It takes my breath away to think that today is the 25th anniversary of bp nichol’s passing — I still exactly remember the moment he stepped on stage at one of the great Polyphonix sound poetry festivals in Paris, introduced (if memory serves) by Jean-Jacques Lebel, sometime in the very late 70s or very early 80s. I often think of him as “The Renaissance Canadian” poet — poet, writer, performer, translator extraordinaire. I’ll take an hour or two today to dip into the latest coach house books production by bp, a book of variations / love —zygal—art facts (edited by Styephen Voyce) which came out this past spring.
The dedication of the section (a book in its own write, earlier) called zygal – a book of mysteries and translations has always been for me a powerful (& wonderfully puzzling) statement:
whatever the dream of numbers means
whatever the slumber that is never broken
the spoken word & the written
together end the spell
Here, the info for
a book of variations
ISBN-10: 1552452727ISBN-13: 9781552452721392 pp, PaperbackMay 9 2013$23.95 CADlove – zygal – art factsByEdited by
The range of bpNichol’s output is unparalleled, the reach of his curiosity, wit and inventiveness, immeasurable. Concrete poetry, novels, comics, sound poetry and even a television show, Fraggle Rock – it’s his eclecticism and love of ‘borderblur’ that make bp so unique.
The perfect counterpoint to his acclaimed nine-volume long poem,The Martyrology, the three long-lost classics contained in a book of variations showcase Nichol’s diverse, sprawling imagination. Placing love: a book of remembrances, zygal: a book of mysteries and translations and art facts: a book of contexts side by side, as they were meant to be, this fun and ephemeral collection may prove to be Nichol’s most lasting and important contribution to poetry.
‘bpNichol was, and still is, the essential poet for so many of us.’ – Michael Ondaatje
‘This is bpNichol at his young, whimsical, charming, sweet, magical, formally inventive, childlike, zany, fecund, h-h-h-heavenly best. A total delight from beginning to beginning again.’ — Charles Bernstein