From My Library

Fabulous Fictions & Peculiar Practices - July 31, 2021

Fabulous Fictions & Peculiar Practices by Leon Rooke and Tony Calzetta

My latest selection for From My Library again pushes some expectations, as it exists as a book proper, but also as a folio of prints with text, and – like a previous book I suggested – offers both the work of an artist (Tony Calzetta) and a writer (Leon Rooke). Fabulous Fictions & Peculiar Practices was a trade edition book published by Porpucine’s Quill in 2009 in conjunction with a limited printing of a livre d’artiste from Presswerk Editions. 

Both collaborators have an entertaining irreverent humour that combine and augment each other’s practice, while never abandoning their respective formal acumen and polish (I say this having recently read Rooke’s Shakespear’s Dog which won the Governer General’s Award for Fiction in 1983, and having offered some curatorial and critical advice for Calzetta’s current exhibition, Painting and Other Fantasies). Rooke’s words are often amusing but edged: “We were down among the strippy currents basking in the afterglow of having torn ourselves apart when when my true love said, ” You should let some of your feminine side out.” I said, “If I let it out it will most certainly be slapped into prison.” 

You can read more about how “Fabulous Fictions & Peculiar Practices is a fantastical literary experiment in which text and image collide to form an irreverent satire of society’s indifference to the artist” here (with another selection of the prints and accompanying text available for perusal here). If interested to purchase the book, you can do so here, and the lovely limited edition livre d’artiste (in this, the images are black and white etchings from copper plates created by the artist and handprinted by Dieter Grund at Presswerk Editions on Maidstone 100% rag 245 gm) can be obtained here. ~ Bart Gazzola