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Monday, 30 September 2013

Al Purdy 'Play Day' in Ameliasburgh

Monday, September 30, 2013

See ya in church, Al

 Were Al Purdy to be associated with any church, it's likely to be the Gothic church in Ameliasburgh, conjured so ominously in the poem 'Wilderness Gothic'.

Saturday, September 28 changed all that, as the talented actor/director Richard Turtle presented David Carley's one-man play 'Al Purdy at the Quinte Hotel' at Jeff Keary's performance venue in the 1849 former Methodist Church in Rednersville, Prince Edward County.

Richard did a superb job, moving smoothly from monologue to Purdy's poems. He was Al. I'm quite convinced I cannot do this man or the performance justice. So look for and don't miss Richard and 'Al Purdy at the Quinte Hotel' when it comes around again....A-framer Michele Lintern-Mole is exploring opportunities with Richard.

Jeff and Tracey Keary with Eurithe Purdy 

Eurithe Purdy graciously attended, queenly in an overstuffed armchair; I hope its comfort compensated for all those eyes turning to gauge her reaction at Richard's line "I wouldn't want to go to jail for killing a thing like you!"

"I'm used to it," she said afterwards.

Eurithe contributed two jars of hand-picked homemade wild grape jam to the silent auction. Yesterday some lovely folks in Toronto enjoyed it on their breakfast toast.

beer bottle & plaid jacket...

...and Al Purdy

 The Methodists were not a musical bunch, much too sober for that in the day. So it's as well that the superb acoustics of the church/studio were saved for today's congregations who enjoy jazz evenings and a variety of other performers at Active Arts Studio. At Saturday's Purdy Celebration, guitar player/singer Morley Ellis entertained - and what that man can't play...! His last song by the Travelling Wilburys, travelled with me for several days afterwards. Look for Morley, a Marmora boy!

Martin Durkin, Crazy Irishman

 Courageous the poet who agrees to read opposite Al Purdy. Martin Durkin, another local boy returned to his native Stirling, read from his work - and it stood up! Chris Faiers has long known Martin, and suggested he read at the event. Good writer. Good reader. It's the Irish in him.

Martin's work appears regularly on his CrazyIrishman blog, and recently poet Chris Faiers featured two of Martin's 'soup poems' on his Riffs and Ripples from Zen River Gardens site.
Kelly Bacon & Martin Durkin, Chris Faiers, Richard Turtle
And behind the scenes the usual suspects set up shop with a silent auction of signed Purdy titles, copies of the A-frame Anthology, and the Lowthian print of the A-frame. Raised five hundred and fifty bucks toward the A-frame restoration. Did OK.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

review of "Progressive Heritage" (leftwing CanLit) by Ron Dart

Progressive Heritage


                                                                 Progressive Heritage:
                                    The Evolution of a Politically Radical Literary Tradition in Canada

                                                                             James Doyle

Those who have the good fortune of studying Canadian literature are often exposed to the standard bourgeois classics of Canadian poetry, novels and drama—these bourgeois classics are what we call the Canadian canon of must read literature. There are also leading literary critics such as Northrop Frye who are embodiments, in a thoughtful and nuanced way, of such a canon. There is, though, a para-canonical literature in Canada of the Marxist left that is often ignored in the teaching of the standard approach to Canadian literature.  The obvious strength and appeal of Progressive Heritage is the way this left of centre literary heritage is, unpacked and unravelled, in a chronological and thematic manner.

Progressive Heritage is divided into 11 compact and insightful chapters: 1) Introduction, 2) The Progressive Heritage: Beginnings to 1900, 3) Antecedents and Alternatives to Bolshevism, 4) The 1920s: Communists and Fellow Travellers, 5) The 1930s: Socialist and Other Realisms, 6) The 1930s: Progressive Drama, Poetry, and Non-Fiction, 7) The 1940s: War and Post-War, 8) The 1950s: Post-War to Cold War, 9) After Stalinism: Decline and Achievement, 10) The New Left and 11) Conclusion. Doyle does not, rightly so, restrict himself to those on the left who are dogmatic Marxists (of various types and tendencies). There were, of course, the standard flag bearers of historic and literary left of centre read of Canada such as Margaret Fairley and Stanley Ryerson—Fairley and Ryerson are repeatedly held high and often quoted just as the poetry of Joe Wallace and novels of Dyson Carter are duly noted and commented upon. There were also writers such as Dorise Nielsen (who Canadians should know much more about----a female Bethune in China), Dorothy Livesay, Milton Acorn and George Ryga who wrote for communist-socialist publications and belonged to the party when young but were not leftist ideologues. Doyle tracks and traces the many writers in Canada who were not communists but who were fellow travellers with an anti-capitalist, pro-labour, suspicious of war and wrote wisely and well about the plight of the Canadian people who were often victims of the power elite of big business, politics and militarism.

Progressive Heritage is a veritable counter canon that brings to light many writers and artists within English and French speaking Canada that are often consciously ignored or simply unknown. Doyle has obviously done his spade work well and he has brought forth from the Canadian mother lode much literary gold. There is a fine bibliography at the end of the book for those wanting to read yet further and deeper, but the many books, poems, literary magazines and dramas (some known, others quite unknown) could easily make for a life time reading and many a course to be taught both within the Canadian counter-canon tradition and broader leftist literature.

The fact Doyle mentioned many Marxist fellow travellers and others with a basic concern for economic justice does mean more attention could have been paid to the literary contributions of those from the historic CCF-NDP traditions and the tensions between the CCF-NDP and the varieties of the nationalist New Left in Canada---the book would have been stronger for such probes.

Doyle goes after Frye a variety of times in Progressive Heritage for often caricaturing or dismissing the radical literary left in Canada—Margaret Atwood is also found wanting. Canadian worthies such as William Lyon Mackenzie, Louis Riel, Tim Buck and Norman Bethune are, as expected, lauded. Earle Birney has his fingers rapped as does Morley Callaghan and Hugh MacLennan (as incarnating the bourgeois way). Doyle has certainly brought to the fore a more generous and comprehensive way of reading the Canadian leftist literary tradition that is both Marxist and non-Marxist, although the emphasis is on the Marxist heritage. The final chapter, “The New Left”, is a must read overview of some of the leading leftist nationalists such as Robin Mathews (who is a political activist, poet, literary critic and dramatist—sadly so, much neglected and ignored).  Many in the New Left were stirred into wakefulness by George Grant’s Red Tory classic, Lament for a Nation: The Defeat of Canadian Nationalism (1965)---Doyle could have connected the dots between classical Canadian conservatism and the New Left with Grant as a significant bridge between the two traditions.

I was rather pleased that Doyle included a discussion of Stephen Leacock’s Arcadian Adventures of the Idle Rich if for no other reason than that Leacock was a definite conservative, but his form of Red Tory conservatism had many an affinity with the leftward thinking of Scott, Forsey and King Gordon. It would have been valuable if Doyle had threaded together how the leftist tradition in Canada has many an affinity and antecedent in the Canadian Tory touch---Leacock’s Arcadian Adventures of the Idle Rich is a superb entrée into such an ethos and Tory literary tradition as is Grant’s Lament for a Nation---Lament is as much political missive as it is literature.

Progressive Heritage: The Evolution of a Politically Radical Literary Tradition in Canada should be prime reading and on the main book shelf of anyone interested in a more comprehensive understanding of Canadian literary life. Such a book will expand the canon of Canadian Literature to a fuller and more generous place and space- such was Doyle’s plea and it should not go unheeded or unheard.

Ron Dart                                                                                                      


The Evolution of a Politically Radical Literary Tradition in Canada
James Doyle

$65.00 Hardcover, 330 pp.
ISBN13: 978-0-88920-402-7
Release Date: April 2002
Hardcover edition is out of print.  
Order online and receive a 25% discount
$42.95 Paper, 330 pp.
ISBN13: 978-0-88920-397-6
Release Date: April 2002


Book Description

Most critics and literary historians have ignored Marxist-inspired creative literature in Canada, or dismissed it as an ephemeral phenomenon of the 1930s. Research reveals, however, that from the 1920s onward Canadian creative writers influenced by Marxist ideas have produced a quantitatively substantial and artistically significant body of poetry, drama, fiction, and non-fiction.
This book traces historically and evaluates critically this tradition, with particular emphasis on writers who were associated with, or sympathetic to, the Communist Party of Canada. After two chapters surveying the work of anti-capitalist writers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the book concentrates on the development of Marxist-inspired writing from the 1920s to the end of the twentieth century.
Besides devoting attention to both social and theoretical backgrounds, this study provides critical commentary on work by prominent writers who spent part of their literary careers as Communist Party members, including Dorothy Livesay, Patrick Anderson, Milton Acorn, and George Ryga, as well as less well known but more fervent Communists such as Margaret Fairley, Dyson Carter, Joe Wallace, Stanley Ryerson, and Jean-Jules Richard. Although primarily concerned with the older generation of Marxists who flourished between the 1920s and the 1970s, the book also includes a chapter on the post-1970s “New Left.”

About James Doyle

James Doyle is professor emeritus of English at Wilfrid Laurier University. Author of five other books, including The Fin de Siècle Spirit (1995) and Stephen Leacock: The Sage of Orillia (1992), he has contributed many times to scholarly journals, particularly on Canadian-US literary relations and political radicalism in Canadian literature.


“The book is... eye-opening. Progressive Heritage presents a broad-ranging coverage of literary radicalism that establishes the field as undeniably present in Canadian writing....Progressive Heritage is thus a long overdue book.”
American Review of Canadian Studies
“[A]n unprecedented recovery of books, poems, and plays written in a communist or anti-capitalist bent. As a reader’s guide, Progressive Heritage is superb at contextualizing literary works....Young scholars will be interested in this work because it has its finger on the pulse of what was and still is one of the most taboo subjects in Canadian culture: the silencing and devaluing of voices speaking out against capitalist and corporate hegemony....[S]cholars will welcome Doyle’s counter history and draw up a list of books and poems we should know more about....WIth a sincere and engaged writing style, Doyle renders this version of a radical tradition accessible to the uninitiated and unconverted.”
— Roxanne Rimstead, Canadian Literature

Monday, 23 September 2013

Al Purdy Play in Rednersville Sat. Sept. 28


Monday, September 23, 2013

Saturday September 28, a treat for Purdy Fans at Active Arts in Rednersville

116 Barley Road, Rednersville
come experience the acoustics in this marvellous venue
As part of Culture Days, Jeff Keary of the stunning Active Arts Studio (the old stone church in Rednersville, Prince Edward County)  is presenting an Al Purdy A-frame fundraiser. This unique event is scheduled from 1PM - 6PM on Saturday, September 28.
Richard Turtle at the July Purdy Picnic

Hope to see you there!!

The afternoon will feature two performances (at 1:30 and 5:00 P.M.) of the play 'At the Quinte Hotel', written by David Carley, based on Al Purdy's famous poem. Richard Turtle is the featured actor, backed by an original musical score performed by Andy Thompson at the 1:30 performance.

Copies of the A-frame Anthology and art prints will be available, and there will be a silent auction featuring some Purdy titles, and Eurithe Purdy's home-made wild grape jam (cash sales only, please).
Poet Martin Durkin will read, and Morley Ellis, folk singer, will perform in the intermission.
Eurithe Purdy will be guest of honour.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Montreal Milton Acorn poem by Katharine Beeman

Choices for the evening

      "Milton Acorn
       1923 to 1986
        A tribute
  Bring a cushion - Free"

"Classic - Solidarity Night
    A struggle not to be abandoned
  ...could be the elimination of jobs
 throughout the Canadian book industry"

  This, Milt,
  is where you would have been,
  not at your own wake -
  The Spectrum, swelling with jazz, with rock, with rap
  with mini-skirts and black tights
  over union asses

  Working people out on a bash
  to dance solidarity into the bosses' heads
  a thousand francophones strong for a
  small anglo syndicat

  is where you would
  have been, Milt,
  hoisting a few
  with an eye to love and struggle

  and oh we shouted love
  Milt, with our fists
  in the air and stamping
  our feet, like poets and wolves
  we howled, love
  love lllooovvveee
  so's even you could hear
  all the way back a month ago
  before you were underground.

  and when I got home, Milt,
  I opened your book
  given me by a friend
  some years ago -
  you might remember him, Stu's
  his name, a long tall Trot,
  one of those drinking companions
  when you were
  or weren't drinking alone

  and inside I found
  left where I hadn't left
  off, on the back of a bookmark
  I didn't remember
  "should you ever wish to dig him up -
  let me know"

  Well, Milt,
  I was going to visit next week
  but I guess I left it too long
  (I never thought, all that life
  and you only sixty-three)

  Now you share the ground
  with Villon
            and with Brecht

  There's choices all the time
  worms may rot the jackpine
  but never his scarlet song.

Katharine Beeman

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On Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 11:26 AM, Chris Faiers <> wrote:

Many, many thanks for sending this excellent poem, Katharine!   - powerful - Milt would have loved it (did love it in his underground lair!) ... it captures the essence of Milt & what he stood for & the people he wrote for.  Many thanks for sending this for his tribute book.

I'm forwarding this to the other members of the editorial team. Anna, please cache this & pass it on to Terry the next time you see him.

With your permission I'd like to post this poem on my blog. I've done this a few times previously to 'prime the pump' & stimulate people's memories for items on Milt. I'm sure there are a lot of other perfect poems & pieces out there which we haven't seen yet.

Thanks again for a heartfelt tribute to our old friend, mentor & comrade.

peace & poetry power!
Chris ... & Chase Wrffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff! (thanks for the hugs & pats - I need them more than ever in my old age - I'm 15 now, & starting to feel it!)

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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

ACORNucopia not yet overflowing ...

We welcome B.C. professor and cultural writer Ron Dart to the editorial team collecting material for the Mosaic Press tribute book for Milton Acorn. Ron has submitted several prose pieces for the project, and his addition will help us collect more material from West Coast contributors.

Lead editor Terry Barker recently circulated a list of the submissions to date, and we have a substantial number of contributors - 24+ - but we want this commemorative for Milt to be as comprehensive as possible. We now have a very broad selection of poems, memoirs, reviews, essays, miscellaneous prose and even a few photos.

But ... we are still very open to receiving submissions for the book, and we'd especially like to have more critical (academic) pieces on Milt's work.

Also please use your imaginations - how about sending us some original art work inspired by Milt?
Maybe even suggestions for the cover. I had a vision a few days ago sitting on the shaman shack deck at ZenRiver of a possible cover: a map of Milt's Canada - Prince Edward Island was as big as the rest of Canada, and cupped the land mass. The three centres of Milt's activity, Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto, were surrounded by the images of his many friends and proteges (e.g. Gwen, Joe R., bill b, Al, Maggie A., James D.,  etc.). Visual artists, give this your best shot.

If you know a People's Poet inspired by Milt (and all of you know many), please ask them to help us celebrate Milt's ongoing living legacy by sending material for this tribute.    

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

2 soup poems by Martin Durkin

Hi Chris,

Here are the 2 poems. Habitant was published in Hypnotic Childhood around 2002, and Good Soup appeared in 2012 on my Crazy Irishman wordress blog. I started it just under 2 years ago, and there are 700 pieces published there so far since.

The photo was done by my Grandmother when she was roughly 14 yrs of age or so. It will be used on the cover of my new book Entitled, Steeltown for Mary, Memoirs from a Dick.....


Martin Durkin

Good Soup.....

The rain plays a
piano song
then steady
coffee is
windows watched -
the city is
wine, bottled in the
cellar below.
the trees sway in
dying leaves-flames,
reflection on
the past

these eyes remember everything.

This apartment living
turns Algonquin into
farming fields,
the rain-radio,
down on
the irish black top street -
one way stop signs,
double traffic
apartment doors
children race the
window, my reflection

present form.

on stove…..
you are wrapped in blanket, i grin.






“He’s nothing but a drunk”
he remarks about Al Purdy as a poet.
I think to myself no, rather he’s quite dead, deceased
now, if you will

And I look at this scholar in blue overalls
breathing scaly.
I think he chews his cigarettes wet
before spitting out the smoke

Then the longhaired chum beside me says
“but isn’t that when we speak our best
and say poetic things?
When we’re drunk?”

Actually it’s at noon-hour lunch
when we bitch aloud and talk too much
about people we’re jealous of
but i just sit and grin
sip on pea soup, listening to these men of men

Once again the longhaired chum breaks in
“come on Martin say something, don’t be bashful
all your life.”

So i conclude with this,
“Good soup.”
And go back to sit and grin

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Mystery of Mazo De La Roche: movie review by Ron Dart

 Ron Dart's review...

                         The Mystery of Mazo De La Roche
                                   A Film by Maya Gallus
                                 Red Queen Productions 


          Mazo de la Roche was one of the most successful and
          prolific women writers of the 20th century. Her novel,
          Jalna, the dramatic story of a family dynasty, skyrocketed
          her to international fame and fortune in 1927. By the time
          she died, 11 million copies of her books had been sold in
          93 languages—she remains one of the country’s bestselling
          authors to date.

          The most important thing is her (Mazo de la Roche’s) work.
                                                                                 Marie-Claire Blais

The task of discussing a fine writer can go in two directions or a combination of these directions: 1) faithfully reflect upon the novels, poems, short stories, dramas of the author----healthy literary criticism or 2) delve into the life of the author-----C.S. Lewis calls this the personal heresy. The Mystery of Mazo De La Roche is a fine film in some ways, but it tends to veer in the direction of the latter approach (the personal heresy).

De La Roche had written and published some probing and insightful literary works before the success of Jalna in 1927. Most who have heard of De La Roche know about her because of the many novels she wrote about the Whiteoak’s family of Jalna (16 to be precise). Needless to say, De La Roche distinguished herself by writing and publishing many other books of equal or greater worth and note than the Jalna series.

The Mystery of Mazo De La Roche lands lightly but not long on Jalna and Whiteoaks of Jalna. The rest of the books are merely glanced over with no real comment or commentary (other than the fact critics began to grow weary of the ongoing tale of the Whiteoaks clan. There is a variety of film clips from different movies of the Jalna series-- they are brief yet poignant. Texts and films are chosen judiciously to illustrate De La Roche’s literary significance. The film is enhanced and enriched by illuminating insights by such worthies as Daniel Bratton, Heather Kirk, Susan Swan, Kildare Dobbs, Loraine York, Marie-Claire Blais and a couple of members of the extended adopted family, Esmee Rees and Kim de la Roche ( it would have valuable if Joan Givner had been interviewed, being the De La Roche specialist she is).

The few comments on the content of the actual initial Jalna novels by De La Roche tend to focus on the romance of Renny-Alayne (and an interpretation of it) and the soul affinity between De La Roche and Finch. Needless to say, there is much more to Jalna and Whiteoaks of Jalna than these limited, speculative and suggestive leads.

There is tendency in The Mystery of Mazo De La Roche to overplay and overdo the relationship between Mazo De La Roche and Caroline Clement----such an approach is trendy and focusses on different ways of interpreting their relationship. It would have been much wiser to zero in on, as Blais has suggested, “her work”. There is a depth, charm and fullness in the multiple writings of De La Roche that is missed when an excessive amount of time is spent on probing and speculating about the personal life of any author—being too committed to the personal heresy can become tedious. The genius of De La Roche is the way she  combined shallowness and depth, melodrama and substance, thin and complex characters, bland and complicated plots---De La Roche also had a tremendous ability to describe the nuances of the inner life, a unique gift as a wordsmith in highlighting ample and vivid images of nature and her many religious probes are more than worthy of attention.  When undue attention is given to De La Roche’s personal journey, much is missed about her literary fullness and brilliance.

The Mystery of Mazo De La Roche makes it appear as if Jalna and Whiteoaks of Jalna were Canadian breakthrough novels into the larger American and English literary markets---this is simply not the case. Stephen Leacock (who is buried quite close to Mazo De La Roche and Caroline Clement at St. George’s parish) had a become a significant and well published Canadian literary writer (he was well known before that as a Canadian political economist and historian) in the Anglo-American ethos and literary world by 1910. It might have been interesting to note, also, that when De La Roche-Clement moved to Trail Cottage in Clarkson in 1928, they encountered the young Dorothy Livesay (who wrote a few fine articles about De La Roche in her later years). The link between Leacock-De La Roche-Livesay could have been explored in a variety of subtle ways.

The Mystery of Mazo De La Roche is a fine primer on the life of De La Roche but rather weak on the deeper and more perennial literary significance of De La Roche for both Canadian and global literature.
De La Roche is a goldmine and mother lode in many ways, and she still awaits a gifted and sympathetic reader of her 37 books to demonstrate
Why and how this is the case. We do need, in short, more attention paid to the mystery of “her work” and less to the mystery of her life.

Ron Dart               Mazo de la Roche.jpg

Thursday, 12 September 2013

lost Acorn-bissett manuscript being resurrected!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bill bissett and Eric Schmaltz Want to Tell You Love

bill bissett performing his poem "embrace" at a Grey Borders Reading Series event in 2011 (Photo Credit: Barsin Aghajan)
By Jeremy Colangelo

bill bissett is one of Canada’s most prolific poets, having published nearly one book per year since the mid-1960s. His style, in speech and writing, has been imitated by numerous others, and his impact on Canadian poetry has been great enough that, in 2006, Nightwood Editions published a tribute to his work which included pieces by some of the country’s most respected authors. In the same year he was the subject of an episode of the television series Heart of a Poet. Writers and artists like Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen and George Bowering have expressed their admiration for his work, which continues to be published to no less acclaim than ever.

But in 1965 none of these things were true. At the time, in fact, bissett had published no books, and was an utter unknown in Canada’s literary community. It was lucky, then, that the young bissett had managed to make the acquaintance of Milton Acorn — at the time one of Canada’s most well known poets.

“Milton created the first time I ever got published,” said bisset, referring to a poem called “The Body.” “Milton bought the first painting I ever sold in my life.”

Though their styles were extremely different — Acorn writing in sparse, Imagist lines, with bissett’s production being much more “florid” (as he would later describe it) — the two writers had become friends, and had agreed to produce a book of poetry together. The project was meant to respond to the Vietnam War, which both were against, and their very different writing styles were largely the point of the book, as they were supposed to demonstrate how two very different sensibilities could coexist within the same text, how “two very different people could still love each other,” as bissett told me. The result was a manuscript of poetry and artwork called I Want to Tell You Love. Acorn took the manuscript and tried to leverage his literary connections to get it published, but after six months of rejections, almost all the result of the poets’ dissimilar writing styles, they gave up. bissett would publish his first collection of poetry on his own in 1966. While the poems from the collaboration were printed in magazines and anthologies, the manuscript would languish among bissett’s papers in the York University Archive and with Acorn’s papers at the Canadian National Archives.

“I think,” said bissett, “that there’s a spell in people to look for things that are more homogeneous [...] but I think that in today’s world it would be more accepted.”

It is the acceptance of “today’s world” that Eric Schmaltz, a Master’s student in the English department at Brock University, is depending on in order to publish his Major Research Project — a re-edited version of the manuscript, ready for publication. Schmaltz is no newcomer to the Canadian poetry scene. A poet himself, Schmaltz has for several years been the curator of the Grey Borders Reading Series in St. Catharines, Ontario. bissett performed at the series’ inaugural reading in 2010 alongside Phil Hall, Catherine Owen and Terry Trowbridge. It was here that Eric met bissett for the first time, having been introduced by Gregory Betts, a poet and an English professor at Brock who is currently Eric’s faculty advisor on the project. The conversation eventually turned to the old manuscript, and the remaining possibility of getting it published.

“I have had the privilege,” Schmaltz told me, “to work with and receive training from a scholarly community called Editing Modernism in Canada, which consists of the best scholars, graduate students, and editors in the field — including Dean Irvine, Zailig Pollock and Smaro Kambourelli, among many others.

“I am writing what will become a critical introduction [...] [that] will tell readers the story of the collaboration and offer perspective on a piece of important Canadian literary history that has been displaced.”

Eric and bissett have collaborated on the project as closely as possible, but the lengthy period between the collection’s production and its re-editing has made the work more difficult. In our interview, bissett lamented his inability to remember the poetry he wrote in any specific detail, saying that he was looking back on them through “a Pre-Raphaelite haze” — though he was able to remember much of its composition and a few of Acorn’s pieces. Since then, he and Eric have visited the York University Archive to look up the manuscript, but the difficulties involved in reconstructing a nearly 50-year-old project persist. Still, bissett was able to remember a great deal about Acorn, who died in 1986, as was eager to reminisce about their friendship:
“He [Acorn] would talk a lot, he would smoke amazing cigars, he would conjure, he would think of many amazing things. [...] The university people didn’t like him so much and he didn’t like them so much. They didn’t understand his socialism; he lived closer to the bone.
“I liked him enormously.”

The current project is quickly becoming a mirror image of its predecessor. In 1965, bissett’s literary reputation was minimal, and the book would have been published largely through the strength of Acorn’s reputation. Though Acorn remains relevant, it is bissett who is now the acclaimed contemporary writer, and it is the prospect of a “lost bissett collection” which is responsible for the buzz it is generating in Canada’s literary community. Likewise, bissett’s position in the new partnership is the reverse of the old. Now it is he who is the older, more experienced writer working with a younger poet with a less extensive literary reputation. However, the two partnerships have more in common than just the manuscript. Just as Acorn and bissett worked together out of friendship and mutual respect, the same is true for bissett and Schmaltz.

“I consider bill to be a dear friend,” said Schmaltz, “he is one of the nicest and most generous people I have ever met.

“I am absolutely grateful to have the privilege to work on this project, and to have bill to talk to about it and to learn from.”

Though there is still much work to do before the collection can be published, bissett’s assessment of the industry may be right, and the manuscript may yet escape the archives. Publication would be vindication: proof that Acorn and bissett, though their styles were discordant, could still write in harmony.
Jeremy Colangelo is an author and journalist living in St. Catharines, Ontario. His work has been published, or is upcoming, in several magazines, including The Dalhousie Review, Steel Bananas and The Incongruous Quarterly, and he has published two chapbooks of poetry with Grey Borders Books. Jeremy has an degree in English and History from Brock University. He is currently working on a novel.

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Andreas Gripp has left a new comment on your post "lost Acorn-bissett manuscript being resurrected!!!...":

though Bissett's not my cup of tea, Jack Kerouac, in a 1968 interview with the Paris Review, said "You know who's a great poet? ... Bill Bissett ..." When the interviewer said "Let's talk about Jack Kerouac," Jack replied "He's not better than Bill Bissett, but he's very original."

Posted by Andreas Gripp to Riffs &amp; Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens at 12 September 2013 16:28

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Hi Eric,
This is cool beyond belief!!!!  I was friends with both Milt & bill - lots of stories, most true (Milt & I were comrades in the Canadian Liberation Movement - CLM - ca 1973-75, then friends, short term housemates at my 185 Rhodes Avenue house - Milt would boast that we were 'Rhodes scholars'! - & bill published my first legit CanPo collection with his blewointmentpress in 1981 (Unacknowledged Legislator). Lots of other overlaps in our lives & poetic callings (it's long been my contention that Milt, Al Purdy, & of course bill are/were shaman). But it's a discovery to me how Milt was the early promoter of bill's work. All this info will make an incredibly important addition to our Gedenkschrift on Milt!

I've taken the liberty of posting the OBO piece on my blog. The blog is widely read by fans & supporters of People's Poetry, & it gets an average of 100 hits a day. I've cross posted one or 2 other OBO pieces before, without problem. It's my belief that CanPo is so currently under appreciated that any publicity benefits all involved.

Oh man ...
peace & poetry power!  
Chris ... & Chase Wrfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff!

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Groovy, baybee!

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