Thursday, October 29, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I ran into Alex Morgan at the Vancouver Writer's Festival. He is well established on the literary scene with a number of books of poetry and fiction to his credit. I asked if I could quickly interview him and he said yes (well, after asking which publication it would be for. I said it was for the Internet. He said he had heard of the Internet and felt it was one of the most important publications around today.)
OI: Your new book of poetry, Songs of the Northern Sky, has just been published. I haven't read it yet but I understand it's getting great reviews.
AM: Yes, I am an important writer. My book of poetry has just been published by a prestigious publishing house. It has been reviewed in the Globe & Mail and the Quill & Quire. They called it an important work. My agent is a very well-connected person.
OI: What influences help to mold your writing?
AM: My writing is influenced by Modernism. I create work that is both highly artistic and pushes peoples conceptions of art. Critics recognize my work as an important contribution to Canadian letters. I sit on the boards of many literary councils where I'm well respected for my views on literature and art.
OI: And Modernism? Any comments?
AM: Modernism is a very important movement in letters. It has deeply influenced my writing.
OI: Who's your favorite Modernist writer?
AM: T.S. Eliot is my favorite poet. He is an important figure in English literature.
OI: Anyone else?
AM: I can't think of any others right now.
OI: You’ve said Henry Miller is a big influence on your work. How so?
AM: By opening up the boundaries of literature, so I can push those boundaries even further. I am very interested in contemporary writing.
OI: What is your favorite Henry Miller book?
AM: I've read Tropic of Cancer, or was it Tropic of Capricorn? I can't remember. I saw the movie Henry and June three times. Miller is a great influence for me. I always try to push the boundaries of art.
[At this point, a young man sat down at the table. We make introductions.]
AM: This is Tim Stanton, my protégé. Under my tutelage, he is going to be a very important writer. Tell him what you're working on now, Tim.
TS: I've just finished an epic poem. It is a homage to Basil Bunting. I am working on my Ph.D. at a prestigious university where I study under a number of well-known scholars. We have spent several years doing important work on the poet Basil Bunting.
AM: It's work like this that keeps Canadian writing vibrant. People look to important writers like us for direction.
OI: Any plans for the near future?
AM: I will be reading at the Metro Bank - Earle Birney Main Stage tomorrow. A lot of other important writers will be there. I know Joseph Boyden and Douglas Coupland. I know every important writer in this country. I create important works of literature.
OI: Do you like giving readings?
AM: Poetry readings are the high point of cultural expression. It serves an important function for the community and allows me to make public my works. I've read with many other important writers.
OI: Like who?
AM: I can't remember whom right now, but they were very important and have had quite an influence on me.
OI: Are you working on a new book?
AM: Yes, it's a novel set in Vancouver called On the Edge. It is a cross between Ulysses and the Jerry Cornelius saga. It will be very cutting edge. I always try to push the boundaries of art.
TS: This new work will definitely take Canadian letters to a new level. Alex, we have to be running. The reading at the Ford Main Stage will be starting in fifteen minutes.
OI: Who is reading there tonight?
AM: I'm not sure, but the tickets were nearly $100 each. We have front row seats. There will be several agents from the top publishers there.
OI: Thank you very much for taking time to talk to me.
AM: The pleasure was all yours.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
As I was not invited to the Vancouver Writer’s Festival, I decided to contribute a number of performances to the Delusional Writer’s Imagined Performance Series. The first work was a performance of my rap-opera tribute to Steve Fonyo, 'Can’t Run Forever'. This has been a passion of mine for over 10 years and it was great to see it all come together at the Spitzer Masonic Hall staff room on Saturday night. I want to give a special shout out to Jerry Schroeder for allowing me to adapt his novel into this rap opera and for helping to make this production a reality. Of course, a shout out to the man, SF, for all his troubles, peace.
Production-wise, the stage is sparse, just myself as MC plus Descending Light Explosion providing the back beats. I do a couple of costume changes and some dancing but otherwise it’s a minimalist rap monologue performance piece.
A decent crowd was assembled in the room when the funky beats of Descending Light Explosion rocked the place and I came out to deliver the opening lines:
I do it like I does in the old days
I do it like I does in the old ways
I kicks it like I does in the days of Steve Fonyo
At the end of the first act, I do an 18-minute beat box routine to give the band a break. Unfortunately, they used this time to take some mushrooms that started to kick in during the second act. They needed to take a short two-hour break to work some things out. We kept the vibe going by handing out pakoras while Jim Bowen entertained the crowd with some killer lip syncing. He kicked off with Love Gun by Kiss, before moving to more appropriate material such as De la Soul’s Buddy and Ya Mama by Pharcyde.
We were finally able to get the final act going just after midnight when I turned on the smoke machine and came out to deliver an imaginary monologue by Fonyo:
I’m not retarted, I’m just broken hearted
‘cause I did it and I’m forgotten
not like that other guy, what’s his name
Here’s the story, I gots the guts and he gots the glory
By this time, the crowd was cheering, breaking down in tears, throwing cheese. I looked out into the crowd and saw a young man holding up his iPhone and recording the concert. He gave me a big smile and a thumbs up and right then I knew we were doing something special.
Next up is my 12-hour reading of de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom, '12 Hours of Sodom', at Captain's Sub & Pizza Shack on Kingsway.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I also invented something called ‘insect porn’ – by that I don’t mean I created a literal niche in the pornography market. I mean I found a useful metaphor that I could use to link Lovecraft with Burroughs. The basic thinking behind it stems from a reading of Theweleit’s book Male Fantasies which is really about the symbols of ‘horror’ and ‘loathing’ prevalent in western society. They are almost universally based on a fear of the feminine, the chaotic. And suddenly a lot of things became clear. The ‘monsters’ in both HPL and Burroughs tend to be biomorphic representations of a deep insecurity, an almost pathological misogyny on a subconscious level. In both writers, the images of disgust tend to be fixated in insects, cephalopods, molluscs, etc., all of which are part of the ‘teaming substrata of the biosphere’.
I also have a strong dislike of pornography, not based on any ideological or moral outlook, but a sincere revulsion for most of it. I remember seeing Brian Sewell once being interviewed and when he was asked if he thought pornography degraded women, he replied; “It does if it’s any good.” LOL
So – ‘insect porn’ – (which I’m going to take further into my own writings as a recurring motif) – ‘the result of an invading intelligence, non-organic possibly, attacking human life at the sexual root, by diverting the sex instinct into non-biological channels. The fixation of sexual desire is diverted from the sexual organs and into the alimentary canal. Mouth. Anus. Perhaps there is a parasite that wishes to transmit itself from host to host and uses the sexual organs of one host to pass into the digestive tract of another host.’ Nasty stuff, but it also opens up possibilities for a lot of black and scatological humour.
Yowsa! You can check out the full interview at the Index .