears in my poem, "Mountain", in Shimmer Report.  Wikipedia tells us itl was built in the early years of the last century to give the CNR access to downtown Montreal. By any reckoning it was a major project, and is still the second longest railway tunnel in Canada. Funny, I wrote the poem without knowing of its existence. After penning the poem, I went online to see if we had indeed, as I say in the 4th line, "tunnelled through" our mountain, and discovered we had! Poetry, too, can be a form of fact-finding.


We’ve placed a cross on your shoulder, 
erected a transmission tower,
planted a spindly flag.

We’ve tunneled through you,
necklaced you with roads, paths, 
apartments, mansions clutching 
like pearls at your throat.  

You, who pressed forth
forced by unrelenting magma, 
who rose
earthen breast, back

Now the city gathers round,                                         
temples, spires
obeisant to your deep bass voice—
but freeways, office buildings, industrial parks

We live beside you in tiny flats
watch phantasmal screens,  
eat, recline, 
groom ourselves for the daily backandforth
squirm into leather
for nights in halogen town.

Still—certain hours—you block the sun:
chilled by your encroaching gloom,
we peer from windows, terraces, to see you 
throw off our ropes and stays, to loom.

-- from Shimmer Report (Ekstasis Editions, 2015)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Photos from Shimmer Report Launch, Oct. 14, 2015

About forty guests came to this launch at The Word, a storied, steadfast brick-and-mortar bookstore in the McGill Ghetto.  Among those pictured above: Adrian King, owner of The Word, et moi (picture 2 from the top); Cora Siré et moi (7); Maxianne Berger & Jean-Pierre Pelletier (8); Jan Jorgenson & her husband Ted (9); myself & my wife, Jocelyne Dubois (10); Elise Moser, Cora Siré, & Hugh Hazelton (11). Many books were signed and sold.  Thanks Adrian and Donna for hosting the event and arranging the food & drinks, to all of you who attended! It was a great evening!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Shimmer Report Montreal Launch: The Word, Oct. 14

It's just been confirmed: the Montreal launch of Shimmer Report, my latest collection of poetry, will be taking place at The Word, 469 Milton St, on Wednesday October 14 at 7:30 pm.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Shimmer Report in Ekstasis Catalogue

The Ekstasis Editions catalogue is now online, with Shimmer Report in it.  The book won't be out until August or September, but you can order in advance here.

Here's the text which will appear on the back of the book:

Shimmer Report tells of a couple who do not fall in love so much as ascend together into love from their own dark places. He, a poet, musician, teacher; she, a visual artist and author, has also had to endure the psychiatric system. Life and love are but a shimmer—but this is a report on hard realities, as well as on flashes of colour, delight, and whimsy.

Years of suffering
like gas into flame
have drawn air
into your light—
a leaping, lambent figure
in mist, burning bright
Shimmer Report is a book of searing honesty and shy grace. To read its poems becomes an act of witness as Brian Campbell explores his city and his heart, evoking the requirements of love as well as the vexed nuances of survival. I admire his courage.”
~ Mark Abley, author of The Tongues of Earth 
“In Brian Campbell’s Shimmer Report, the poet asks, “What dilemma is this now?” Using urban, multi-language Montreal for a backdrop, and a palette of telling details in shades of wit and compassion, Campbell explores today’s creativity and relationships through echoes and upshots of complicated pasts. These are poems of love and survival—in spite of, and because of, the curiosities of the world we live in.”
~ Maxianne Berger, author of un renard roux/a red fox

Shimmer Report: Cover

The cover of my upcoming book with Ekstasis Editions... the image is detail from a painting by my wife, Jocelyne Dubois.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Shimmer Report to be published by Ekstasis

Great news! My latest poetry manuscript, Shimmer Report, has been accepted for publication by Ekstasis Editions. It's to come out this fall.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review: Zachariah Wells -- Career Limiting Moves

My review of Zach Wells' Career Limiting Moves is up at Rover.
Zachariah Wells isn't one to shy away from an argument. His collection of critical writing Career Limiting Moves is pugnacious, hilarious, and illuminating.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Book recommendation: Conversations with a Dead Man: The Legacy of Duncan Campbell Scott by Mark Abley

Duncan Campbell Scott (1862-1947) was a disturbing enigma.  A career bureaucrat, he was the overseer of Canada’s destructive Aboriginal schools policy—but also one of our country’s important poets.   It was natural for Mark Abley, a fine poet himself as well as socially concerned journalist, to imagine bringing Scott back to life in order to have a conversation.  The ghost story—or more precisely, a series of interviews with a ghost visitor—is a superb narrative strategy, injecting humour, irony, and drama into what could have been a pretty dry slog had Abley simply followed a more conventional research paper format.  Abley portrays Scott as a product of his time, and yet open to persuasion; he contrasts mores, manners, mentality and even linguistic usage in a way that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible.  An absorbing and delightful read!  Highly recommended…

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Nina Bruck video + CBC interview

From Julie Bruck's FB page:
For friends of Nina B's, a video by Raphael Bendahan, that ends with her chapbook launch reading.
Also, CBC Books has re-posted David Gutnick's mini-doc on Nina from The Sunday Edition.
It's a tonic for me to see and hear the fully-engaged Nina of 8 years ago. She so enjoyed her 15 minutes of fame, and she would have loved this, too.  (--Julie Bruck)

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

RIP Nina Bruck

My wife and I loved her and her poetry. Her chapbook, Still Light at Five O'Clock Raphael Bendahan and I published when she was 85 -- and I treasure my one remaining copy. She was a kind woman, serene in her whimsical intelligence and wisdom. All my condolences to her family and other friends.
Somehow, I deleted this post. A strange way to undo what can't be undone. I'll try again, with that same heavy heart:
Died peacefully at home in Montreal on February 1, 2015, at 92.
Nina was a poet, photographer, and open-hearted observer of the beauty, injustice, and oddness of life. We were lucky to have her love and her whimsical humour for so long.
Predeceased in 2013 by her husband, Gerald Bruck, she is survived by her sons, Jerry Jr. and David, her daughter Julie (Lewis Buzbee), and her adored grandchildren, Zoe and Jacob Bruck and Madeleine Buzbee, by her nieces and friends, and by her loyal caregivers during her last years, especially our dear Hermie Granados. 
At her request, there will be no funeral service. A memorial gathering of her family and friends will be planned in the coming months.
Donations in her memory can be made to Chez Doris (, or to the charity of your choice.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Bridging Solitudes: review of books by Maxianne Berger and Annie Molin Vasseur

My review of un renard roux/a red fox by Maxianne Berger and La voix de l'ombre by Annie Molin Vasseur is now online with Rover.

These two small poetry books, both bilingual editions, carry far greater impact than their diminutive size might suggest.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Private Collection

On Saturday night I launched my new Sky of Ink chapbook, A Private Collection, a series of ekphrastic poems inspired by works of art in my home. Appropriately enough, it was a private launch in my home. About 25 people were present, including a number of artists (some of whom are featured in the chapbook) and writer friends. We all had a wonderful time.

The private goes public: the private launch in my home of A Private Collection, a chapbook of poems inspired by works of art in my house. Recorded Nov. 8, 20...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Line by Line, E-Books Turn Poet-Friendly (New York Times)

I remember my first e-book anthology -- actually a book of essays including a lot of poems, Edward Hirsch's How to Read a Poem. Line breaks were so badly mangled and the text so riddled with errors I eventually ordered a hard copy. Kay Ryan's Selected, which I downloaded the hour I read she had won the Pulitzer Prize, fared better because her short, skinny poems could be easily formatted in unalterable PDF images. I don't generally order poetry in e-book format -- I like to thumb through poetry books and dip into them -- but this is interesting news.