Friday, July 06, 2007

The Beauty of The Game and The Ugly Censor

From CWILL BC member and Most Excellent Writer Alison Acheson:

Calling All Hockey Poets;

Coteau Books invites submission of poems both new and previously published, for its Fall 2008 anthology of hockey poetry for young people, aged 8 - 12. We are looking for poems which capture the nature of our national game, both on and off the ice. Which are, as often as not, lively and funny, but which, at the same time, respect, and even challenge, the intellectual and emotional capacity of this age group. Language and form, in other words, will be considered equally with content. We are looking for poems for and about girls as well as boys, and poems that speak to the cultural diversity that makes up the game of hockey in this country. Ultimately, we'd like the collection to reflect hockey at various levels - local association and street hockey, the NHL, professional women's associations, moments of national accomplishment, the rink-rat life for youngsters, the fun of house hockey, and the challenge of rep. hockey - the minutiae of the game we love as well as the "big picture."Submission deadline is October 15, 2007. Fees are $50 for original poems, and $25 for previously published works. Please mail hard- copy (paper) submissions only, to: Steve Scriver/Alison Acheson, editors, Breakaway! Anthology, c/o Coteau Books, 2517 Victoria Ave, Regina, SK S4P 0T2 For Coteau contact information, please see our web site: (please note, poems should be in English, and poets Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents).

In other news -- as a stand-in for the Writing Tip of the Day, a few words on censorship.

Nikki Tate, Vancouver Island resident and prolific scribe of stories for children and young adults has just had one of her books banned by a school librarian in Kindersley, Saskatchewan.

From The Province:

Victoria author's book banned for use of term 'bazoongas' Saskatchewan school doesn't want kids reading slang term for breasts (Story by Adrian Chamberlain, CanWest)
A popular Victoria children's author is crying censorship after a southwestern Saskatchewan school banned her novel, Trouble on Tarragon Island.

At issue is the book's reference to "bazoongas" as a slang word for breasts. The librarian who pulled the novel at Elizabeth School in Kindersley, Sask., also objected to a mention of "saggy" breasts and a description of a bullying incident.

The librarian is said to have deemed the book 'inappropriate' for children in the K-Grade 7 school.

Nikki's book came out in 2005, and has been a successful seller until now. As a writer, Nikki has been nominated for many awards including the Red Maple, the Chocolate Lily and the White Pine.

In a similar situation, last year CWILL BC author James McCann had not only his book, but himself banned from a group of schools in Mission. James's book, RANCOUR, has werewolves and vampires adventuring through its pages. He lost a week of school visits when a small group took offense at the content of his story.

When books are forbidden to children by (usually well-meaning) adults, as in these two cases, it feels to me a little like these folks are shooting the messanger. We'd all love a world where there were no bullies and where flashpoint issues like drug use and abortion were clean-cut and simple. But that is not the world we live in.

It is important to protect our children. Innocence disappears all too early. But taking away books with sensitive subjects doesn't solve the problem. Books are a way for children to explore their feelings and ideas at a safe distance from the issue. Stories allow children to examine a problem, roll it around in their brains, feel out the issues -- without necessarily having to live through them. Storytelling is a safe means to share the commonality of experience, and is one way kids can figure out their own value systems.

There are links to reach both Nikki and James on the left side of this post. Feel free to send them a word of support!

And finally -- the raspberry jam of last night was a sweet success. Eight jars completed by two am this morning. An earlier night tonight, I think.



Anonymous said...

Probably the greatest lines about hockey are from the first verse of the Tragically Hip song, "Fireworks", which, incidentally, also tie into your mention of censorship:

If there's a goal that everyone remembers
It was back in ol' 72
We all squeezed the stick
And we all pulled the trigger
And all I remember
Was sitting beside you
You said you didn't
Give a fuck about hockey
And I never saw someone
Say that before
You held my hand
And we walked home the long way
You were loosening my grip
On Bobby Orr

kc dyer said...

Ah, The Hip.
There is no voice to match Gord Downie's anywhere. I hear it and I think of Canada -- how weird is that?


Anonymous said...

probably because, um, he's canadian. I hear William Shatner and I think of going to the bar. Same sort of idea.

Anonymous said...

And come on, if anyone's Canadian sounding, it's good ol' Stompin' Tom.

kc dyer said...

Okay, so Tom might have been able to stomp Gord, but nobody can take the keen out of Downie's voice. I love it.