Monday 18 April 2011

The Death of Modern Canadian Poetry, Ctd

Evan Jones and Todd Swift hold their ground in this wide-ranging interview with Maurice Mierau on the subject of their anthology Modern Canadian Poets.

I've argued that the anthology -- by taking a wrecking ball to the existing CanPo canon and replacing it with scandalously neglected poets like A.G. Bailey and John Glassco -- is an exciting exercise in counterfactual speculation. But the editors aren't having any of it. "We were looking for poets who inhabited a Canada that does really exist: a place where, rather than reject the influence of the UK and the US, poets take on both, revealing a tradition inflected by its cultural position between two more dominant ones" [italics mine].

Point well taken (it's an argument I also make in the title essay of my book A Lover's Quarrel). And there's also this:
"[A] nation will always look differently from the outside. This is as true of Canada as it is of the UK, the US, Germany, Japan and New Zealand. There is no reason for poets to expect their tradition to resemble itself when viewed from another country: context has changed. We, as editors, are outside looking in; we have different expectations. Yet, we’re not interlopers. We have a direct connection and we see things differently, that’s all."
Read the rest of it here.

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