Argo Reading Series: An Evening of Verse, Prose & Song

Ilona Martonfi reading two very cool poems

On June 13th I read from The Mean Game at the Argo Bookshop in Montreal, with Carolina Echeverria, Ilona Martonfi, H. Nigel Thomas,  Mike Di Sclafani, Geneviève Lacombe,  Shaheen Munir,  Domenic Marinelli,  Sheryl Halpern, and Matthew Murphy. Thank you to Ilona Martonfi for hosting this event.

Shaheen Munir sang two songs based on lyrics by Tagore
John Wall Barger sounding his barbaric yawp (thanks to Tiina Rosenqvist for the pic)

Palimpsest Press Montreal Launch at Argo Bookshop

Palimpsest Press spring titles spotted at Argo Bookshop!

On June 12 us Palimpsest Press authors—Liz Ross (After Birth), John Barton (We Are Not Avatars), Nadja Lubiw-Hazard (The Nap-Away Motel), and John Wall Barger (The Mean Game)—met again to read, this time in Montreal in the famous Argo Bookshop. It was a very fun reading, which led to long conversations and drinks afterwards. Thanks of course to Palimpsest publisher Aimee Parent Dunn for all her encouragement and support. Viva Palimpsest Press!

This roughly marks the halfway point in my Mean Game tour. I’ve already read in the States (Baltimore, New York, and Philadelphia), and in Canada in Halifax, Lunenburg, London, Hamilton, Toronto, and Ottawa. After Montreal is Edmonton, Calgary, Canmore, Vancouver, Victoria, and Gabriola Island. And I’m not tired at all!

Liz Ross reads from After Birth (thanks to Jade for the pic)
Nadja Lubiw-Hazard reads from The Nap-Away Motel (thanks to Jade for the pic)
John Barton reads from We are not Avatars (thanks to Jade for the pic)
John Wall Barger reads from The Mean Game (thanks to Megan Thurston for the pic)

Palimpsest Launch at Another Story Bookshop in Toronto

The array of Palimpsest books laid out at Another Story Bookshop in Toronto

On June 6 I read at Another Story Bookshop in Roncesvalles with Liz Ross (After Birth), John Barton (We Are Not Avatars), and Nadja Lubiw-Hazard (The Nap-Away Motel). We all have books with Palimpsest Press, and this was the Toronto launch. Palimpsest editor Jim Johnstone — who edited my book, The Mean Game — hosted.

John Wall Barger reading from The Mean Game at Another Story Bookshop in Toronto (Thanks Jim Johnstone for the pic)

LOMP Reading Series in London

John Wall Barger reading from The Mean Game, with Tom Prime on keyboards. (Thanks to Jason Dickson for the pic)

On June 5 I read at the LOMP series in London, Ontario, at Brown & Dickson bookshop. Tom Prime also read poems, and we did a musical collaboration, and wrote a poem together, which was great fun. Thanks enormously to the talented poet and actor Kevin Heslop for inviting me. And thanks to Erica McKeen for hosting.

Jason Dickson, co-founder of Brown & Dickson
Erica McKeen hosted the evening
Tom Prime killing it on the keyboards (Thanks to Jason Dickson for the pic)

Salon at Lexicon Books in Lunenburg

The trombonist Andrew Jackson and John Wall Barger collaborating at Lexicon Books in Lunenburg (thanks to Jean Barger for the pic)

On May 24 I read at Lexicon books, hosted by the SuddenlyLISTEN series, the musician Norm Adams, and the wonderful poet (and co-owner of Lexicon) Alice Burdick. I read from The Mean Game. Andrew and I had concocted collaborations on three poems. He created these eerie soundscapes for the poems, so that I found myself reading a few lines and then just listening, amazed, at where he took the poems. Such a pleasure to work with talented people! Thanks especially to Alice for being such a gracious host.

The poet Alice Burdick introducing us (thanks to Jean Barger for the pic)
(thanks to Jean Barger for the pic)

Halifax Launch of The Mean Game

On May 23, I launched my book, The Mean Game, at Cempoal Cafe on Agricola Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was very fun because I’ve launched all four of my books in that neighborhood, in the north end, just around the corner from where I lived for ten years (on Moran Street). Halifax readings always seem quite warm and informal, and this night it was a particularly quiet and electric crowd. Cory Lavender also read, and Nanci Lee, Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaassen, and Brian Bartlett. (The pictures are a bit blurry, but I think they somehow convey the feeling of the evening!)

Cory Lavender reading from Lawson Roy’s Revelation (Gaspereau Press), and some other new poems (pic thanks to Jean Barger)
Nanci Lee reading some new work (pic thanks to Jean Barger)
Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaassen (pic thanks to Jean Barger)
Brian Bartlett (pic thanks to Jean Barger)
John Wall Barger reading from The Mean Game (pic thanks to Jean Barger)

Reading at Atomic Books in Baltimore

On May 9 I read at Atomic Books in Baltimore, with Matt LaFreniere. It’s a very cool bookstore with lots of old comics, graphic novels, posters and paraphernalia all over the place. This was a special thrill for me because it’s a beloved local bookstore of John Waters. It’s where he receives his fan mail! Big thanks to Elizabeth Hazen for inviting us, and for hosting.

John Wall Barger reading at Atomic Books

Reading at the Bowery Poetry Club in Manhattan

John Wall Barger reading at the Bowery Poetry Club, May 5, 2019

On May 5th I read from my new book The Mean Game at the Bowery Poetry Club in Manhattan’s East Village, with Patrick Donnelly, Kate Brody, J.C. Todd, David Ebenbach, Douglas Silver. It was hosted by Michael Collins, and sponsored by the Why There Are Words series (WTAW – NYC). 

I was happy to have my Uncle Al, his partner Eileen, my Aunt Bonnie, and a friend in attendance. I was born in New York City, and my mom is from Inwood, Manhattan, so it was fun to read there publicly for the first time.

Arriving at the Bowery Poetry Club
Inside the Bowery Poetry Club, before the reading