Truth: A Book of Fictions


177 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-920544-98-3
DDC C811'.54






Edited by Irene Niechoda
Reviewed by Bert Almon

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


Nichol has become astonishingly prolific since his death. This is yet
another book of posthumously collected writings, some of which were
published in obscure places. The book is permeated with the spirit of
Dadaism and Alfred Jarry’s Pataphysics. In fact, “spirited” would
be a good word for the collection. Nichol plays with the page and
generates endless paradoxes and visual jokes. For example, the words
“Nine pages” are spread out, one letter at a time, over nine pages.

The collection is, predictably, varied. There are visual poems,
drawings, maps, cartoons, a connect-the-dots exercise, and diagrams. The
conception of poetry is being stretched but proves endlessly plastic.
Some readers may find these rather wilful exercises plastic in the
pejorative sense (quite a few pages are devoted to rather flimsy jokes).
And Nichol’s alphabetic obsession reaches a frenzy here. There is a
mock archeological report (complete with maps and footnotes) about an
alphabet cult in Winnipeg, and a long poem in process incorporates the
letter “h” into every line. As with Nichol’s beloved Gertrude
Stein, literary history will take its time in placing these original,
witty, and thoroughly odd works.


Nichol, bp., “Truth: A Book of Fictions,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 22, 2024,