Selected Works (not including anthologies, filmscripts or chapbooks):
The Last of the Crazy People (1967)
The Butterfly Plague (1969)
The Wars (1977)
Famous Last Words (1981)
Not Wanted on the Voyage (1984)
The Telling of Lies (1986)
Piano Man’s Daughter (1995)
You Went Away (1996)
Dinner Along the Amazon (1984)
Dust to Dust (1997)
Can You See Me Yet? (1974)
John A. – Himself (1979)
The Stillborn Lover (1993)
The Trials of Ezra Pound (1995)
Elizabeth Rex (2001)
Inside Memory: Pages from a Writer’s Workbook (1990)
From Stone Orchard: A Collection of Memories (1998)
Journeyman: Travels of a Writer (2003)
Dead men are serious – that’s what this photograph is striving to say. Survival is precluded. Death is romantic – got from silent images. I lived – was young – and died. But not real death, of course, because I’m standing here alive with all these lights that shine so brightly in my eyes. Oh – I can tell you, sort of, what it might be like to die.
Once he was wakened in the night – his body made of boards – and heard the sound of what appeared to be a battle over by the trains, and later still, his sleep unregained for an hour or more, he saw the sky light up with the aura of exploding engines. Last thing of all, the sound of one lone truck escaping up the road that ran past the trees, and then the deep and muffled silence of the snow that fell like a dream of snow – with flakes the size of coins straight down out of clouds so low they tangled with the pines.
In the morning there were shrouds of mist, like remnants hung from the branches. Mauberley had come to the foothills of the mountains and surely, now, he was safe. Unless the trees were enemies.
Famous Last Words
Everyone knows it wasn’t like that. To begin with, they make it sound as if there wasn’t any argument; as if there wasn’t any panic – no one being pushed aside – no one being trampled – none of the animals howling – none of the people screaming blue murder. They make it sound as if the only people who wanted to get on board were Doctor Noyes and his family.
Not Wanted on the Voyage
There is no ending to this story. There is only what is and was and will be.
“What Mrs. Felton Knew” Dinner Along the Amazon
It came to him slowly, standing on the curb at Avenue Road and Bloor, that, when he rode on the subway and was recognized, it was not their recognition of him that mattered: but their hope that he – in all his ballyhooed wisdom and fame – might recognize them and tell them who they were. I know you from somewhere: that’s what they yearned for him to say. I know – I recognize who you are.
The only books you can burn are your own. And you have to know why. It is really not so that no one else can read them. It is so they will be gone from who you are. I mean, who you are as a writer.
What you have to learn, I discovered, is how to hide out in the open. That was the bargain. Those were the terms. Don’t. Then I fell in love – a long, long time ago – with Francis Oliver. That was when I made my choice. To live incognito. And so, we never embraced. We never touched. I never held him – never.
“The Stillborn Lover”
Lilah raised the book above her head. “Here!” she cried, triumphantly. “This is where he belongs. Put him in here.”
“Madame?” said one of the interns – pompous and pretentious. “Which of us do you want?”
“Him, of course,” said Lilah – pointing the book at Kurtz. “He escaped from page 92.”
Minds were wandering – into the past – into speculation of what might be a happier occupation than this – into long meditations on the subjects of food and sleep – into the distance beyond the windows, with its moon and stars and its cold wind rising.
The Piano Man’s Daughter
You’re afraid that if you start to put him on paper, you’ll find out you’re in love with him.
You Went Away
In seeming to lie, he struggles to deliver truths.
Names are touchstones. Names are flags, signalling the magic of unique identity – the wonder of individuality. They are a shorthand code that can summon the image of a creature – whole and absolute.
From Stone Orchard
A crow flew into the walnut tree, his creaking wings like punctuation marks. End of sentence. And it had seemed a sentence – Loretta’s life. It is said that anorexia, if not an illness, is more than a serious condition – and Loretta had been governed by it as if she had become an occupied country, unaware that capitulation had taken place, though it so clearly had.
And the answers lie beyond those doors, beyond the books we read – in ourselves and in the way we can learn, through reading fiction, how to deal with chaos.