I’ll be reading this Sunday at SPARKS Literary Festival at Memorial University. Lots of great authors, but I’m in the last slot of the day with Sharon Bala, Robert Chafe and Heather O’Neill. Book signings, etc. Come see!
Diversion gets a nice little review from Joan Sullivan in Atlantic Books Today. There’s no link online, so here’s a photo of it. It’s available for sale at most bookstores, or online. Try McNally Robinson or Type Books if you want to support independent bookstores. Or even Chapters and Amazon if you don’t.
Here’s a personal essay I wrote for the Quill and Quire, Canada’s book trade magazine, on the state of distraction. Or at least my state of distraction. And how this has led to my strange book, Diversion.
“I feared I was drying up. I feared I was getting old. I feared I was fading away instead of fulfilling my original plan, which was to burn out. I used to have ideas while waiting in lines at grocery stores, or while sitting in a bar, or walking down the street. Now all that time was filled with other distractions: pings from texts, Twitter alerts, 24-hour news crawls, cat videos on Facebook, ads talking to me at bus stops, five to 10 TVs per bar, all tuned to different channels, phone calls interrupting other phone calls, Candy Crush levels to be beaten, emails delivered directly to a watch on the wrist. That cavernous chamber in the brain was now filled all the time. I wasn’t writing because I was distracted.”
“Reading George Murray’s Diversion makes me feel sorry for almost every other poet out there. You could build a rock solid poem out of almost every single line in this book. Most of us are digging rocks, Murray is mining diamonds.
It’s like watching Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier create such beautiful carnage. These poems aren’t amateur swats, these are professional punches and they will take the wind right out of you. Make no mistake, George Murray isn’t the least bit interested in taking prisoners.”
Wow. That is something.
I’ll be leaving tomorrow for Toronto, where I’ll be reading at Jay and Hazel Millar’s awesome HIJ reading series on Sunday. After that, I’ll be in Kingston for a reading and talk at Queen’s University. On Tuesday I’ll be at Concordia in Montreal for a crack at the Writer’s Read series there (which has a daunting list of previous readers). Fun times. After that, I get to stop touring this book and maybe sometime in the future think about writing again. Wouldn’t that be nice?
HIJ Reading Series
Jeramy Dodds, Elisabeeth de Mariaffi, Karen Solie and George Murray
Sunday, Nov 15, 2pm
260 Ryding Avenue
Reading and Q&A
Elisabeth de Mariaffi and George Murray
Monday, Nov 16, 1pm
Watson Hall 517
Elisabeth de Mariaffi and George Murray
Tuesday, Nov 17, 7pm
John Molson School of Business, 2.130 Floating Box Room
I hope you come out to the one nearest you. My understanding is the Millars serve pie. I’ve requested blueberry. A nice way to end the book tour.
I started recording ALL my thoughts instead of just the ones that came from those moments of epiphany that sometimes led to poems. The rush of ideas and thoughts was enormous, but of course, the vast majority of them were idiotic, or profane, or pornographic, or otherwise horrifying to me. My mind was sometimes pinging off the works of Seamus Heaney and sometimes off the works of Taylor Swift. Sometimes I had an idea while watching a sitcom, other times while watching a cat video, other times while shopping Amazon, other times while watching porn, and still other times while listening to my kids talk about Nintendo. I decided to keep it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly — and see what came of it. And a sort of aphorism-like poetry came out of it.
Now, obviously I didn’t mean to suggest I’m a porn watcher (I bet my SEO is doing great right now!), but rather that pop-up porn is a thing that happens when clicking through from random websites. Clearly I need to read my interviews over before I let them be published. :)
The first two reviews for Diversion are in, and they’re great! Jonathan Ball’s poetry column in the Winnipeg Free Press gives a few paragraphs, claiming:
“Murray jostles between rage and comedy… Murray doesn’t simply mimic online chatter. Each line is self-contained, but also scaffolds its poem. Diversion may seem tailor-made for devotees of social media, but it’s actually for people who hate social media.”
In The Overcast, Shannon Webb-Campbell does a sort of profile review and writes:
“Instead of harbouring poetry’s quiet emotions, Diversion harnesses anger, bliss, shame, and awe.”