Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Short Version: French Symbolists To Polish Strikers, Topic Sentences And Desire.

Stan Persky is the winner of the 2010 Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.

Previous winners: PK Page, Robert Bringhurst, Jack Hodgins, Patrick Lane, Gary Geddes, and me.

The $5,000 prize rewards established B.C. writers for contributing to the growth of literary excellence in British Columbia. Persky said he expects to donate the prize money to charity.

Born in Chicago in 1941, Persky began to make his mark on B.C. in the 1960s, when he co-founded the Georgia Straight Writing Supplements, which led to the establishment of New Star Books, a Vancouver publishing house. An essayist and author, Persky is also a long-time philosophy professor at Capilano University.

Quill and Quire reports: According to jury member Terry Glavin, “Stan has always taken British Columbia seriously. He has subjected British Columbia to thoughtful inquiry, and has held British Columbian literature to the highest standards… British Columbians can rightly boast that he is truly one of ours. We are enormously proud to offer him the recognition of the 2010 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.”

Elsewhere: “His grace as an essayist, his curiosity and independence of thought as a critic and newspaper columnist, and his exuberance as a civil rights activist and a leading voice of the gay community have enriched us all. Stan Persky is our Socrates.”

Persky's 20 books include: The Short Version, Topic Sentence, Lives of the French Symbolist Poets, At The Lenin Shipyard: Poland and the Rise of the Solidarity Trade Union and Buddy's: Meditations on Desire.

New Star Books, which has published most of Stan's titles, presents this nice biographical sketch: As a seven–year–old boy in 1940s Chicago, Stan Persky tugged Carmen Miranda's hair (at her invitation) to confirm to an audience of shoppers that it was real. On leave from the US Navy in the early sixties, Persky stayed in Paris's Beat Hotel, where Allen Ginsberg was a fellow guest. Later he marked his Navy discharge with a tattoo of an unfouled anchor: one not encumbered by rope, or the past. Most importantly, Persky has written about these things – written intelligently, as is his wont, but also engagingly, in a way that invites rather than demands. It's part and parcel of what Persky does, whether in a classroom full of students or on the pages of a book. Explicate. Explain. Entertain. Persky came to Canada in 1966, after adventures in romance and writing in Europe and San Francisco. He has taught at Northwest College, Malaspina College, and Simon Fraser University. Persky has written for a number of magazines and websites, including the Globe and Mail and Dooney's Cafe.


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1:39 AM  

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