There Is No Escape Out of Time Book Launch


Come help us celebrate our new titles and the warm weather!

Jacqueline Valencia, There Is No Escape Out of Time (poetry)
Michael Murray, A Van Full of Girls (short fiction)
Dog the Moon, Stan Rogal (fiction)

Thursday, July 7, 2016
6:30 PM
The Supermarket Restaurant and Bar (Kensington Market)
268 Augusta Ave
Toronto, ON

JACQUELINE VALENCIA is a poet and film/literary critic. She has written for The Rusty Toque, Lemon Hound, Next Projection, subTerrain magazine, and The Barnstormer, among others. Her chapbook Maybe was selected for the 2012 Arte Factum exhibit by Poetry Is Dead Magazine.

THERE IS NO ESCAPE OUT OF TIME is an ethereal cinema of a mind, jumping through wormholes in a poet’s past, present, and future, even in space.

MICHAEL MURRAY works as a creative writer, commentator, blogger, and “journalist.” He has written for The Globe and Mail, the National Post, Hazlitt magazine, CBC Radio, the Ottawa Citizen, TheToast, as well as scores of other prestigous publications that pay extraordinary amounts of money and fly him around in helicopters.

A VAN FULL OF GIRLS is a collection of short, dizzy, funny things. It’s zippy and unpredictable, like a mongoose, but it’s dead sexy.

Poet, novelist, and playwright STAN ROGAL’s work has appeared in magazines and anthologies in Canada, the U.S., and Europe. His poetry collection Love’s Not the Way To (Bookland, 2013) was shortlisted for a ReLit Award.

DOG THE MOON is a compelling novel that offers a new look at the traditional Canadian tale of a city boy in the “wilderness,” taking aim at our literary mythology with sharp, satirical darts.

My first published poetry collection and other stuff.


  • On August 8th I received word that my poetry manuscript, “There Is No Escape Out Of Time” has been accepted by Insomniac Press. It will be out sometime in Spring 2016.

Needless to say, after years of sending out manuscripts and working away at it, I’m a ball of excited emotion about this. Take a look at their catalogue!

When I was a kid it has been my dream to write books that you could look up at the library or bookstore. You could see the name of the book and the author on the spine as you’d scan the rows of shelves. It’s a dream come true and if anything, I’m very happy and grateful to have this opportunity.

  • Some other big news is that I’ve been hired by the Rusty Toque as one of their Senior Literary Editors. I’m honoured to be a part of this magazine and to work with Kathryn Mockler to boot. Their openness to all forms of art, poetry, and literature has been far reaching and I hope to contribute as best I can to it.
  • I’m still plugging away at my novel. I don’t say much on it since it’s taken all sorts of turns to the form it is now. There’s no stresses on it, just a lot of sorting out of arcs, research, and ideas that need fleshing out.
  • This fall The Power Plant in Toronto is opening an exhibition featuring the work of Dora García. García‘s work is heavily influenced by literary references and the exhibition investigates and stages the work of James Joyce through annotated books, performance and video.

I’ve been asked by The Power Plant to give an hour talk on my perspective of the exhibit for their Sunday Scene on  November 8th at 2pm.

First of all, it blows my mind that we’ll have Dora García’s work here in Toronto, but on top of that I get to speak on it!

  • On the film critic front, I’ve been accredited again this year for The Toronto International Film Festival! I’ll be a reporter on the scene doing reviews and interviews for Next Projection. Always a high energy time and I’m over the moon about it. It’s work, but it’s fun.


More details on everything as this year has been a bit overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fired up though! This with planning the Toronto Poetry Talks (and many thanks to all who have come to help at the monthly meetings!), it’s all go go go. Staying the course and working at it.

Still transcribing Ulysses and plugging away at other projects.

2016 Toronto Poetry Talks: Racism and Sexism in the craft

Bernal sphere art.

UPDATE #2: I created a website exclusively for Toronto Poetry Talks: Everything about the conference including planning meetings will be found there from now on.

UPDATE: 1st planning meeting on July 22nd 8pm at Paupers Pub, Toronto:

After much online and offline discussion and mostly out of frustration, an idea popped into my head. That idea was that the poetry community needs to get together to talk, air out our grievances, state our reasons, shout when we need to be heard, and most of all, try to understand each other.

My main goal settings to get this going is to have:

* Salon style talks. Depending on how much a demand this event has, I might have to rethink this and have town hall style talks instead. Ideally I’d love it if I could have giant tables and we’d sit down to dinner or tea and shout at each other like a family, but that maybe too much fantasy on my part.

* The talks will consist of short essays whereupon poets will state their case and possible solutions. The floor will open up to questions and discussions by all. How we choose the essays, I am still not sure. However, this conference will be a bit different. I want white poets to listen and discuss. I want POC and women to speak their mind. In turn, I want us to listen to each other. I want everyone to have their say. Again, I am unsure how to set this up fairly for those that will speak.

* It will consist of a weekend. First day will be about sexism in our poetry community. I’d love to have CWILA involved in this, and anyone who has something to bring to the table on this, especially. Second day we will focus on racism. (Not sure if we should have a lyrical versus conceptualism component to all this because to me, it’s all poetry, but I’ll gauge from people’s input in the coming months. It’s my personal belief that racism exists in all of our poetry community and we need something to combat it all.) The third day will be readings by lyrical and conceptual poets on the topics of the conference. These readings don’t have to be just readings, they can be performances, dances, installations….etc. Whatever you believe is poetry to you.

* Somewhere in all that we will have a pub night or mixer.

* The event will be sometime next year in free and/or affordable spaces. Tickets will be very affordable to cover the very basic costs of running this. The only badges or kits anyone will get at this conference is a sticker that says “Hello, My Name Is…”

* If you can’t be in Toronto or can’t make your way here, I will do my very best to videotape or livestream and publish whatever work comes out of here. Again, all these ideas are in the very, very, very rough stages.

This post aims to bring something central and try to build something concrete out of my many facebook and twitter posts. If you have any ideas or would like to help (many have reached out. I am very thankful and I have taken note to get back to you when I have a full idea put together):

please email me at with the subject line “TPT: Racism and Sexism.”


The conference name might change and the whole design of this thing will change and mutate with the way language does. It will try to function for all of those who want it.

The ideas above and goals are very, very, VERY rough draft. I fully understand that if all this goes wrong and I misstep that I will get blasted somehow. That’s ok. At the very least, I want to try something and if nothing comes out of it, I walked the walk as best I could.

To the most quiet to the most controversial, to whoever, I don’t really care as long as you come to progress and benefit these much needed in-person discussions. We need to speak.

I’ll start thinking about all this more after June and in the coming months. Thank you.

Response to Jennifer Chin’s A Morphology of Luxury at Undefined 2, 2015

Not Jennifer Chin’s photo, but taken from here:

The following poems were read at Undefined 2: as a response to Jennifer Chin’s artwork in exhibit.

Her work is a visceral take on consumption and consumerism.

Before you read below, check out her work here: 


Response to Jennifer Chin’s A Morphology of Luxury by Jacqueline Valencia at Undefined 2 2015

Fruit Loops

through the best minds of color, blue 2, turmerical





dragging hysterical naked,

dragging hysteric color,

blue 2,


color, blue

2, turmerical naked,

dragging hysteric cold-water

flavor, blue 2, turmerical naked,

dragging hysterical


dragging hysteric

color, blue 2, turmerical naked,

dragging hysteric cold-water flavor,

blue 2,

turmeric color,

blue 2,

turmeric color, blue 2, turmeric color, blue 2, turmerical naked,

dragging hysterical naked,

dragging hysterical naked,

dragging in the best


of night,


poverty and/or




Hostess, your cup cakes.

A cushion has

this best-selling


a very

likely roundness

and a


a very likely squiggle

costume is like roundness and

a difference

a very likely

roundness and more like

a chair and a cushion


a difference a very likely

roundness and a place

to change

in appearance,

supposing you

know the signature squiggles



Enjoy in multipack


in feather is

not much more joy in that you do


know there is like to season that


may not a very clean



may not

a very little

difference a very clean them.

Gratitude. You know. Squiggles.


Little powdered donuts


little powdered donuts

making you feel good or

completing your fill

they can maximize


the agar stabilizing

chemical imbalances

with an icing agent

language is a virus

Sugar is a respite

fried up nine to fifteen percent shortening

the pastry

an O

an exclamation

a surprise

or eyes, or tits

if you have two

the little kid

with the phone for an eye

sees your no name package

of little powdered donuts

and you panic because

he knows you


he will ask for just one

then his sticky fingers grab at another


Melodically he pleads

big o’s

You must resist


from his or yours

an exclamation


hide them

stuff as many as you can

in your consuming mouth

fevered in love wanting in need

palm oil skim milk powder

skin skinned pleased

more high


fast food gratitude

Donut. You contain stablizers

Maximize me

Hold me solid in this moment

Contain high levels of agar

enriched wheat flour


complete me with

potassium chloride.

The Jesus And Mary Chain 30th Anniversary Tour – Phoenix Concert Theatre May 1, 2015


My ruminations on shows or albums here aren’t reviews. They’re often me waxing about nostalgia and the idolatry in it. It seems to be a theme with most shows these days. I’m trying to make up for lost time too of not going out to live performances as a kid. As a teenager I was content to sit with my albums, body flush with the floor, and headphones at a frequency blasting volume. Psychocandy was one of those albums that I had to add to your essentials collection because it was in heavy rotation on Citylimits (the midnight alternative Much Music video show in Canada).

It’s apparently been thirty years since Psychocandy came out, but my heart wouldn’t know it.

Once darlings of the British press and still idols to many, the band formed in the outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland in 1983. Brothers William and Jim Reid aren’t just alternative rocker icons, they’re originals. William Reid’s thrashing guitar, a noise that the guitarist himself has been known to get lost in, attacks the body and screams out the listener’s ears. It’s a throbbing sort of fuzz that seeps into the bottom of the gut and settles somewhere between the stomach and the heart. Jim Reid’s vocals are soft, they kind of sneak up on you, as if he was calming the heart down from their guitars’ screeching crescendos.

“Moving up and so alive
In her honey dripping beehive
It’s good, so good, it’s so good
So good”

Was it all branding? Was this their hook? Back then, and mostly as a teen I guess, I didn’t care. Their honeyed words and devil may care attitude made me care only about that voice and the pulsing noise candy in my ears.

I had the luck and the great pleasure of seeing The Jesus and Mary Chain last night for their sold out show at The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto. It was incredible.

Instead of headphones, I donned earplugs to prepare for the sonic onslaught. The crowd felt electric around me talking about shows past. William and Jim are notorious for their brotherly fallouts and combined tempers, onstage and offstage. Whether its money or the music that fuels their reunion, it didn’t matter to most of us though. There weren’t any big corporate logos last night except for the one on the beverage in my hand.

photo by moi.

The show openers were L.A. based alt rock band Gateway Drugs. There are a few bands with that name and it was hard to find info on them beforehand so I didn’t know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. They are neither a hip-hop band nor a retro analogue synth band. They’re a melancholic shoegaze outfit that not only delivered the rock, but the attitude as well. Comprised of Blues Williams and Gab, Noa, and Live Niles (children of The Knack’s Prescott Niles) the band played a tight set of garage rock with a bit of punk aesthetic to cleanse the audience’s palette. The bass was turned up way too high in the theatre, but there was enough in their musicianship and emo stances for me to decide that I needed to explore them further. The band sort of levitated around their drummer, Gabe, who was a hot chaotic mess. It was a wonderful sight. This is what a live show is: to present, engender, and elicit audiences. Gateway Drugs did just that.

Sugar, rock and roll doesn’t die. It waits.

photo by moi.

The Jesus and Mary Chain are an efficient machine. First order of business was Jim Reid giving the audience the first order of business. They were to play a small set then return to play an even longer set. I think he wanted to assure us they’d be back after the break, lest we rush the stage (or riot – as in past live history) in disappointment. They didn’t disappoint at all. They sped through a lilting April Skies and crushed the audience with the title track, Psycho Candy. William Reid would veer his body towards the amps and lose himself for a bit, having his brother give him the occasional nod to come back to what they were doing. The second set (for lack of better words) drove me ‘crazy banana pants.’ Starting off with Just Like Honey (accompanied by Gateway Drugs’ vocalist, Liv Niles), Jim showed a bit more emotion, that is, if you count a desultory smirk as an emotion. You know what? You can, because overall Jim was very appreciative of the Toronto crowd. His vocals are still as sweet and as inviting and as he’d hit the upsurge in his notes, the crowd would meet him with an intensified frenzy. Jim would flash a slight smile behind the microphone and quickly revert back to seriousness. It was freaking adorable.

I died right at Taste The Floor. That song is in my top ten songs of all time. That list changes all the time, predictably expanding in size, but Taste The Floor remains and never leaves an empty spot.

“And the sun don’t shine
And all the stars don’t shine
And all the walls fall down
And all the fish get drowned

She’s singing to herself
As she’s singing in herself
And she walk right up to you
As she walk all over you”

Yes, she will Jim. Yes, she will. At my side, my best friend Jen jumped around like crazy, despite her back pain, as soon as they went into My Little Underground. By that time I think most of the audience had forgotten where they were and bounced around like teenagers. The band tripped its audience up and matched up their set with gorgeous visuals to create a subdued yet delighting spectacle. There was no pretension or allusions that they were better than their audience. Unique to The Jesus And Mary Chain is that after all this time, with this many fans who still anticipate new work from them, they still present an angry with the world demeanor. Sure, their pasty white pallor might have the hint of healthy times, but we’re all still down and managing it by staring at our shoes for respite. Nowadays their punkish attitude has mellowed out, but it doesn’t feel like age hammered the desolation out of them. Jim and William rocked out with their melodic wall of noise because in many ways, they’d invented it. But the Reid brothers have always exuded doom and gloom angst purely in their music. They just had a great audience last night to match their sweet revved up distortion and it was fantastic.

I’m still beaming.

This photo of me going a bit nuts courtesy of my pal, Aaron.


Announcing our line up for UNDEFINED 2!

L'Avant-Garde_Front poster

UNDEFINED is a night with unfixed limits in art: language, music, and visual. Bringing the conceptual and experimental in poetry, film, performance, art, and music that fits nowhere and everywhere.

**PWYC sugg. donation $5 (but no one will be denied entrance if they can’t!) – a bucket/basket to be passed around at brief intermission

Hashtag: #undefinedTO

This year, we are proud to feature:

* CHERYL DUVALL: Cheryl Duvall is a multi-faceted musician and pianist. She is active as a soloist, collaborative pianist, teacher and adjudicator and has toured and performed throughout Canada, Italy, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, England, Argentina and the U.S. She is especially passionate about contemporary music, which has led her along with friend and violinist Ilana Waniuk, to co-found the Thin Edge New Music Collective, now in their fourth season. Thin Edge completed a Canadian tour in winter 2013, was guest artists in residence at the SoundSCAPE Festival of New Music in Maccagno, Italy in 2013 and at Le Pantographe in Moutier, Switzerland in 2014 and has undertaken a Canadian tour with Montreal’s Ensemble Paramirabo throughout 2015. To date, they are responsible for the commissioning and premieres of 27 new works in the past 3 years with plans for 13 new works throughout their fourth concert season. Cheryl is also a member of the experimental project, Bespoken, a mixed ensemble of musicians of different genres, who released the album, Aigre Douce – music of Nick Storring and Daniel Brandes, in November 2013 under Divorce Records’ Heavy Fog label. An experienced choral accompanist, Ms. Duvall is the pianist for the Toronto based Bell Arte Singers and the internationally renowned Oakville Children’s Choir, to which she has toured and competed internationally with gold standings as well as recorded an album of Canadian choral repertoire. She was the music director for Essential Opera’s 3 Premieres project and has also collaborated with FAWN New Opera for their premiere of Adam Scime’s L’Homme et le ciel, with both of these productions having second presentations at Kitchener-Waterloo’s bi-annual Open Ears Festival in 2014. Cheryl has attended the Casalmaggiore Music Festival in Italy, the Palazzo Ricci masterclass series, the Toronto Summer Music Festival, the World Piano Pedagogy Conference and held two artistic residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts. In 2009, she was awarded a SSHRC grant for her pedagogical research on how to incorporate aspects of the Alexander Technique into lessons with beginner piano students. Besides performing, she maintains a full private piano studio and adjudicates piano competitions across Canada. Ms. Duvall completed an Honours Bachelor of Music, majoring in Piano Performance and Theory and a Diploma of Chamber Music from Wilfrid Laurier University as well as a Master’s of Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Toronto. Her main teachers and influences include Guy Few, Chris Foley, Midori Koga, Carmen Piazzinni, Nina Tichman, Henri-Paul Sicsic, and Anya Alexeyev.

*GARY BARWIN: Gary Barwin is a writer, composer, and melted media artist, and the author of 18 books of poetry and fiction as well as books for kids. His most recent collections are Moon Baboon Canoe (poetry, Mansfield Press, 2014) and The Wild and Unfathomable Always (Xexoxial Editions, 2014). Forthcoming books include Yiddish for Pirates (novel, Random House Canada, 2016), I, Dr Greenblatt, Orthodontist, 251-1457 (fiction, Anvil 2015) and Sonosyntactics: Selected and New Poetry of Paul Dutton (WLUP, 2015).

He is 2014-2015 Writer-in-Residence at Western University and he received a PhD (music composition) from SUNY at Buffalo. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario and at Once, he was Governor of Louisiana, but it’s best that we don’t talk about it.

*RIK MACLEAN: Inspired by stars and chemistry and chocolate, Rik MacLean has been making music under various guises for almost twenty years now, and he is very excited to be performing at Undefined in his latest incarnation as RikM.

Visit to find out more.

*JENNIFER CHIN: Jennifer Chin is a multi disciplinary visual artist based in Toronto, ON. Canada.

Her art practice is informed by the physical properties of materials and their potential metaphoric implications. Through these examinations, she explores ideas of excess, tension, containment, consumption, and luxury in human desire and relationships.

*HELEN MELBOURNE: Writing, reading, research and visual art are a compulsion, a necessity of life for me, like breathing, like eating.

Writing for most of my life, I have rarely tried to publish any of my work. My first rejection slip was from the Canadian Forum. The editor wrote me a brief note stating that I “wrote like a teenager”. In reading the note years later I realized that the note was meant to be caustic criticism of an adult writer. I was fifteen at the time.

My life has had so many twists and turns and unexpected zig-zags and rollercoasters I cannot yet name my journey beyond these: Poet, Painter, Planner, Person, Misfit. I survive by exploring new directions, and opening locked doors.

* ANDIE WOLF: Born in Toronto, Andie Wolf grew up with a freedom to explore the outdoors, and quickly became enchanted with the natural world and its inhabitants around her. She began photographing, drawing, and collecting anything and everything to do with animals. Like many creative children, Wolf was also drawn to the scary and exciting world of monsters and the magical. At a very early age she stumbled upon the work of Edward Gorey, and was immediately entranced by the depth of his ink work and macabre story lines. Wolf continued to seek out books and art works which depicted the darker sides of childhood.

Both of these themes are strong forces within the work Wolf creates. Her love of animals permeates through her illustrations and paintings, often being the central focus of a piece, and at times with an underlying darkness. At the same time, Wolf manages to capture her subject matter with a delightful mixture of realism and whimsy.

While her studies and degree were acquired in Still Photography Studies at Ryerson University, Wolf’s love for painting and illustration has always been her driving force, and one she has returned to after years in other fields. She’s experimented with all forms of visual art, including charcoal and ink, watercolour and acrylic, as well as mixed media and clothing design. Her experience and training as a photographer has honed her natural and keen eye for composition, beauty, and detail.


Facebook event page:

**This was last year’s:
Photos: ***

Curated and hosted by Jacqueline Valencia (for more information on other nights or to be part of more Undefined, email me at ravensee at gmail dot com)

UNDEFINED 2: the unclassifiable event is back!

L'Avant-Garde_Front copy


May 21, 2015


(187 Augusta Avenue, Toronto)


UNDEFINED is a night with unfixed limits in art: language, music, and visual. Bringing the conceptual and experimental in poetry, film, performance, art, and music that fits nowhere and everywhere.


There will be creative and uncreative writing workshops tied into this event. More info soon.

**This was last year’s:
Photos: ***

Bauhaus into poetry



On Wednesday May 14th 2014, a bunch of authors: Tony Burgess, Jade Wallace, Suzanne Alyssa Andrew, Liisa Ladouceur, Liz Worth, and myself gathered at the Nocturne in Toronto to remix Bauhaus lyrics into poetry.

Here are my remixed poems:


Nerve ends

crucifixion ecstasy
One eye’s closed

checked in agony
Will it stay shut?

Stigmata bleed




Holes in head
Indelicate Nerves.

Delicate Nerves

Indelicate Nerves

Delicate Nerves

Stigmata oh

Stigmata oh

Stigmata oh
Tell tale tongues

weep for me
Brittle spittle
The fabric of dreams

As you feel the twist

pumping heart
Nerves nylon /nerves steel
Nerves nylon/nerves steel
Nerves nylon/nerves steel

Sense of serenity splintered glass.

Look into your crimson orifice
random cutlery cuts

In holy remembrance
Nerves. Nerves.

in your splintered plight
Nerves. Nerves.

Stigmata oh

Stigmata oh

Nerves nylon/nerves steel
Nerves nylon/nerves steel
Nerves nylon/nerves steel

In scarlet bliss

Father, son, and holy ghost


In nomine patri et filii et spiriti sanctum
In nomine patri et filii et spiriti sanctum







the man with the xray eyes is alone with everybody

(bauhaus meets bukowski)


the flesh covers the bone

shoes that no man would want to wear

and they put a mind
Wipe away the night’s last cold stare

in there and
Red fist curled ’round the house

sometimes a soul
Was away boy Shelly’s shoes

and women break
Chocolate power is so crisp

vases against the walls
The atomic open house is really here

and the men drink too
And we have gone so desperate

too much
Your power knows no bounds

and nobody finds the one

And heavier with time

but keep looking
Are our shoes

crawling in and out
That no man would want to wear

of beds
New tread wipes a wet road so dry

flesh covers
it stings

the bone and the flesh
Into the borrowed course

searches for more than
Under the dreadful birds

Under the singing soil

there’s no chance at all
And all those guilty clouds

we are all trapped
I have seen too much

by a singular fate
Wipe away my eyes

nobody ever finds one
Too much

the graveyards fill

nothing else fills


who killed mr moonlight (bauhaus in haikus)

1. Consider green lakes

broken arrow face wound

smile shot innocence.


2. midnight proposals

shot nostalgia in the back

shadow of his smile


3. all our dreams melted

are hiding in the bushes

doing dead men stunts


4. our burnt stories

we can’t paint any pictures

as the moon had all our brushes


5. extracting wasps stings

you who killed mr moonlight

you his shadow smile


The Virgin Mary

Virgin mary was tired

So tired

Never would be invited

to the funeral rosegarden

that was hers
She’s tired of listening to gossip
Gossip and complaints

her disappointment runs with her guests
Her guests wreaking havoc

From all sorts of

All sorts of
Untidy whores without agency
Her men are chosen from the rest

They came from next door
And a bewildered stream of chatter

But their choice don’t seem to matter


She’s got swollen breasts and lips that putter
And her choice of matter and her screams of chatter
Is just a little parasitic scream of whores
Screaming whores

So tired of listening to gossip
Gossip and complaints is she



In the rosegarden funeral of sores
Virgin mary was tired

she came from next door
Came from next door

Opened up the gates

Intruder not, Owner


Garden rose

Rose garden

Garden rose

Rose garden

Garden rose

The Virgin Mary laid down to rest

in her
Rosegarden funeral of sores