Volume 92, Issue 2

Friday, May 22, 1998

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Patterning the past

Gazette Staff

Canadian poet, playwright and novelist James Reaney openly jests of his aging and out-of-touch perception of mainstream ideology while discussing the state of Canadian literature.

"I'm concerned about poetry and I'm not sure where it's going," says Reaney. "But you can find the basic thing in rap music, even though I can't understand it."

The always enlightening Reaney describes the condition of poetry as being sucked of its imagination when it is spent on advertising.

"There is so much media surrounding the art that it is difficult to be heard. However, most of Canadian literature is in fine form, with such prolific writers as Margaret Atwood."

In order to understand the present state of affairs in literature, Reaney claims it requires going back to the basics. "The Classical literature of Greek society and the Bible describe in simplistic terms the essentials of society which provide patterns for our civilization today."

This idea helps to explain his obsession with the Donnelly family. "In Greek times, Thespians would be obsessed with the Oedipus family and therefore it only seems natural coming from Stratford, Ontario that I should be intrigued by the Donnellys from Lucan."

The famous writer will be treating fans to a speaking engagement on Saturday at the Forest City Gallery for their 25th anniversary. Reaney will be reading his diary entries from the '70s which he has transformed into poems.

He will also be reading some terrible reviews of his work which he has uncovered from his agent, who hid them in order to save his ego. Towards the end of the engagement a minimalist opera entitled Terrible Swift Sword, written by Reaney, will be performed by five young actors.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998