Welcome!

Welcome to Pig Squash Press! You have arrived at the cyber-home, alter ego, publishing imprint and creative conduit connecting meKim Goldbergto the rest of the planet (and possibly beyond).

My latest books are:

UndetectableUndetectable, a lyrical journey through illness, wellness, Hepatitis C and virus as metaphor. I lived with Hepatitis C for 45 years before being cured in 2015 with the breakthrough new drug Harvoni. I wrote Undetectable in the Japanese literary style of haibun – a travel diary paired with haiku – as I wandered the streets and forests of Nanaimo, BC, during my 84 days of treatment, meditating on all things undetectable.

RED ZONE, a graffiti-strewn poem diary of homelessness in Nanaimo, BC, where I live. More than 300 people live and sleep on the streets of Nanaimo. RED ZONE has been taught in university literature courses. Reviewers have compared it to the writings of Allen Ginsberg, Marge Piercy, and John Steinbeck.

Ride Backwards on Dragon: a poet’s journey through Liuhebafafinalist 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.

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, order a book or two, follow me on Twitter @KimPigSquash, like me on Facebook.

May the metaphors be with you!

Kim Goldberg
goldberg@ncf.ca

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Roadtrip Through the Body

Mark your calendars & grab your Go bags, dudes and dudettes! The 2 Kims are gonna rock ya with a ROADTRIP THROUGH THE BODY for National Poetry Month!

Bees Knees banner

Sunday, April 10, 1-3 pm
Bee’s Knees Cafe
 208 Wallace Street, Nanaimo, BC
Kim Clark & Kim Goldberg

Bring a poem or 2 of your own to share at the open mic. We are looking for poems related to the body, illness, wellness, health, healing, viscera, mesentery, dysentery, goji berry… you get the idea! Be there, or be disembodied!

The open mic will follow the featured readings by the 2 Kims (Clark & Goldberg). Enjoy a healthy, organic, home-made snack at the cafe while you listen to poetry. Food for body and soul.

Kim ClarkKIM CLARK is a poet, author and playwright. Disease and desire propel her ongoing journey between poetry and prose. She writes about her life with Multiple Sclerosis in her fiction, drama and in her poetry chapbook Disease and Desire, the ManuScript. http://www.kimclarkwriter.com/

Kim GoldbergKIM GOLDBERG is a poet, journalist and author of seven books. She lived with Hepatitis C for 45 years, telling no one, until she was cured in 2015 with the new drug Harvoni. She documents her journey in her latest book Undetectable, a haibun poetry travel diary. https://pigsquash.wordpress.com/

This is a National Poetry Month event sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets and Canada Council for the Arts. This year’s Poetry Month theme is “The Road”.

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Undetectable – Nanaimo Launch Photos

 

I had a great time launching Undetectable today at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library. Undetectable is my haibun poetry account of my Hepatitis C journey and recent cure. The audience made good use of the question period after, which has been my hope for this book – that it can be a springboard for discussion around this much stigmatized illness that can now be cured.

List of future launches is here.

Thanks to People First Media for the photos!

Chatting with my pal Larry Gambone before the launch

Chatting with my pal Larry Gambone before the launch

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Doing what poets do…. signing books and collecting my gold doubloons

~

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Undetectable – Launch Dates & Readings

UndetectableHere is the schedule so far for my launches and readings for my latest book, Undetectable – my haibun poetry account of my Hepatitis C journey and recent cure. Everyone is welcome at these events, and questions are encouraged.

I will add to this list as more events and cities are confirmed. So please check back. All events are free of charge, unless otherwise noted.

Copies of Undetectable will be available for sale and signing at each event. Or you can purchase a copy directly from my website for $19 (free shipping in North America). I don’t sell my books on Amazon because I resist corporate entanglement, and I believe in authentic connection with other beings on this planet.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Nanaimo Book Launch

Saturday, February 27, 2016
1:00-2:30 pm
Nanaimo Harbourfront Library
90 Commercial Street
http://www.harbourliving.ca/event/undetectable-nanaimo-book-launch/


Gabriola Island Book Launch

Saturday, March 19, 2016
1:00-2:30 pm
Gabriola Library
#5-575 North Road (Folklife Village)
http://www.harbourliving.ca/event/undetectable-gabriola-book-launch/


Victoria Book Launch

Thursday, April 21, 2016
7:00-8:30 pm
Silver Threads Meeting Room (Richmond & Bay, across from Royal Jubilee Hospital)
This is a public information evening organized by HepCBC and will include a 20-minute screening of the documentary Deal With It, followed by my book launch, and concluding with a panel discussion and audience questions.
http://www.harbourliving.ca/event/undetectable-victoria-book-launch/


Ladysmith Book Launch

Saturday, May 7, 2016
7:00 pm
Ladysmith Waterfront Art Centre Gallery
610 Oyster Bay Drive
This is also the opening night for the “What’s in the Jar?” art show at the Gallery. Everyone is welcome to attend both events. Refreshments provided.
http://www.harbourliving.ca/event/undetectable-ladysmith-book-launch/

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Nanaimo poet pens book about Hep C Journey

For Immediate Release

January 29, 2016

Nanaimo poet pens book about Hepatitis C journey


UndetectableAward-winning poet Kim Goldberg never thought she would live to see a cure for Hepatitis C. When the cure arrived and Goldberg reaped the victory, it gave her the poem of a lifetime.

That poem has now become her seventh book: Undetectable. In it, she documents her Hepatitis C journey using a Japanese literary style called haibun, a travel diary paired with haiku.

Goldberg will launch her new book with a free public talk and reading at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library on Saturday, February 27 at 1:00 pm.

Goldberg lived with Hepatitis C for more than 40 years, telling no one, until she was cured in 2015 after participating in a clinical trial of the new Hepatitis C drug, Harvoni.

“I was extremely lucky to get a seat in this trial,” Goldberg says. “Because of the high price of the new drugs that are now able to eliminate Hepatitis C, I was not eligible to receive them under the BC Medical Services Plan. I wasn’t deemed to be sick enough yet, and I had never been willing to try the older and highly toxic interferon-based treatments. If it hadn’t been for this clinical trial, I would still have Hepatitis C,” she says.

Harvoni, developed by Gilead Sciences Inc., has a wholesale price of $1,125 (US) per pill. In most cases, including Goldberg’s, 84 pills are required to eradicate the hepatitis C virus from the body.

Even with their negotiated discounts, private insurance companies as well as government-funded health care plans say they would go bankrupt if they approved the new drugs for everyone who has Hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that slowly damages the liver over a period of many years. It has the potential to lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and death. It is the leading cause of liver transplants in Canada and the United States, and it has surpassed HIV as a cause of death.

Approximately 250,000 people in Canada have chronic Hepatitis C, and more than three million people in the United States. Worldwide, there are at least 180 million people living with this virus.

Goldberg hopes to use her new book to raise public awareness about Hepatitis C and to encourage everyone to get tested and treated, now that the cure has arrived.

Kim Goldberg

Kim Goldberg, author of the new book Undetectable

“This is a much stigmatized illness,” says Goldberg. “And as a result of that stigma, it is a disease people don’t talk about. Many people don’t even know they have Hepatitis C, or that it can now be cured. The stigma is causing needless suffering, untreated illness, and even death,” she says.

“The way to end the stigma is to normalize discussion about Hepatitis C, to make it part of the public discourse the same way we openly discuss cancer or diabetes,” Goldberg adds. “Nobody asked for Hepatitis C. And everyone who has it deserves to be cured.”

Goldberg is the author of seven books of poetry and nonfiction including Red Zone about urban homelessness, and the popular guidebook Where to See Wildlife on Vancouver Island. She is a recipient of the Goodwin’s Award for Excellence in Alternative Journalism, the Rannu Fund Poetry Prize for Speculative Literature, and other distinctions. She holds a degree in biology from University of Oregon and has lived in Nanaimo for 40 years.

TO ORDER

Undetectable can be purchased directly from the author for $19 (US or Canadian funds).

Free shipping in North America. Add $10 for overseas.

Send payment by PayPal to goldberg@ncf.ca

Or mail a cheque to Kim Goldberg, 35 Prideaux Street, Nanaimo, BC V9R 2M3, Canada.

For more information, visit her website: https://pigsquash.wordpress.com/

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Undetectable – My Hep C Story

by Kim Goldberg
January 28, 2016

Undetectable I am a poet. And my recent journey through Hepatitis C treatment and cure has given me the poem of a lifetime. That poem has now become my latest book: Undetectable.

I had Hepatitis C for more than 40 years before being cured in 2015 in a clinical trial of Harvoni, the world’s most expensive pill.

I was first diagnosed in 1995. But I probably contracted the virus in the early 1970s from injection drug use as a teenager. Until last year, I had secretly co-existed with Hepatitis C for nearly my entire life, and certainly my entire adult life. I am eager to find out who I will be without it!

Hepatitis C is a virus that slowly damages the liver over a period of many years. It has the potential to lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even death. It is the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States and Canada, and has surpassed HIV as a cause of death.

Approximately 250,000 people in Canada have chronic Hepatitis C, and more than three million people in the United States. New estimates place the US figure at potentially seven million.

Worldwide, there are at least 180 million people living with this virus. The majority of people with chronic Hepatitis C don’t even know they are infected, even though they may have had the virus in their bodies for decades.

A Life Unaware

Back in 1977, I completed a Bachelor’s degree in biology from University of Oregon, in my hometown of Eugene. I was fascinated by viruses and their status as quasi-life, existing as they do on the cusp of our definition of life. It would be many years later before I discovered the virus occupying my own body.

Kim Goldberg at micSince 1985, I have supported myself as a freelance writer in Canada, winning awards for my investigative journalism, poetry and spoken-word performances. In that time, I have authored seven books of nonfiction and poetry, as well as screenplays, essays, science fiction stories and a couple thousand articles for newspapers and magazines. I was a current affairs columnist for Canadian Dimension magazine for 12 years, and a freelance news correspondent for the Vancouver Sun in the 1980s and 1990s, among my various gigs.

But my writing career was not the only thing growing during those years. The progression of my undiagnosed Hepatitis C was accompanied by fatigue, nausea, unbearable itching, dizziness, cancelled journalism assignments, a brain wrapped in cotton candy, swollen knuckles, stiff knees, days in bed with no food, nights with no sleep.

My physical symptoms disappeared after I was diagnosed in 1995 and made immediate changes to my diet and lifestyle to support my liver. In 1997, I began studying T’ai Chi, Qigong and Liuhebafa. These practices involved rigorous physical conditioning, further bolstering my health.

However my shift to writing poetry in 2005, after a lengthy career of hard-hitting journalism and nonfiction, was partly a result of my brain no longer being able to hold hundreds of facts, quotes, connections and timelines long enough to generate a complex political article, let alone a nonfiction book. Such cognitive decline (brain fog) is a common consequence of Hepatitis C. Fortunately, it seems to disappear after the virus is gone.

Yet I do not feel diminished by this experience. My journey has been wondrous and transformative. I would not be who or what I am today without every part of it.

My Cure

In May 2015, I was lucky enough to land a seat in a clinical trial of Harvoni plus ribavirin for genotype 3 people with Hepatitis C. The New Zealand version of this trial had a 100 percent cure rate for people with my profile. So I was excited to make the cut for the Canadian trial!

ferryMy study group was based at the LAIR Centre in Vancouver, BC. I live on Vancouver Island, which meant I had many early-morning ferry rides to Vancouver for my check-ups. My 12 weeks of treatment often felt like an extended cruise ship holiday. (Well, okay, maybe not the hemolytic anemia caused by the ribavirin.)

After just one week of treatment, I was saying “Hello, brain! Long time no see!” That’s how quickly the new drugs work. After my first seven days of treatment, my viral load had dropped from four million to 130. After four weeks, I was undetected. And I have remained undetected ever since.

Hepatitis-uninstallingGiven what is now known about the life cycle and replication process of Hepatitis C, and the action of the new direct-acting antivirals on the virus, it appears that the new drugs do indeed provide a true cure for Hepatitis C, not simply a remission. They eradicate the virus from the body.

Various all-oral treatments are now available for Hepatitis C, all with extremely high cure rates—often 95 percent or higher. For the current list of recommended treatments for each genotype, see this chart.

My Book: Undetectable

I spent my 12 weeks of treatment writing my latest book: Undetectable. The book is a poetic account of my Hep C journey. I am now using my new book to raise public awareness about Hepatitis C and the politics of withholding the pricey new cure from so many who need it. The book is dedicated to all who are still waiting.

portrait-of-matsuo-basho

Portrait of Matsuo Basho by Katsushika Hokusai

I wrote Undetectable in a Japanese literary style called haibun. Haibun consists of short, descriptive prose (often a travel diary) paired with haiku poetry. Matsuo Basho, Japan’s most famous and revered poet, launched haibun in the 17th century with his Narrow Road to the Interior and other travel diaries of his foot journeys during the final decade of his life. Basho made the journeys, often in failing health, after he had lost or given away what little he owned. It is a narrative rich with resonance for anyone who has lived with Hepatitis C.

Basho’s journey took him to the rugged interior of his country as well as the esoteric interior of himself. I followed in his footsteps (figuratively speaking) as I wandered Nanaimo’s streets, forests, rocky beaches and dark colonial history during my 84 days of treatment. All the while, I found myself meditating on the many meanings and examples of things undetectable: the virus being driven from my body, the mycorhizza connecting all the trees, the homeless man sleeping beneath the highway, the experiments at the Nanaimo Indian Hospital before it was bulldozed, the 97 humpback whales killed and processed at Piper’s Lagoon until there were no more whales…

As we say in Liuhebafa: May you be river flowing, never ceasing.

Kim GoldbergWellness to all,

Kim Goldberg
Nanaimo, BC

© Kim Goldberg, 2016
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Solitude and the Artist

by Kim Goldberg

solitudeMost people simply cannot grok prolonged solitude. This makes it hard on those of us who work creatively as writers, artists, poets, visionaries. To think the thought that has never been thought, to write the line that has never been written, to tease out the story from the shadow, to conjure the world that has never been conjured… These pursuits all require solitude. And not mere bursts of “alone time” but a plunge into waters whose depth is not known. 

The solitude of the artist is an ocean with possibly no bottom at all, but filled with immense beauty and wonder. Like research and development, the creative journey takes the time it takes. And you don’t know what you’re going to get, or when you’re going to get it, until you’re done. It may take a month, it may take a lifetime. It may take more than one lifetime. 

banana slugSo wondrous is this ocean of solitude (which is really not solitary at all, for it is surging with every manner of non-human entities, matrices, visions) that a forced surfacing is actually painful for the artist. Yet the phone rings. Friends send emails wanting to meet for coffee, wanting to know when you are coming back to Facebook, it’s been three months since you deactivated your account, you are missed, needed, letting people down, hurting their feelings… 

The rapture of sustained solitude is alien to the majority of people. Their lives are simply too littered with outer world commitments, duties, appointments, expectations—all the ephemera of the temporal world. They are wild horse chasing wind, as we say in the practice of Liuhebafa. People will claim they understand and value solitude. But they are referring to their hour-long walk around Piper’s Lagoon, carefully scheduled to fit between end of work and beginning of dinner prep. 

When they encounter a friend who is ecstatically and deliberately immersed in prolonged solitude, someone who is willfully declining engagement with the outer world in order to pursue a rich creative journey, they perceive it as sad and lonely. They worry about the person, label the person an introvert or depressed, ask the person if she is okay. They perceive the artist’s solitude as a disturbed and unhealthy state, an unnatural state. They conflate solitude with loneliness because they have not yet discovered or admitted to themselves that loneliness has nothing to do with being alone. It has to do with not having something you want, which is why you can be lonely in a marriage, at a party, in a crowded room. 

huge cedar treeMy prolonged solitude is never lonely because I have what I want in my life. And I am surrounded by, and in relationship with, all manner of strange and miraculous things, prompting new discoveries daily. 

In fact, it is people’s own fear of discovery that spurs them to view prolonged solitude negatively. It is their fear about what they would actually do with themselves and/or find out about themselves and their existence if they had no one but themselves and the non-human inhabitants of the planet to commune with for months or years at a time. It is their fear of what shape their innate creative energies might assume if unfettered long enough to coalesce. It is their fear of what they might encounter if they became a human being instead of a human doing. 

All of these fears are subliminal, not conscious, which makes them all the more powerful and binding. 

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Israeli Pilot Turned Peace Activist Coming to Vancouver Island

Yonatan Shapira, a former Israeli Air Force pilot who is now a highly respected peace activist, will be coming to Vancouver Island November 6 and 7 for a speaking tour. This is a rare opportunity to hear from someone who has undergone a profound personal transformation from militarism to peace activism as a result of what he has seen and been involved in.

Shapira’s Vancouver Island speaking tour is sponsored by Mid-islanders for Justice & Peace in the Middle East. All talks are open to the general public. Donations are appreciated.

SCHEDULE

Friday, Nov. 6th

Duncan: 10:30 am in Theatre 140 on VIU Campus (Duncan)

Nanaimo: 2:00 pm at St Andrew’s United Church

Courtenay: 7:00 pm at North Island College’s Stan Hagen Theatre

Saturday, Nov. 7th

Denman Island: 1:00 pm at Denman Island Community Hall

Nanaimo: 5:00 pm Potluck Supper at Pacific Gardens Co-Housing, 347 – 7th Street

BACKGROUND ON YONATAN SHAPIRA

(supplied by Mid-islanders for Justice & Peace in the Middle East)

Yonatan Shapira

Yonatan Shapira

Israeli-born Yonatan Shapira served for 12 years as a Blackhawk Helicopter pilot, flying hundreds of missions for the Israeli Air Force. He was one of 27 Israeli air force officers who denounced as war crimes the “targeted assassinations” carried out in the densely-populated Gaza Strip. The 27 were dismissed from the air force, and Shapira went on to co-found Combatants for Peace with other disillusioned Israeli and Palestinian ex-fighters.

He subsequently joined the Freedom Flotilla movement aimed at bringing world attention to the Egyptian/Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. He piloted the Jewish Boat to Gaza (2010), was a crew member of the US Boat to Gaza — The Audacity of Hope (2011), and sailed on the Estelle, along with former NDP MP Jim Manly of Nanaimo (the only Canadian on board), from Sweden in 2012.

Shapira is a member of the group supporting the Palestinian call for Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) from within Israeli society (aka Boycott from Within) and has also taken part in numerous other non-violent actions and campaigns in opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

He earned an MA in Peace and Conflict Studies and since 2010 has facilitated dialogue meetings for high school and university students at the School for Peace of the bi-national community of Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom (Oasis of Peace), inside the 1948 borders of Israel.

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