Portraits of Canadian Writers by Bruce Meyer (Porcupine’s Quill, 2016)


Blurb: Portraits of Canadian Writers by eminent auteur and educator, Bruce Meyer, is an idiosyncratic, intimate array of encounters with a range of well, along with lesser known Canadian writers, over the past thirty or so years. Canada, it seems, is still learning to value its artists and this anthology of stirring photos and rich reminiscences goes a long way towards reminding us that our writers matter and, beyond this, that remembering what intelligent people say and how they respond to the world is a vital praxis. Truly attentive and respectful engagers like Meyer are rare.

Crits: 1/I wanted more consistent dating of when these encounters occured as some have context and others don’t.

2/At times the personal slant or perspective intrudes a bit too overtly, as in the PK Page interview where Page’s reticence turns into an act of authorial insult, ie. “She was not forthcoming with stories…the interview did not go well…I had gone all that way for nothing.”

3/There were a few typos in the book that might have been easily rectified with a little more attention. For instance, the title of my collection of interviews is called The First 23 when its actual title is “The Other 23 and a Half Hours or Everything You Wanted to Know that your MFA didn’t Teach You.”

Excerpt: Ahhh, the beauty does reside in the details. Take this snippet from Meyer’s recollection of hanging out with poet Richard Harrison:

“The four of us were playing pool in a redneck bar (decorated with wasps’ nests) outside of Saratoga Springs, and were getting taken by the locals on what was clearly a crooked pool table. Everything fell silent when a gang of bikers walked in. The bikers had been there before and trashed the place because the locals were outnumbered. The locals lined up with four Canadian poets, and we stared down the bikers, who beat a quick retreat. We didn’t have to buy beer for the remainder of our weeklong stay at the Bruchacs.”









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