For the last seven years I have been issuing “poetry annuals.” (An “annual” is a collection of all the “poems and effects” that I wrote the previous year.) A Standing Wave is the title of the eighth volume in this series. It collects over 170 “poems and effects” composed during the calendar year 2012, along with the relevant entries from the year’s “Dream Diary.” The volume a straight-forward compilation of inventive, imaginative, innovative, and ingenious poems, works that may take the reader by surprise. Here are some details: A Standing Wave: Poems and Effects of 2012, Toronto, Ont.: Colombo & Company, 2012. ISBN-10 1894540-70-0. 5.5″ x 8.8″. xi+181+i. $30.00. Trade paperback, with Bill Andersen’s striking cover design.
I am often asked, “Who is your favourite author?” I try to avoid a direct answer to this question because like the sultan in his harem I have “many favourites.” Yet I especially favour one prolific writer. Way back in the 1950s, I began to I collect his books, and by now I have copies of his seventy-odd novels and story collections.
The author is Sax Rohmer, and he is remembered these days – when at all – as the creator of the arch-villain Dr. Fu Manchu. My good luck is to be involved in the publication of first editions of two new works by the British author. They are appearing 54 years after his death.
Pipe Dreams brings together Rohmer’s “occasional writings” – 35 articles, sketches, and memoirs that shed light on his interest in sorcery, occultism, music hall personalities, Harry Houdini, writing, etc. The Crime Magnet consists of a series of 16 crime-detection stories originally issued between 1937 and 1945. They feature the eccentric Major Bernard de Treville and his sidekick Digger. They are collected here for the first time.
I have introduced both volumes. The first one bears a foreword by Lawrence Knapp, the second one a foreword by Gene Christie, both gentlemen recognized as commentators on crime fiction. The publisher of trade paperback editions of these titles is The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box.
I am the contributor of the Foreword to this new work of scholarship, written by the Geneva-based historian and biographer Paul Beekman Taylor, published by Eureka Editions of Utrecht, The Netherlands.
The text of the Foreword may also be read on the Cambridge-based website which is accessible here.
JRC was chosen by University College, University of Toronto, as one of 100 “Alumni of Influence” 2012.
JRC was chosen by the Humanist Association of Toronto to be “Humanist of the Year” in 2008.
JRC was chosen by the University of Toronto to be one of 300 “Great University of Toronto Alumni: People Who Have Made a Difference” (Thinkers’ Category) 2002.
I am currently preparing for publication two books by Sax Rohmer, the creator of Dr. Fu Manchu.
The first is a collection of the British author’s “Crime Magnet” mystery stories, never before assembled. The second is “Pipe Dreams,” a compilation of this author’s first-time-collected sketches and memoirs.
Until these are published, later this year, fans are invited to read the text of a paper I delivered on “Fantastic Elements in the Fiction of Sax Rohmer” (2010).
To my surprise, I discover that I have a substantial presence on YouTube.
Do you want to see me being interviewed by film exhibitor Reg Hartt (in 3D, more or less)? Do you want to see and hear me reading poems from the recent collection “Poems of Space and Time”? Do you want to view the National Film Board’s animated version of the poem “Riverdale Lion”? Do you want to enjoy film-maker Kristin Somborac’s poetic trilogy prepared for the Bravo! TV network? (It has the general title “The Colombo Plan,” and it consists of joyous, animated versions of the following poems: “Domestic Weaponry,” “If the Rest of the World,” and “Recipe for a Canadian Novel”). These are all very imaginative “takes” on one writer’s work.
Keyboard “YouTube” and then “John Robert Colombo”! Or here, I’ll do it for you.
Less of Light is the title of the latest volume of poetry composed by John Robert Colombo. It consists of all the poems and literary effects that the author and anthologist wrote between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2011. The “added attraction” is the inclusion of the log that describes the dreams and nightmares experienced (or not experienced) by the author over the last 365 days. Less of Light is unusual if not unique; it is not known that any other writer issues “poetry annuals” or writes “poems and effects” like these. Colombo & Company. 166 pages, 5.5″ x 8.5″, paperback, multi-colour cover specially designed by Bill Andersen. ISBN-13-978-1-894540-69-8. $30.00
Aphorisms are on my mind these days. I have released a new collection of them. A Quaint and Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore consists of 104 pages of aphoristic expressions, comments, and observations that go from Abkhazia and Achievement to Zombies and Zoos. It is not a general collection but a specialized compilation focused on the notion of traditional thought, its prevalence, persistence, and power. It may be seen as a riff on Denis Saurat’s notion of “philosophical poetry.” The visually engaging cover is the inspired work of designer Bill Andersen (with a nod to the spirit of the “magical boxes” of artist and sculptor Joseph Cornell). Colombo & Company. 6″ x 9″. ISBN-10-1-894540-59-X . $30.00
The poetry readings that I give these days are few and far between. But when I do give a recital – as I did as part of the Wordstock Festival in Collingwood, Ont., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 – I focus on new and unpublished work. In fact, the occasion marked the “first reading” of only those poems that I had composed since the first of the year. They will appear in next year’s collection and probably nowhere else.
So my recital was a literary presentation, not a performance of proven “platform” poems. This fact was appreciated by the audience (largely composed of fellow writers). John Irving reads only from novels in progress. I now do the same for poetry in progress.
Most recitals slip by unnoticed; nobody thinks about them, so the spark is extinguished in the dark maw of history. That did not happen at the Wordstock reading, for one member of the audience was the lively poet (and one-time protégé) Stuart Ross, who has made a name for himself as an innovator and publisher. To my surprise he wrote a column for his blog about the Wordstock reading. It is informative and it recreates the ambience of the event. Here is the link.
Jeepers Creepers …
Yes, the title of my latest book is Jeepers Creepers … and it consists of about three dozen ghost stories … that is, told-as-true accounts of encounters with ghosts and spirits reported by Canadians from across the country. This is not a book about haunted houses … instead, it is a collection of first-person narratives involving events and experiences that are weird and sometimes wonderful but always mysterious and perhaps even miraculous! This is not folklore These are true reminiscences from real people and they were complied by John Robert Colombo, the indefatigable anthologist whose books include dictionaries of quotations, collections of little-known facts about this well-known country of ours, and volumes of poetry and aphorisms. Jeepers Creepers: Canadian Accounts of Weird Events and Experiences lives up to its subtitle! Experience the uncanny. Think about the paranormal. Read this book! (Subliminal suggestions!) Published in trade paperback format (6″ x 9″, 216 pages) by Dundurn at $19.95.