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Hat’s off to the WorDoctor

I’ve signed a contract with Hagios for the April 2015 publication of Afgahnistan Confessions.

Ted Dyck was the very first editor of my very first poetry collection Jimmy Bang Poems (Turnstone 1979). He is now editing my fifth and most recent collection, Afghanistan Confessions (AC), slated for publication in 2015.  He is uncannily perceptive, bringing years of his own experience, reading, research, and writing to his work as an editor, teacher and facilitator.Ted2_WinR

His editorial acuity broke the ice-jam of a bloated and unfocused manuscript of over 350 poems like the Amphibexes on the Red River in spring.  First, he encouraged me to find a structure to “aid the reader” by considering the voices in the manuscript and how they might be differentiated.  In phase two, Ted suggested using the line and consistent stanzas to further delineate these voices.  We are now entering the final phase: some tidying, adding titles, and ordering the poems for effectiveness in four sections (each representing the voice of a Canadian soldier).  I will be delivering the manuscript to the publisher in November.

Ted’s support went beyond the rewarding process noted above. He read most of the poems initially as I wrote them, developing an understanding of what I was trying to do. Why the poems were so naked, bold and often brutal. Why “writing degree zero” was the perfect style for voices from the combat zones of Afghanistan.  Many other colleagues, Canlit writers, readers, and editors didn’t “get it,” neither the style, nor my willingness to portray Canadian soldiers in combat as they saw themselves. Ted did, and provided the motivation and editorial expertise to complete what I had started in 2007.

He is also a damn fine poet, and his Cutthroat and Other Poems is being published by Turnstone this fall.

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