Here is a fragment of yesterday's Ottawa Citizen with me in it (courtesy Roland Prevost). They asked a whole series of us to write up a book we would give out, and another we would want to receive for Christmas (oh, the holidays); I recommended the new bpNichol selected [see my review of it here], and hoped for Alberto Manguel's The City of Words (since I missed his Massey Lecture at UofA in October, being that I was back in Ottawa).
Here's the text of what I sent them (not necessarily what they used):
If I paid attention to such holidays (why wait, when you see something a friend of yours would like to receive in, say, February or July?), I would give copies of The Alphabet Game: a bpNichol reader, eds. Darren Wershler-Henry and Lori Emerson (Coach House Books, 2007). One of the most important Canadian poets of the 20th Century, this new selected is over three hundred pages and should be on every aspiring writer or reader of poetry’s “essential reading” list. When one reads Shakespeare, one is aware of just how far the language can take you, and reading the wide-ranging works of the late Toronto poet bpNichol is no different. He was our Walt Whitman; there is the poetry that came before bpNichol, and the poetry that came after.
What I would certainly like to receive myself would be Alberto Manguel’s The City of Words (Anansi, 2007), published as the most recent of the CBC Massey Lectures. I’ve been wanting more in this series for years, but for whatever reason, haven’t picked up as many as I would like. There is never enough time or money in the world. Failing anything from that series, there are graphic novels of past issues of Planetary and The Authority that I haven’t read yet. Certainly, there is more than one way to tell a story.