Although “experimental poetry” has a reputation for dead seriousness, unconventional poetry has a long relationship with humour, from Chaucer’s ribald tales to Kenneth Goldsmith’s appearance on The Colbert Report. Focusing on the years from 1960 to the present, Why Poetry Sucks scrutinizes Canada’s poetic avant-gardes for signs of humorous life, whether in the form of witty jokes, punning wordplay, or ugly pranks. At its best and most challenging, poetic humour moves deftly between entertainment, attack, and self-critique, making us laugh at the same time it makes us wonder why we’re laughing at all. Why Poetry Sucks is a readable anthology designed for the public sphere, while maintaining an academic framework that allows the anthology to appeal to both the general and the student reader.
About the authors
Jonathan Ball is an award-winning author of dark, experimental artworks. He holds a PhD in creative writing and uses an analytical approach to show serious writers new ways to write, edit, and work so they can create innovative art that stands taller than the crowd. He is the author of numerous books, including Ex Machina (Book*hug), poetry about how machines have changed what it means to be human, Clockfire (Coach House Books), 77 plays that would be impossible to produce, The Politics of Knives (Coach House Books), poems about violence, narrative, and spectatorship, and winner of a Manitoba Book Award, and The National Gallery (Coach House Books). Jonathan also published John Paizs's Crime Wave (University of Toronto Press), an academic study of a neglected cult film classic, which was launched at the Toronto International Film Festival and also won a Manitoba Book Award. Jonathan has also directed short films, (including Spoony B, which sold to The Comedy Network), served as the managing editor of dANDelion magazine, and founded the literary journal Maelstrom. In 2014, Jonathan won the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer. He lives online at www.JonathanBall.com, where he writes about writing the wrong way. Jonathan currently lives in Winnipeg.
ryan fitzpatrick is the author of two books of poetry and fifteen chapbooks, including Fortified Castles (Talonbooks, 2014) and Fake Math (Snare/Invisible, 2007). With Jonathan Ball, he edited Why Poetry Sucks: An Anthology of Humorous Experimental Canadian Poetry (Insomniac, 2014). He has participated in the literary communities of Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto. In Calgary, he was on the collective of filling Station magazine and was the organizer of the Flywheel Reading Series. In Vancouver, he earned his doctorate at Simon Fraser University, where he worked on contemporary Canadian poetry and space. In Toronto, he recently completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto Scarborough and was a co-organizer of the East Loft Salon Series with Rajinderpal S. Pal and Nikki Sheppy.