The Alphabet Game

By bp Nichol
Edited by Lori Emerson & Darren Wershler-Henry

The Alphabet Game
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A member of the sound-poetry collective, The Four Horsemen, winner of a Governor General's Award for Poetry and writer of Fraggle Rock, bpNichol was one of Canada's most important poets.

All of Nichol's writing is distinguished by his desire to create texts that are engaging ... Read more


Overview

A member of the sound-poetry collective, The Four Horsemen, winner of a Governor General's Award for Poetry and writer of Fraggle Rock, bpNichol was one of Canada's most important poets.

All of Nichol's writing is distinguished by his desire to create texts that are engaging in themselves as well as in context, and to use indirect structural and textual devices to carry meaning. The astounding range of Nichol's practice included musical theatre, children's books, comic book art and collage/assemblage. Broadly spanning the history of Nichol's work, The Alphabet Game: A bpNichol Reader includes both classics and esoteric treasures. From the early typewriter poetry of Konfessions of an Elizabethan Fan Dancer and Nichol's life-long work of poetry The Martyrology, to the heartbreaking prose of Journal and the whimsical autobiography of Selected Organs, this collection maps the literary career of this enigmatic poet.

For first-time readers of Nichol, this comprehensive collection is a perfect introduction to his groundbreaking work; for loyal Nichol fans, this reader is the the long-awaited compilation of his less readily available work.

‘His wit, along with the seriousness, was there to keep the language free and untethered, to keep the poem aware of its roots, like a tuxedo worn with bare feet in a muddy river … No other writer of our time and place was so diverse, attempted so much, and never lost sight of his intent. ’ – Michael Ondaatje

bp Nichol

bp Nichol was one of Canada’s most challenging and innovative poets. His writing spans a remarkable range—from concise allegories on a single letter, on through to sound poetry, fiction, theoretical investigations and culminating in his nine-volume poem The Martyrology. Meanwhile: The Critical Writings of bpNichol (2001), bpNichol Comics (2001), Rational Geomancy (1992) and Selected Writing: As Elected (1980) are also available from Talonbooks.

Lori Emerson

Lori Emerson is Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow at The Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Literature, Communication, and Culture. Her writing has appeared in many journals, including Postmodern Culture and Essays on Canadian Writing. Emerson has guest-edited a special double issue on bpNichol for Open Letter: A Canadian Journal of Writing and Theory, and she has made available many of Nichol’s sound poems and performances through her creation of an online audio archive for the University of Pennsylvania’s PennSound project.

Darren Wershler-Henry

Darren Wershler-Henry is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. His most recent books are apostrophe (with Bill Kennedy) and The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting.

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