Toronto Poetry Vendors

(in)dispensable poetry

So long, and thanks for all the Double Bubble

After five issues in four years, Toronto Poetry Vendors is closing up shop. Starting up this project was the most fun I’ve had in poetry, and I loved how it consistently delighted people. Thank you to all our contributors and hosts and especially to my poetry partner-in-crime Elisabeth de Mariaffi, for your words, time, and energy. Big love to Karri for renting cars and hauling machines to and from more than one festival. Thanks also to all the friends and fans who supported the project by writing about it, visiting it, and trading in their toonies for poetry.

Those of you in search of serendipitous vending machine literature in our fair town can find reincarnated TPV machines at Story Planet on Bloor Street West, home to our former travelling machine, and the Editorial Youth Advisory Group of the Toronto Public Library has adopted one of our wall-mounted machines. I can’t wait to see what they do with it.

BTW, Double Bubble is awful. Don’t eat that stuff. Trust me.

Yours in mechanical poetry vending,

Moving in at Likely General



After a wild and crazy year at 3030 Dundas West in the Junction (note: many bar patrons cannot tell the difference between a loonie and a quarter), our big, black and beautiful travelling machine, Snacks, has moved to Roncesvalles. Brooke and her team at Likely General have put together one of the most beautiful retail shops I’ve seen in a while, complete with handmade wallpaper, handpicked designers and a handful of the best local magazines and books. Brooke has been a fan of TPV for a while, having discovered us at TYPE Books. This makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. So check it out, hmm?

Spring is here

At long last, the new issue is loaded up in our machines and awaiting your toonies. Some of you have already been dropping coins, and there seems to be more serendipity in the random dispensation of the candy-coloured words than usual this time around.

Speaking of getting lucky, some of you may notice that this issue has a “smut and heartbreak” theme (thanks to issue contributor Benjamin Hackman for lending the phrase), something that we haven’t tried before over here at  TPV HQ. It is extremely easy to write a bad love poem, and equally tough to write a good one. But anyone who reads Lynn Crosbie’s heart-slaying excerpts from Liar, one of my all-time favourite books of poetry on this theme, or Natalie Zina Walschots’s hyper-charged love bites from DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains, the two poets that bookend this issue, will know that Toronto has a solid history of tingle-inducing poetry.

As always, there is new, previously unpublished work in this issue as well: Jeramy Dodds, Sandy Pool, Paula Eisenstein and Gillian Savigny were all up to the challenge. And while we’re putting out (heh) our fair share of sweaty sheets, there are also more subtle explorations of the theme from Jacob Scheier, Mark Sampson and Stevie Howell.

Since we started vending Toronto’s finest poets in 2010, we have launched our spring issue as part of the flurry of poetic excitement that is National Poetry Month. This year we aimed for an earlier launch, intending to stick our wet thumb in St. Valentine’s ear, but thanks to unforeseen, non-poetry vending related events we are a few months late, or rather, right on time.

Announcing the Spring 2013 issue

Spring is about to spring and we at TPV are totally in the mood. To celebrate, here’s the lineup for our new issue, soon to be dropping in a vending machine near you:

Lynn Crosbie
Jeramy Dodds
Paula Eisenstein
Benjamin Hackman
Stevie Howell
Sandy Pool
Mark Sampson
Gillian Savigny
Jacob Scheier
Natalie Zina Walschots


More details coming soon.

TPV at Saving Gigi

We are so happy to announce that we’ve found a home for our third wall machine at one of our favourite coffee establishments in the city: Saving Gigi. This cozy spot at Roxton and Bloor (859 Bloor West, for the record) is right around the corner from my old apartment, and can always be counted on to contain some good friends and tasty food and drink. Kristjan and Amelia are just as friendly and accommodating as owners can be, and the staff have literary pedigrees, too. You should ask Eamon about his mom.

Winter residency + holiday cheer

Toronto Poetry Vendors couldn’t be more excited to announce that Snacks, our travelling machine, is taking up a winter residency at one of our favourite new restaurants/watering holes: 3030 Dundas in the Junction.

Join us December 11 to welcome Snacks to her new home and celebrate the upcoming holidays. Her cranky ways will fit right in amidst the duelling manual typewriters, pinball tournament, vinyl records, and other non-digital delights of Analog Tuesdays.

More details and surprises to be announced!

TPV goes Indie

TPV is tickled to be part of the Meet the Presses literary collective, which is putting on its third Indie Literary Market today. We’ll be filling the Tranzac Club with books, chapbooks, broadsides, recordings and all kinds of other literary goodies you can’t generally find in bookstores. Plus you can sip a frothy beverage while you browse. Downright civilized, if you ask me. 12-4 at the Tranzac, 292 Brunswick Ave, Toronto

Flea sightings

Thanks to TPV contributors Paul Vermeersch and Sachiko Murakami and everyone else who stopped by our Junction Flea booth for some literary snacks and general lounging about.

And special thanks to schpiel-master Ashley Winnington-Ball and tea-master Karri Ojanen for sharing the best booth at the Flea with me. You all just made my day.

TPV Seen Reading at the Junction Flea

We had so much fun vending poems at the Junction Flea in July, we had to come back for more. This time we’ve teamed up with Ashley Winnington-Ball, the consummate and charming queen of the hand sell. Ashley will be on hand (har) selling Julie Wilson’s voyeuristic subway ride of a blog-t0-book, Seen Reading, and Snacks will be stocked full with poems from all our past issues, including the current out-of-towner issue. That’s 40 poets. Count ’em.

And because we think the Flea is so special, we’re setting up a little literary oasis in our booth. Come peruse, sit in the leafy green shade, and enjoy a new book or poem (or two!) whilst sipping iced tea. Isn’t this just so damn civilized? Look for the orange book this Sunday, any time between 9 and 4. Here’s a map.

At home at TYPE

The new out-of-towner issue is loaded up and ready for your toonies at TYPE Books, 883 Queen St. West! Thanks to the lovely booksellers at TYPE for making such a nice home for the machine once again.