Psychic Geographies is a tour de force, an ambitious exploration of the age, its physical and emotional permutations, its tragic contradictions, its joyful transformations. Gregory Betts takes a construct from the Situationists of the last Century as a means of exploring the language and rhetoric of the contemporary global moment as symptomatic of stasis and psychosis. How he does this is what sets Psychic Geographies apart, what makes this a book without precedent in Canadian letters.
About the author
GREGORY BETTS is a poet, editor, essayist and teacher, originally from Vancouver and Toronto. Since his first published poem, an anagrammatical translation of a short poem by bpNichol, Betts's work has consistently troubled individual authorship through such mechanisms as anagrams, collaboration, found-texts and response-text writing. If Language presents paragraph-length anagrams that explore the formation of meaning within a recombinant linguistic system. Haikube was part of a collaborative art project with sculptors Matt Donovan and Hallie Siegel in which six of Betts's poems were carved into an ebony movable (a la Rubiks) cube. The text was carved in negative relief, which allowed the cube to function as a press block to print new poems as they were 'discovered' by moving the sides of the cube. Betts currently lives in St. Catharines, where he edits PRECIPICe magazine, curates the Grey Borders Reading Series and teaches Avant-Garde and Canadian Literature at Brock University.
Excerpt: Psychic Geographies and Other Topics (by (author) Gregory Betts)
Gabriel Bridge South Saskatchewan River
Wait for it, leave it, keep your eye on it, slap it, drink it, wait for it, get it, get it, take it taste it, make it, naked, call it, write it, remember it. We’ll have to talk about it. Let’s wait and see it out. It’ll wait. It’ll have to. We’ll get there, we’ll talk, just wait it out. Emily Carr stands beside the train feeling the swell of words drain away. Her fingers trace the curve of obtrusions on the horizon, each tree, hill, house a blurred gesture carved through diesel odour, smouldered iron. This is that what this get there did that that makes me fuck off you can’t he should evening for shoes things haven’t changed much going to Toronto. Pemmican is a dream of brown like a cope worn clergy, a strong dose of hell and damnation, a rose that entangles pilsner gold drinks, the dancing gold around prohibition, inhibition, the gambling gold, the gambol. There is a spiral working its way through the train, like cosmic ants outside of gravity, consuming metal. She can feel everything from fur trimmed gauntlets to the cold hands of the unemployed on the cool night roof to Ottawa. Her mother gave black beads to new mothers in place of lace. Dark stars that shine of home on train swept rivers.
Other titles by Gregory Betts
The VanGardes, 1959-1975
They Have Bodies
They Have Bodies, by Barney Allen
A Critical Edition
Poets, Prophets, Revolutionaries
Space Between Her Lips
The Poetry of Margaret Christakos
Marshall McLuhan, Wyndham Lewis, Wilfred Watson, and Sheila Watson
This is Importance
A Students' Guide to literature
Avant-Garde Canadian Literature
The Early Manifestations
what fukan theory; a study uv language