Thursday, October 30, 2008


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Jacob Scheier is currently short-listed for the Governor-General's Award for English Poetry.

Muslims Attack British Art Gallery

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Gallery attacked over 'insulting' artworks By Arifa Akbar, Arts CorrespondentThursday, 30 October 2008

A gallery showing inflammatory images of veiled Muslims, including a bare-breasted woman partially clad in a burqa, is under police surveillance after being attacked earlier this week. Windows and doors at the SaLon Gallery in west London were smashed after a series of abusive, anonymous phone calls and angry protests about the images from Muslims. The gallery has complained to police.

Rest of story here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008


FREE SPEECH breaks out at Canzine.

Canada’s largest festival of zines and the independent arts was held at the Gladstone Hotel on Queen Street West, when a unit of verse of the universe of the imagine nation of the Peoples Republic of Poetry trolled the gathering to implement the Papers Please program.

Canzine is organized by Broken Pencil, a zine of indie zines. Over 150 zines from across Canada on display and for sale! The heart of the event, indie publishers both in print and online come from across the country and the continent to show their wares! Be amazed at the creativity, ingenuity, and sheer weirdness.
High Heels Lo Fi (Mandy Wells on bass, Cynthia Gould on guitar, Patricia Humphreys on drums, Paisley Rae on guitar) took a few moments out from their hectic day to display their FREE SPEECH.

One of the rooms was dedicated to the entertainment of the High Heels Lo Fi, a hot-saucy group of girls, a bunch of babes, wanton wits, plucking strings attached in the chord of F U in FUN. It reminded me of the opening stanza of The Shooting of Dan McGrew:

A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;

The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a rag-time tune;

Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,

And watching his luck was his light-o'-love, the lady that’s known as Lou.

Their music is a cocktail of poetry and blues, with garnishs of glam, rock, cheese, booze, and hilarity - with pink accessories. The audience for their performances grew as the day lengthened, proving that pinko is not just a watered down communist. One of the leading luminaries of High Heels Lo Fi is Cynthia Gould, a performance poet, among other cultural activities. Her poetry has raw intensity married to a brazen honesty highlighted with a sense of humour. The following poem taken from ‘some words spoken’ is a fine example of a ‘fallen’ woman redeeming herself in a poem, a boozed broken heart rising from the debris of stars.

gutter stars

Don't tell me that you understand me
when you don't know all of the gory details
and the few you have an inkling about make
you nervous.

Don't tell me that you're listening to me
when every word from my mouth is
filtered through your mind's interpretation
of what I meant to say.

Don't tell me that you know where I'm coming from
when even your nightmares
could not resemble
the places I've crawled out of.

Don't tell me that you only want to see me happy
when you could never believe
that the moment I learned how to be happy
I was listening to glass shatter across the street
as the boy who had been my lover my love five minutes before
threw a bottle in rage
the contents of which were
the reason why I was lying on the sidewalk
he stomped away over the icy glass
which, like my heart, was smashed beyond repair
and I lay on that cold pavement
more alone than I had ever been before
in the rich neighbourhood between the skiddy bar
and my apartment
and I cried sobbed screamed
not thinking that someone might call the cops
not thinking of how I could possibly crawl home from there
not thinking that I was a glaring target for any sort of attack
not thinking of anything but my own miserable self
when I finally looked up past the gutter,
past the buildings, dark trees
I saw the stars.
twinkle tiny dancing magic sparkles
put there a zillion years ago
just to brighten my black black night right now
in the midst of my tragic loneliness,
they made me a little bit happier

Don’t tell me that you understand me
When you haven’t seen the stars from the gutter
And realized that it is me and me alone who
Decides whether or not I will be happy.

Canzine is largely a tossed salad of a cultural manifestation in its infancy. This is the place where emerging artists, poets, and other morphs, display their talent for the first time. It’s a place where one can acquire new publishing concepts and techniques, a sort of honing of craft. It’s a place where mediocrity, and there’s plenty there, does not rise above its current level. It is the very few genuinely creative talents that make their entry level display that makes a couple hours of browsing so worthwhile.

Canzine also has a few regulars, some that return to their roots, speak the same genre, such as CAROUSEL which is a unique gallery of page poetry/art that is being displayed in art: CAROUSEL is art itself.

But there is also a grand daddy publication which continues its efforts to be relevant after thirty years of publishing, FUSE, a magazine of “a diverse community of visual and performing artists, educators, community workers, writers, activists, organizers, policy makers, social thinkers, curators and other movers and shakers. Together we produce a quarterly magazine on art, media and politics.” FUSE magazine has enjoyed state financial assistance throughout most of its lifetime. As a recipient of government arts largesse, FUSE continues to be obedient to government standards as set forth and enforced by various human rights commissions throughout the nation. FUSE follows the government line in this regard.

This was a decent young man. No I have no idea what it is about. He was flogging his literary/drawings as displayed before him. I didn’t open his publications. I didn’t ask him about the outfit. I pretty much wanted a picture demonstrating that Roswellians can also have a say. I must have been nervous holding the camera.

I was still nervous when the minders of Steel Bananas pulled out their FREE SPEECH cards. They bought 300 hundred bananas for the occasion, from Price Chopper. So they exercised FREE SPEECH by handing out bananas bearing their website url. She selected a banana. Held it towards me. "This big one's for you." What a flirt.The Toronto Comic Jam, is a ‘gathering of artists, doodlers, and creative-minded people.” The group could be 10 or 50 people, each one contributing a square drawing to a developing comic zine. There is no dominant style, although there can be varying levels of drawing skill exhibited by individuals. It is a collaborative art formula that has yet to produce a masterpiece. Largely the process is a vehicle for community where each member encourages others and perhaps inspires one member to go off on a fruitful tangent. It’s fun.
Is she a teacher-assistant at a private elementary school? a tutoring student at a branch library? An articling student doing a survey on reactions to her colouring book? a brazen sweet young thing that enjoys illustrations of explicit erotica. The table top is strewn with crayons. Kindergarten for bedtime. Brings out the inner Lolita. It’s the Jenna Colouring Book put out by Yard of Blonde Girls, Inc. FREE SPEECH gives good oral tradition.
Stuart Ross, a Toronto fiction writer, poet, editor and creative-writing instructor, and co-founder of the Toronto Small Press Book Fair, displays his FREE SPEECH with complete aplomb – he is the only one to display without using his thumb as a support digit. As poet, Al Purdy would say at the Quinte Hotel, “That oughta be worth some beer.”
Team Macho makes art, displayed on their website, and they show up here to display the fruit of their FREE SPEECH.
A. Jeminez and R. Eddington had a room of their own. They placed photographic postcards of urban landscape images on narrow poles, then invited guests to throw a styrofoam golfball at the card. Knock it off – it’s yours. Of course. It was only natural that FREE SPEECH found its place amongst the pylons.
And finally ...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Westin New York

Westin New York, originally uploaded by Fenfotos.

censorship -- OFF
free speech -- ON


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Canadian poet, Robert Priest, has been utilizing FREE SPEECH ever since the first vowel drooled down his chin into his pablum bowl. Robert Priest is a well-endowed poet, belonging to the club of one-percenters with well-hung imaginations. He is the author of charming bon mots:

"Turn the other cheek or I'll turn it for you."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won a claim of ‘moral damage’ against satirical magazine, LeMan.


Islam Samhan, poet and journalist, was placed into custody this week for publishing a book without government authorization, and for blasphemy.

Islam Samhan, 27, whose name translates as ‘Tolerant Islam’, published a collection of his poems several months ago. The volume of poetry, In A Slim Shadow, received a web site criticism that the volume insulted Islam.

Suha Philip Ma’ayeh, Foreign Correspondent for The National,
“Noah Alqdah, Jordan’s grand mufti, the kingdom’s highest religious authority, called the poet an apostate and enemy of religion for his poetry, some of which included lines comparing his loneliness to that of the prophet Yusuf in the Quran.”
All copies of his book had been removed from bookshelves throughout the country. Samhan claims innocence, claiming the defence of metaphor.

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics asserts that metaphor is a “a condensed verbal relation which an idea, image, or symbol may, by the presence of one or more other ideas, images or symbols, be enhanced in vividness, complexity, or breadth of implication.”
Abdullah Hammoudeh, head of the Jordanian Writers Association’s freedoms committee, attended Samhan’s initial court session, and afterwards, said that Samhan “explained in court that there were verses from the Quran because it was in Arabic, which is the language of the Quran… and when he used the word ‘gods’ in his lines, it was a reference to the Greek mythology because the word God cannot be plural in Arabic.” So there!


HOLY DUCK, originally uploaded by nutfield2.

Holy Quaker – Walks on water.This little fellow got fed up with his arse getting all soggy and wrinkled - So he's decided to think outside the box - Become a pedestian - And waddle along on the surface instead! - He's the envy of all his friends.

Monday, October 20, 2008


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PAPERS PLEASE. A passerby on Queen Street West, downtown Toronto, was intercepted October 4, 2008 by elements of the Canadian Humiliation Rights Commission, who were monitoring the creative manifestations on display at Nuit Blanche. The passerby held out his FREE SPEECH card with the smug insolence that it has the same effect on the bad idea of censorshit that a cross has on a vampire.

Tarek Fatah posts a YouTube clip from UK

Saudi school in UK teaches "Jews are monkeys and Christians are pigs"

Tarek Fatah wrote:

Watch this newcast clip about the curriculum of a Saudi school in UK. These Saudi textbooks are also available in US and Canada, but no one dares to challenge this hate material. Someday someone will have the courage to join the MCC in its lonely fight against the Saudi and Iranian hate machine that thrives in our schools and universities.

Watch the official from the school squirm, obfuscate, dodge, etc. Free speech armed with truth is the best weapon against bigotry.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008


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Shopping for the State of Free Speech? Drop in on this site maintained by Bostom College for links.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


There is a turbulent intelligence emanating from a group of unlikely allies. I like to regard them as FREEniks.
. . . . . They re-verse
. . . . . the per-verse
. . . . . of the in-verse.
They have set off a trend. Blazing Cat Fur is a very good starting point. Link & lock, emit...
I am a free Canadian
I am a Canadian,
a free Canadian,
free to worship
God in my own way,
free to stand
for what I think right,
free to oppose
what I believe wrong,
free to choose those who shall govern my country.
This heritage of freedom
I pledge to uphold
for myself
and for all mankind.
. . . . --Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker, from the House of Commons, Debates (on the Canadian Bill of Rights), July 1, 1960.
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Poem mould, originally uploaded by mamzellenix.

This project by mamzellenix is exceedingly compliant with the Policy of Poetry Proliferation & Proselytization of the imagine nation of the Peoples Republic of Poetry. Poetry is an expansionist state of mind. This project marks turf for the expanded poetic imagine nation.

The Ministry of Extrodinary Affairs has been instructed by the Poetburo, for the benefit of all units of verse of the uniVerse, to declare this project as an example of POETRY IS POETENCY!


A poem configured from excerpts from the cockpit transcript of United Flight 93. This poem is part of the series, entitled: I Slam A Phobia.
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Monday, October 6, 2008


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Dozens of Canadian citizens displayed that they have FREE SPEECH at Nuit Blanche, the dusk2dawn art thing that dominates downtown Toronto. At times, people waited in line to be photographed with their FREE SPEECH for this blog. The camera ran out of power. Perhaps, next year I will set up a backdrop, lighting, power supply, and spent the entire documenting the thousands who would be willing to display that they have FREE SPEECH. In meantime, go visit I HAVE FREE SPEECH blog to tour the many people who have FREE SPEECH.

Friday, October 3, 2008


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Toronto is hosting it’s second BLANCHE NUIT, (Oct 4-5) the dusk to dawn art thingie, when imagination and originality go street-side or curb side. Last year, Wally Keeler, dressed up as a suicide martyr (from his poetry performance, The Wal-Martyr) and took a stroll along Queen Street West, which culminated in police intervention. The episode was documented by poet, Robert Priest, in this NOW story.

This is the Wal-Martyr hanging with some Beaver in Trinity-Bellwoods Park, before embarking on a stroll along Queen West. The stroll attracted an entourage of paparazzi, and eventually, the Toronto police, who assured themselves that the Wal-Martyr was carrying nothing more explosive than metaphors, and released his imagination back into the wild.

This year, Wally Keeler will be setting up a video camera in Trinity-Bellwoods Park (west end, facing Queen West, against wall of building) and inviting poets, poetasters, poetry lovers or sluts, to take a stand against mediocrity and pledge their allegiance to Poetry. Each unit of verse will be required to stand in front of the camera (head & shoulders only) and recite the following:

. . . . .. . .I, (YOURNAME),
. . . .. . . WHOLLY POETIC,

Mr Keeler will also be requesting people pose with their FREE SPEECH cards and recite:


Mr Keeler will be vacating the space from 9:45pm through to 11:00pm to attend a poetry show at the Bovine Sex Club, then returning to the Trinity-Bellwoods Park site to complete the project, until my equipment exhausts its power supplies, or until I exhaust my power supply, which ever comes first.

Thursday, October 2, 2008



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It was natural.
It was organic.
It was unrelenting.