About this book
A passionate meditation on the meeting of life and literature, and a text of rumination, invention, and rhapsody, Apocrypha celebrates tradition while going its own way, crossing genres and at times stretching out the sentence. Throughout the book, Dragland explores literary criticism that is personal in response, connecting with a thread of life-writing falling on many subjects, including learning and teaching, reading and writing. Dragland looks at the texts of strangers and colleagues, including Michael Ondaatje, Roy Kiyooka, Robert Kroetsch, Fred Wah, Matt Cohen, Agnes Walsh, and others, weaving together personal reminiscences with theoretical and critical looks at their work. Apocrypha is also touched with the landscapes of Dragland’s own life—from Alberta to Ontario to Newfoundland, and his travels through India, Germany, and England.
"When was the last time you were reading a book about literature and teaching and did not want to put it down till you got to the end? In this one, Stan Dragland does with grace what others vainly essay—he tells the story of his reading as a life-story. He moves easily from prairie tuft to Dickens. He honours our writers while letting us know how ordinarily they are a part of his days. His book is radically inventive in its structure while it is lusciously easy to read, and that is a rare combination. And here is where envy rears its head: Dragland must have sold his soul to be able to write such marvellous clear sentences. I had to keep putting my socks on, I can tell you."
“…[R]eading was my darling pleasure”, Stan Dragland quotes from Bobbie Louise Hawkins, as an epigraph. It clearly was. And in this intimate—yes, intimate—journey through the highways and byways of Stan Dragland’s mind, he makes it our darling pleasure, too. The image of the house he drew as a child provides an insight into his particular focus. Viewed not from the front, as most children draw, but from catty corner, his drawing contained the inevitable sun, the front of the house, and that little bit more that is usually hidden: a view of the side. So it is with his writing. The inevitable sun, the front of the house and that little bit more—a view of the side."