Gregory  Betts

Photo: Gregory Betts Photo: Charles Earl, www.charlesearl.com
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Gregory Betts is a poet, editor, essayist, and teacher originally from Vancouver and Toronto. He is the author of If Language (Book Thug 2005), Haikube (2006), as well as seven chapbooks and various bits of ephemera. His first published poem was an anagrammatical translation of a short poem by bpNichol, appearing in the anthology TTbpN2 (1999). Betts' work has consistently troubled individual authorship through such mechanisms as anagrams, collaboration, and response-text writing. His first chapbook, All You Need to Know (House Press 2000), "plundered" poems from Toronto's Yellow Pages. His most recent chapbooks, including The Curse of Canada (above/ground Press 2008) and The Others Raisd in Me (Trainwreck Press 2008), "plunder" poems from acknowledged single authors to create new works (see the "plunderverse" manifesto for more). His essays, poems, stories, and manifestos have appeared in journals and anthologies across Canada, the United States, and four other countries.

If Language quotes a paragraph-length section of Steve McCaffery's essay "Language Writing" and presents 56 perfect anagrams of the paragraph, all with 525 letters and 56 letter "i"s, that respond directly and indirectly to McCaffery's ideas. The book was a shortlisted finalist for the Fitzpatrick O'Dinn Award, and was reprinted in 2008. Haikube is the product of a collaboration with Toronto sculptor Matt Donovan and designer/typographer Hallie Siegel. The object itself is a movable cube (modelled after the Rubik's Cube) with an original poem by Betts on each of the six sides. The engraved letters are raised and reversed, such that this poetry generation machine also functions as a printing press. The book contains the original six poems, alongside a small sampling of the 144 billion poems possible in the machine.

He has edited editions of poetry by W.W. E. Ross, Raymond Knister, and Lawren Harris, and recently finished a critical edition of selected stories, essays, and manifestos by Bertram Brooker, Canada's first avant-gardist. He is the co-editor of PRECIPICe literary magazine, and curates the Grey Borders Reading Series. He lives in St. Catharines where he teaches Canadian and Avant-Garde literature.

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Created: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 Updated: Thursday, September 18, 2008

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