PREVIEW: Canadian writers talk about their own 'Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band' collage cover

Author Joanne Leow includes the history, development, skyline, and shorelines of Singapore, the coastal areas of Vancouver, the city of Toronto, Dionne Brand, Christina Sharpe, Alfian Sa’at (dissident Singapore poet), Tan Pin Pln (dissident Singapore documentary filmmaker, pictured above), C.D. Wright, Maria Campbell, Phoebe Wang, Toni Morrison.

Author of many things, Gary Barwin examines the concept of influence as it relates to the actual people in one’s life versus the celebrity, pop idols (however obscure or infamous). “For example, in this list only writers? What about friends, family, influences who aren’t writers? How could I leave out Paul Celan? What about John Coltrane or J.S. Bach or John Cage? No visual artists? Philosophers? My family? Only humans? How the list would change over time as I discover or realize new influences and gain new important people.”

Barwin also shared a memory of a game he’d play with his grandfather. “We’d try to pick a football (i.e. soccer) squad of 11 of the most important/our favourite composers, writers, painters, philosophers. Just like this Sergeant Pepper task, the first few weren’t that difficult to choose, but as you near the end, it gets harder to balance who to include and who must be left out.”

No specific instructions were given to who could appear on the list (the question was posed as vague as possible as a way of freeing up any further didactisim on the part of the curator). And so Barwin, alone in the wilderness of his answers, took the time to contexualize the list ever so briefly and, let’s admit it, sweetly, mentioning his wife. “In addition to, obviously, being a major part of my life as a person, has made my writing possible. I’ve included two recent collaborators (Elee Kraljii Gardiner and Dona Mayoora), a couple friends who are also big writer influences (really? Franz was your friend. Oh yes.) I’m embarrassed that there are so few women and people of colour and only one queer person (you didn’t think Beckett was straight, did you?) And as for continents — Europe and North America only (though Dona Mayoora is from Kerala. Oh I should have included Basho, Murakami, and Borges. What about Calvino?" Barwin includes bpNichol, Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Stuart Ross, Erin Moure, derek beaulieu, Ell Kraljii Gardiner, Percival Everett, David W. McFadden, Dona Mayoora and Beth Bromberg. " I did include Erin Moure, not only as a writer," Barwin adds, "but to stand in for translators and the entire non-English speaking literary world. Well, at least it isn’t as white as the White Album.”


Various artists contributed to this 1982 punk anthology. The album includes work by Buzzcocks, The Fall, 999, Strangers, Generation X, X Ray Spex and Boomtown Rats.