Trillium Book Award Author Readings June 16

Five Things Literary: The Virtual Literary World, with Douglas Glover

Share |

Today's literary connections are hardly limited to any immediate neighbourhood of scribblers. In our favourite Five Things Literary feature yet, Governor General's Award-winning author Douglas Glover shares a mere five of his favourite links to his literary community, all thriving in the busy hub of cyberspace.

Douglas was born in southwestern Ontario, lives in New York State and is currently serving as writer-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. This week he's on tour in Ontario with his new book, Savage Love (Goose Lane Editions).

Douglas began his tour on September 16 in Windsor and continues on to Toronto on September 17, Hamilton on September 18 and Waterloo on September 19. He'll return to Toronto in November for the International Festival of Authors. Visit our Events page for details.


Five Things Literary, with Douglas Glover


1. I live in a virtual world outside my real country and in a place where I get my mail addressed to another place entirely. For lack of a literary community, I invented one: the online magazine Numéro Cinq. It started out as a student blog for a class I taught, then it became a literary blog, then it became a magazine. It keeps shedding its skin. It’s a community. I have re-found old friends, formed new friendships, become a patron for new writers, resuscitated the forgotten, changed people's lives for the better and made myself a very busy person.


2. In a virtual literary world, people are more important than places. My longest publishing association has been with Oberon Press in Ottawa. I was introduced to the Macklems by David Helwig who wanted me to co-edit the annual Coming Attractions with his daughter Maggie (now a member of the Toronto clergy and a notable novelist). I edited Best Canadian Stories for over a decade. Oberon published two of my nonfiction books. Dilshad Engineer, the editor, and I brought up our children together, passing news, worries and advice back and forth over the internet and the phone. We are such good friends. Distance never mattered.


3. John Metcalf, who also lives in Ottawa, early on started championing my work, inviting me to conferences, putting me in anthologies, introducing me to other writers. He connected me with Leon Rooke; now Leon and I are old friends and Leon appears on Numéro Cinq; paintings, poems and prose. John also brought me to The New Quarterly where I have published often. And I became friends with Kim Jernigan, the editor there (now retired), and I still drop in and see her every time I am near Waterloo. I have published her daughter Amanda in Numéro Cinq. My son Jonah ended up at the University of Waterloo. John Metcalf also introduced me to Dan Wells at Biblioasis, now one of my publishers and a friend.


4. Karen Mulhallen, the poet who publishes Descant Magazine, and I bonded over the fact that we are both southwestern Ontario brats. She knows the Halton Sand Hills and Port Dover as well as I do; being from Sowesto is a state of mind, instantly recognizable in the other. Always a relief to find another blasted soul struggling in the cultural strip mine of Toronto. How do we communicate? Long late night phone calls through deaths, divorces, new books, pets and lovers.


5. Five is not enough in a virtual world, in a world where you are connected by the mind, by etheric emanations. But Fredericton is another node on the network. I have taught at the university, been a writer in residence. I met Susanne Alexander before she became the publisher of Goose Lane Editions, before Elle and the other books of mine she so nobly keeps in print. I actually lived several months above the GLE office (long ago when it was still mostly Fiddlehead Poetry Books). A few months ago in Fredericton, I went down to the Rogue Tavern with Mark Jarman, and five Numéro Cinq contributors sat at the table. That's how a virtual literary world works.

Douglas Glover oscillates between his home in upstate New York and the family farm just outside Waterford, Ontario. He is currently Writer in Residence at the University of New Brunswick. His latest book, a short story collection called Savage Love, has just been published by Goose Lane Editions.

For more information about Savage Love please visit the Goose Lane Editions website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore, online from the publisher or at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Advanced Search