Goon Show meets Jonathan Swift: that's The Great Eastern. Guy Davenport meets the CBC: that's Dragland. // Much has changed in the profile of Newfoundland culture in the time since The Great Eastern went off the air on CBC Radio. There has been a new and wider wave of Newfoundland cultural renaissance, making it more and more difficult for Canadians to sustain "Newfie" stereotypes. But in 1996 it was still possible for the likes of Stan Dragland to know little more than the stereotypical about Newfoundland. The stereotype exerts a strong invisible influence until something shatters it. For Dragland, that was The Great Eastern show. Written partly in the spirit of the show, Dragland's essay is not only thoughtful but funny. It's meant to be an entertaining book, fun to read if not light and frothy, unorthodox in form and content. In that it's like several of Dragland's other books and, come to think of it, if one can locate readers interested in unconventional non-fiction that finds its own form: jackpot!
Stan Dragland is a Canadian writer, educator and critic as well as a founder of the poetry press Brick Books and founding editor of Brick magazine. He has published a number of books of fiction, criticism and poetry, including Floating Voice: Duncan Campbell Scott and the Literature of Treaty 9 (Anansi, 1994), which won the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Canadian literary criticism, and Apocrypha: Further Journeys (NeWest Press, 2003), which won the Newfoundland and Labrador Rogers Cable Award for non-fiction. He lives in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Don McKay has published numerous books of poetry and several books of essays. The poetry has been recognized with a number of awards, including two Governor General’s Awards and the Griffin Poetry Prize. His most recent book of essays, The Shell of the Tortoise, received the Winterset Prize for Excellence in Newfoundland and Labrador Writing for 2011. Paradoxides, his most recent book of poems, winner of the E.J. Pratt Prize for Poetry, includes meditations on geology and deep time, while pursuing ongoing obsessions with birds and tools. He lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
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