Welcome to Pig Squash Press! You have arrived at the cyber-home, alter ego, publishing imprint and creative conduit connecting me – Kim Goldberg – to the rest of the planet (and possibly beyond).  My latest books are:

RED ZONE, a graffiti-strewn poem diary of homelessness in Nanaimo, BC, where I live. RED ZONE has been taught in university literature courses. Reviewers have compared it to the writings of Allen Ginsberg, Marge Piercy, and John Steinbeck….

and Ride Backwards on Dragon: a poet’s journey through Liuhebafa – finalist for Canada’s Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. A collection of 66 linked poems following the 66-move sequence of the ancient martial art of Liuhebafa on a mythic quest for internal alchemy and immortality. Visit my Liuhebafagirl blog for deets.

RefugiumMy current project is: REFUGIUM: Wi-Fi Exiles and the Coming Electroplague. (Where do you go when an invisible matrix spanning the globe is making you sick?)

So make yourself comfy, have a boo at my blog postings about upcoming literary happenings and other current events, leave a comment, walk your dog, follow me on Twitter @KimPigSquash, like me on Facebook.

May the metaphors be with you!

Kim Goldberg

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Nanaimo Regional District Tries to Banish Writers

bee on tansyJust two days before our Sharing the Fire gathering of writers is scheduled to begin at Thistledown Farm B&B in Cedar, BC, bureaucrats from the Regional District of Nanaimo have threatened to shut it down. The event involves about a dozen writers and artists gathering for three days (August 28-30) to discuss creative approaches to ecological and societal problems. Five of us have been planning this event for a year. Some participants are travelling from as far away as Whitehorse, Toronto, and the United States to participate.

Regional District employees seem to think that a dozen writers getting together for a creative think-tank on private property is illegal. They have threatened to seek an injunction to bar the pre-registered guests from gathering this weekend at Thistledown Farm. What will these bureaucrats next decide is illegal? Dinner parties in one’s own home? 

The gathering will, of course, proceed. It is not illegal for writers to meet in Canada. Perhaps the RDN bureaucrats are thinking they exist in some other era or some other country. If the RDN bureacrats wish to dress up as jack-booted fascists and come kick the door down and haul away a dozen authors, perhaps they should wait until Halloween so we can give them some candy and send them on their way.

Kim Goldberg
August 26, 2015

The following media release was issued today by the owners of Thistledown Farm B&B, Laurie Gourlay and Jackie Moad:

For Immediate Release: August 26, 2015 

Writers & Artists Not Welcome, says Region 

‘Fahrenheit 451’ alive and well in the RDN 

CEDAR, BC – Threatening to seek an injunction, and to prevent future gatherings, lawyers for the Regional District of Nanaimo couriered Cedar farm owners today, giving them until 4pm to shutdown a planned writers and artisans retreat for this weekend.   

Just under the deadline the owners replied, denying they were breaching any rules, and questioning the RDN’s selective application of vague and dated by-laws to stop a dozen writers, poets and artisans from coming to Nanaimo. Since Monday RDN emails have repeatedly stated that rules against “public assembly” and camping on private property are sufficient reason to prevent the visiting writers from spending a quiet weekend on the farm – but the property owners don’t understand what the problem is. 

“If the RDN wants to claim North America’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’ reputation then this is the way to do it,” said Laurie Gourlay, one of the farm’s owners. “Chasing away writers, from across Canada and the US, who just want to get together to discuss literature and the arts? I don’t get it.” 

Thistledown Farm is a 20-acre working farm and registered B&B, with membership in the Ladysmith & Area Accommodations Association. The farm advertises through the Nanaimo Economic Development Commission’s Tourism Nanaimo brochure, and supports efforts by Tourism VI to build interest in the area as a destination for ‘super, natural BC’ vacations. 

“We like to share the property with people who care about nature and local agriculture,” says Jackie Moad, who divides her time between being an RN and being a farmer. “As well as running a B&B we volunteer with community groups, and we know how hard it is to get enough money for projects and planning. So we make the farm available for free to six non-profit groups and charities every year. This is the first time there’s ever been a problem.” 

The couple’s letter challenged the RDN over the refusal to allow a few of the writers to camp on their farm, noting the contradiction with approval previously given “by the RDN for camping on private property for a UN student workshop in the past. The RDN appears to be insisting that past precedence should be ignored.” 

Moad and Gourlay have also taken issue with the RDN’s use of the rule against “public assembly” to try and stop the writer’s gathering, suggesting “that a dinner party, or meeting of a community group, could just as well be subject to the rather intolerant interpretation you have applied to the upcoming weekend gathering of writers that we expect to host.” 

The couple end their letter by noting that the RDN has acted “in a demanding and insensitive manner – without attempting to first gain a full understanding of the circumstances. It is apparent that there has been little consideration for the writers who are coming, or the repercussions to the economy and Nanaimo’s reputation.” 

Moad and Gourlay state they are prepared to discuss the matter further, or to challenge the RDN’s assertions in Court if necessary. But, they would prefer an amicable resolution that’s fair to one and all. “Respect and due process is a right in a democracy,” says Gourlay. “We won’t be burning any bridges or any books on the farm this weekend.” 


Jackie Moad and Laurie Gourlay

Phone: 250 722-7223

Thistledown Farm
2689 Cedar Road
Cedar BC, V9X 1K3

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Sharing the Fire – Uncivilisation Gathering on Vancouver Island Aug 2015

by Kim Goldberg May 14, 2015
When: August 28-30, 2015
Where: Thistledown Farm, 2869 Cedar Road, Nanaimo, BC V9X 1K3
What: A creative think-tank of writers and artists
Accommodation: Mostly tenting
Cost: $60 (US or Canadian funds) – includes basic food ($20 for Saturday only)
Registration: Make cheques payable to Sharon English and mail to: 706 Indian Road, Toronto, ON, M6P 2E3.
Join us this August at an organic farm and nature sanctuary on Vancouver Island near Nanaimo for “Sharing the Fire” – an Uncivilisation Gathering in the spirit of the Dark Mountain Project’s Uncivilisation Festivals held in the UK in recent years.

What is the Dark Mountain Project? “The Dark Mountain Project is a network of writers, artists and thinkers who have stopped believing the stories our civilisation tells itself. We see that the world is entering an age of ecological collapse, material contraction and social and political unravelling, and we want our cultural responses to reflect this reality rather than denying it. The Project grew out of a feeling that contemporary literature and art were failing to respond honestly or adequately to the scale of our entwined ecological, economic and social crises. We believe that writing and art have a crucial role to play in coming to terms with this reality, and in questioning the foundations of the world in which we find ourselves.” (http://dark-mountain.net

Owl blind in wooded nature sanctuary at Thistledown Farm, Nanaimo, BC

Owl blind in wooded nature sanctuary at Thistledown Farm, Nanaimo, BC

Our Uncivilisation Gathering on Vancouver Island will be a 3-day creative think-tank for 25 writers and artists who share this vision. The gathering will include workshops, storytelling, dream-sharing, discussion, shared meals, music, brainstorming, creative exploration, evening drumming around a fire and much communing with nature. There is even a full moon on Saturday night. 

Click here for the downloadable Program. As you can see, it is still very open because we hope the participants will help shape it. The weekend will be a collaborative, egalitarian venture.  More information about Thistledown Farm is here: http://www.thistledownfarm.ca

As far as we know, this is the first Uncivilisation Gathering to be held in North America. It is being organized by five Canadian authors involved in the Dark Mountain Project:
Patricia Robertson (Whitehorse, YT) Joanna Lilley (Whitehorse, YT) Sharon English (Toronto, ON) Kim Goldberg (Nanaimo, BC) Heidi Greco (Surrey, BC)


We'll circle up the chairs around a fire in the evening

We’ll circle up the chairs around a fire in the evening

Participation for the full weekend is limited to 25 people, available on a first come first served basis upon receipt of your $60 registration fee (Canadian or US dollars). Please make your cheque payable to Sharon English and mail it to: 706 Indian Road, Toronto, ON, M6P 2E3. Cost includes basic meals for the three days and a place to pitch your tent.

Single-Day Participation
Those wishing to come just for the full day’s program on Saturday may do so for $20 (basic meals included). Pre-registration is appreciated here too so we will know numbers. But it is not essential. You will not be turned away if you just show up on Saturday with $20 for the single day.

Accommodations & Amenities
While this is primarily a tenting weekend for most of us, there are a few bunks and couches available in outbuildings. And we will have access throughout the weekend to two fully equipped kitchens, four indoor toilets and two showers. Water and electricity are readily available. 

Shaggy Mane mushrooms at Thistledown Farm, Nanaimo, BC

Shaggy Mane mushrooms at Thistledown Farm, Nanaimo, BC

Your $60 registration fee will include BASIC food from Friday evening through Sunday morning: fruit, cereal, soups, cheese, bread, butter, jam, coffee, tea, juice, milk, cream, almond milk, plus salad greens and sandwich fixings. Everyone is advised to bring additional food, either for yourself or to share potluck style. 

It is a short drive to a supermarket, several cafés and a lovely British pub in the country with garden seating and indoor seating. So there are some other food options.

Getting Here

Ferries that carry vehicles sail from Vancouver to Nanaimo, and from Seattle to Victoria. (From Victoria, it is a 90-minute drive north to the farm.)
Kenmore Air has direct flights from Seattle to Nanaimo. We will do our best to get people who arrive in Nanaimo without a vehicle out to the farm.

Questions? Suggestions?
For questions or suggestions for the program, please contact:
Sharon English: sharon.english@utoronto.ca
Patricia Robertson: probertson@northwestel.net

We hope you will join us this August for “Sharing the Fire”.

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POSTERS: Cascadia Poetry Festival 2015

We’ve got posters galore for the 3rd Cascadia Poetry Festival, coming up April 30-May 3, 2015, in Nanaimo, British Columbia. All-Access Gold Pass that gets you into everything (except the 2 workshops) is just $25! I know – crazy! Four days of fab poets, panels, readings and late-night spokenword events for just 25 bucks! It even includes free parking at VIU.

You can purchase your Gold Pass online or at Iron Oxide Art Supplies in downtown Nanaimo. Full schedule is here

Here are the posters. See you there! 

The Festival:

Cascadia Poetry Festival 2015

The Marmot Bout Spokenword Slam:

Marmot Bout

Workshop with Missie Peters & Anastacia Tolbert:


Workshop with Brenda Hillman, Barry McKinnon, George Stanley:


The Living Room – a daily opportunity to share your own poetry with an audience: 


The After Party (more than 30 poets reading!):

theafterpartyposter (smaller)

Closing Celebration Readings:



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February blooms & berries in Barsby Park

February blooms and berries in Barsby Park amid the sodden blankets and cardboard of the city’s homeless population before the inevitable 58-unit riverfront condominium development supplants all with synthetic building materials and occupants.

Photos © Kim Goldberg
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Prairie Fire – Latest issue now out

prairie fire (Winter 2014)The latest issue of Prairie Fire magazine just launched, and I’m inside along with a bunch of other fab writers/poets from across Canada. Award-winning dub poet and spoken-word performer Lillian Allen is on the cover. Lillian delivered the 2014 Anne Szumigalski Memorial Lecture, which is featured inside: “Black Voice – Context & Subtext”.

Also inside are:

Lillian Allen
Charles-Adam Foster-Simard
Rilla Friesen

Nadia Bozak
K’ari Fisher
Janice Greenwood
Paula Lemke
Jason Markowsky

POETRYDSCN4851 (10b,10c,x1)
Jessica Bebenek
Jenny Boychuk
George Elliott Clarke
Rocco de Giacomo
Kim Goldberg
Beth Goobie
Lisa Jodoin
M. Travis Lane
Michael Lockett
rob mclennan
Jennifer Zilm

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Cinclus mexicanus (poem)

Cinclus mexicanus

© Kim Goldberg 2014 

Sometimes, when it is all too much,
too great a tonnage to transport, too many tasks

undone, conversations unfinished, relationships
abandoned, expectations pressing on my twig-sprung
chest like a pile of bricks, when every thought of duty
unmet propagates three more, when the dream of
the tiny house on wheels, of the life without facebook,
of days spent wandering through long grass, when it all
grows dim and distant as the shadow of a passion

it is at times like this that I imagine myself
a dipper striding along the stony bottom of a rushing

stream. For this is how the dipper lives and
sustains itself—a bird no bigger than your fist,
foraging the crevices of the river’s rocky floor for
caddisfly larvae and other soft packets of flesh
while the water smashes past forever,
stripping away all clingfasts, all the mistaken
thought-experiments on the time-space continuum.
I tuck my head against the pummel and march
into existence, searching for plump morsels, letting
the river pressure-wash me until there is nothing
left but what I arrived with: feather, bone,
a tiny beating heart.

American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus_ Source: US Fish & Wildlife Service

American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus) Source: US Fish & Wildlife Service

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Why I neither offer nor accept feedback on poetry

By Kim Goldberg
November 23, 2014

mom at hemerPeople often ask me if I will read some of their poetry and tell them what I think of it—whether it is any good, how they can make it better. Sometimes they even offer to pay me for this. I always decline these requests because:

No one but YOU can truly answer that question about your own creative manifestation (although many will gladly try). To let others do this to your work (worse yet, to seek it out) pollutes your creative stream and thwarts your development of a unique and authentic voice and vision. If YOU are happy with what you’ve created, then it’s good. If you’re not, it isn’t—keep working it, or abandon it and start fresh. (Believe me, nothing is ever really abandoned. If it was meant to be part of your output, it will reappear somewhere down the line.)

There is no good or bad poem in any absolute sense. It is all subjective, all someone’s opinion. Let that opinion be your own, not someone else’s. That is the source of your power. Don’t give it away. A phone book can be made into a good poem if you’ve got your mojo working. It’s all about your coherence of vision, your conviction, your unwavering belief in yourself and your creative powers, your ability to think laterally, to reach a little farther, to dig a little deeper, to generate a new word or image or phrase instead of larding in the first cliché that presents itself, and to listen to your own instincts. If you feel your poem is good up to a point but derails in the last stanza, then guess what? That’s the part you need to work on. Or cut.

You will only get better at listening to yourself, trusting your instincts, honing your own powers of analysis, when you throw away the crutch of asking others what they think about your work (or worse yet, paying them for their opinion/instruction/mentorship). And even then, even after you have thrown away the crutch, you will still have the problem of those opinions being offered by others unbidden. Learn to avoid it, sidestep it, shut it down. It will only contaminate your creative stream. This holds equally true for praise or criticism. For to whatever extent praise from others elevates you, their negativity or indifference will deflate you.

Worry more about what YOU think of your work, and less or not at all what others think of it. As we say in Liuhebafa: Don’t be Wild Horse Chasing Wind (the wind of outer world distractions including the opinions of others); be Lying Tiger Listens to Wind (the wind of your own inner breath). 

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