Thu, 21 March 2013
Strange Victories: Grove Press, 1951-1985 is a major exhibition about the Grove Press currently currently running at the Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library in Syracuse.
Grove was founded by Barney Rosset in 1951 and is one of the world's great twentieth-century avant-garde publishing houses. It's credited with having introduced many important international authors to American readers during the postwar period.
The exhibition traces the history of the Press from its involvement in national censorship trials, to publication of politically-engaged works such as The Wretched of the Earth, Red Star over China, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and the scandalous and very profitable, “Victorian Library.” Grove not only challenged social mores, equality rights, and freedom of expression laws, it also "aggressively deployed savvy marketing strategies, became embroiled in labor union battles, floundered in its own success, and offended the sensibilities of not only “squares,” but feminists, Marxists, academics, and many others. Strange Victories tells the complicated story of Grove’s many literary and political achievements, whose profound influence on American culture endures today."
I met recently with co-curator Lucy Mulroney to talk about Grove Press and the exhibition.
Sat, 16 March 2013
Mark Tredinnick, winner of the Montreal Poetry Prize (2011) and the Cardiff Poetry Prize (2012), is the author of The Blue Plateau, Fire Diary, and nine other acclaimed works of poetry and prose. He lives in the highlands southwest of Sydney, Australia.
Tredinnick is “one of our great poets of place—not just of geographic place, but of the spiritual and moral landscapes as well,” according to Judith Beveridge. Of “Walking Underwater”, which won the Montreal Prize in 2011, Andrew Motion wrote: “This is a bold, big-thinking poem, in which ancient themes (especially the theme of our human relationship with landscape) are re-cast and re-kindled. It well deserves its eminence as a prize winner.”
I met recently with Mark in Ottawa after his appearance at Versefest to talk about, among other things, Japanese water-colours, light, falling water, geography, rain, longing, rhythm, speech, connection, sense making, the shadows that words cast, language as being, the weather, lipstick and pigs.
Sun, 3 March 2013
Waiting for the Barbarians is a novel written by the South African-born Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee. Published in 1980 it won the James Tait Black Memorial and Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prizes for fiction. The book's title comes from a poem by Greek-Egyptian poet Constantine P. Cavafy. American composer Philip Glass wrote an opera based on the book which premiered in 2005.
In August 2012, the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town presented Alexandre Marine's stage adaptation of the novel. The production ran in Montreal at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts throughout January and February, 2013. I met with the play's Canadian-South African producer Maurice Podbrey at his home in Montreal to talk about the play, the novel, Coetzee, South Africa, Barbarians and the challenges of adapting books for the stage.