New Star Blogs

At least a hundred :: George Bowering at the People’s Co-op Bookstore :: Friday, February 21


George Bow­er­ing, whose pub­lished out­put sur­pas­seth one hun­dred vol­umes by most counts, cel­e­brates the pub­li­ca­tion of his lat­est, Writ­ing and Read­ing, on Fri­day, Feb­ru­ary 21, at the People’s Co-op Book­store on Com­mer­cial Dri­ve in the heart of East Van­cou­ver.

Writ­ing and Read­ing presents essays writ­ten over the last decade or so on a range of sub­jects — crit­i­cal engage­ment with oth­er Cana­di­an writ­ers; the “Van­cou­ver poets” Guil­laume Apol­li­naire, Blaise Cen­drars, Jack Spicer, et al.; film; dra­ma; music; him­self — with a com­mon theme, the impor­tance of read­ing, espe­cial­ly as part of any writ­ing prac­tice.

In an unusu­al devel­op­ment in the world of small pub­lish­ing, at least two reviews of Writ­ing and Read­ing have appeared even before the book’s launch par­ty. (That reflects in part our deci­sion to wait a decent inter­val after the release, also in late fall 2019, of Bowering’s Tak­ing Mea­sures: Select­ed Long Poems.)

Nicholas Bradley’s review-essay on Writ­ing and Read­ing and Tak­ing Mea­sures, along­side Bowering’s 2015 short sto­ry col­lec­tion 10 Women, appeared this week on the Orms­by Review, the BC Book­world spin-off that is pro­vid­ing space for more crit­i­cal writ­ing about BC lit­er­a­ture.

” .. . an impor­tant addi­tion to his body of late work,” writes Bradley, who teach­es con­tem­po­rary lit­er­a­ture at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Vic­to­ria. “What­ev­er his idio­syn­crasies, Bow­er­ing is nev­er dull, and it is reward­ing to have his fur­ther thoughts on Judith Fitzger­ald, Robert Kroetsch, Alice Munro, and Joe Rosen­blatt, on the books he read in 1967, and on the land­scape of Oliv­er, B.C.”

”Com­pi­la­tions such as Writ­ing and Read­ing, and such valu­able edi­tions as Tak­ing Mea­sures, make it pos­si­ble to begin in earnest the task of com­ing to terms with George Bow­er­ing.”

The Van­cou­ver Sun, mean­while, com­mis­sioned anoth­er inde­fati­ga­ble, Tom Sand­born, to write their review of Writ­ing and Read­ing. You can read Sandborn’s review here, as well as in any num­ber of Can­west news­pa­pers that have reprint­ed his arti­cle.

”The book fea­tures affec­tion­ate anec­dotes about oth­er writ­ers and casu­al­ly deliv­ered but inci­sive thoughts about Cana­di­an writ­ing in the 20th cen­tu­ry,” Sand­born writes. “It also includes acute crit­i­cal obser­va­tions that reflect a life­time of engage­ment with lit­er­a­ture. These are essays char­ac­ter­ized by a relaxed, con­ver­sa­tion­al style, even when deal­ing with mat­ters of intel­lec­tu­al heft. Bowering’s nar­ra­tive tone is ami­able and charm­ing, even when deliv­er­ing his crit­i­cisms of oth­er writ­ers and aca­d­e­m­ic fads.”

”These essays deserve atten­tion from any­one who cares about how lit­er­a­ture is made and works.”

Both writ­ers also had some crit­i­cisms to offer. Don’t be mis­led by our mild­ly mis­lead­ing use of select­ed quo­ta­tions; read the whole reviews your­self.

George’s launch gets under­way at 7:30 pm, Fri­day, Feb­ru­ary 21.  Admis­sion is free.  Writ­ing and Read­ing may be pur­chased from these guys, New Star’s own web­site, the fore­men­tioned People’s Co-op Book­store, as well as fin­er Cana­di­an book­stores every­where.