Monday, October 22, 2007

TIM & DOROTHY release

Blue Orange is proud to announce the publication of the novel Tim & Dorothy by Richard Rathwell with superb illustrations by Rebecca Draisey (shown here).

In the mid-1950s actual wars of the new bi-polar superpower war coupled with Armageddon hangover created a great anxiety.

New science, new nations, new politics spawned monsters of consciousness and a phantasmagoria of new political and social reason.

In Canada a scheme emerged to test all the children over a wide area with the assessment instruments of the day. They were shortlisted, shortlisted again, filtered and whittled from every child down to only forty. The children then were placed together into a class where they remained for four years. They were taught by PhDs in educational psychology. They were taken to art galleries, archives, laboratories and parliaments. They had their own bus. They researched historic events and visited sites. Radical pedagogical methods were used exclusively. They had regular speeches and presentations to make. They had committee work. There were constant research assignments. Extreme experiments were conducted such as intense mathematics classes, three weeks straight, math only, in a darkened basement from fractions to logarithms. How much could they learn? How fast?

The kids were all 10 when the class began and approaching 13 when it was closed. Tim & Dorothy takes place in this time and in this class, and was published on the occasion of its reunion.

Below is an excerpt.

"More snow and darkness. Tim’s feet said ‘cold, cold’ from inside his runners. His runners were soaked. They were saying ‘wet, wet’. The snow got behind his windbreaker collar and melted on the top of the Perry Como sweater his mother had won at Bingo. The rivulets went down into his undies. The sweater was the best thing he had. It was lime green and Dorothy loved it. He could sing Perry Como and hummed him now. He wished Dorothy was here. He would tell her his plans for searching for Marcus.

Tim knew he loved Dorothy and that Dorothy loved Tim. When they had reached eleven they had already done love for one year according to him. In that year, the second year of the Special Class, they began to meet on spring mornings by the run-off pond not far from the canal to walk to school. Tim would leave the bike he had then hidden in the bushes. That was until that one was stolen. Dorothy arrived on foot. She often brought enough sandwiches for both their lunches and an apple for Tim’s breakfast.

In spring the polliwogs in the pool had long and translucent strings which dangled and twisted from where their penises should be. Dead fat lumps of polliwogs wrapped in gossamer drifted in the black water around the outlet pipe from where ducks would graze on them. In winter the brown heads of frozen frogs dotted the ice. Now, in late autumn, the pond was completely covered in waxy gold, red and orange leaves inviting a leaping run and a drowning. They would dare each other.

In the summer there was no school so Tim sat by the pond waiting for Dorothy on her way to the library. Or if he knew she had gone shopping with her mother he rode a bike, if he had one, one he found somewhere, up into the centre of town. Once he did this with Marcus and the Johns as cover, all planned by Marcus in advance as a mission. He would follow Dorothy and her mother around as she shopped. It was wonderful just to see her in her weekend dress with the lace collar and her white socks with mirror black shoes. When Dorothy was at her family’s summer cottage, or when she went to Europe, he would call on Marcus and they would walk to the park and talk or go to the free museum. Marcus didn’t do sports.

Tim had to go away from the direct route from his house to the school to get to the pond to meet Dorothy because he lived down in those houses where the river flooded. Dot lived outside the district in one of those places with big porches. Marcus lived there too but high up on the hill. But his was a rented house not owned forever like Dorothy’s. The government rented it for Professor Barcus.

From the pond Tim and Dorothy would walk to school over the canal bridge past the Italian grocery. On the days Marcus was driven in the car that came for his father they would be alone. Even when they got close and there were other groups of kids they would be alone. They sat together from the beginning in Special Class until the seats were rearranged. Then he sat by Marcus in front of Doctor Liz’s half of the teacher resource desk.

Sometimes when it began to warm and the snow had melted in spring he and Dorothy would spend time on the bench in the shallow tunnel of bushes which overhung the path to the park. This was when the bushes had flowered and they wanted to talk of things. Dot would ask about Tim’s life at home and he would ask her about Spain—she had gone to museums there and seen breastplates—or would try his little tricks on her. He would do a sudden bear. Those didn’t usually work with Dorothy, especially his ghost voices that came straight from his head, she saw through them.

Dot could carry and conclude in her head the correct sum in the class contests after following fifty changes. Like take one, and then add five, take away three, divide by seven, no cancel the last three and take the original and multiply by five and so on. Those were not just addition and subtraction but multiplication and division. It was soon to be logarithms. But Doctor Agnes could do that to. Doctor Liz couldn’t. It was never her who would do the contest each week. She would take down the notes. Tim dropped out of the contest after ten of the big changes. He could do the sums as they ran but had no memory for the big shifts.

But Tim could put on a skit in their acting out history classes. Everyone liked the times he was the one; like when he was Pissaro and he said what he thought when he first met the Incas and he did it as a former pig herder, because Pissaro was that and not a hero, but at the same time as being that pig herder he was mad for gold and also he loved the Chief Inca who was so calm and dressed in colourful feathers not like a smelly priest and this made Pissaro unusual and hard to do because he was fearless with only a few men in the face of thousands and he killed someone he almost worshipped because he would not say where the gold was hidden. Tim did this one before he had read up much on it. He just felt it. "

Saturday, April 21, 2007

dis course


We have a prejudice to create or resurrect rare books, do joint ventures and construct interlocking lists, to enable a print-based literary community, locally and internationally, an independent singularity, and to support guerrilla marketing and fun and challenging social events, as well as to maintain ramshackle and aggressive independent distribution in opposition to mainstream E-Armageddon and similar anywhere on earth and at home. Any idea considered.

Dis course and Dis tribution! Dis Sonnance!...

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Blue Orange, in alliance with DaDaBaBy, announces the publication of the poetry book RULES OF THE RIVER by Richard Rathwell with artwork by Pierre Coupey and edited and created by Jamie Reid, with a cover by Carol Reid.
For orders, email


I clarify 'topple.'

I mean topple artistically in the political sense, especially as an example of the practice of communalism in the arts, as a corrupting influence on culture, and as being anti-discourse and market.

And a bunch of other antis. He is clearly a damaging terroristic sort of guy.

And an impediment to the free market.

Also not seeking the marvellous in the real and seeing a thing in its own sake.

I do not mean topple in the mental sense. I know Mr. X has always been missing a piece of gnos.

That meant he saw life, being of private income, as a kind of troublesome circle of support and praise. Later, after failures, this became a sort of auto erotomania in a playpen pretending with friends to be winning a horse race.

Because he has invested so much in building his place in a circle of similar gnos, including an anti-art, anti-activism gnos, his unsettling attraction to the poem, to me as a nineteen year old 'barging into intimacies', and his attraction to your reckless out of the box commitment, and to the rest of my my life, and yours, created the completely unbalanced response. It is a sign of a damaged person and declining mind. He particularly sees the artist as a betrayal, someone getting outside of the punishment/reward circles he should be in.

X by the way can never have a friend. The guys in the play pen aren't there for that.

His problem is that the book is attractive. Its ideas are beyond him.

This cannot be if he is X. He is attracted. This cannot be. He loves it. This cannot be. It doesn't love him. So he must fly at it. Negation of the negation. Spending a life demeaning what he desires, he has toppled himself.

He will be a figure of fun and he is beginning to know it.

assessing asses in Albanian

What methods of assessing donkeys in Albania can teach us all.

First of all before we begin let me tell you there are several international charities committed to dealing with abused donkeys and giving them peaceful retirements. I urge you to seek these out and donate.

Next, as an aside, the Albanian name for donkey is 'gomar'. In other forms, the diminutive and the plural, it can mean automobile tire or motor mechanic. Albanians, as we all do, do not like to give up their roots easily as time passes and things change. The language works in a way, for example, that the word turkey might become, through a construction like `small talk turkey', a parrot or, equally, a poem.

Now I am entering into this discussion not as a dilettante. I did assess donkeys in Albania and I do know how to make love in Albanian. The root is 'duo'.

There is a right way and a wrong way to assess anything in Albania. In fact to do anything. If you do it the wrong way you are called a gomar. If you are a gomar in Montana, however, you might be a congressman, and son of a congressman. But not in Albania.

Donkeys can be assessed in a way usefully applied to Chinese cats. That is, it doesn't matter whether they are black or white but whether they catch mice. That is cats in China and only in certain classes. Donkeys of course do not catch mice except by accident when eating. I was assessing them as to whether they can climb a mountain carrying a burden. But the principle is the same. It is the same as with poems. They have different colours too, like donkeys, but that doesn't matter much in terms of their purpose.

What is the purpose of a cat in Toronto or Vancouver? The same difference.

Anyway we gathered a bunch of donkeys in Albania in a mountain valley town called Puke which means something like Puck. That is a playful spirit in many languages. You can name a donkey 'Puck'. Or a loved one, or a town. You can say `te duo Pucki'. But you can't say 'te duo gomari' neither in the day nor night. That is indescribably wrong. Well in Albania maybe not in Montana. This is away in which donkeys are different from poems and people.

I paid an Albanian to help assess the donkeys for three reasons. One is that I knew nothing about the art or science involved but wanted to learn at a fair price and two the donkeys would be carrying pipe up through a guerrilla zone and the helper was probably one of them. Guerrillas not donkeys, although every Albanian is a gomar about something to every other one.

Finally it was because they were not his donkeys or a relative's.

He was from out of town (from up the mountain actually).

This worked as the donkeys were not stolen, nor was the pipe. However the water pipeline we built to the town was blown up, but only after it was completed and the donkeys had left. Evidently the guerrillas thought we should pay rent for the mountain.

As you do for a donkey.

Like a poem, or love, or a cat you do not assess a donkey as to whether it is good or bad, whether it is strong or weak, a strong donkey is not necessarily good for anything. Whether it is merely beautiful or well bred. You do not assess its relatives and birthplace.

You do not assess it by hitting it with a stick and calling it names. In fact in Albania this is particularly useless as the worst thing you can call anything is 'gomar.' I know this because I am published in Albanian.

You assess it as to whether it is fit for purpose. As a thing in itself for a purpose. Can it get up that mountain with a load of pipe, never mind how it behaves or how it does it because that is up to the donkey person with it. But can it do it?

Because that is the beautiful thing, the true thing, the purposeful and consequential thing. The thing in itself about that old donkey, or young one or three footed one. It is that right donkey for purpose. There can be no other except another like it.

Assessing a donkey is like reading in some ways. You don't do it by calling the book names. You don't do it by wondering how Jesus might read it, or do it the way you might skin a caterpillar, or make love in Albanian.

When assessing donkeys for climbing mountains you don't do it bycopying the way the fearsome donkey whipping bully in the next valley assess donkeys. That is you don’t learn to see donkeys his way or you will get hit, like a gomar assessing, too. That is the same as with reading or loving.

They were beautiful and true those donkeys in a long chain going up that mountain, pipes on their backs, honking and wheezing, doing it in their own terms, in the rain and sunbursts, to help create a line for clean water down for the little kids in Puke. Whether they knew it or not.

Just as they should be. And I donated to their charity for that reason.


This is in the category of 'I thought you would never ask and you didn't' or 'I can't resist ducking even if I'm not punched'. It is a backchannel gone bad about the recent discourse. But so what.

I am grateful for everything, most of which was soulful rage at police criticism but some of which was support for my being.

Rules of the River is an object made partially of translations. The first poem in it is a mature poem which is ferocious about the limitations of depicting a complex horror and way that horror works on the person's vision. The rules of it. It is a stitching of fragments showing external editing. It is literally done outside of me. It is about an actual incident dealt with by poetry. Translated to poetry. It maps the eye and mind moving to 'take in' that horror.

The second poem, the series, is a game the reader is invited to play about poetry. It starts with a very 'young' poem (the basic thing was written when I was nineteen, I translated it a little later to be the work of a quite dark, fragmented woman in a book I wrote called "Borderline: Casebook Translations", then I contained it in a chapbook called "Poems From the Beak" which was to have been written byher. But forget that. It's over. Get on with it.)

That poem was chosen for the game ruthlessly. Not because it was goodor bad but because it was a fit subject, authentically happened, and had a kind of feeling good to throw to mutilation and fragmentation and then try to bring it back, to see what it was. Like me. The fragmentation comes from the 'others' like the other languages, images, words, ideas, realities.

The first poem is not mature but has a voice of apparent weary and wary experience, like it actually is.

That first poem then deals with the frustrating limitations of vision as an exploration of both language and how the eye works with images, and the pain of that. It is too a fragmented poem but this time one that isn't resolved except by the pieces of the image it is moving over, or that are is going through it, like a Prism. It just can say what it ends up with as the input shifts.

It is trying to get at a woman and a river.

Then come the translations. Not completely Babblefish, not much, but however limited and ruled by the way in which the poem tries, with eye and mind to do absolutes by moving through changes, hurt but helped by that as well. It had a personal background in looking at some of the translated poetry in each language and knowing some people. It has references and associations. But each part is on its own, outside of me, from the integrity of choosing the original, to giving it up, so that each one continues the game and reveals things also on its own.

The overall object ends up being, I think, like heraclitan waves (how rivers work in physics and philosophy), if you read it out loud, and consists of some poetic curiosities of how the meanings were found. It does invite the reader to make poems outside of themselves in language. And some do.

It is also furious in voice, pained, as it keeps going on, the rules keep changing, the absolutes contend. Sometimes redemption. Sometimes not. Sometimes alive grasping, sometimes not. That is a fair play depiction. With optics. At cost.

The eye context provided for this game by the artist's work is that in part the artist's work requires the eye to move around too, with the mind and make a narrative, which it can't do. It has to leave the art stand. The artist's pieces reflect on one another in a way like the poems do, and vice versa. My contention is that by doing that, observer is invited, in images and limitations, and works of fragments integrated somehow by the art itself, to try to get at something, perhaps beautiful in a new way outside themselves. Visual art is a translation of the real in optics. And interaction (dare I say dialectic!)

Even if it is only the beautiful horror of the rules just about a river and a woman, and a poem, and trying to get it.

The book is an object. It is a made object by many hands and adiscourse of them in selection and execution which is interesting as an event. As an object like its makers it has biography.

Well put together and edited. Bless them all. And it should be dealt with as a thing in itself. You don't need explaination of course, unless you want someone to participate in another way.

But what do I know.

are you afraid of ghosts?

Are you afraid of ghosts, Mr. X?

Your piece on Mr. Y's Rules of the River was not a review of the poetry contained therein but an attempted character assassination of both Y and one of the editors, who I believe created an excellent publication. Reflecting on this I can only assume that you were trying to smother these two voices, to stop Y at least from coming in from the cold, or to return from the heart of darkness. I wonder what causes this unease, this fear you obviously have for the two. To dedicate so many words to hurting them and to stopping them from being read – which is patently, by the way, counterproductive – in such a personal and vicious manner will only make your readers question your own security, and also what really happened all those years ago. It is certainly not anyone else but you who seem to be stuck there. Is there something in there you are not proud of?

I laughed when I read that, in your paranoia, you sensed Mao lurking in the two poems. I laughed when you stated that in one of them Y ‘implies that he’s been conducting espionage for some Maoist NGO in Egypt or Somalia, or wherever.’ As you state yourself, you know little of Y's actions since he was a young man, and obviously have not seen much of the world or seem to care much about it. Incidentally, in Egypt he worked for an organization called Terre Des Hommes, which works to protect the rights of children – I doubt that he was conducting Maoist espionage on them. In all other contexts he was doing similar work, and if you had been googling responsibly you would have come to the same conclusion (although you’d have probably still proceeded with the attack regardless). You may need to expand your horizons, Mr. X, and move on. For the past thirty-five years, unlike yourself, Y has had a career in the real world. He was not in ‘the heart of darkness,’ at least not metaphorically, not in the ‘murk,’ not in the ‘wilderness (where is that exactly, Mr. X? Anywhere outside of your own experience?),’ and he was certainly not ‘institutionalized’ as you imply (one of the most unimaginative and savage attacks your clumsy article contains). There were no Maoists, Mr. X – in your irrational unease at seeing Y's and the editod's names haunt you again you must have gotten you overexcited and maybe a little paranoid.

Your rather concise critique, added like a postscript to disguise the slander as a book review, of the poetry itself is just as misplaced, clumsy, and anxious, and typed with just as much bad faith, as your ad hominems which form the bulk of the piece. You criticize the poetry for being ‘obscure and insinuative rather than articulative,’ and for coming ‘with no accompanying contextualizations.’ As your readers will know, this comes with the territory of poetry. Even if you disagree, it is certainly not a valid, God-like criticism of anyone’s work. The poems are not even obscure by anyone’s stretch of the imagination (well, perhaps by yours).

As for the contextualizations, you seem to ignore your friend's excellent artwork which would resonate clearly with an objective reader, rather than one who’s pulled out the dagger before opening the book. And for the record, he was shown the layout prior to printing and was very happy with it, and happy with the outcome, and therefore your objection to the workmanship and descriptions of his work are misplaced. It may seem odd to your readers that the artist, who you obviously admire, colluded with Y on this work, which, if I can hazard a guess, you will not be nominating for any awards. Could it be that the artist liked the poetry? Could it be that your readers will to, if shown it? Is that why you are afraid of this haunting? Also, hilariously, you take the title of ‘Rules of the River’ literally, and offer as a critique the fact that the name of the river itself is not stated. The river isn’t the Nile, and Mao isn’t paddling along it, Mr. X. There are more things in heaven and earth.

I am glad, though, that you admitted not being able to penetrate the poem’s eleven rules, because ‘they are evocative rather than disclosive statements unlocated in a delineated landscape.’ I think Y would have no trouble agreeing with this, although I’m not sure he would apologize for not delineating a landscape you would recognize (downtown Toronto?). I might also say that one rule at least should have seemed quite disclosive to you, quite easy to penetrate, even in your state of nervous excitement – ‘the law of lek: everything fights back.’

In any case, I urge you to type out the first poem on your website and let your readers judge for themselves.

I also can’t help but balk at another curious falsity that you have asserted: that Y had attempted to court an ex-wife of yours. I wonder why this troubles you so. I also wonder why you must resort to this sort of attack in what is supposed to be a book review. Did she mention that Y had read Rules of the River to acclaim at a major conference of poets? Did you? Did you ever think that it might be true that there is a street named after him in Uganda, or a tree in India? Or is it beyond your capacity to say a good thing about people who try to produce a book? Maybe you have had no trees named after yourself, Mr. X. It also seems to me that all your criticisms apply to you rather than him. From your piece I can guess why not. ‘Egomaniacal monologuing’? Check. ‘Composition without intellectual responsibility, discipline or research’? Yep – was your piece responsible? Was it disciplined or researched? ‘Cognitive contraptions’? Check – again, your piece on Rules of the River was an interesting study. ‘A man who doesn’t appear to have altered his intellectual procedures or his attitudes towards others in three and a half decades.’ Check – how many enemies have you made with this sort of slander, Mr. X? Perhaps it is time to confess. ‘What a waste’? Well, we shall leave that for the river to decide. Certainly not you.

I am sending you another of Y's works for you to review – Re: The Dead Arts. I think he’s done well with the title, don’t you? Boo!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

the secret's daughter

The Secret’s Daughter
by Aine, blue orange writer

I am the secret,
I hide in the shadows,
In the dark is where I lurk.
No one knows me
And my daughter never tells a living soul
About me,
About who I am.
I’m kept closed up
And locked up
In an unknown place
That not one person has ever been,
No one ever dares to go.
Their too afraid and scared too go.

My daughter exists,
She lives on this world
And she keeps me a secret
And nobody knows why,
They don’t ask
And she never talks.
My daughter walks, and she breathes.
I am her secret
And she is my daughter
Only she and I know the truth.

Everyday I watch her grow more beautiful, wonderful,
Good and right.
She goes to school and is well educated,
Qualified and well trained for the world
And her future is right ahead.
I seen her come and go, out and in.
She’s bright, light, clear and pure,
Even innocent and too real and true.

She doesn’t live with me anymore,
She moved out when she was old enough to go,
She use to sneak me out for important events
Like graduations and other events
She even snuck me out for her wedding,
The day when she got married to her husband
And now she lives next door to me,
With her husband and her children, my grandchildren.

My daughter is living the life I’ve always long, yarned and desired for.
That I always dreamt, hoped and wished for
In all my life.

On some days and nights I watch by the window,
I witness her children play,
I seen them come home from school,
I can hear the sounds of joy, life, excitements and happiness,
Even laughter rang loud and clear like the sound of bells ringing,
It sounds like little angels.
My daughter, my incredible and beloved daughter,
I wished I told her that I love her,
I wish I have gave her everything she ever deserved to have
And much more,
That I’ll move heaven and earth just to be by her side,
And hold her close and near me tightly and tenderly, gentle
While singing sweet songs.

All I am now is a secret, a secret that not one person will ever know.
I am the past from long time ago
That reminds unknown from the universe

My daughter just buried me just last summer,
After I died mysteriously
And I just left this poem for her to read.
No one must know about this poem that I wrote,
Just me and her,
I am her secret mother, she is my secret daughter,
The secret’s daughter.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Blue Orange Publishing is delighted to announce the publication of Re: The Dead Arts, the Selected Writings of Richard Rathwell, with book design by Lee Chapman of First Intensity and cover art by Jessica Kolokol. Many of you will have already read extracts on this blog.

It will soon be available in the United States via SPD Books for $18.95/£12.95, as well as in some bookstores in Canada and through this site by sending an email request to Its ISBN is 0955 1627 0X.

Back Cover:

I only believe that language is a field that has entrances from every world. I desire to find in that field ways my mind can go on journeys out of the place encased.

I want witness. I want report and it is better about a kinf of beauty, an image that is assembled as though for the first time true, even real. And it is in this life, connected.

I want to stay in a group playing in a field.

Don't mind the raw and jagged. The mysterious evil. The burst of blood.

There is the public work to do. The dividing of two into one. The getting out.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I have no strategy or preferences. I am only needy. The main thing is I like readers. Love them, hate them. That's why I do stuff now.

But there are problems. One is that I have no place. I never chose a spot or a context. I just went promiscuously from one landscape to another, one discourse to another. I have origins but no place. Therefore no network, no magnifiers, no social capital, no machine.

The other is that my craziness about authenticity means I have no way, at a very late date and age, of allowing editing anywhere near me. I have thirty years of notes and a recently released imagination, so I am unusually prolific, although not on a yearly average. And I just don't let anything catch up. Not book making, not anything. In this, I write through people, a kind of resonating, despite the plan. I am the worst kind of writer. Not the tiniest bit elitist, not an aspirant genre monopolist, always leaping, leaping, around.

Even though that all is true, due to my story, it does leave that story, a strange story, which is strange to market. I'm not an outlaw academic, an urban contrary, an abused middle class survivor. I'm an old deported guy, years in the bush who, like Alice, has, bemused, come home having missed the entire narrative of the century, accompanied by the white rabbit, talking in tongues and completely detached from mainstreet perspectives.

I need a Tom Fool editor and a network.

I sent a book, The Bush, to a big New York publisher, or at least my son did, and they wrote back saying that it had got to the final committee or something. I may be in a few slush piles. I ain't someone sent down from Oxbridge so slush it is. And I don't fit any small press house styles that I know.

Need a tomfool agent or editor, need discovery. I need someone to make a project of the collected works (now in the garage or on the hard drive).

Saturday, November 25, 2006


The book is by Jon Halliday and Jung Chang.

I think it illustrates that Mao can be read, in addition to having aspergers, as having a simplifying iq bound to the will of a narcissistic personality disorder, that is, the attitude that the only narrative is theirs, that their rightness or their wrongness is always the issue, and that blaming comes in a process which comes before the situation is analysed.

It is also intersting that the guerrilla war things he did were really ways of avoiding risk and commitments that he could be judged on later, and that he could judge others on later, i.e. a leap to the sidelines.

When not doing that he advocated simple chaos and reversals of sense to take ownership of the order to follow.

His adherence to Marxism is like an adherence to Ezra Poundism. You say whatever you think it is that justifies your literal self.

It took an apocalypse for people to believe that, and a coterie of other personalities seeking daddies.

I think it is a great murderous fear of an undergrad student gone monstrous. A mommy's boy with no mommy. It seems that a narrow world, confined to his owm bed, was needed justified by denying the legitamacy of the rest. Competitive with reality.

And let's face it, a bad poet.

God, narratives, when will we be free of them!