The Biblio File Hosted by Nigel Beale
Twenty - forty minute interviews with accomplished authors, publishers, biblio people, conducted by an excitable bibliophile.

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.

Direct download: Mark_Tredinnick.mp3
Category:Poets -- posted at: 6:00pm EDT

I met with Canadian poet/critic Michael Lista several months ago to discuss the state of poetry reviewing in Canada, the need for honesty in criticism, and his take on poet/philosopher Jan Zwicky's essay “The Ethics of the Negative Review,” in which she defends her practice, while review editor in the 1990s of The Fiddlehead literary journal, of not publishing negative reviews.

Buckle up and enjoy the ride:

Direct download: Michael_Lista_on_Poetry_Criticism.mp3
Category:Poets -- posted at: 10:52am EDT

Julie Bruck is the author of three collections of poems from Brick Books, MONKEY RANCH (2012),

 Image: Donald Roller Wilson

THE END OF TRAVEL (1999), and THE WOMAN DOWNSTAIRS (1993).  Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Ms,  Ploughshares, The Walrus, The Malahat Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Maisonneuve, Literary Mama, and elsewhere.

Montreal-born and raised, Julie has taught at several colleges and universities in Canada, and has been a resident faculty member at The Frost Place in Franconia, New Hampshire. Since 2005, she has taught poetry workshops for The Writing Salon in San Francisco’s Mission district, and tutored students at The University of San Francisco.

Awards and fellowships include The A.M. Klein Award for Poetry, two Pushcart Prize nominations, two Gold Canadian National Magazine Awards and, for Monkey Ranch, Canada’s 2012 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry, which we talk about here.

Direct download: Julie_Bruck_110101_002_40.mp3
Category:Poets -- posted at: 2:14pm EDT

Jeff Hurwitz

This from the Poetry Foundation: "An influential figure in contemporary poetics, Ron Silliman became associated with the West Coast literary movement known as “Language poetry” in the 1960s and ‘70s. He edited In the American Tree (1986), which remains the primary Language poetry anthology, as well as penned one of the movement’s defining critical texts, The New Sentence (1987). Silliman’s prolific publishing career includes over thirty books of poetry, critical work, collaborations and anthologies. He has long championed experimental or “post-avant” poetics, most recently through Silliman’s Blog, a weblog he started in 2002."

I met recently with Ron at the Ottawa International Airport to talk about Language poetry. Among other things we discuss the 'Bardic I"; diagnosis of the self; examining viewpoint; the concept of clarity in writing; literary effects; passion through form; Raid killing bugs dead; manipulation of the reader; the artificiality of literary devices and preset responses. Louis Zukofsky. Received rather than earned wisdom. Shakespeare as a great font of creative invention. Bing Crosby as the Jimi Hendricks of the microphone. Steve Roggenback. The 'God help us' response. Unquestioned ideology. Ambiguity. Self check-out lanes. Common denominators.  Helen Vendler's irrelevancy. Poets' dishonest criticism. And the importance of reading series.

Direct download: Ron_Silliman_ZOOM0010.mp3
Category:Poets -- posted at: 10:25am EDT

Brian Trehearne is a professor of English at McGill University. His teaching and research areas focus on Canadian literature to 1970, chiefly poetry.  Awards and Fellowships include SSHRC Standard Research Grants, the Louis Dudek Award for Excellence in Teaching (three times) and the Arts Undergraduate Society Award for Excellence in Teaching. Publications include Canadian Poetry 1920 to 1960; Editor  (2010);  The Complete Poems of A.J.M. Smith,  Editor, (2007); The Montreal Forties: Modernist Poetry in Transition (1999) and Aestheticism and the Canadian Modernists: Aspects of a Poetic Influence (1989). He is currently working on a critical edition of The Complete Poems of John Glassco.

We met recently in Montreal to talk about the position of Irving Layton in the Canadian poetical canon. The influence of Montreal and parents on Layton's  poetry and persona; about masculinity, the sun, freedom, attention-seeking, Nietzsche, the Apollonian and the Dionysian, misogyny, aging, the Holocaust, vulnerability, and the best dozen poems.

Direct download: Trehearne_on_Layton_ZOOM0012.mp3
Category:Poets -- posted at: 12:58pm EDT

Bruce Taylor is a two-time winner of the A.M. Klein Award for Poetry. He has published four books of poetry: Getting On with the Era (1987), Cold Rubber Feet (1989), and Facts (1998). He has been a teacher, a puppeteer, and a freelance journalist. He lives in Wakefield, Quebec. We met recently to talk about his most recent collection No End in Strangeness: New and Selected Poems, (Cormorant Books, 2011) and sundry other topics relating to Canadian poets and poetry. Please listen here:

Direct download: Bruce_Taylor_56_R09_0001_5.mp3
Category:Poets -- posted at: 4:18pm EDT

bill bissett

Monsieur Wikipedia informs us that bill bissett was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, attended Dalhousie University (1956) and the University of British Columbia (1963–1965), and dropped out of both because of a desire 'to live as a free agent, writer and painter unencumbered by any academic constraints.' He moved to Vancouver in 1958 and five years later set up blew ointment magazine. He later launched blewointment press, which has published volumes by Cathy Ford, Maxine Gadd, bpNichol, Ken West, Lionel Kearns and D. A. Levy, and many others.  bissett is currently based in Vancouver and Toronto.

Known for his 'unique orthography' , 4 incorporating visual elements into his printed poetry, and 4 performing "concrete sound" poetry using sound effects, chanting, and barefoot dancing, he is often associated with the Shamanistic in literature. He also paints, and produces audio recordings. His work 'often involves humour, a sense of wonder and sentimentality, and political commentary.'

In 2006, Harbour Publishing put out  radiant danse uv being, a tribute to bissett with contributions from more than 80 writers, including Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, Patrick Lane, Steve McCaffery, and P. K. Page; and Carl Peters has just published a book called textual vishyuns: image and text in the work of bill bissett that analyses the poet's work.

I met with bill recently in Ottawa to talk about all of the above, starting with the blurring of boundaries. Please listen here:

Direct download: bill_bissettR09_0008_2_56.mp3
Category:Poets -- posted at: 10:11pm EDT

Photo: Canada Council.

I met recently with Phil Hall, whose latest collection of poems, Killdeer, has just won the Canadian Governor General's Literary Award for English Poetry. It's a sensitive, engaging, revealing work that incorporates narrative essay, life philiosophy and literary criticism into its stanzas. In sharp contrast to  the arrogant, impenetrable and solipsistic, Hall's poetry is humbly presented, accessible, beautiful, pastoral, reflective and at times profound. Listen here as we talk about brown speckled eggs and fiddle tunes, imbalance and literary prize juries, lying, distraction, pain, what's important, plus theatre and spectacle,  truth and doubt.

Direct download: Phil_Hall_R09_0001_3_56.mp3
Category:Poets -- posted at: 2:11pm EDT


Richard Greene's Boxing the Compass recently won the Governor General's Award for English Poetry. 

Here's how the jury saw it:
"Richard Greene’s Boxing the Compass leaves us feeling unmoored, adrift across time and voice. The matchless long poem at its heart pulls us back to our always-moving selves, on an always-moving earth. We follow him in his offbeat but strangely familiar travels."

Here's my review of the book in the Globe and Mail .

Originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland, now living in Cobourg, Ontario, Richard is not only a poet, he's also a biographer, critic and professor of English at the University of Toronto. He edited Graham Greene: A Life in Letters (2007) and has just written a biography of British poet Edith Sitwell.  Boxing the Compass is his third collection of poetry. Please listen as we talk about it here:

Direct download: Richard_Greene_040205_02.mp3
Category:Poets -- posted at: 12:45pm EDT

Photo: Gaspereau Press.

"Good reviewing," writes Carmine Starnino in the not-to-be-missed introduction to his A Lover’s Quarrel Essays and Reviews, "- reviewing that believes in literary failure – is invaluable because by calling one poem good and another less good, and adducing clear reasons for those claims, it offers one writerly interpretation of a particular achievement, and invites the reader to sypathetically tag along; his or her senses momentarily borrowing the reviewer’s responses."

We met recently in a somewhat echoey corner of the National Gallery in Ottawa to hold Starnino’s most recent collection of poetry, This Way Out, up to scrutiny, naming names. Which of his poems are good, which bad; who are the best and worst contemporary Canadian poets. Listen here as we walk the walk of A Lover’s Quarrel:

Direct download: Carmine_Starnino_800306_01.mp3
Category:Poets -- posted at: 8:56am EDT