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The Mad Phoenician Meets Julia Kristeva


I have been writing the Abject Alphabet since the 1980s, after Kroetsch’s Sad Phoenician, I must be the Mad Phoenician I thought. I met Julia Kristeva when she was promoting a novel which I’ve since given away. I discovered my friend Peter Dueck (rhymes with dew ick) was in Toronto for national meetings as I was, I was. We were looking for something to do the evening before our meetings started, and I saw that Julia Kristeva was launching her new novel Samurai at the University of Toronto. If we hoofed it we might get to the hall in time. We did we did. I shook her hand, had her novel sad SAMURAI signed, The book the words did not survive subsequent moves and wives. 

Image from Semiotext(e)

Oh man, the watch, the ring, the teeth, Hooooolleee! So. crucify me for objectifying Kristeva. It’s a picture.
Words are breath (says Erin Moure) not eyes. It’s their words that tell me to Always Breathe (coming soon to a publisher near you). Words in translation at that. An hour late for meds and meditation. Daren’t miss out.

I sure did buy many of her critical texts including Power of Horror with its focus on abjection and Black Sun about melancholia and depression.  As a neurodivergent this was significant, as was the Revolution in Poetic Language and Desire in Language to me as a writer.  These books were sold at the top of the lecture hall in Toronto, I did not have the legs even back in the 1990s to go back down the stairs, and up again to leave.  

Peter still had the legs, probably still does, at least two of them, me one less. I was too embarrassed to send him down to the bottom of the lecture hall, and/or wave her to wait as the line was petering out, I might say, for him or me or new pro-nuns twee I’ve lost the drift, the gist the grist I flail. Her texts have been significant in my life, however unsigned. When Peter and me crossed Yonge St back to our separate hotels, we were slowed by a party, second last win before the Jays won the whole she-bang, the party already in swing!

My mother’s  first photo portrait, and wallet sized. She will likely be getting used to dentures, having most all of her teeth pulled when she was 17. I draw your attention to her wrist and her finger.

Kristeva is still living as far as I know, her reputation somewhat tarnished for meeting with Bulgarian spooks reminding her she might be free in France, but her family was not. I read Camus, Sartre, de Beauvoir. I read Barthes and Melanie Klein, all now apparently out of date (except The Plague good for another edition.) like I dreamed last night being sent away from the University of Manitoban newspaper that I co-edited for a year, and Artspace where I had been President of the Board.  And where my Look show curated by Murray Toews opened on April 29. I was too afraid. I was too anxious to go, filling the porcelain bowl with blood a shade it could be argued was haemorrhoidal or amber grease, I crapped out once again. 

I have just been reminded by looking for Kristeva’s  picture that she has been married to David Sollers for fifty years. My mother, Susann with 2nns and Enns with 2 nns (nee Klassen) was married to my father Frank F. Enns for more than fifty years. My parents, however lived together. 



“I am abject, that is mortal and speaking”[1]
 I actually met Julia Kristeva in Toronto the day the Blue Jays won the world series. Her texts, translated in to English, (I know no French), provide the basis for most of my thinking and writing about language and desire, abjection and depression. Here let me show you.

Lights dim

  SCREEN ABJECT A (Short Cut) The first 2 minutes I thought


LETTER A – Beat The Clock



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