About the Author

Frank Davey

Born in Vancouver, Frank Davey was Carl F. Klinck Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Western Ontario. Upon his retirement in 2005, the conference “Poetics and Public Culture in Canada” was held in his honour. Davey attended the University of British Columbia where he was a co-founder of the avant-garde poetry magazine TISH. Since 1963, he has been the editor-publisher of the poetics journal Open Letter. With fellow TISH poet Fred Wah, Davey founded the world’s first on-line literary magazine, SwiftCurrent in 1984.

A prolific and highly-esteemed author of numerous books and scholarly articles on Canadian literary criticism and poetry, Davey writes with a unique panache as he examines with humour and irony the ambiguous play of signs in contemporary culture, the popular stories that lie behind it, and the struggles between different identity-based groups in our globalizing society—racial, regional, gender-based, ethnic, economic—that drive this play.

Books by this Author
aka bpNichol

aka bpNichol

A Preliminary Biography
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also available: eBook
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Back to the War

Back to the War

edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian
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Bardy Google

Bardy Google

edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian
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Cultural Mischief

Cultural Mischief

A Practical Guide to Multiculturalism
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tagged : canadian
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Everybody’s Martyrology
Excerpt

 

Everybody’s Martyrology provides commentary and analysis for almost every page of bpNichol’s meandering nine-volume lifelong poem, The Martyrology — a poem that ponders with both humour and anguish the inevitable extinction of the human species. By Nichol’s death in 1988, that poem had become one of the five longest canonical poems in English — arguably the longest since Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. Like Caroll Terrell’s A Companion to the Cantos of Ezra Pound or George Butterick’s A Guide to the Maximus Poems of Charles Olson, Everybody’s Martyrology serves students seeking information about particular passages, scholars interested in coherent readings of the overall work, and poetry readers fascinated by the idiosyncrasies of individual volumes.

 

Davey brings to the book not only his own experience as a much-published poet and expert in Canadian avant-garde writers of the 1960–2000 period, but also his close friendship and collaborations with Nichol. Davey was often the first to hear a new passage of The Martyrology when Nichol dropped by his house to read and discuss it. He remembers.

 

Frank Davey was the managing editor and co-founder of TISH (1961–1963), the legendary poetry newsletter that began 1960s counterculture publishing in Canada. He has published two literary magazines and 46 books, most recently aka bpNichol, a biography, and Poems Suitable to Current Material Conditions. He lives in Strathroy, Ontario.

 

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Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood

A Feminist Poetics
edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian
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Margaret Atwood ebook

Margaret Atwood ebook

A Feminist Poetics
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Mr. and Mrs. G. G.

Mr. and Mrs. G. G.

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Popular Narratives

Popular Narratives

edition:Paperback
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Selected Poems

Selected Poems

The Arches
edition:Paperback
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When Tish Happens

When Tish Happens

The Unlikely Story of Canada’s “Most Influential Literary Magazine”
edition:Paperback
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Excerpt

 

Sometimes I wonder whether Tish would have happened, or at least happened in the various precise ways it is said to have happened, had Tony Friedson not urged Daphne Buckle to attend the Writers Workshop in the fall of 1960, and had I not so intemperately pursued her. The “Projective Verse” party Bill and I held that January, with Lionel’s quickly legendary visit to the emergency ward, did sharply raise the profile of Olson’s essay within our circle of UBC student writers, even if it didn’t sharply increase its understanding— and made more likely Warren’s offer to hold Sunday meetings later that spring. I would not have been the same person at those meetings, or at the Duncan lectures that followed—if they had followed— without the long conversations Daphne and I had about poetics or my discovery while writing so intensely “for” her that I was a poet. I should thank her—I know I never have. Perhaps the Tish community, such as it is, should thank her. For me, my choice of genre when first hearing that she was about to join the Workshop turned out to be crucial. Before that week I had seen myself almost equally as a possible fiction writer, playwright and poet. When the founding of a poetry magazine happened, I might have hung back like fiction-writer Gladys or playwright-to-be Carol Johnson.

 

That is, I can’t separate in my own mind my attraction to Daphne from the appearance of the Allen anthology, the enormous local interest in Olson’s “Projective Verse,” Duncan’s lectures and the founding of Tish. Without her there would have at least been very few Bowering–Davey twin-poem pages in Tish, no Tishbook titled D-Day and After (with its audaciously punning epigraph from Hopkins, “Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then”), no Contact Press book titled “bridge force.” The bridge of that series—prominent in the twin-poems and in those two books— was in part the Lions Gate Bridge over which I had driven to North Vancouver and Daphne’s home, and in part the attempted bridge of my desire. The “bridge force” series had come about through my efforts to follow Duncan’s advice to cease self-expression and instead explore and follow the images that one’s field of experience was proposing, to move from personal plaint toward attention to the objects and histories one lived among. Among as Fred would write. Without Daphne I might never have felt the need to make that effort. One of the first things I read after that March of 1961, and before the Tallman Sunday meetings began, was Durrell’s Justine, and then Balthazar, Mountolive and Clea. I was on much too familiar ground while reading Justine, and then read Balthazar’s “interlinear” with enormous relief—because it demonstrated that if one could expand what one knew, alternate readings of one’s own life would become possible. Mountolive and Clea further expanded the quartet’s perspectives and dismantled the initial novel’s romantic claustrophobia. There was a way out, and onward.

 

So that Hopkins epigraph—which no critic has ever attempted to read—is not perhaps all that outrageous—the “thee” that was the humbled falcon/Christ in Hopkins’s poem could be me, the “fire” could be the poems I contributed to Tish, “Buckle” does operate satisfactorily as both a noun and a verb, the line could be speaking of Duncan’s move from “path poem” to “field poem.” It even could be read as a gloss on how Justine was “buckled” into the splendour, and wisdom, of the full quartet. Interestingly, Hopkins’s “The Windhover” would be a poem that also otherwise haunted the Tish poets. Both Bowering and Dawson would greet people around the Tish office with a “Hi there, in your riding” or a “Hi there, in your riding of the rolling” or a “Hi there, in your riding of the rolling level underneath you.” I, of course, would never stoop to such puns.

 

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All These Roads

All These Roads

The Poetry of Louis Dudek
by Louis Dudek
edited by Karis Shearer
afterword by Frank Davey
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : canadian, literary
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Excerpt

For William Carlos Williams by Louis Dudek

You want your truths told of you—

those wavery lines!

Each pencil mark's a fiddlehead

unfolding to an island of wild fern,

O hell, did you have to do it

now, Bill

when we were just getting

the whiplash of your New Measure, crack

of the words in the sun, over the woman eating

plums, over the burning greens?

When we were getting the hang of it, to your glory,

and bringing the baskets home,

stuff you planted in your Earlier and Later

Collected Poems

praising the world

and talking to the cabman

about “Pound and economics” so many beginnings

Those forceps, stethoscopes (the way to their hearts)

and medical books you could never keep up with

—thrown away, finished?

Isn't it (death) stupid? That all a man is,

those immediate moments

you tried to cling to, should be thought “ephemeral”?

Death is a liar, Bill Williams Don't think for a minute

that we believe him It's all the same

It's as you said, every minute of it, here, now, real and forever.

 

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ABC of Reading TRG

ABC of Reading TRG

edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian
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Outsider Notes

Outsider Notes

Feminist Approaches to Nation State Ideology, Writers/Readers and Publishing
edition:Paperback
tagged : feminist, canadian
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