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Archive for September 3rd, 2009

September 3rd, 2009 • Posted in Authors and Books

Audio Interview with Rare Book Dealers Joshua and Phyllis Heller

What’s the difference between a First Edition, a Fine Press Edition and an Artists’ Book? Joshua and Phyllis Heller work with me to help define the boundaries. 

The two of them established Joshua Heller Rare Books, Inc. in Washington DC, in 1985. The company specializes in "contemporary fine printing and beautifully illustrated books, the Private Press Movement, modern fine bindings, and books about books. [Their] much admired catalogues, illustrated in full color, are distributed to a national and international list of clients."

Joshua has lectured widely in the United States and Canada on the art of the book. He helped organize the Art of the Contemporary Book Conference at Ohio State University in 1991, and has: contributed articles on the Private Press Movement to journals such as Fine Print and Imprint; and curated exhibitions of South African botanical artist Elise Bodley, both for the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the Audubon Society; he also proposed the first Washington Artists’ Book Fair – now a biennial event; and organized the first ever exhibition of fine modern bindings at the Corcoran Museum of Art in Washington DC in 2003.

I met the Hellers at their home in Washington, D.C. recently. Please listen here to our conversation

(* The Fisher Library referred to by Josh is located at the University of Toronto. Here’s the link)

September 3rd, 2009 • Posted in Literary Criticism

The Canadian Canon of Evaluative Criticism

In Volume Two of Canadian Literature in English, W.J. Keith cites a series of literary-critical books whose authors are “concerned, first and foremost, with good writing…The sole axe they grind is the need to nurture excellence.”

They, along with works by A.J. M. Smith, and Louis Dudek, could be said to constitute a Canadian Canon of Evaluative Criticism:

Kicking Against the Pricks, John Metcalf. (ECW, 1982)
Clearing the Ground, Paul Steuwe (1984)
A Climate Charged, B.W. Powe

And then a ‘flurry’ of books brought to press by Metcalf and the Porcupine’s Quill:
Ripostes, Philip Marchand
This is Our Writing, T.F. Rigelhof
When Words Deny the World, Stephen Henighan
Director’s Cut, David Solway
A Lover’s Quarrel, Carmine Starnino