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362 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 widely known.= This pervasive congeniality seems peculiar considering the debates that characterize contemporary Canadian poetry. George Elliott Clarke=s Blue and Steve McCaffrey=s 7 Pages Missing flank my copy of Bowling=s book and the juxtaposition reminds me of Dionne Brand=s position between Margaret Avison and P.K. Page (both contributors to Where the Words Come From) on the 2003 Griffin short list, Christian Bök=s victory (over Erin Mouré) for the 2002 Griffin, and Roy Miki=s 2002 Governor-General=s Award. To suggest that a greater poetic diversity would be a more accurate presentation of >the many fine poets ... in Canada= is not to knock any of the poets Bowling did select; only to show how centrally his editorial decisions reflect his vision of Canadian poetry. The accidental convergences are fascinating. Dylan Thomas, Rilke, and Tranströmer come up repeatedly, and the old sublimity of Canadian geography seems to have been broadly internalized as a taste for >negative transcendence.= Shadows, surely, but interesting shadows, unlike the predictable responses to Bowling=s required questions, particularly >is competition healthy or unhealthy for a poet?= To be fair, the purpose was to spur >a range of responses to some general issues,= so the direct answers may be less important than the secondary questions. Still, the assumption encoded in this question was, perhaps by personal inclination, overshadowed only by the lack of diversity among the poets among the book=s few real flaws. Few artists of any stripe will say anything positive about competition. Perhaps this is the >right= answer, but, Harold Bloom aside, the notion of competition in poetry is as old as the word agon with its connotations of the divine voice that a >victor= earns the right to embody. Sarpedon=s inspiration of Glaucus in the Iliad is the martial model. Homeric shades were not Bowling=s intent, but inspiration has always been a way to explain where the words come from. (CHRIS JENNINGS) Stan Persky and John Dixon. On Kiddie Porn: Sexual Representation, Free Speech and the Robin Sharpe Case New Star 2001. xii, 247. $20.00 On 15 January 1999 a retired city planner in Vancouver suddenly became one of the most hated men in Canada. Robin Sharpe had been charged with four offences under the child pornography law, relating to the possession, or possession for the purpose of distribution, of various stories and photographs depicting children. At his trial he had challenged the constitutionality of the law, partly on the ground that its prohibition of simple possession of child pornography was an unjustifiable infringement of the guarantee of freedom of expression in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In his decision on that challenge, released on 15 January Justice humanities 363 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 Duncan Shaw of the British Columbia Supreme Court upheld the challenge, declared the possession section of the child pornography law null and void, and dismissed the simple possession charges against Sharpe. (The other sections of the law remained in force and the other charges against Sharpe, relating to distribution, remained in place to be decided at a subsequent trial.) Judge Shaw=s decision ignited a firestorm of opposition on radio talkshows , in newspaper editorial pages, and in Parliament. In the ensuing hysteria Shaw received a death threat, while Sharpe became the target of a neighbourhood poster campaign against the local >pervert= as well as abusive and threatening phone calls. Some degree of calm was restored when the British Columbia attorney-general announced that the decision would be appealed, but the atmosphere worsened again on 30 June when the British Coumbia Court of Appeal upheld Shaw=s decision by a 2-1 majority. The possession section of the child pornography law was now one step closer to being found constitutionally invalid, and critics expressed their (greatly exaggerated) fears that the country was in danger of inundation by a flood of child pornography. It was obvious that the constitutional issue had to be settled ultimately by the Supreme Court. And so it was, in a judgment released...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 362-364
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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