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Category Archives: Canadian Literature

In Re: MARIAN KEITH

“Marian Keith” is the pseudonym for Mary Esther (Née Miller) MacGregor (1874-1961).

1.  (1905) Duncan Polite: The Watchman of Glenoro
2. (1906) The Silver Maple: A Story of Upper Canada
3. (1908) Treasure Valley
4. (1910) ’Lizbeth of the Dale
5. (1912) The Black Bearded Barbarian: The Life of George Leslie MacKay of Formosa
6. (1913) The End of the Rainbow
7. (1918) In Orchard Glen
8. (1919) Living Lies (as by Esther Miller)
9. (1921) Little Miss Melody
10. (1922) The Bells of St. Stephen’s
11. (1924) Gentleman Adventurer: A Story of the Hudson’s Bay Company
12. (1927) Under the Grey Olives
13. (1930) Forest Barrier: A Novel of Pioneer Days
14. (1934) Courageous Women; with L. M. Montgomery and Mable Burns McKinley
15. (1935) Glad Days in Galilee (U.S.A. Boy of Nazareth)
16. (1946) As a Watered Garden
17. (1948) Yonder Shining Light
18. (1952) Lilacs in The Dooryard
19. (1960) The Grand Lady

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Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour

2013 Leacock Medal Short List Header

The Leacock Associates announced their short list of 5 aauthors for the 2013 Leacock Medal of Humour on 1 April 2013.. The winner will be announced at a luncheon at The Mariposa Inn in Orillia on 25 Apil 2013. Tickets are in short supply for this event ($25.00) Details at www.leacock.ca — Reserve your ticket(s) today.

Short List in alphabetical order by author:

Fallis, Terry: UP AND DOWN (McClelland&Stewart)

Goldstein, Jonathon: I’LL SEIZE THE DAY TOMORROW (Penguin)

Kaufman, Andrew: BORN WEIRD (Random House Canada)

Stocks, Cassie: DANCE GLADYS DANCE (Newset Press)

Whitehead, William: WORDS TO LIVE BY (Cormorant)

 

My Want List

I have a number of rather large literary projects on the go, both with members of the Editorial Board and with individuals whom I have encountered on the World Wid Web, a truly fascinating mechanism to meet and correspond with people without the involvement of Canada Post or it’s counterparts in other nations. There surely must be a time when these organizatons must go the equivalent of bankrupt, and their service doesn’t improve with age either! In the process of creating a book, or books, I need content; I cannot create an omelette without eggs, the same way a creative writer does. Hence for each project I have a want list of stories, books, magazine appearances, newspaper appearances and or digest appearances. I shall endeavour to list them here by author. This blog entry is a work in progress, and I shall emend and update it, as well as link to it in the future. I shall be eternally grateful, as well as pleased to reimburse the reader for out-of-pocket expenses for any items on these lists that can be supplied, either by e-mail attachment or by the equivalent of that dinosaur Canada Post alluded to above.

“White Slave Girls of East End Chinatown” by Sax Rohmer World’s Pictorial, ca. 1920.

“Wainwright T. Morton and McGarvey” by Donald Barr Chidsey: The Carrion Clue(Dime Detective Magazine Mar 15 1935); The Scar Clue (Dime Detective Magazine June 15, 1935); Once Too Often (Detective Fiction Weekly April 29 1939); The Jawbones of Nightmare Swamp (Detective Fiction Weekly Apr 5 1941)

Henry St. Clair Whitehead: Mechanics of Revision (Writer’s Digest, September 1927); The Project Method (Date unknown); The Occult Story (The Free-Lance Writer’s Annual, 1927)

Fraklin H. Martin: (in collaboration with Edward Agnew for WWI Air Adventure Stories) Lone Eagle (Aces, September 1932); The Cloud Crasher (Wings, August 1932); Dealers in Death (Wings, October1934); God Help the Hun (Wings, January 1935); Song of the Eagle (War Birds, June 1937)

Frederick Nebel:  (in collaboration with Edward Agnew for WWI Air Adventure Stories) Skyrocket Scott (Wings, March 1928); Birdmen of Borneo (Air Stories, September 1927); Bolt From the Blue (Air Stories, October 1928); High-Flying Highbinders (Air Stories, March 1930); South of Saigon (Air Stories, June 1930); Boomerang Barnes (Air Adventures, January 1929); The Scourge of the South Seas (Flying Stories, 3 parts, September–November 1929).

Raoul Whitfield: (in collaboration with Edward Agnew for WWI Air Adventure Stories) The want list consist of 54 stories, instead of an individual list, here is a link to the web page where the entire table of contents can be reviewed and the wanted pulps are highlighted in red.http://www.batteredbox.com/LostTreasures/57-WWIWhitfield.htm

Nictzin Dyalhis:  (In collaboration with Robert Weinberg for The Nictzin Dyalhis Portfolio) The Whirling Machete (Underworld, December 1933)

Seabury Quinn: (In collaboration with Gene Christie from The Case Files of Major Sturdevant) The Washington Nights’ Entertainment: No. 2 Not seen? When V3#4; The Washington Nights’ Entertainment: V4#1; The Washington Nights’ Entertainment: V4#2; The Washington Nights’ Entertainment: No. 3 Not seen; “The Shrine of Seven Lamps” Real Detective Tales, V5#2 (September-October 1924; “No. 9. Voodoo” Real Detective Tales, V5#3 (November 1924)

Baroness Emmuska Oczy: The Miser of Maida Vale (Doran, 1925)

 

Mr. Chang and Mr. Rafferty

E.A. Apple created these two characters to run in the pages of Detective Story Magazine (1919-1931) and reprinted in Best Detective Magazine (1933-1936). Mr. Chang is a Fu Man Chu equivalent; Mr. Rafferty is a Raffles equivalent. Mr. Chang has his headquarters in Montreal with a secret entrance, and travels in Eastern Canada to find his victims and accumulate his stolen fortunes in Quebec. Mr. Rafferty has his submarine-only accessible headquarters on an island off the east coast of America. His headquarters is a repository of vast amount of stolen wealth — cash, gold, precious gems and art. I have been gathering these stories together for the past 4 years with the able assistance of the members of the Sacred Six. I even received 3 stories and covers from Norway late last year; these had previously eluded me. Chang and Rafferty clash with lethal methods and wits in a couple of the stories with no definitive outcome, and certainly no Reichenbach Falls. The entire batch is now off to the proof reader, and the series of covers, including the reprints is off to Pat who will design the Dustjackets for the four folio sized volumes each with >400 pages double column format. After all there is 1.3 million words to deal with. You can find a complete bibliography at my web site, and the proposed covers to be retouched on the DJs. I will not supply the link, othereise WordPress will capture the entire series of covers listed there, and that’s alot of Megs to duplicate.

The son (Barny), the granddaughter (Heather) and grandson (Derek) of the author will contribute an introduction based on their memoris of the author, and the entire collection should add a significant brick in the Canadian Pulps Fiction story, since Elmer Albert Apple (not A. E. Apple, that was his pen name, and he also had others) was a Canadian who lived in Toronto.

And so the beat goes on! A dinner tonight with a special Coeliac Disease compatible cake to consume. Dim-Sum in the morning with a poet who spells his words the way they sound without capital letters. Dinner tomorrow night with an author celebrating his 88th birthday with friends, and he will have a new book to contemplate, and all his friends there to ask him to inscribe their copy, and finally a return Monday to the view of the windswept frozen lake, and the fireplace where I am methodically sorting and burning my friend Bill’s papers.

 

Leacock at the Bat

I just received my invitation in the mail to the annual Stephen Leacock Medal Awards Dinner. It is scheduled for June the 12th in Orillia at Geneva Park, and promises to be a worthwhile event. Over the past number of dinners I have prepared pamphlets with content which may be of interest to Leacock Fans, and distributed to each attendee at their place setting for dinner.

   There are presently four in the series: Two Elegies (2005); Random Rhymes (2006); The Shannon and the Chesapeake (2007); and A Scandal in Montreal (2008).

   I took 2009 off as I was simply too busy being retired to prepare one. I had planned to do one discussing the poem “Casey at the Bat.”  Now I’m glad I didn’t get around to it, because I now have new cover art by Charles Pachter.

   Carl Spadoni mentions in his Bibliography of Leacock, that he found an unattributed newspaper clipping from Montreal relating that Leacock had regailed the audience at a dinner speech with his own personalized version of “Casey at the Bat.” It was unclear from the article whether Leacock had recited E.L. Thayer’s version of the poem, or personalized it for Mariposa.

If you google “Casey at the Bat” you find and audio version with De Wolf Hopper reciting the poem, as he did 1,000’s of times in his acting career. I would speculate that Leacock undoubtedly heard Hopper recite the poem, and was inspired to do it himself.

Leacock was not known to play baseball, but he did pay Cricket, both in school and as a young adult.

Shortly after I retired I received a letter from Martin Gardner, of Annotated Alice fame, in which he congratulated me for the publication of The Complete Annotated Father Brown. I called him to discuss the project and compare notes, and he was also interested about republishing a number of his out of print books. One of these was a fourth edition of his The Annotated Casey at the Bat.

It seemed like a natural next step then for me to work on a Mariposa version of “Casey at the Bat” titled “Leacock at the Bat.”

Next, I was working with Charles Pachter, a Toronto pop culture artist, essentially Canada’s Andy Warhol to develop an image of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson, and this project is still very mcuh a work in progress. But in any case during the preliminary conversation, Charles mentioned that he had a cottage studio on Lake Simcoe located  a 20 minute drive from Orillia. I invited him to do an image of Leacock at the bat, but not baseball, but rather cricket, and I attach his creation for your consideration.

During the same visit, I also spotted two other Pachter images in the studio, and obtained permssion to use them as well. The one is for Raymond Souster’s next collection of poetry entitled Big Smoke Blues. The image itself is entitled “Tour de Force.” and it is neat image of a Moose on a tightrope in the shadow of Toronto’s CN Tower. The other is entitled “Bon Echo.” and it is illustrated elsewhere in this blog as the cover for Walt Whitman’s Canada.

So that’s the background, and now, all is left to me to redraft Thayer’s poem change Casey to Leacock, change the other characters to the Mariposa Rogues’ Gallery, and of course change the sport from Baseball to Cricket.

I also plan to include the revised version of Thayer’s poem as well as Martin Gardner’s introduction and footnotes in the pamphlet as well.

As far as 2011 Dinner goes, that’s already allocated — “The Innocence of Stephen Leacock” in which Stephen Leacock meets Father Brown, a pastiche by John Peterson.

A mysterious phenomenon, toward which Professional critics are usually oblivious, recurs constantly in the literary history of the United States. A man or woman, with no special talent for poetry, will put together some apparently run-of-the-mill stanzas and manage to get them printed in a newspaper or magazine. The poem is read and talked about. It is reprinted here and there. People cut it out to carry in a billfold, or pin on a bulletin board, or put under the glass top of a desk, or frame and hang on a wall. Thousands memorize it. Eventually it becomes so well known that it is hard to find a literate person who hasn’t read it. (Martin Gardner in his intrroduction to The Annotated Casey at the Bat)

  Just to recall to your memory I include E.L. Thayer’s originally published version of the poem here:

Casey at the Bat

A Ballad of the Republic, Sung in the Year 1888

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows3 did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;4
They thought if only Casey5 could but get a whack at that—
We’d put up even money now with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn6 preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,7
And the former was a lulu8 and the latter was a cake;9
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;10
And when the dust had lifted, and the men11 saw what had occurred,
There was Johnnie12 safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ‘twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher13 ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.14

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped—
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire15 said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.16
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted some one on the stand;
And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.17

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville18—mighty Casey has struck out.

 

Full Moon Rising

Last Friday travelling East on the Highway 401 from Kitchener to Toronto in the late afternoon I saw a pale moon in a clear light blue sky. It was over-sized, and I had to study it, framed  in the windshield to confirm that it was indeed The moon. There was heavy traffic exiting Toronto, and the setting sun was on my back. Next I noticed illuminated orange, Halloween diamond shaped objects along the side of the road in the distance. As I approached them I confirmed that they were only constuction signs reflecting the setting sun.

   The traffic deteriorated to stop and go as I entered Mississauga, and the sun set. The sky then was a blue colour, the moon had risen a little and somehow shrunk but the white colour was much  brighter, and the face of the moon was apparent. I would have liked to study it, but traffic precluded this activity, and I couldn’t pull off to the side of the road! I kept an eye on the moon as I travelled, and noted that it shone through a number of metal grates of hydro Hydro and wereless towers.

   I turned south at Keele Street, the skyw as a darker blue, and the moon was a brighter white. I stopped and tried to fathom the features of the moon’s face, and alas I needed binoculars —  not in the car!

   The next night Ethel and I were guests for dinner at the Rosedale Lawn and Tennis Club in Toronto. We sat at a window table on the second floor. After dinner, my mind’e eyes remembered the visions of the night before, and I peered out the window to see a bright full moon in the Western sky. This confounded me, wait a minute it should be in the eastern sky! I must have got my directional bearing in the parking lot and coming upstairs on the elevator.

   The day I returned to my cottage at Lake Eugenia which faces east on the lake. After sunset I looked for to moon on the eastern horizon, past full, like the shape of an ellipse, yellow-ochre sitting just above the tree line in a clear sky. No construction signs here, only windswept ice with some snow mobile tracks.

   Why will I remember this? well, the car was full of books, in fact four new publications, and during the days I delivered them to their authors and illustrators. Thesse are the high points for me in publishing books, but that moon in its various disguises certainly contributed colour to the memory.

   Now will that be an English (abab) or Italian (abba) Sonnet? with 14 lines and 14 syllables. The work of another day.

 

Six New Titles in 2010

It’s snowing here today overlooking the ice on Lake Eugenia. Standing on my veranda overlooking the lake I can see some fishing shacks in the channel beside the island. I am holding a fresh, hot mug of coffee in my hands, and many projects at hand to occupy the day. Later in the afternoon I will drive up to the post box where 3 days mail still waits in Post Office Box 50. I am also trying to prepare for a read trip to Sauk City Wisconsin; I am looking forward to the visit very much. Finally I am posting the front covers of the six books that have been published so far in 2010 (and it’s only January) — and time permitting each will require a separate blog post, but maybe not enough time. Yes, a good day lies ahead of me.

Reporter's Notebook -- Volume 11 -- by Vincent Starrett

A Verdant Green: A Florilegium of Poetry for Anna & Bill McCoy

The Greatest Canadian Love Poem and Other Treasures of the Heart by Allan Glenn Rose

Walt Whitman's Canada compiled by C.Greenland & J.R.Colombo

Millennium Madness by Raymond Souster

War Christmas by Dwight Whalen