UNTITLEDAs I’ve said before, I’m a big fan of regional anthologies; no matter what it is you do in your writing, there really isn’t any way to not be influenced by what is going on in one’s immediate geography (unless one is a complete recluse, which, admittedly, some writers are extremely good at). Adding to a list of impressive books over the past years is the brand-new A/Cross Sections: New Manitoba Writing (Winnipeg MB: Manitoba Writers’ Guild, 2007), edited by Katherine Bitney and Andris Taskans. If you’ve lost track of what some of the other anthologies have been, be sure to check out decalogue: ten Ottawa poets (Ottawa ON: Chaudiere Books, 2006), decalogue 2: ten Ottawa fiction writers (Ottawa ON: Chaudiere Books, 2007), Fast Forward: New Saskatchewan Poets (Regina SK: Hagios Press, 2007), The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century [see my review here], Post-Prairie: An Anthology of Poetry, Writing the Terrain: Travelling Through Alberta with the Poets, The Winnipeg Connection: Writing Lives at Mid-Century and Language Acts: Anglo-Québec Poetry, 1976 to the 21st Century [see my review of both here]. As I asked in my review of the Saskatchewan anthology, what is it about geography that compels?
There it goes again
wafting through my mind
that U.S. Cobra Gunship
guns fully blazing
blasting 7 holes in my rubber duck
and yes I know what happens next
I get shot by the CIA,
so please George
I’ll do anything you want
I’ll get a Stuka Dive Bomber
and bomb whatever you want
the way I Stuka dive my baby
every second night (Patrick O’Connell)
Produced as a 25th anniversary celebration of the Manitoba Writers’ Guild, the strength of just what the Guild brings to the province is highlighted through ninety-one contributors (Ontario seems to be the only province in Canada without a provincial writers guild; books and organizations such as these fill me with a certain kind of envy), publishing poetry, fiction and non-fiction by contributors such as Carol Shields, Meira Cook [see my note on her last book here], Patrick Friesen, Margaret Sweatman, Dennis Cooley [see my recent piece on him here], Laurie Block, Sarah Klassen, Ariel Gordon, Smaro Kamboureli and Sylvia Legris [see my note on her last book here].
In which the Writer Reads
If I hadn’t read this line in John Newlove’s book, I wouldn’t be writing.
If I hadn’t read a line of Newlove’s in Erin Moure’s book, I wouldn’t be writing.
If I hadn’t hauled out my bike and ridden eight kilometres to the library to get out Newlove’s book, I wouldn’t be writing.
If I hadn’t worked in a branch library for five years, I wouldn’t have found this
misshelved Newlove where it was living an uncirculated life among all the Ondaatje
and I wouldn’t be writing.
If all the undergraduates hadn’t gone home to their small towns, if they hung around the library all summer, smoking cigarettes and borrowing all the Newlove, I wouldn’t be writing.
Energy equals mass times the velocity of light squared. Relativity notwithstanding,
this has nothing to do with writing. Newlove says.
If I weren’t such a liar, I would write off any horizon. (Tanis MacDonald)