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Director's Cut by David Solway


Solway argues in this feisty and polemical book that the time has arrived to take stock and engage passionately with our literature, and especially our poetry, if it is ever to be rescued from the swamp of second-ratedness into which it has descended. He contends that almost all of the poetry (and much of the fiction) being written in Canada these days is turgid, spurious and pedestrian, the result of two highly questionable developments: the proliferation of Creative Writing departments in universities throughout the country, and a largely subsidized literature industry, abetted by a press of cousinly critics and reviewers, intended to construct a patchwork national psyche, create a sense of ideological cohesion and glorify the tribe. In consequence of this we have sponsored a coterie of underachieving overproducers and proceeded to collude in their diffusion by virtue of our silent complicity or our chauvinism.

Solway believes that we are on the whole far too nice, far too politically correct and, in a word, far too Canadian, to register our disapproval bluntly and agonistically. The last thing we want to do is offend anyone. But all that such manoeuvres ensure is that nothing changes while conscience is appeased. There comes a time when diffidence and affability, those specifically Canadian virtues, work against our best interests and prevent the candid and occasionally brutal assessments without which the critical stupor and aesthetic fog so congenial to us must remain destructively in place.

In Director’s Cut, Solway attempts to dispel that fog, to see clearly and to speak directly to a readership that has been far too receptive of questionable work.

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