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Note from the Editor
by Diana Kuprel

Likewise, when we sleep, severed from the world,... on a return journey into ourselves, we can see clearly through our closed eyelids, because thoughts are kindled in us by internal tapers, and smolder erratically. This is how total regressions occur, retreats into self, journeys to the roots. This is how we branch out into anamnesis and are shaken by underground subcutaneous shivers.... We are here at the very bottom, in the dark foundations, among the Mothers.... Here are the great breeding grounds of history, factories of plots, hazy smoking rooms of fables and tales. Now at last one can understand the great and sad machinery of spring. Ah, how it thrives on stories, on events, on chronicles, on destinies!... For what is spring if not a resurrection of history? ... How green with oblivion spring becomes: old trees regain their sweet nescience and wake up with twigs, unburdened by memories although their roots are steeped in old chronicles. That greenness will once more make them new and fresh as in the beginning, and stories will become rejuvenated and start their plots once again, as if they had never been. (From Bruno Schulz's Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass)

Whether it is unravelling the enigma of the origins of man, delving into the "memory palace" of cells (Michaels) to contemplate how "ontogeny repeats phylogeny" (Findley), or excavating and preserving the relics belonging to a people, the journey to the roots is a potent theme that bears the symbolic force of mythology. With this issue's focus on Canada's West Coast, the ground which bred me, it becomes a singularly personal one.

A cluster of texts tackles divers incarnations of West Coast cultural and intellectual life. BC writer Susan Musgrave ruminates over her peregrinations to reveal the formative events and spiritual alliances in her creativity. A Gulf Island poet, Brian Brett, reviews Robert Bringhurst's revelational translation of ancient Haida myths, polemicizing, in the process, with current political practices in certain First Nations councils and their impact on cultural production and publication. Freelance curator Karen Duffek turns her eye to Vancouver's Museum of Anthropology, which is now celebrating its 50th Anniversary. Andrew Klobucar, a member of the Kootenay School of Writers who has just shored up in Vancouver's sister city of San Francisco, offers an overview of past and present editions of the border-breaking BC literary journal, West Coast Line. Also covered are biographies of pioneering academic Pauline Jewett, former MP and the first Canadian woman to serve as president of Simon Fraser University, and of Alejandro Malaspina, an explorer whose name has been given to places and institutions up and down the West Coast even though his ship never reached the waters of the Georgia Strait.

Beyond the boundary of Pacific archipelagos to the Aegean's Cyclades, Montreal writer David Solway introduces Canadian lovers of poetry to the peerless voice and elusive figure of Andreas Karavis, who, from his island hermitage, is fast becoming one of the most influential verse-makers in Greece today.

And Branko Gorjup speaks with writer Anne Michaels. Michaels, who has just published her third volume of poetry, also reviewed here, discusses her ongoing poetic investigation of the human body as a site of memory-personal and collective, historical and anthropological.

Finally, we have a wrap-up of four Shakespeare plays that were performed at this year's Stratford Festival; reviews of the latest books by University of Toronto philosopher Ian Hacking, Guelph University Professor of Philosophy and Zoology Michael Ruse, and art historians Clement Greenberg and T.J. Clark; and the illuminatingly differing responses by writers like Jane Urquhart, Paul Quarrington, Spider Robinson, and Tomson Highway to a fundamental question posed by Margie Rutledge-and, incidentally, touched on by Musgrave and Karavis as well- just where is hope in fiction?

Diana Kuprel


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