This Ain’t No Disco
This Ain’t No Disco
Fiction contest judge, Shashi Bhat's editorial on Elise Thorburn's winning story Rubens' Salmon:
2017’s Summer Fiction Issue showcases great, sensuous stories from the east coast and west coast and around the world, including a wolf guarding a woman trapped in a crashed car, a teen’s fascination with shooting guns, a secret computer file and a zebra rug, flashers in the woods, a very funny exchange of old and young secretly sparring in a London restaurant, and of course, appropriation of Oscar Peterson’s piano bench in Australia.
By Ross Leckie, Editor.
I first came to the poetry of Norman Dubie as a student lurking in second-hand bookstores, finding bedraggled copies of his books, and taking them home with me. Well, I did pay for them, and then they paid me back. “These poems are as simple as ice,” I thought. Then I thought, “These poems are as damned complicated as ice. Slippery too.” If the devil is in the details, then so are the many gods of the living and the dead, and how we speak to them.
Very recently, The Atlantic published “The Greatest Poet Alive: The Feral Genius of Australia’s Les Murray,” a gushing, appreciative overview of Murray’s career disguised as a review of his latest book Waiting for the Past. It is far from alone in its adoration of Murray’s distinguished career. Though he does have his detractors, and he was a major figure in Australia’s “poetry wars,” his name is regularly included on lists of potential Nobel Prize winners, and Joseph Brodsky’s claim that Murray is “quite simply, the one by whom the language lives” is oft-quoted.
What is summer in Canada but a figment of our imagination. So how better to celebrate summer than to translate summer’s haze into the tangible leaves you hold in your hands right now, though poems, perhaps, are only words in passing. Poems might wander into the woods or slip down a rank alley, but we can follow them and let them hold us for a moment. You should take them to your summer haunts. Fire escape, cottage porch, side of the road, café, diner, pub, bar, flopped on a sofa with a fan playing across your body, on the beach, by the lake, on the river bank, on a park bench.