Reviews

Killshot

Stephen Osborne

In the local secondhand a few weeks ago, a copy of Killshot by Elmore Leonard, and this sentence on the first page: It was time to get away from here, leave Toronto and the Waverly Hotel for good and he wouldn't drink so much and be sick in the morning. I asked myself: hadn't the Waverly been Milton Acorn's headquarters? So it was a literary place already, before it got into the Elmore Leonard novel: Come along Spadina see that Silver Dollar saloon, hundreds of light bulbs in your face. Surely Acorn had written a Waverly Hotel poem even though I couldn't place it and then later couldn't find it in the Poems for People in the bathroom and then I couldn't find it at the library where I sat on the floor one clammy afternoon reading all the Acorn poems they had, feeling kind of monstrous and lumpy in my dratty raincoat but enjoying myself all the same. This was a great thing to do, and it made me wish that Dig Up My Heart, the current selected Acorn (recently re-released by McClelland and Stewart), had some biography in it, so that the people for whom the poems were made might have a better notion of who the poet was.

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Stephen Osborne

Stephen Osborne is a co-founder and contributing publisher of Geist. He is the award-winning writer of Ice & Fire: Dispatches from the New World and dozens of shorter works, many of which can be read at geist.com.


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