Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Stuart Ross's blog


My basement excavations — the chaotic and ecstatic unpacking of dozens of boxes of cryogenically preserved books — recently produced a copy of a chapbook I haven’t thought about in decades. Pleasant Days … With Joe and Sam was privately published by rock critic John Kordosh back in 1979. That was the same year I met the legendary and legendarily cranky street-peddling self-published fiction writer Crad Kilodney, author of World Under Anaesthesia, Gainfully Employed in Limbo, I Chewed Mrs. Ewing’s Raw Guts,, and plenty more.

Doing my song and dance

I sent out my first godawful poem for publication when I was ten or eleven years old. I sent it to the Toronto Daily Star; I obviously hadn’t done my market research, since they didn’t publish poetry. They responded kindly to my handwritten-on-lined-paper submission, but they delivered my first rejection.

Introducing Zalman Nehemiah Razovsky … maybe.

I’ve been wrestling with it for years, and I pondered it a bit in my essay “How Jew You Do?” in Further Confessions of a Small Press Racketeer (Anvil Press, 2015). Should I change my name — Ross — back to my paternal grandfather’s original name, Razovsky? Time’s getting short if I’m ever going to do it. I’ve never been so close to making the decision.

And if I do, do I start putting Stuart Razovsky on the covers of my books? Or maybe I change my English given names to my Hebrew names: Zalman Nehemiah.

Let me try it on for size. “A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent is the tenth full-length poetry collection by Zalman Nehemiah Razovsky.”

debby florence on Canadian poetry

As someone who was crazy about a lot of American poets from a very young age, I'm still caught off-balance when an American turns out to be a big fan of Canadian poetry. debby florence is one such American. I first met debby about 25 years ago, when I was a visiting writer at an alternative high school she attended in St. Paul, Minnesota.


It’s almost six years now since, after nearly half a century in Toronto, I moved to Cobourg, pop. 18,500. My adopted home — "Ontario’s Feel Good Town" — is just a ninety-minute commute east by car (quicker by train) along the teetering northern precipice of Lake Ontario. In making this move, I left behind a literary community I’d been deeply involved in since I was a teenage writer.

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