“Several of the stories in Net Worth are very effective. The first one in the book, ‘Lottery,’ is about a woman, Annie, who wins $42 million from Loto-Québec. But she has reservations. What would it do to her life? Is all that money worth it? Radu gets into Annie’s doubts and confusion very well, dissecting the virtues and pitfalls of sudden wealth, how it seeps into to every aspect of your life, your behaviour, your relationships.
All the stories are thought-provoking and reflective, each in its own way, using money as a vehicle to explore such diverse subjects as a spouse’s early death, old age, leaving an inheritance, waiting for an inheritance, divorce, and coming early into the personal independence of adulthood. The varied meanings of having, keeping, and losing money come up frequently in each of these contexts.
….These stories are a wonderful exploration into what money does to us all.”
“Net Worth by Kenneth Radu is certainly one of the most unique reads I have come across in the 2018 publishing season. The language is simple yet the concepts it brings forward are thought-provoking and enlightening. In short, this book is a great piece of literature.”
—Stephen Buechler, Library of Pacific Tranquillity, Fall 2018
I had too much computer. And a bad case of quaint.
Such as it was, time stood still and there I was with someone seemed half my age and less a quarter my hygiene. We walked to Emily Dickinson’s grave. We held hands; he said his fingers were empurpled from picking kale in deep frost. I found that twee. In an adorable way.
Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
The first prose poems I wrote were in high school. I wrote this epic fantasia called “Bidet and the Giant Silver Rocking Horse.” It involved pretending to be on acid, which at the time I had not tried. The work was finding a way to open up and develop momentum, which is what I love best about prose poems. Snag on something, unravel the whole sweater. For me, this is the supremest form of fun.
What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write now?
Marianne Moore is my biggest influence, I suspect. For sonorousness I like Nietzsche and Kafka. For intelligence, Plath. My friend Elizabeth Willis has this terrific book, Turneresque, which really impressed me with what prose poetry could do. That book set my present practice spinning.
What other professions have you worked in?
I trained to be an archivist, a job to which I am allergic. I was a lifeguard. I was a legal secretary. I think teaching is my favorite money-bearing activity and the one I’m best at.
What inspired you to write this piece?
“A crumbling infrastructure” was written about a time when I was newly single and newly 40 and living in the Pelham woods. There was this site, Manhunt, which around 2009 served the purpose of Grindr but also connected gay friends in the Pioneer Valley. Not having been single for most of my adult life, it was a revelation. Sex is, of course, rather terrifying. Other people are, however, completely interesting. “Goat boy” of the poem worked in a butterfly conservatory—what could be better than that? He was incredibly sweet and beautiful and really loved marijuana– also he had dreadlocks. The spur of the poem was remembering how foggy everything looked through dread-musk smeared glasses. The idea of dread-musk.
Is there a city or place, real or imagined, that influences your writing?
Montreal is a central character in my first book EXCITEMENT TAX, while our emigrating from the US to Canada in 2011 is the plot. What more could a writer wish for than a city where language is everywhere activated and living, full of conflict and full of fun? And also where the people are very sexy and very well-dressed.
Do you have any rituals or traditions that you do in order to write?
I rely on an increasingly intricate system of notebooks. One by the bed, one on the desk, loose leaf for composing. I’ve also taken to using my phone, which I then have to transfer to paper to make it back into language. I jot constantly (things I hear, things I think) and compose in the afternoon, when not feeling defeated by daily living.
The present poems are hewn from giant masses of prose. Kind of like sculpture. I write and write this id junk and then see what shapes are in it. Then carve. The carving is the work, the junk-spewing is the fun part.
Though I’m a little embarrassed by it, I like to have “Alex,” the computer voice, read my poems back to me over and over while I work on revisions.
Who typically gets the first read of your work?
My friends. My friend Marcie Frank is the first person I send a poem. My friend Meredith is usually the first person I read a poem to. When things seem pretty together I like to borrow Thomas Devaney’s amazing eyes and ears.
If you could work in another art form what would it be?
Film. Specifically shot-by-shot remakes of Doctor Strangelove.
What are you working on currently?
Working toward another collection of prose poems called The Playfulness of Skeletons, the Sadness of Bones.
Meanwhile I have an essay to finish on this cool little prose poem by Elizabeth Bishop about a cruisy gay toll-taker on the Bay Bridge.
I’m also discovering that having a first book is a lot of work. I’m not really good at any of it, nor natural to it. The idea of showing up at all is a bit uncomfortable. It’s kind of funny doing this first book thing at my age. Getting to feel that awkwardness, however, might be the best thing about it. I feel like I’m learning something about middle age that is actually nice to know. That I like a good awkwardness.
What are you reading right now? Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds and The Flowers of Evil. Also really savoring my friend Gillian Sze’s book Panicle.
CONTACT: giuliana pendenza — DC Books communications
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.dcbooks.ca
DC Books is proud to announce the Canada-Italy tourof Acqua Sacra in Italian translation, Keith Henderson’snovel on white collar crime in Abruzzo and in Quebec (Edizioni Kirke, Avezzano).In Italy the tour features the author, in Canada the authortogether with the translator, Fiorella Paris.
Preview on Monday 12th March, Interview with journalist Annalisa Coppolaro, Bar Caracas, Via Camollia 67, Siena
March 13th in Siena: Liceo G.Galilei, sponsored byCanaDiana, Laura FailliMarch 15th in Bologna: Centro Alfredo Rizzardi, Prof.Carla ComelliniMarch 17th in Rome: Canadian Club of Rome BookClub, Prof. Luigi Girolametto
April 6th in Tagliacozzo: Associazione Culturale Marsicana, Emanuele Nicolini
April 27th in Montreal: DC Books spring launch at the Blue Met, 6:30 pm – Paragraphe Book Store
“In Acqua Sacra we find ourselves in a somewhat uncomfortable position, work suspended in the house, a confrontation with the mother of the workers supposed to finish the job. But in exchange for prosecutorial immunity, Susanna becomes involved in a Canadian operation far beyond the scope of normalcy. Her unease about her situation is made clear in a precise psychological portrait Keith Henderson renders perfectly in a series of metaphors that act as a summary of Susanna Ricci’s self-assessment: her distaste for roller coasters, her vertigo at heights, her love of quiet, unhurried driving, her refusal to learn to ski. The final portions of the book intensify the shift toward crime novel. And here both the fantasy and reality of our times combine in situations that lend an entirely different and enriching flavour to so lively a book…. Truly a fine novel.”
— GIANFRANCO FORMICHETTI, City Councillor responsible for Cultural Matters, City of Rieti, Author of Vita di Antonio Vivaldi, Giunti Editore
Robert Edison Sandiford is one of the non-fiction judges for the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize.
The NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad and Tobago administers the annual award, which recognizes the best books of poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction published in English in the previous calendar year by a writer of Caribbean birth or citizenship living anywhere in the world. Entries are made by publishers, though judges may request other published titles for consideration.
The annual literary award, now open for entries, carries a cash prize of US$10,000 for the overall winner, with two prizes of US$3,000 for the category winners. These are sponsored by One Caribbean Media.
Every year, the prize has ten judges in all, distinguished writers, scholars and publishing professionals. There are three judges for each category, including a chair who will form part of the final judging panel of four persons, the fourth being the overall judge. For 2018, the head judge will be the Poet Laureate of Jamaica, Lorna Goodison.
The other two Bocas Prize non-fiction judges are Judy Raymond and Jeremy Taylor.
The reading period runs from November to February. The judges come up with a shortlist of three books and then the winner in each category.
The winning title in each category will be judged for the award of best title of the year, to be announced in April at the festival.
“Throughout the short novel, Will navigates a web of professional frustrations and domestic quandaries as a father of two young boys (for example: Should sleepovers be allowed on a weekday? Should you allow your ten-year-old to beat you at soccer?). Abray carefully bifurcates Will’s life into two distinct worlds, work and home. The charm of the domestic scenes, often dominated by frank, age-appropriate discussions with his young sons, exposes the corporate theatrics and prickly politics of Will’s exchanges at work with colleagues and clients.
Some of the best and most comedic moments in the novel are when the two worlds briefly overlap. For example, when Will takes his sons to work and they meet his disagreeable boss, or when he tells a disinterested client about the gifts he bought his sons. Will has a propensity to overshare with clients – and it is details like this that make him an utterly believable, and likeable, protagonist….
The book consistently teeters on the edge of a grand dénouement – a betrayal, a blow-up, an accident. Here lies the book’s charm and uniqueness. Life happens: the seasons fold into each other, the boys go to weekly sports practice, and Will and Karen occasionally bicker. But nothing is extreme in this book – not even the toilet leak. It’s a highly readable and funny rendition of real life.
– Cecilia Keating, The Montreal Review of Books, Fall, 2017
The Association of English Language Editors of Quebec will hold a Book Fair Saturday Nov 25 and Sunday Nov 26, at Le Café, on the ground floor of the Monument-National, 1182 St-Laurent. Hours are: Saturday: 12-6 PM and Sunday: 11-5 P.M.
A number of DC Books authors will be in attendance.
Saturday 12 – 2: poet John Emil Vincent whose Excitement Tax is about to be released.
Saturday 2 – 4: poet Greg Santos, author of Rabbit Punch! and The Emperor’s Sofa.
Saturday 4 – 5: poet Steve Luxton, author of Luna Moth and In The Vision of Birds
Sunday 11 – 12:30: novelist Ken Radu, author of Earthbound and Butterfly In Amber
Sunday 12:30 – 1:30: novelist Tom Abray, author of Pollen and Where I Wanted to Be
Sunday 1:30 – 3:30: poet Larissa Andrusyshyn, author of Mammoth and Proof
Throughout the Fair: novelist Keith Henderson, author of The Roof Walkers and Acqua Sacra
Please make a note of the DC Books/Montreal West Library Fall Reading at the Montreal West Library, Wednesday Oct. 25, 5-7 pm, 45 Westminster S., just opposite Town Hall. Music, Refreshments, Admission free,featuring Ken Radu, Tom Abray, Keith Henderson, Jason Camlot, and Larissa Andrusyshyn. Free parking beside the Library or behind Town Hall.