Regarding Carmine Starnino's review of Eunoia, thank you for having both the vision and courage to set something in print that, finally, puts this book in its place. Eunoia's empty-hearted alphabetic contortions have fooled far too many critics (and, sadly, contest judges). Bok seems like the long-lost explorer who, after sailing in a circle and striking land, doesn't realize he's not on the shores of some distant and exotic place, but actually just on the other side of the island from which he started. "Wow," scream the reviews, "poet makes wordplay!" What next, "Holy smokes, poet uses words that rhyme!"? It's worthy of The Onion.
In looking at Eunoia, by Christian Bok, Carmine Starnino provided a badly needed review. Many reviewers assumed somehow that any striking, technical accomplishment must also be equally meaningful and memorable, apparently caught up in the hype surrounding the book. I found it refreshing to read a review that recognized that all the effort in the world does not necessarily translate into a valuable or original result. It's the kind of small, yet important observation that tells us the difference between a thinker and a follower. Many thanks.
I am writing with my complaint and my compliments. My complaint is that I, and other Moncton venues, receive your issue at the end of the month in which it is published. Is there any way I can arrange for faster delivery?
My compliments concern the quality of your magazine content. If the mandate of BiC is to provide varied, erudite, educational insight to Canadian literature and to the field of literature in general, then you and your associates should be proud.
Given the delivery delays, you can imagine how eager I am to read each issue when it finally arrives, and I am never disappointed. I like the fact that you allow your writers the room to provide readers with a thorough analysis of the book or issue they are dealing with. More importantly, I appreciate the fact that BiC is a venue for ideas and opinions that often challenge those expressed in other similar Canadian publications. I am thinking particularly of the well-written, beautifully argued articles and reviews by David Solway. Like him, your writers write 'up' to readers. They assume that readers are intelligent and open-minded, and then provide them with a perspective that, because it is often not the popular one, is essential to the evaluative process. Solway's "On Being a Jew,"for example, is a powerfully written, poignant piece that is highly relevant to an intellectual assessment of current political events and, as he writes, to the "Kristallnacht atmosphere pervading the world today."
Reviews, in previous issues, like Michael Greenstein's "Cars, Trains, and Standard Yiddish," your "Condessa from Another Realm" and Nella Cotrupi's review of Northrop Frye's diaries are other fine examples of how writers can educate as they inform. Moreover, the variety and large number of books dealt with in each issue ensure that readers are aware of books that are as worthy of their attention as those which happen to be the focus of a book publisher's advertising dollars. And finally, I enjoy the poetry insets and would like to see more of those.
I simply wanted you to know that your work and that of your contributors is appreciated.
Good luck with future issues, et bon travail!
UniversitT de Moncton
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