Tue, 22 April 2008
Evelyn Nesbitt, whose looks Anne Shirley’s are modeled on.
Biography as Screaming Farce:
Find out why L.M. Montgomery was so skeptical about biography despite spending endless hours shaping and re-shaping her journals for public display; using them to incubate ideas for her novels. Find out too how biography can, according to Ms. Gammel, provide valuable cultural and historical context within which to interpret, understand and appreciate works of art. And, if this isn’t enough, listen to what makes Anne of Green Gables a classic: how it appeals to young and old, takes Emerson, gives him a heart, tempered with satire, how it appeals to universals, answers yearnings with pagan fairy tales, subverts and transcends the formulaic, and traces the lives of characters who evolve from stereotypes to complex, contradictory human beings.
If this still doesn’t do it, or even if it does, buy the book, Looking for Anne, written by Irene Gammel who, in addition to owning a delightful Montgomeryesque style, shares many of the characteristics of the heroines she so admires.
Sun, 20 April 2008
Our conversation explores Deverell’s oeuvre in light of the question: How to write a great crime novel? Humour, complex characters, contentious relationships and appropriate use of ‘the clock’ all feature prominently in Deverell’s work, and contribute to what makes it award winning.
Twenty odd years ago my wife and I rented a cottage perched at the edge of the Rideau River for a weekend getaway. I cracked Deverell’s Dance of the Shiva shortly after arriving. Couldn’t getaway from it. Couldn’t put it down. After finishing it, couldn’t understand why Deverell wasn’t as popular as Turow, Cornwell, Ellroy or Rendell. Still can’t.
Sun, 6 April 2008
In honour of Poetry Month, here is my interview with Canadian poet, critic and more recently, political writer, David Solway. We first discuss what constitutes a great poem in the context of ‘political’ and other agendas that some poets incorporate into their work. According to Solway, great poems consist of authentic, incontestable, memorable language, with vivid power, lapidary quality and prodigious rhetorical flow, which takes time, education, reflection and maturity to work itself into themes of human importance; synoptic views of the complexity of human life; a confluence of eloquent language and major subject which has something important to say and which will resonate with contemporary and future generations.
Great poems are like Switzerland, says Solway: candidates must pass through a stringent, careful, fine-meshed filter before they are granted citizenship.
It is posterity that decides what is great. Aphoristic memorability and the wish to keep the words alive in the mind, determines its greatness.
Listen here to part one of our conversation: