Poetry Iconoclast Jason Guriel's The Pigheaded Soul

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - 7:30pm
Gladstone Hotel, Main Ballroom, 1214 Queen St W
Poetry Iconoclast Jason Guriel's The Pigheaded Soul

Poetry Iconoclast Jason Guriel’s The Pigheaded Soul

Controversial and witty commentary on contemporary poetry

"Jason Guriel’s The Pigheaded Soul immediately vaults him into the first rank of poetry critics. He manages, in nearly every sentence, to seem amiable, incorruptible and incisive. His survey of Canadian poetry is without rival; his views on American poetry are utterly fresh. I will be consulting this book for a very, very long time into the future."—Dan Chiasson, New Yorker critic

Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Gladstone Hotel, Main Ballroom, 1214 Queen Street West

Doors open at 7:30 pm

Event begins at 8 pm

Admission is $5 or FREE with purchase of the book

Join TINARS (This Is Not A Reading Series) for a remarkable evening launching Jason Guriel's book of essays The Pigheaded Soul.

About the event
With everyone from Buzzfeed Books Editor Isaac Fitzgerald to The New Yorker's Lee Siegel denouncing it, the skeptical book review is increasingly non grata in today's literary pages. Into that milieu, Jason Guriel has written The Pigheaded Soul, a collection of essays on poetry and culture, the goal of which "has been to honour gut reactions, however acidic, and to be entertaining about it."Wry, witty, brilliant, often controversial but never boring, Guriel's essays advocate for a reconception of contemporary poetry as simply "a superior amusement," as T.S. Eliot once called it, in competition with music, film, television and video games, for readers' time and attention.

Jason Guriel will be joined onstage by Walrus poetry editor and National Post poetry columnist Michael Lista. In a candid conversation, the two will discuss the state of contemporary poetry, the future of literary criticism, the value of dissent in culture, and of course, how The Pigheaded Soul came to be written.

About The Pigheaded Soul
In the generally dull world of poetry criticism, a remotely sharp judgment will tend to perk the ears of editors who like a little edge, even if some readers elect to call the noise they hear a “hatchet job.” Those conspiracy theorists who assume I have an axe to grind should be assured that the whetstone was usually someone else’s idea.

Put another way, The Pigheaded Soul was written largely by accident, under the radar of even its author, who apparently couldn’t bring himself to turn down too many gigs. The few times I vowed to get out of the game and back to poems, some editor always pulled me back in. Before I could reconsider, I had embarked on yet another criticism spree.—Jason Guriel, Toronto, 2012

In The Pigheaded Soul, Guriel does not shy away from the negative review, nor does he begrudge praise where praise is due. He applauds the innovative and evocative, rails against the lazy and the imprecise, and critiques the ‘hipster’ mentality of so-called avant-gardists who use the same tired tricks as shortcuts to perceived innovation. But far from providing only reviews and critical readings, The Pigheaded Soul serves up amusing insider anecdotes about the poetry community, from intelligent examinations of inspiration and imagination, to gonzo reportage of high-profile – and occasionally absurd – literary events.

About Jason Guriel and Michael Lista
Jason Guriel is a poet and critic whose work has appeared in such influential publications as Poetry, Reader’s Digest, The Walrus, Parnassus, Canadian Notes & Queries, The New Criterion, and PN Review. His poetry has been anthologized in The Best Canadian Poetry in English, and in 2007, he was the first Canadian to receive the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry magazine. He won Poetry’s Editors Prize for Book Reviewing in 2009. Guriel lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Michael Lista is the author of Bloom, a 2010  Quill and Quire  Book of the Year. He is the poetry editor of The Walrus magazine, and the poetry columnist for The National Post.  Both his poems and essays have appeared in Poetry  magazine. His second book, The Scarborough, will appear in the fall of 2014 with Vehicule Press. He lives in Toronto.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Marc Glassman
Michael Lista