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Thursday, 13 July 2017

Birds, Beasts and literary gatekeepers

Hi Katherine,
Yeah, that really is a boost!!! The whole lit reputation  thing can really  become  a game,  some sort of  weird ego  trap  which makes me think of Frank Zappa's song, "I'm losing status at the high school"  ;  )-

We do the best we can as poets and writers, and hope that we've made a contribution to the genres, the culture and maybe even left a piece or two for literary posterity. There are artists who know how to play the publicity game, but of course they often aren't the best or most sincere, often just the pushiest, wealthiest or most connected. I guess we just hope posterity shakes out the literary gold from the dross, and that each of us has made a contribution.

I remember the first time I read D. H. Lawrence's poetry, esp. "Birds, Beasts and flowers", and I thought why did I have to wade thru the drudgery of "Sons and Lovers" etc. when this guy was such a great poet? Then it dawned on me that if Lawrence hadn't cranked out his long "serious" novels then the brit lit establishment wouldn't have taken him seriously. His poetry was decades ahead of its time in its simplicity, imagery & clarity, and "Lady Chatterley" was, well, just too, too overtly sexy!!!  So good old Lawrence had to crank out ponderous shite to please the critical gatekeepers of his time, but his best stuff wasn't appreciated until a generation or two later.

So it may be with our small group of interconnected Canuck writers. At least it feels good when the occasional gatekeeper recognizes some of our work, even if it's only a Rye Hi librarian  ;  )-

peace & poetry power!  (and maybe a little poetry posterity as well)

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On 2017-07-13, at 2:49 PM, Katherine Gordon wrote:

Hey Chris, thought I’d share.  I had a little chuckle really
because I don’t spend much time in self promo and always need prodding.
A surprise to me really but quite fun and head-swelling?
Love from Katherine.

From: James
Sent: Thursday, July 13, 2017 12:50 PM
To: kgordon
Subject: major Canuck writer

July 13, 2017

Dearest Katherine,

         Here is something to cheer you up. I donated copies of my To Be With A Woman, Norma’s Tall Stuff, and our Landscapes to Ryerson University (where I used to teach). Their librarian wrote to me to let me know that my poetry collection and Norma’s novel were rejected. (They will be given away to any students who will take them.) But Landscapes was placed in the university’s library because Katherine Gordon is a major Canadian writer and they collect her books.

         So now you know.


         . . . James

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