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 Oueene. Like Caroll Terrell's A Companion to the Cantos of Ezra Pound or George Butterick's A Guide to the Maxim us 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.