RICK CRILLY is the author of The Tablecloth Trick (ECW Press/2007), described by Rikki Ducornet as “sweetly mysterious and clairvoyant”. His work has appeared in Litmus: the Neurological Issue, Zone Magazine, Molly Bloom, Blackbox Manifold, Taddle Creek and Gone Lawn 3.
Irene Gammel, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Modern Literature and Culture at Ryerson University and is the author of eight books, including Baroness Elsa–A Cultural Biography from MIT Press and Looking for Anne of Green Gables, had this to say about Friendly, Manitoba:
Taking as its title the licence plate slogan of Friendly, Manitoba, the book is a tour de force through Canadian, Irish, and Native histories and cultures, linking the mythologies of figures like Métis leader Louis Riel with deeply personal ones. Exploring the typographical as a means of overlaying geographic spatialities with familial ones, the story of Crilly’s mother are justified on the left of the page while those relating to his father, a butcher from Ireland who first read Finnegans Wake to his son, are justified on the right, leaving “Crilly’s” narrative flowing down the centre. A Manitoban Finnegans Wake, this book upends grammar, syntax, and spelling in order to “weld.words” in a never-ending poetic flow. This is the story for birthing the self in linguistic cascades, a gurgling of hymns to Joyce, Rabelais, and Alfred Jarry, to Mina Loy and Gertrude Stein, and a gargantuan re-Joycing by a “playdiarist” author who alternately asserts and subverts his own “author itty.” Friendly, Manitoba is a long poem, forever digressing and regressing like the fabled rivers of Manitoba that routinely swell and crest to record heights. In this bold and poetic adventure Rick Crilly opens all the floodgates.
Click on ‘Pop-Out’ to view the poem full-screen.