15. The Only Poetry that Matters – Clint Burnham
16. Multiple Bippies – Colin Smith
week fourteen – 68.0
2020 to date: 877 KM
Lost in the pandemic is the fact that it’s April and that means it’s poetry month, and that loss is a bit of a tragedy since poetry and social isolation practically go hand-in-hand. I started out the month with Clint Burnham’s The Only Poetry that Matters, and then followed that up with a collection that matters by Colin Smith. Burnham’s book explores the Kootenay School of Writing (KSW) in the 1980s and 90s and applies a Lacanian psychoanalytic critical lens and yet it’s still eminently readable. It’s an academic work by an academic who also happens to be a poet and novelist, so it comes out very unacademically. Sort of like this, but a lot better. Back 2014 while I was managing editor for CUE Books, the imprint was approached by Donato Mancini to resurrect a couple long out-of-print works by Colin Smith, mix in a bit of new stuff, and wrap it up in a long, fully annotated, fireside chat about all things KSW between Mancini and Smith. So Multiple Poses, plus Carbonated Bippies, plus the new stuff became Multiple Bippies. I had the privilege of typesetting the collection and designing the cover, much to my hindsight cringe, ahem. I mean, not as cringy as the former CUE society chair’s cringe at Rachel Zolf blurbing, “I think I’d like to suck off this book.” on the back cover. “But how will we ever get grants?” I all bright-eyed and optimistic replied, “Artistic authenticity?” (We never got grants.) Unfortunately, not unlike the KSW, CUE Books is no more, due entirely to lack of interest on the part of its final editor and society board president, rather than to any grant rejection. So maybe not unlike KSW at all. How should I know? I don’t know. Anyway, as such, Multiple Bippies has become just as hard to find as the out-of-print collections it collected, although I have a couple copies that came along with my typesetting and design byline if anyone is interested. It’s really, really good.
I am two weeks into Seawall isolation and the online hatred of runners has grown nearly as exponentially as the COVID-19 cases. Stephanie made a rather brilliant observation that the problem stems from the fact that people need somewhere to lay blame and who to blame for the pandemic is rather murky so people lash out at whatever. I’m paraphrasing. She was much more eloquent. Anyway, somewhere along the way people shifted from bat soup eaters, to YOLO beach partiers, to runners. I read a ten-point diatribe on Twitter that had entirely too many likes that could have been summed up by “don’t be a jerk.” But he (of course it was some white knight dude to the rescue) is also a runner so, it’s like, he’s critiquing from, like, the inside, man. And so while our public health officer says that exercise outside is encourage and she still goes for a run, we have the Twitterati saying, sure okay, you are allowed to run, for now, but just do it at night when no one else is around. And fuck that. How about if you go outside for exercise and/or sanity and you’re on a pathway shared by anyone at all, stay far to the right. And if you absolutely have to go for a stroll with your spouse, or gawd-forbid someone you should be social distancing from, then for gawd’s sake go single file. To do otherwise is to be a jerk.