Author in Profile: Stan Dragland

 The current questions are what anybody is asking. Let us never all agree to ask the same questions. Let us determine never to stop asking our own.
Stan Dragland

Stan Dragland is a talented, prolific, critically acclaimed, and widely respected author who just wrote a book full of penis jokes. Deep Too, one of BookThug’s fall titles, is a book of non-fiction stories that incorporates penis enlargement e-mails, questionable limericks, jokes, graffiti, and a photo of a “penis latte” along with personal anecdotes. It is a feminist text that rises above stereotype and traditional roles, and the either/or choices they so often involve, offering a funny and biting look at male strut and competition.

In Deep Too, Stan Dragland takes a long, hard look at the penis joke. To the work of illuminating pain, he puts his enormous heart and brilliant mind, his ever-ready wit, and a lambent prose that truly glows from within.
Marina Endicott, author of The Little Shadows

Dragland has drawn inspiration from and left his genius in schools and bookstores all across Canada. Originally from Alberta, he now lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where he is still active with the Toronto-based publisher, Brick Books. He started with Brick Books when he founded it, along with Brick Magazine, in the late seventies and early eighties. He was educated at The University of Alberta and Queen’s University and is Professor Emeritus, Department of English, The University of Western Ontario. He has published novels, essays, and poetry, including Wilson MacDonald’s Western Tour (critical collage), Peckertracks (novel), Journeys Through Bookland and Other Passages (fiction and non-fiction), The Bees of the Invisible: Essays in English Canadian Writing, Floating Voice: Duncan Campbell Scott and the Literature of Treaty 9 (criticism), Apocrypha: Further Journeys (non-fiction), Stormy Weather: Foursomes (prose poems) and The Drowned Lands (novel).

I try to make my writing, even the fiction, a species of thinking, but I don’t start with issues or questions. They arise in the writing. My mind is a jumble most of the time—not much lodges in it until I start to work with an intuition or an image or a situation. Thinking accrues in the writing. I value theoretical thinking but subscribe to no theory.
Stan Dragland

Dragland has discussed his writing process with rob mclennan and with Open Book Toronto, declaring his favourite piece of writing advice to be “Go deeper,” words of wisdom from Dennis Lee. He talks about the perils of being both editor and writer, about the benefits of writing in such a beautiful place as the Maritimes, and how geography does and doesn’t have an impact upon what writers do and don’t write about. While his writing encompasses a progressive political and social agenda, Dragland’s physical process of creating is rooted in the traditional: “I used to write longhand and then type drafts on an old Underwood typewriter,” he reminisces in an interview with rob mclennan. “I still write first drafts longhand, but the word processor saves a lot of time in revising.”

Dragland crowds his cityscapes and interiors with history and loss and odd St. John’s light fixtures and first names and the occasional belly laugh at one’s one stupidity. And if that’s not good poetry, I don’t know what is.
Monica Kidd, The Globe and Mail

PRAISE FOR STAN DRAGLAND: 

on Journeys Through Bookland and Other Passages 
Those familiar with Stan Dragland’s work recognize an author who works in protean literary forms. . . . in this new book Stan Dragland reveals a different side of growing up. Journeys Through Bookland is about how we educate ourselves and the influences that guide us – fairy tales, individual teachers, family life, dreams and nightmares. Stan Dragland is at his most moving in this book. He makes fiction out of all these sources, so that by the end an individual and a true voice emerge.
– Michael Ondaatje

on Stormy Weather: Foursomes 
This book is like a fine old song that overflows with tenderness and hardwon wisdom. A true and perfect companion for every weather.
– Elizabeth Hay

on The Drowned Lands 
Dragland has Cormac McCarthy’s gentle humour and affinity for magnificent landscapes, and, like Virginia Woolf, an ability to pierce the most intimate thoughts of his characters. Here is emotion as fast-flickering and dazzling as sunlight on water. The Drowned Lands is a deeply affecting story, beautifully told.
– Lisa Moore

 

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