home | about | archives | forum | submit

Writing Class: The Kootenay School of Writing Anthology

james hörner

this anthology, which gives us an idea of what was going on with the Kootenay School of Writing (KSW) poets between 1984 and 1994, is broad in range but definitely follows certain themes. in other words, after reading this anthology it is certainly clear that these people were working together, bouncing ideas off one another, striving towards their individual artistic aims together.

Writing Class book cover what i enjoyed most about the anthology, in many ways, was the 45 page introduction which laid out the major ideas and themes behind the KSW and how these notions found voice amongst its many writers.

the introduction warns us against putting labels on this group, though:

No particular mode of writing or style of criticism evolved from the School, and, for this reason, it seems misleading to try to outline a genuine KSW aesthetics. Yet to read the writing that did develop in and around the small office quarters downtown is to perceive at times a strong communal identity based upon a shared approach towards class position and politics.
in many ways, this sums up well what you will find in this anthology. there are highly socially conscious works, some more politicized than others, but all a passionate exploration.

each of these writers approached poetics differently, some choosing to express themselves in an aesthetics of free from, others utilizing a more traditional structure to get their message across. it is this variety of form which gives this work such vitality - after all, if the 14 KSW poets represented here all worked in the same style i daresay this would make for one boring book. Writing Class is far from boring, though, and it gives the reader a window into a movement and a time, and provides a new lens through which the reader can perceive the world around them.

there are few poetry anthologies i would want to read from cover to cover - but this one shows a wide array of expressions and is a refreshing break from stodgy compilations of tired, flaccid poetry.

published by new star books
ISBN 0-921286-68-x

james hörner edits canadian content.

home / about / archives / forum / submit