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.
About the authors
Jay MillAr is a Toronto poet, editor, publisher, teacher, and virtual bookseller. He is the author of False Maps for Other Creatures (2005), Mycological Studies (2002), and The Ghosts of Jay MillAr (2000). His most recent collection is the small blue (2007). In 2006 he published Double Helix, a collaborative "novel" written with Stephen Cain. Millar is the shadowy figure behind BookThug, an independent publishing house dedicated to cutting edge work by well-known and emerging North American writers, as well as Apollinaire`s Bookshoppe, a virtual bookstore that specializes in the books that no one wants to buy. A long-time fixture of the Toronto writing and publishing scene, Jay has participated in such diverse projects as the UNBC/Via Rail Poetry Train, The Scream in High Park, Test Readings Series and Influency: A Poetry Salon. He is also the co-editor (with Mark Truscott) of BafterC, a small magazine of contemporary writing. Currently Jay teaches creative writing at George Brown College. Singled out in the introduction of The New Canon as a `young firebrand` (which he reads as `troublemaker`) working against what some hold dear to poetic tradition, Jay is one of Canada`s voices of authority and risk on innovative, experimental, contemporary poetry.
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 teaches English at Brock University, and has published widely on Joyce, Nabokov, and other aspects of twentieth-century literature.
"An excellent collection that displays MillAr's restless, inventive wit." (Winnipeg Free Press)