David James Brock

Theatre, Opera, Poetry, Film

David James Brock is a Canadian writer of opera, theatre, poetry, and film.
Author of poetry collections Everyone is CO2 and Ten-Headed Alien.
Co-creator of Breath Cycle, an opera for cystic fibrosis.

Pandora, a New Opera Ballet

On May 23, my full length opera, Pandora, will premiere at Toronto’s Geary Lane. This opera-ballet choreographed and performed by Jennifer Nichols (and oh! Opera-ballet is really just opera with a lot of ballet in it!) is part of an experimental collaboration devised by FAWN’s Founder and Artistic Director Amanda Smith, with composers David Storen (Vancouver, BC), Joseph Glaser (Montreal, QC) and Kit Soden (Montreal, QC). The story centres around the development of a character, played by tenor Jonathan MacArthur, who stumbles upon an object and quickly gets drawn into what, and who, is inside.


This was an entirely new experience for me, knowing who I was working with before I knew what I’d be writing (and writing for three different composers). FAWN was exploring a devised creation model, and I felt a responsibility to ensure the libretti honoured the work and relationships that came out of a week long workshop process where we uncovered shared themes, stories, voices, movements, and sounds. I then went away to try and channel that exploration into the stories that have resulted in this full length opera.

The writing process can often feel solitary, but in crafting these stories with the composers, I think we all felt the energy and voices of that first week at every turn. I can now hear it radiating in the music as we begin rehearsals.

Recently, I had the chance to speak a bit about the libretti creation process that I’ve undertaken with Pandora.

For more details about Pandora, which opens May 23-25, here are the event details.

Poetry is Dead: the Metal Issue

2018 was a year where I had a few things fall into place, but one of the things I’m most proud of was the chance to work with the incredible team at Poetry is Dead magazine as co-editor of their metal themed issue. The opportunity to work with PiD’s Executive Editors Ben Rawluk & Dina Del Bucchia was a rare gift, and I learned a lot from their warmth and patience as we went through the incredible poems that we received.

And of course, to be able to co-edit with one of Canada’s finest writers, the incomparable Carleigh Baker on this thing, is something I will be grateful for for a long time. I hope everyone has a chance to find this issue, read it, and shred.

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Wet....is back

I started writing my play Wet in 2008, when the world was different (and so was I). I'm really grateful to be working with Itsazoo Productions on this re-imagined version of Wet which will premiere in just over a week today. Full details under this beautiful poster.


This May ITSAZOO presents Wet, David James Brock's incendiary, award-winning new play. Set during the height of Canada's involvement in the Afghanistan War, Wet tells the story of a soldier who comes home and the war that follows her.

Presented in ITSAZOO's trademark immersive style, and unfolding mere inches from intimately-sized audiences of 28 people per show, Wet is an uncompromising look at poverty, mental illness and the military industrial complex.

WARNING: Violence, Coarse Language, Nudity, and other possible triggers we may not be aware of. Please contact itsazoogm@gmail.com if you have questions regarding content and triggers. Not recommended for audiences under the age of 18.

May 8th to 27th, 2018
Tuesdays through Sundays – 8pm
Previews – May 8th & 9th (only $10!)
Pay What You Can – May 15th
Tickets on sale now at Theatre Wire
$29 Regular/$25 Students&Seniors

Jacket Proofs for Ten-Headed Alien (out in one week!)

I'm really happy with the way the jacket and spine turned out for Ten-Headed Alien (a great complement to the front cover). Ingrid Paulson did a a gnarly job (not to mention what she's done with the inside of the book, which I can't wait to share).

The Prog Rock book cover I dreamed about under a two moon sky.

The Prog Rock book cover I dreamed about under a two moon sky.

Ten-Headed Alien will be available on March 13 (one week!). For details on how to get a copy, check the Wolsak & Wynn website, or come to one of the events I have planned across the country and slap some loonies in my little claw.

I'll be doing my best to keep my events page updated. 

Ten-Headed Alien (The Cover!)

New book! New cover! Thank you to Wolsak & Wynn and the incredible design of Ingrid Paulson for this dream cover of my new collection Ten-Headed Alien. The book comes out in March 2018. For more information, visit the Wolsak & Wynn website.

I've also got a blurb!

“Brock’s book is a sophisticated monster. This is war poetry that white-knuckles the horror story of normal life, where the most human thing about a robot is its lack of function. Here, language is a junkyard drum set of evil sounds, let loose in pursuit of an enemy half-machinic, half-mythic. Success is mutually assured destruction.”
– Linda Besner, author of Feel Happier in Nine Seconds


Pelee Island Book House

As usual, I'm not updating this blog enough, but I'd be remiss not to give some props over the next few week to people that have made my life fun and productive lately. The first is Dawn Kresan at Pelee Island Book House, who has started an incredible Writer's Retreat on Pelee Island (a place I'd never been to, and now, a place I'm eager to return).

Writers Dawn Kresan & Alisa York listen to a reading from Diana Leszczynski at magic hour on Pelee Island

Writers Dawn Kresan & Alisa York listen to a reading from Diana Leszczynski at magic hour on Pelee Island

I spent a week at this retreat in early May working on a number of projects (though I workshopped a section from my novel about the 1912 Detroit Tigers). I met some wonderful writers, learned a few things about bird identification, went to a birding banquet (a surreal, almost David Lynchian experience that I expect Grant Munroe will encapsulate with eloquence), drank some wine, and wrote a hell of a lot.

Margaret Atwood leads a chicken symphony...I think.

Margaret Atwood leads a chicken symphony...I think.

Thanks to the wonderful Deb Dundas for using my not-staged-at all photo for her write-up "Why writers are retreating to Windsor region" in the June 3 Toronto Star.

Lake Erie. Definitely still reading.

Lake Erie. Definitely still reading.

And please if you get the chance, attend the Pelee Island Book House. This place has the potential to be an iconic spot for writers, and Dawn has created something special here.