About this book
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Pacific Rim Letters by Roy Kiyooka at once a document and a creative work, personal meditation and cultural manifesto, it engages the reader with Kiyooka’s intimate voice speaking through his letters to family, as well as friends, many of them writers and visual artists.
“Pacific Rim Letters, alongside its earlier companion volume, Transcanada Letters, postmarks Roy Kiyooka’s 20-year letter-writing project as one of the most unique manifestos of epistolatory poetics in the past fifty years. This extraordinarily innovative and expansive painter, photographer, writer, and musician used the letter as a form to explore and develop a domestic aesthetics that addresses the daily life of the artist at work, the quotidian correspondences of business, community, and the imagination. The narrative threads through these missives deliver a gripping biotext of a racialized and hyphenated Canadian artist ‘leaping cultural fences’ and rapping out to the ‘myriad extensions’ of the ‘mundane self.’ And Smaro Kamboureli’s editing, together with her ‘Afterword,’ is a critically useful zip code of the particular context and nuances of this outstanding dispatch of Canadian cultural history.”
“Kiyooka emerges from this ‘biography of self’ as a polymath, utterly at ease in the arenas of language, image, and sound. His letters run a range from the poetic to the hard-nosed, and the man who emerges from their verbal intricacies is both splendid and heartbreaking. In Kiyooka’s own fine phrase, they are ‘a wanton correspondence.’ In 1976 he introduced himself at a poetry reading by saying, ‘this will be my strut for all those keen ears out there.’ He was a man of his words: when he walks the walk, as readers we are all ears. To use one of Kiyooka’s favourite words, Pacific Rim Letters is an ‘epiphany’—an ‘epiphany’ that holds us enthralled.”