Sunday, October 19, 2008

James Grainger on Patrick Lane's First Novel

Acclaimed poet Patrick Lane packs the verbiage into a dark début novel of the B.C. Interior.


  1. Ouch! That's gotta sting. I must say, though, that I've tended to think about Lane's poetry much the way Grainger talks about his prose. I've never quite understood the reputation he has in Canada as a poet because I've never found his work to be nearly as good as others do, and certainly nowhere near as good as his wife Lorna Crozier's work. But then, I'm just a crazy furriner from south of the border, so what do I know?

  2. Can't disagree with you, Hedgie; and, since I gave up applying for grants, I can blab about 'em. I was on a jury where I had to trade this guy for that woman who has the other son and was once married to one wonderful poet you really love, too (in order to get her the grant. Makes me puke). You know who I mean because we recently discussed their work.

    That's why I consider Canadian poetry circles so pukifying. Every jury that's sat in judgment of my work has had at least two members who've been given negative reviews by me. Well, see, that's no biggee, not for me. That's payback (and, it comes from the dame who picks the juries since I had the temerity, with Ayanna Black, to wear chains and shackles to one G-G ceremony with placards saying, "What? NO women poets in Canada?" after five men were on the short-list).

    I sat on a G-G jury one year, in fact; and, although the recipient wasn't my first choice — Michael Ondaatje was — I have to live with me (and one vote outta four don't cut the moosetards); also, I've been on juries where I was buried alive in public print by writers who still got my vote because they can write, and there aren't many poets in this gawd-forsaken country, IMO. (Statistically, the odds are against it, in fact; it's not just my high standards, it's the way it is. People get published for a lot of reasons, none of them having to do with work of lasting value worthy of The Book of Eternity.)

    I put poetry before everything and I always will; it's the art and craft I love; and, I will do what I cannot but do, as long as these fingers still work. It's a gift; and, I thank Him for it. (I also thank those who do praise my work because they're above reproach since they don't depend on grants and awards. You know you do what you must do; and, that's the beauty and the mystery.) Like Wilde said, I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees. Works for me, always has, despite the swill.

    But, you additionally know how the selfish stupid game works, Hedgie, as well as I do: It's the same the world over. Mince-minded cowards, liars, vultures, paybackers, asskissers, robberbrides, and thieves.

    (And, that's the good news :).)

    p.s. Boy, I'm feisty, eh? Must be because I got some good grub from the FB! KD, sardines, WonderBread, Margarine, AND Habitat soup. Yum!

  3. Note to self: Never ever tick off Judith, especially just after she's had sardines.