Strike Anywhere: Essays, Reviews & Other Arsons

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The Porcupine's Quill, Jul 8, 2016 - Literary Collections - 224 pages
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"I’d like to think that I’m polarizing the way a battery is," explains Michael Lista in his introduction to Strike Anywhere, "energizing the flashlight by which you read in the dark only because it has a negative and a positive side. Collected here, under one cover, are my cathodes and my anodes."

In his self-described ‘arsons’, Lista assesses with equal fire our literary darlings (Anne Carson, Don McKay), talented veterans (Steven Heighton, David McGimpsey) and promising newcomers (Stevie Howell, Aisha Sasha John) of the poetic genre. He depicts a literary institution pathologically averse to the sustenance of a traditional repertoire and addicted to the empty calories of poetic experiments. Television, too, falls prey to his jaundiced eye, from the militant sincerity of The Bachelorette to the receptacle of American anxieties that is The Walking Dead. But beyond passing judgment on the contemporary Literary Industrial Complex, Strike Anywhere acknowledges the inherent contradiction of poetic expression—that its power lies in its uselessness—and recognizes that poets are, nonetheless, the happy few, the unacknowledged legislators of the world.

With thoughtfulness, wit and considerable humor, Michael Lista offers a refreshingly candid take on the moral and aesthetic implications of storytelling in all its forms, from boob-tube blockbusters to the latest volume of verse.

 

 

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Contents

Introduction
11
Even Losing You
27
Leonard Cohen
41
Matthew Tierney
55
Anne Carson
69
David Seymour
83
David McGimpsey
97
Jan Zwicky
125
Aisha Sasha John
150
Robert Frost
157
In Praise of Shitty Television
163
Trailer Park Boys
171
The Leftovers
177
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
185
The Shock Absorber
195
Acknowledgements
223

Alexandra Oliver
130
Don McKay
141

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About the author (2016)

Michael Lista is an acclaimed poet, editor, critic, and non-fiction writer. He is the author of two collections of poetry: Bloom (House of Anansi, 2010) and The Scarborough (Signal Editions, 2014). He served as poetry editor of The Walrus and as poetry columnist for The National Post. His non-fiction appears in The Atlantic, Slate, The Walrus and Toronto Life. Lista is the co-founder of Partisan Magazine. He lives in Toronto.

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