Bill Casselman's latest publication is an essay in a new book entitled Barry Callaghan: Essays on his Works in the Writers Series published by Guernica Editions Inc.
Who is Barry Callaghan?
"Along with Atwood and Richler, one of Canada ’s pre-eminent persons of letters." - Quill and Quire
"...piercing lucidity, uncompromising intelligence, a depth and intensity of feeling perhaps best denoted by Lorca's term duende ... the gift of great criticism." - Globe and Mail
As a great storyteller and man of letters, Barry Callaghan is also a Canadian public intellectual and cultural critic; these essays discuss his influence and assess his writerly fascination with the no-man's-land between fiction and journalism. Contributors include Margaret Atwood, Marie-Claire Blais, Joyce Carol Oates, Noah Richler, Timothy Findlay, Dennis Lee, Anne Michaels, Ray Robertson, Bill Casselman, William Kennedy, and the editor of this lively Festschrift, poet and novelist Priscila Uppal.
Dr. Uppal is a professor of Humanities and English at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
BOOKS BY BARRY CALLAGHAN
Translations of Books
Bill Casselman's piece in this book looks at Callaghan's autobiography Barrelhouse Kings and at Barry’s public persona throughout his career. Here are 3 excepts from “Something Barry Callaghan Left Out of His Memoir” by Bill Casselman.
— — Callaghan is one of our best miniaturists. Early in [his memoir] Barrelhouse Kings, Barry writes of a neighbour during his childhood: “Dabney was troubled by his son, Terence, a lean, eighteen-year-old who bleached his hair and played the French horn. Late at night, he would open his bedroom window and play ‘Taps’ on the horn. “That way,” he told me, “my father knows that I wish he was dead.”
There is not the brevity of poetic sensibility. There is prose chipped lean by dread’s chisel.
— — This flaw of not putting on a public face. . .produced Barry Callaghan's moment of opprobrium, a television interview with Golda Meir, Israeli stateswoman, one time Prime Minister of Israel, she who drew back the curtains to facilitate the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and helped isolate Israel from other nations. Golda Meir had the mien of a thug, which she was, a crude bully. Maybe she had to be. Maybe. Still she was. She liked to watch people cringe, her old crocodile eyes laughing as people writhed in cowardice before her. Golda knew most humans were despicable and she liked that, because she wasn't. Well, Golda met Crocodile Dundee on Canadian TV. Callaghan asked tough questions. Yep, Callaghan responded with jibe for jibe, did not budge, stoutly maintained his innocence and lost all kinds of future jobs for years afterward. Life Lesson 6-B, fellah: Never tangle with a sacred cow.
— — Jealousy leaks its rancid bile wherever Barry Callaghan appears. “I hate that snot ’cause he can talk well.” Barry's oratorical laissez-faire is profoundly unCanadian. . .here in Canada such eloquence is scarce. In Canada consequently there remains a pioneer distrust of the person who can wield words. Anti-intellectualism teems fresh, and the loathing of accomplishment and the guts necessary to achieve it diminishes our national life daily. . . That dour suspicion of eloquence, that notion that real men don't talk, oozes through modern Canadian schools and shops and playgrounds and bars and parent-infested hockey rinks. It wounds boys in their word-heart and makes it macho to be inarticulate. . .
Title: Barry Callaghan: Essays on His Works edited by Priscila Uppal
Paperback: 524 pages
Publisher: Guernica Editions, Canada ( Summer 2007)
List Price: $ 20.00 (Canadian)