Reviews

Wanting

Shyla Seller

Wanting Everything (Talonbooks, 2020; edited by Deanna Fong and Karis Shearer) is the collected works (457 pages!) of the Vancouver writer, teacher and editor Gladys Maria Hindmarch, a central figure in the TISH community of poets—along with George Bowering, Fred Wah, Daphne Marlatt and others—and a participant in significant events like the Vancouver Poetry Conference (1963), the Berkeley Poetry Conference (1965) and Women & Words (1983). Wanting Everything presents Hindmarch’s longer prose works from the 1970s and ’80s, along with a mix of previously published and unpublished interviews, correspondence, criticism, short prose, journal entries and more recent memoir work.

I first encountered Gladys Maria Hindmarch when I worked as an archivist at the Vancouver artist-run centre the Western Front, digitizing audiovisual recordings of literary readings at the Front in the 1970s and ’80s. These readings were boisterous, popular events, with a committed audience for poets and writers connected to the West Coast counterculture scene and supported by publishers like blewointment and the Capilano Review. Hindmarch’s reading of her prose work The Peter Stories for this series was one of the highlights of the project for me. The intimate voice of Mary Contrary, a protagonist of The Peter Stories, and Hindmarch’s comments about her writing practice at the end of her presentation, stayed with me long after the tape finished.

In this book, it is immensely satisfying to follow Hindmarch’s writing over several decades; her rhythm and approach changes, but her dedication and connection to her community does not: her more recent work is written for friends and colleagues, including the BC literary figures Sharon Thesen, Warren Tallman and George Woodcock. Wanting Everything culminates in a compelling personal account of Hindmarch’s encounters with the medical system leading up to and following a diagnosis of Stage 3 breast cancer.

Wanting Everything is an ambitious and much-appreciated contribution to the literary landscape of BC; Hindmarch’s decades-long contributions to Vancouver’s literary culture shine throughout the book.

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Shyla Seller

Shyla Seller works as an archivist and editor in Vancouver, on the unceded traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.


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