Sunday, October 07, 2007

Rob Mclennan does 12 or 20 Questions with Stan Dragland

The following is the beginning of a Blog Entry by Rob McLennan who provides an incredible service by mapping links from his text to all the places you can find out more about the things referred to. In this case the subject of his "12 or 20 questions" is Rattling Books' beloved Editorial Advisor Stan Dragland.
Stan Dragland (photo: Champney's West, NL) was born and brought up in Alberta. He was educated at The University of Alberta and Queen's University. He has taught at the University of Alberta, at The Grammar School, Sudbury, Suffolk, England, in the English Department at the University of Western Ontario in London, and in the Banff Centre Writing Studio. He now lives in St. John's, Newfoundland. He was founding editor of Brick, a journal of reviews and founder of Brick Books, a poetry publishing house, which he still serves as publisher and editor. Between 1993 and 1996 he was poetry editor for McClelland and Stewart. He has published three previous books of fiction: Peckertracks, a Chronicle (shortlisted for the 1978 Books in Canada First Novel Prize), Journeys Through Bookland and Other Passages, and (for children) Simon Jesse's Journey. He has edited collections of essays on Duncan Campbell Scott and James Reaney. Wilson MacDonald's Western Tour, a 'critical collage,' has been followed by two other books of criticism, The Bees of the Invisible: Essays in Contemporary English Canadian Writing and Floating Voice: Duncan Campbell Scott and the Literature of Treaty 9, which won the 1995 Gabrielle Roy Prize for Canadian Literary Criticism. 12 Bars, a prose blues, was co-winner of the bpNichol Chapbook Award in 2003, the same year Apocrypha: Further Journeys appeared in NeWest Press's Writer-as-Critic series. Apocrypha was winner of the Rogers Cable Non-Fiction Award in 2005. In April 2004 the stage adaptation of Halldór Laxness's The Atom Station, co-written with Agnes Walsh, was performed at the LSPU Hall in St. John's. His most recent book is Stormy Weather: Foursomes, prose poetry from Pedlar Press, was shortlisted for the EJ Pratt Poetry Award in 2007. He is editor of the recently-released Hard-Headed and Big-Hearted: Writing Newfoundland, a collection of essays by Newfoundland historian Stuart Pierson.
1 - How did your first book change your life?
Wilson MacDonald’s Western Tour, 1923-4 was published by Coach House. It didn’t change anything, but it was nice to have a book accepted that I hadn’t submitted.
While I was reading material on Duncan Campbell Scott in the Lorne Pierce Collection, Queen’s University Library—working on my Ph.D. thesis—I ran across some letters to Pierce from MacDonald. The distinctive hand caught my attention. A glance at the content suggested that I should return to those letters at a later time, and I did. For my own pleasure, with no thought of publication, I gathered material (letters, poems, etc) relating to a reading tour on which Lorne Pierce of Ryerson Press sent MacDonald. I arranged all this material in a binder and showed it to various people, including Michael Ondaatje, who took it to Coach House Press and came back with an offer of publication from Victor Coleman.
The first book of my own—Wilson MacDonald’s Western Tour being an assemblage of materials by others—was Peckertracks. Coach House published that too, and once again nothing changed. Well, it was good to have a book out. It made me feel as though I had some credibility when the subject of writing came up in conversation. Back then there were no launches, no tours, not even for a book about a tour. I did make one appearance at the second Coach House Big Sonnet, where I felt like a small-timer, out of place in the company of Ed Dorn and others. So did August Kleinzahler, I think, himself a big-timer now, though he had the moxie to memorize his poem and recite it. Unfortunately, he strolled back and forth past the mike and the audience heard only bits.
Stan Dragland provides Editorial Advise to Rattling Books.