Reviews

Issue 2 Endnotes

Eve Corbel

In Geist No. 1, I reviewed a handful of Canadian publishers’ catalogues. Penumbra Press writes to confirm that the life of Ernest Barlach is Selftold, not Seltold—an insignificant typo compared to their last catalogue goof, which involved a Freudian slip in the title of Ibsen’s The Wild Duck ... Several readers wondered where Danceland (cover photo, Geist 1) is. The photographer had flu when he took the picture, so all he remembers is it’s in a little resort town on a lake somewhere between Saskatoon and Regina. Can our Saskatchewan readers help? In February, when the photo was taken, Danceland was geist-like indeed. Geist in the Machine Dept.: The cover of the summer issue of Quarry magazine (Kingston) features Danceland, same pose as the one in our premiere issue. Only it’s a painting, Velvet Danceland, by one David Thauberger. Next, Danceland: The Movie? In that same issue, I appealed to readers for help in grasping two tricky concepts: the New Age and Spiritual Poets. A Hampton, N.S. reader writes that the New Age is “a drive for human rights, for women’s rights and other desirable efforts. In 1936 the ‘Board of Governors’ which runs this planet decided on a tentative date for the Return of the Christ. As far as I know now this will happen around AD 225. The main characteristic of the New Age will be a Triad of Will, Love and Law, the Sanat Kumara, The Lord Christ and The Lord Buddha.” A Toronto reader says the New Age’s “hypothetical component is a body of dubious scholarship, rendered irrelevant by being plucked piecemeal from other times, cultures, and circumstances, and finely honed into a dynamic of axiomatic wish-fulfillment. Unfortunately, the source scholarship provides no tools for its own assessment ... faith is like an ideological bath in unset Jell-O.” A Spiritual Poet, he advises, “is someone who maintains that certain names and (being more liberal) certain articles of faith, are more salubrious than others, but not because he himself says so.” Eh? Publication News Hilda Kirkwood, Toronto, wants readers to know about Joe Rosenblatt’s latest book of poetry, The Kissing Goldfish of Siam (Exile). “Take a dive into this Pontypool,” she writes. “The pond is humming with spermatozoa, frogs, fish worms, wigglers and lily-pads.” She says Joe is “a poet god-smitten as well as fish-frantic.” I hope the book is as much fun to read as the review. The Highway Book Shop in Cobalt, Ontario sends book news, including 1991 Bookguide (Richard Lawrence; 25 antiquarian and other used bookstores in Ontario), From Dugout to Diesel (Bessel J. Vanden Hazel; a history of transportation on Lake Nipissing), Quick Quiz for Slow People (Terry Johnson; How long did the Hundred Years’ War last?), and the Temagami Community Cookbook. A new B.C. magazine is (m)ÖTHÊR TØÑGUÉS, “an International BiAnnual of New & ReNewed Literary Work.” It takes longer to type the title than to read the magazine. Write to me if you want to know more. High Ground Press in Madeira Park, B.C. publishes gorgeous broadsheets by bp Nichol, Sharon Thesen, Dale Zieroth, and others. The catalogue itself, letterpressed on one exquisite sheet of paper, is suitable for framing. Let no one accuse Black Rose Books of failing to groove with the times. They offer Finding Our Way by Janet Biehl, four essays subtitled Rethinking Eco-Feminist Politics or Rethinking Feminist Politics, depending on whether you believe the book cover or the catalogue blurb. Also The Ecology of Freedom, billed as Murray Book?chin’s magnum opus, and Green Politics by publisher Dimitrios Roussopoulos. McGill-Queen’s has a spiffy, ultra-pomo catalogue. Watch for Battle Exhaustion (Copp & McAn?drew) about medical and military attempts to cope with WWII’s psychological casualties. Also Lost Harvests (Sarah Carter), on how Canada failed to turn prairie Indians into farmers a century ago. The Mosaic Books catalogue has all the aesthetic appeal of a list of auto parts, but the books give Mosaic the right to its name. Tass Is Authorized to Announce ... is a new translation of a Soviet bestseller by Julian Semyonov, one of Gorbachev’s “personal confidants.” From the Ashen Land of the Virgin (Raul Galvez) has interviews with prominent Argentinian writers. A Shapely Fire (ed. Cyril Dabydeen) is an anthology of black Canadians’ writings. Polestar’s lush but not extravagant catalogue features Rapid Transits, fiction by Holley Rubinsky (winner of every possible short fiction prize), Seeing the Forest Among the Trees: The Case for Wholistic Forest Use (Herb Hammond), and Whylah Falls, poetry by black Nova Scotian George Elliott Clarke. And there are three new hockey titles, which perhaps keep the company alive but clearly do not hog all its attention or funds. From Turnstone Press comes a grey-on-grey catalogue whose order form cannot be read by anyone over the age of 37. Never mind, they’ve got The Pumpkin-Eaters by Lois Braun, Made in Manitoba, an anthology of Manitoba fiction edited by Wayne Tefs, and Agnes in the Sky, accomplished poetry by Di Brandt. Everyday Literature A couple of years ago, the New Yorker reported on a small magazine for diarists, which comes out of Pennsylvania. The publisher of this journal-keepers’ fanzine says that he always writes his diary with posterity in mind. In the belief that future generations will piece us together better if they have details of our everyday lives, he records what he has eaten in a restaurant and how much it cost. I like the spirit of this, if not the particular application. To me one of the most revealing personal documents in our culture is the shopping list. Go ahead, send me one of yours. I’ll put them in a future column and together we shall decide whether they mean anything. Speaking of shopping lists ... during a recent visit to middle America, I got a hankering for ice cream and went to the grocery store to get some. I was prepared for variety: here at home, it is possible to spend between 95? and $8.5 for a litre of this glorious substance, depending on whether you go for the no-frills chalk-based stuff or the HäagenDazs. (By the way, Häagen-Dazs does not exist as an orthographic construction in any Scandinavian language. The name was concocted by a marketing whiz who guessed correctly that North Americans would pay through the nose for something they think is eaten regularly by Scandinavians.) Anyway, I expected a wide choice. I did not expect, however, to fail to find a single container announcing its contents to be ice cream. I found Sealtest Free, cholesterol free vanilla flavoured nonfat frozen dessert. Ben & Jerry’s Light, Vermont’s finest, all natural, with 4% less cholesterol. Edy’s Grand Light, new dairy dessert, all natural, low in cholesterol, 1 calories per serving. Edy’s American Dream, cholesterol free, 99% fat free. Schoep’s Extra Light, nonfat cholesterol free frozen dairy dessert. Borden Light, with 33% less fat (than what?). Etc. America is different and not different since my last visit there. Different in that everyone’s in a paranoid frenzy about cholesterol, fat, and calories. Not different in that freedom and the American Dream still sell ice cream, or whatever is now consumed instead of it. I settled for Breyer’s Natural Light, because it made much of the fact that it contained “1/3 less butterfat than ice cream.” At least it had the actual I-word on the package.

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Eve Corbel

Eve Corbel is a writer, illustrator, cartoonist, mom and grandma. Her writing and artwork have been published in numerous anthologies and periodicals, including Geist.

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