"In essence, ‘barbarians’ with MBAs pierced the sacred veil, breached the protected gates, and are now in the boardrooms controlling what we read and think." - Albert N. Greco, The Book Publishing Industry, Second Edition, 2005.
(Just a glimpse into the research I’m doing these days. Love the phrase.)
p.s. — A couple of new online story mags doing cool stuff: Dragnet, where you get a beautiful touch of the handmade along with your digital reading, and Found Press - where you can download stories one by one for your ereader, or buy the whole issue at once. (I recommend Obscure Objects by Caroline Adderson.)
Odourless Radio posted a recording of Dragnet friends Justin Million and Leah Mol reading at the launch of their new chapbooks on Dragnet friend Cameron Anstee’s Apt. 9 Press:
Show: Last Hurrah at Raw Sugar Broadcast: August 25, 2011 | 6:30 PM | CKCU 93.1FM Featured Voices: Cameron Anstee, Justin Million, Leah Mol Featured Music: Timber Timbre – “Oh Messiah”, Urge Overkill – “Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon” Links:Apt. 9 Press | Raw Sugar Cafe Description: The August 24 reading and book launch at Raw Sugar Cafe, hosted by Mr. Anstee and Apt. 9 Press, was a night of both celebration and mourning. Literary friends and family gathered in Raw Sugar’s embracing, Cold War-era furniture to drink Beau’s and say bye to Mr. Million and Ms. Mol, who are moving to Vancouver for bigger things, and Apt. 9, who is entering a brief hiatus after two years and 984 hand-stitched books.
Whether or not you agreed with his political views last fall, it’s true that Ford told us a classic and compelling story; we’ve watched versions of it in countless westerns, and it works every time. An outsider rides into town to bring justice to its oppressed citizens. In his version, Ford (and what a great name for a maverick lawman!) comes riding in from the suburbs in a badly-fitting suit (storytelling rule: the more awkward the outsider looks, the better for the narrative) to free the town from the unjust rule of a powerful clique.
“Author: Signposting to this extent jars the reader out of the ‘fictional dream’ because it doesn’t fit the tone of the rest of the narrative. Okay with cut?”—Jeremy’s fiction editing experience takes over while he’s trying to edit a nonfiction book on real estate investing. Thanks, John Gardner. So what should it be? “Nonfictional dream”?
Canadian poets seem to have a fetish for deconstructing American Western mythology. Both bpnichol and Michael Ondaatje wrote about Billy the Kid; Gil Adamson has an extended piece in Ashland about Jesse James. Of course, she writes about other subjects as well, but throughout her poetry collection, Western tropes appear over and over again.
The sections entitled “Ashland” and “Black Wing” describe an apocalyptic world of which Cormac McCarthy would seemingly approve (and, in fact, the book begins with an epigraph from his novel Suttree). But whereas McCarthy’s ultraviolent Blood Meridian and Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid are as wide in scope and burning with immediacy as the baked plains they describe, Ashland's first two sections are cold and claustrophobic. Part is intentional, but part, I feel, is a result of Adamson's reliance on stock images commonly associated with darkness. She is a devotee of the Edgar Allen Poe school of word choice (“unhappy,” “dying,” “cold,” “cry,” “starved,” “pity,” “buried,” “violence,” and “suffer” all appear in the first half-page poem) and where she embraces it most fully, despite her attention to the poetic line and rhythm, her writing loses its momentum.
Accordingly, Adamson is at her best when venetian slices of light allow the darkness a sense of depth, as in the poems “Swell, Trough,” (“His beard has grown out the / door, round the corner, tripping old women in mourning as they / stagger from the church door”) and “Blessed Children,” (“The newspaper says miners have burned down three local / businesses and entered private residences with revolvers drawn. They / congregate by the mine’s open mouth at night, drunk, their helmets still alight”).
Adamson embraces humour and absurdity most fully in the third section, “Here’s your money,” the poem inspired by Jesse James. “He loved to attend the ballet,” she says of the infamous criminal. “At intermissions, he would abuse those who’d fallen asleep / and slap the cigars from their mouths.”
The most hopeful section is “Euphoria,” about a man experiencing euphoric fever, but even then, positive feelings are no more than illusion, the product of psychedelic chemicals released naturally in the man’s brain as his body falls apart (an apt comparison would be to Gaspar Noé’s recent film Enter the Void).
Ashland was originally published in 2003 and reprinted this year, following the Man Booker nomination for Adamson’s novel The Outlander. She acknowledges that the narrative poem “Mary” in Ashland directly inspired her 2007 novel, so for fans of the novel, Ashland is a no-brainer purchase.
For everyone else, it depends on how much you like walking in cemeteries.
Rodrigo Wilde and Dinosaur Dinosaur, the two bands who performed at our awesome Issue Two launch party, are moving up in the world and playing at Lee’s Palace in Toronto, Thursday, August 18 at 8:30 PM. And we’re giving away two free tickets! That’s a savings of $20! All you have to do is mention us on Twitter (@dragnetmag) or Facebook (also @dragnetmag — but only works if you’re the admin of a “Page”) at some point between now and midnight EST on August 11, and we’ll randomly select a lucky winner through an as-yet-unknown process. It’d be nice if you said something nice about us, but we’re men and women of our word, so no matter how mean-spirited you are, as long as you mention us and it shows up on our Twitter or Facebook page, we will reward you by sending you to see some sweet bands.
* Only restriction: Winner must be able to pick up tickets in downtown Toronto, or trust Canada Post to deliver them on time.
"Sophie was both conceived and born on the conveyor belt of a rubber factory in Hamilton, Ontario. It seemed less strange at the time than it did here because Sophie Clemenceau was a large, yellow balloon with two dots for eyes and a curved line for a smile."
The Late-Night Caller: A Verbatim Dialogue 8/1/2011
INT. JEREMY'S APARTMENT, NIGHT.
All is quiet. The CLOCK reads 11PM. Dragnet Co-editor JEREMY is reading on his couch. There is a KNOCK on the door. Jeremy gets up to answer it. A middle-aged WOMAN stands there.
WOMAN:Are you waiting for a Spanish gentleman?
JEREMY:Um. No, definitely not.
WOMAN:I live down the street. There's a Spanish gentleman outside my house. He doesn't speak any English. I think he's looking for 721 Palmerston Boulevard, but that address doesn't exist. And this is 721 Palmerston Avenue, so I thought I'd check...
JEREMY:Sorry. I don't think I can help you with that. You can try the other tenants here. Good luck with your Spanish gentleman.