06 March 2005

Canada, Literature and the Small Press

Small presses have deep roots in Canada; they flourished in the 1960s, around the Centennial celebrations. Not surprisingly, CanLit saw its peak of popularity around the same time. A recent book, Hip and Trivial: book publishing and the greying of Canadian nationalism (currently on my reading pile) challenges the stereotype of young Canadians (Gen X and thereabouts) as non-readers and instead asserts that they simply select their readings without respect to borders.

A real-world example is Left Hand Press (La Mano Izquierda), a local small press co-owned by my friend and coworker, Maleea. She certainly falls into the Gen X category; she is very aware of what is going on in Canadian literature; and she has published poetry in more than one language -- in fact the press specializes in work that "reads internationally."

I have to say I went through a big CanLit phase in the early 1990s -- after I had graduated and no longer had to read books, I started devouring Mordecai Richler, Margaret Atwood, Marian Engel and others. I still consider some of the books I read to be among my favourites (Engel's The Bear is kinda freaky if you take it too literally; Richler's Solomon Gursky was Here built on my knowledge of the doomed Franklin Expedition and Atwood's short stories could probably sit in my bomb shelter next to those by Robert Louis Stevenson, Roald Dahl, Mark Twain and Ray Bradbury)... but I got over it.

1 comment:

Maleea said...

Cheryl, how lovely you are! Thanks so much for the link and the good press. You've made Izquierda very happy...