The IV Lounge Reader

Description

231 pages
$19.95
ISBN 1-895837-02-2
DDC C810.8006

Publisher

Year

2001

Contributor

Edited by Paul Vermeersch

Ronald Charles Epstein is a Toronto-based freelance writer and published poet.

Review

The National Library of Canada commemorates our millennium by adding new
classifications for its English-language poetry and fiction. The federal
government establishes new literary subdivisions, writers populate them,
and anthologists assemble them, leaving critics to analyze the results.
Toronto poet Paul Vermeersch invited poets and fiction writers to read
at the downtown IV Lounge, and now offers a sample of their
performances.

Veterans such as George Bowering and bill bissett appear alongside
unknowns like Adam Sol. One should remember that these works were
performed before a live audience. Ann Shin’s poem, “Speed of Now,”
might be best appreciated by those who heard her original reading.
Readers are not required to be nonjudgmental; they should not be blamed
if they conclude that even if Meryl Streep read “The Summer My Feces
Floated Out To Sea” on America’s National Public Radio, it would not
save Camilla Gibb’s so-called humor piece.

There is life in the avant-garde. Sherwin Tija’s “Children &
Teens” want- ad format effectively denounces child exploitation in
this age of pedophile performers. The aforementioned bissett’s
“whats th point” delivers phonetic social criticism, proving that
political poetry is more relevant than the NDP. On the other hand, Susan
Perly’s “Dogs Plus Mingus” offers only meaningless abstraction.

There are a few gems, such as Steve Venright’s “Distended
Aphorisms.” Who could resist the observation that “Everybody has to
pay the piper, but you might not have to pay him much if he happens to
be non-union”? Tragedy buffs may prefer Stephen Finucan’s Kawartha
(Ontario) drama, “Killing Rupert Nolan.”

This material might be fresh, but it is still a grab bag: proceed with
caution.

Citation

“The IV Lounge Reader,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/9134.