A Sourcery for Books 1 and 2 of bp Nichol's «The Martyrology»


214 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55022-102-7
DDC C811'.54





Reviewed by Bert Almon

Bert Almon is a professor of English at the University of Alberta and
author of Calling Texas.


This book is an indispensable reference guide for readers of Nichol’s
vast multivolume poem. Nichol’s reading was esoteric and encyclopedic,
and Niechoda has tracked down as much as she can. While The Martyrology
turned out to be open-ended and took many directions not predictable
from the first two volumes, the reader who understands the opening
volumes (out of 10 that were completed!) will be well prepared for the
work as a whole. Niechoda provides an introduction, line-by-line
annotations, and a supplement of illustrations, including the works of
art that inspired Nichol’s “saints.” There is also a useful
bibliographical apparatus, which will lead the serious student to many
discoveries. Whether or not Nichol’s work ultimately deserves all this
academic attention, posterity will have to judge. But Niechoda’s work
will help to make a judgment possible. Nichol has been a cult figure
whose meanings were mostly available to a group of fellow poets; now his
work will be more accessible for the interested reader who simply wishes
to read The Martyrology.


Niechoda, Irene., “A Sourcery for Books 1 and 2 of bp Nichol's «The Martyrology»,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 22, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/12328.