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Peter Quartermain

Peter Quartermain

Photo: Meredith Quartermain

Thanks to the capable Erín Moure and her Zat-So Productions, my memoir Growing Dumb: An Autobiography of an English Education is now in print. It's a gentle investigation of perplexity in a boys' world in WW II, the story of a boy uprooted from conventional life and stuck in a series of isolated country villages. He witnesses the Blitz in Birmingham, and navigates a world of rationing and hunger, shortage and inhibition, accents and class mannerisms. He ends up at Brewood Grammar School (modelled loosely on the quintessential English Public School in Tom Brown's School Days) and finds his education conferred by a rather eccentric crew of teachers who operate as though the Empire were still in its heyday.

Other books of mine include Disjunctive Poetics: from Gertrude Stein and Louis Zukofsky to Susan HoweStubborn Poetries: Poetic Facticity and the Avant-garde, and my editions of the Collected Early Poems and Plays of Robert Duncan, and the Collected Later Poems and Plays of Robert Duncan. I also edited, with Richard Caddel, Other: British and Irish Poetry Since 1970, and with Rachel Blau DuPlessis The Objectivist Nexus: Essays in Cultural Poetics. At the University of British Columbia, I taught contemporary poetry and poetics for over thirty years, retiring in 1999. I was the first Mountjoy Fellow at the University of Durham, UK, was a Resident Fellow at the Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio Study and Conference Centre, and was awarded a Killam Research Prize at the University of British Columbia in 1997. The Duncan collections won the Pegasus Award for Criticism and a Northern California Booksellers Special Mention. 

From the late seventies until the late nineties I and my wife Meredith ran Slug Press, producing hand-set letter-press poetry broadsides by Canadian and America poets. After Slug ended in 1997, we ran Keefer Street Press until 2020, again producing hand-set letter-press broadsides and pamphlets. We also ran a digitally printed chapbook press: Nomados Literary Publishers, publishing many innovative poets across North America. In 2003 I was Writer in Residence at Capilano College, where I gave the Koerner Lecture on life-writing. I have also taught at the Naropa Summer Writing Program.

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