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 originally from Alberta and now lives in St. John's, Newfoundland. He is Professor Emeritus, Department of English, Western University. He has taught creative writing at the Banff Centre and at Los Parronales, Chile. He was founder of Brick magazine and Brick Books, a poetry publishing house. Between 1994 and 1997, he was poetry editor for McClelland & Stewart. Peckertracks (1979) was shortlisted for the Books in Canada First Novel Award; Floating Voice: Duncan Campbell Scott and the Literature of Treaty 9 (1994) won the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Canadian literary criticism: 12 Bars (2002) was co-winner of the bp Nichol Chapbook Award; Apocrypha: Further Journeys (2003) won the Newfoundland and Labrador Rogers Cable Award for nonfiction; Stormy Weather: Foursomes (2005) was shortlisted for the E.J. Pratt Poetry Award. Strangers & Others: Newfoundland Essays (2015) was shortlisted for the BMO Winterset Award). SD has also published Journeys Through Bookland and other Passages (1984) and The Bees of the Invisible: Essays in Contemporary English Canadian Writing (1991). 2008 saw the publication of The Drowned Lands, a novel. Deep Too, a prose oddity, appeared in 2013. The Bricoleur and His Sentences was published in 2014, Strangers & Others 2: The Great Eastern in 2016, and Gerald Squires in 2017.
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.
Tell us what you think!
Sign Up or Sign In to add your review or comment.