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352 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 drawings of human-animal metamorphoses provide a delicate contrast to the powerful transformative forms dramatized in her stroud wall-hangings. A prolific artist, Avaalaaqiaq has received many commissions from numerous Canadian and foreign institutions. She is a significant provider for a large extended family. The book contains dozens of colourful illustrations highlighting Avaalaaqiaq=s prolific creativity, and also featuring family, friends, and the community of Baker Lake. Black and white photographs depict historical scenes of Inuit life on the land. Three useful appendices conclude the volume. Appendix 1 contains descriptions of the colour plates; several entries include Avaalaaqiaq=s explanation of the subjects. Appendix 2 lists her exhibitions and honours. Appendix 3 incorporates the address she gave at the University of Guelph in 1999, when she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws. Other helpful sections include a list of Inuit individuals who are mentioned in her narratives, a map, and an excellent bibliography. Although Judith Nasby has incorporated a number of photographs depicting contemporary life in Baker Lake, including a recent picture of the artist dressed in her hunting attire astride her skidoo, the present remains conspicuously absent from Avaalaaqiaq=s art work. Regardless of the medium of expression, Avaalaaqiaq=s creations engender a richly evocative past. As she herself attests, >I try to keep our culture alive through my art.= Her art serves as a significant tribute to her grandmother and represents great effort and willingness to transmit her cultural heritage. Although raised on the land, Avaalaaqiaq has experienced first hand the dramatic changes wrought by Christianity and the postBSecond World War intensification of a cash economy, formal education, mass communication, and settlement life. However, the reality registered in the high-quality photographs and insightful text that portray her current life differs markedly from her art work. Thus the book=s title, Myth and Reality, aptly reflects the subject matter. (KATHY M=CLOSKEY) bpNichol. Meanwhile: The Critical Writings of bpNichol. Edited by Roy Miki Talonbooks. 496. $34.95 bpNichol. Comics. Edited by Carl Peters Talonbooks. 319. $29.95 Since his untimely death in 1988, the poet bp (Barrie Phillip) Nichol has become something of a cult figure: there is now a website devoted to his work, and his long collage poem The Martyrology, begun in 1972 and completed with the posthumous publications of its last three books in the early 1990s, is taught in courses at most Canadian universities. Even the role of numerology in his life has mythic overtones: he began writing when humanities 353 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 he was twenty-two and died on the eve of his forty-fourth birthday in 1988. As one of the Four Horsemen, the Toronto sound poetry group he founded in the 1970s, as well as a leading >post-concrete= poet, Nichol was at the cutting edge of avant-garde activity. Yet although some of the early concrete poetry appeared in international anthologies, the rest of his work never quite caught on outside Canada. There are, for example, no American or British editions of any of his poetry books. Why should this be the case? Roy Miki=s excellent collection of Nichol=s critical writings B essays, reviews, letters to editors, many of them unpublished, as well as extracts from about a dozen interviews B inadvertently provides us with a clue. Nichol was, one might say, a >natural= avant-gardist; he loved to experiment with sound, syntax, pun, and the >defamiliarization= of the language, but there seems to be no particular perspective or rigorous aesthetic behind these varied and engaging exercises. From the late 1960s to the time of his death, Nichol was closely associated with that other great Canadian avant-gardist and fellow Horseman, Steve McCaffery. Both experimented with sound and visual poetics as well as with hybrid literary forms like comic books. In 1973, they founded the Toronto Research Group (TRG), whose reports, many of them published in Open Letter, are reproduced in the McCaffery-Nichol collection Rational Geomancy: The Kids of the Book-Machine, edited for Talonbooks by McCaffery in 1992. Nichol may...


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