Spanning more than 25 years, I Could Have Pretended to Be Better Than You gathers work from three distinct eras of Jay Millar's development as a poet: the wonder years of the 1990s culled from a variety of self-published micropress publications, most of which are hiding in special collections; poems from his trade books issued between 2000 and 2015; and, new poems that have emerged during his present condition as one of Canada's most progressive co-publishers.
The broad view that this collection offers enables an appreciation of Millar's work as both an idiosyncratic, herkyjerk chronicle of small press culture and a multifaceted mode of questioning how we judge sensations, failures, affections, and relationships. However irreverent he may seem, Jay Millar possesses a disarmingly honest, inventive sensibility closely attuned to the everyday, the overlooked, the transient. Be careful where on your bookshelf of Canadian poetry you place this volume: it might very well set others askew.
Jay MillAr is the author of several best-best-never-read-by-the-masses-but-perhaps-you-did-hear-mention-of-them-in-your-wildest-dreams books, the most recent of which include the small blue, esp: accumulation sonnets, Other Poems and Timely Irreverence. He is also the author of several privately published editions, including Lack Lyrics, which tied to win the 2008 bpNichol Chapbook Award, and as such deserves to remain in limited circulation. Jay is the co-publisher at Book*hug, a government funded project that promotes literary contamination for the betterment of reading in the future or after nuclear winter (whichever comes first); he also curates Apollinaire's Bookshoppe, a virtual bookstore that specializes in the books that no one wants to buy. He teaches poetry/poetics at an imaginary institution called Toronto New School of Writing.
Tim Conley's recent books include the poetry collection One False Move (2012), Burning City: Poems of Metropolitan Modernity (edited, with Jed Rasula, 2012), and Nothing Could be Further: Thirty Stories (2011). He lives in St. Catharines, ON, where he teaches English at Brock University, and has published widely on Joyce, Nabokov, and other topics in twentieth-century literature.