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LPG Catalogue: Spring 2017

The Gorge
Selected Writing
By (author): Nancy Shaw Edited by: Catriona Strang
9781772011401 Paperback , Trade English General/trade May 09, 2017
$19.95 CAD
Forthcoming 5.5 x 8.5 x 1.25 in | 280 gr 240 pages Talonbooks
POETRY / Canadian / General
Nancy Shaw was an award-winning poet, scholar, and critic who was formative in shifting the ground of Canadian literature and poetics. She was co-director of the influential Kootenay School of Writing (KSW) and Writing magazine, was an artist-in-residence at the Western Front in the 1980s, and served as a chair of the Vancouver New Music Society.

In a 1994 CBC interview with KSW poets Jeff Derksen, Lisa Robertson, Catriona Strang, and Shaw herself, Shelagh Rogers asked American poet Peter Gizzi to describe their work, and he said: “Their work is unbridled, valiant, and vivid. [Their] vocabulary [is] reinventing the present.”

Shaw’s work was rooted in the contemporary and deeply concerned with collaboration, the institutionalization of art, the potential of the epistolary form, and the breaking of poetic conventions by offering interdisciplinary perspectives.

In Vancouver Anthology: The Institutional Politics of Art, Shaw wrote that collaborations allowed her to “question notions of authorship and originality.” She collaborated with artists and musicians such as Eric Metcalfe, and drew from popular music to write anthems and torch songs such as “Torch Song #6” in which she asserts: “[…] burst through my song / my watery one / my singular scrap.”

Edited by Catriona Strang, who co-authored Busted and Cold Trip with Shaw, The Gorge collects a range of Shaw’s prolific writing with a focus on her collaborations and poetry.

The Gorge: Selected Writing of Nancy Shaw resumes Talonbooks’ affordable and carefully curated Selected Writing series that began in
the 1980s.

Nancy Shaw was an award-winning poet, scholar, art critic, and curator. Author of Affordable Tedium(1991), and Scoptocratic (1992), Shaw frequently collaborated with poet Catriona Strang, with whom she also co-authored two books of poetry: Busted (2001) and Cold Trip (2006). Shaw received a Doctorate of Philosophy in Communications from McGill University in 2000 and held a post-doctoral fellowship at New York University. Her doctoral dissertation, “Modern Art, Media Pedagogy, Cultural Citizenship: The Museum Of Modern Art’s Television Project, 1952-1955,” was judged as a superior work. Just prior to her death in 2007, she was engaged in new research on McLuhan and the visual arts. During the 1980s in Vancouver, she was at the centre of interdisciplinary collaborations, contributing as a writer, artist, curator, and critic. She was co-editor of the influential Writing magazine, and was co-director of The Kootenay School of Writing.

“Part of what becomes immediately clear about going through the work in this volume is how fresh the pieces remain, presenting both a critical eye and a lively sense of language, meaning and sound, still able to remind one just what might be possible in writing. Even for those of us who might already have copies of all her trade collections, such a selected, especially with previously unpublished and uncollected works included, allows for such a wonderful opportunity to revisit the work of an author one might not have looked through in some time; and, too, to mourn such a significant loss.”
—rob mclennan’s blog

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