Nov 142013

Savage Love Cover

Douglas Glover always pushes the envelope. Every story in Savage Love is outrageous, creating farce – and something beautiful – out of human foibles….

This is the kind of audacious work our literary juries should be acknowledging. Where were they on this one?

Read the whole review at Savage Love | NOW Magazine.

Nov 102013

My favourite line from a review so far: “…positively sick with the imagery of lust unfettered…” That’s exactly what I was aiming for, more or less, almost, sort of, well ballparkish.


“Shameless” touches upon the ways children diverge from expected paths in life, and the different ways love and lust can and will shape one’s experience. (The story also includes an incredible six-page paragraph positively sick with the imagery of lust unfettered, unsatisfied, having taken over and been taken over by the mistakes in one’s past.) It’s the final story, however, that proved to be my favourite in the book. “Pointless, Incessant Barking in the Night” is perfunctory in its absurdity, like a mid-life crisis bottled and vigorously shaken with an unhealthy dose of spunk (yes, that). By the end of this story, reflecting on The Comedies in its entirety, it feels as if Glover has addressed the ridiculousness of love and connection from all possible angles, thus clearing the table for something new.

Read the rest at Review: Savage Love, by Douglas Glover | backlisted.

Nov 102013

Savage Love Cover

Timothy Taylor (a terrific writer whom I put in Best Canadian Stories when I was editor) chaired one of the panels I was on at WritersFest in Vancouver last month. As I was jetting away on Monday, he emailed me saying that he’d had his advance fiction class at the University of British Columbia read “The Sun Lord and the Royal Child” from Savage Love and would I care to add some thoughts to the discussion preemptively by Wednesday. (He didn’t use the word “preemptively,” but he did say it was an “insane” request since I was in a jet and he needed the comments the next day.) In particular he was interested in the way I comically torqued the idea of celebrity around my rock star forensic archaeologist character and my use and abuse of history.

So I wrote the following:

A quick note then: That story in part comes out of my fascination with the part of southwestern Ontario where I was born — history, geology, prehistory.

Here’s the link to a collection of quotations selected from my research in general.

Some of the items here feed into the story directly including the probably apocryphal Neutral oral history pieces by the McMaster University scholar named Noble. The Southwold Earthworks have always fascinated me (though I have never driven over to see them, just keep saying I am going to every time I am on the farm — thus they are much bigger in my imagination than they are, no doubt, in reality).

I am also very interested in the uses we make of the natives and their prehistory, such that pretty much most of what comes out as history, especially what is commonly understood as native history, is already wrong and spinning off in some over-romanticized, hygienic, idealized image of natives, who, after all, are just people, too.

Thus the forensic archaeologist  in question is a celebrity because he is wrong.

One of the patterns of the story, aside from the irony of celebrity, is the inner corruption of contemporary Ontario (which is about the same as Texas sometimes in my mind in terms of Tea Party politics and philistinism). Although, of course, that’s a joke as well and doesn’t represent a thoroughgoing attitude or belief on my part, a bit of whimsy based on impressions that are always countered by other impressions, as I am sure you know.

And then there are doubles, double betrayals, a pattern of plot multiplication, the webbed toes (which go with my ongoing thoughts on mermaids–there is another southwestern Ontario mermaid story in the book).

 Hope this helps the class

—Douglas Glover

Oct 312013

On the 32nd floor of the Harbourfront Westin in Toronto with a room overlooking the lake and the Billy Bishop Airport runway (from which I will fly from here Sunday morning if they let me). Surrounded by writers, kind of like a dystopian movie with writers instead of zombies. The elevator doors open and out steps a writer. In the lobby, there are writers standing in nervous groups hungrily sizing up newcomers (is that x who just won the y and can we eat him?)

No, no, really they are nice people. I exaggerate.

Door prize question: Who was Billy Bishop?


Oct 302013

DG has been hiding out on the farm for a day and a half between events, dreaming nightmares of being chased and shot at (typical reading tour dreams). The fields are worked up and pocked with leftover tomatoes, the woods are noisy with black squirrels skipping about happily (apparently, it has been a good “nut year”). The Aged Parent is also skipping about, much repaired after breaking her hip in the spring.

Off to Toronto shortly. Below we information for the second Toronto event.



Oct 282013

Yes, yes, still touring. I am afraid earlier reports of my disappearance during a celebrity writer bus tour of the pulp mills of Nanaimo were exaggerated. It is true however that hotel security did prevent me from escaping into the writer-free zone beyond the perimeter last night (I was beaten with wet manuscripts in places where the bruises won’t show during panel discussions). There are legends, whispered in the corridors, that somewhere beyond the walls, people actually live undramatic, non-narrativized lives of peace, love and domesticity without ever talking about a book or how they get their ideas.

Catching a flight to Toronto at noon. The International Festival of Authors beckons. Friday I am reading with the lovely Cynthia Flood who has appeared in NC twice (see the fiction contents page).

Click on the image below for more information or tickets or for the hell of it.




Oct 222013

Savage Love Cover

In this book, Glover takes us far, far out into a vast sea of imaginative possibilities, shadows, violence, and twisted logic. There is a persistent questioning of the real consistent with his post-modern precursors, but there is also a disappearance into myth and mystery, which isn’t a denial of the world in a swirl of signifiers, but an embracing of its ultimate instability. It is a world that is knowable in fragments; it’s just that the fragments keep falling apart. Glover has always embraced the absurd, but he’s more grounded in facts than Kafka—witness the unlikely and extremely intriguing title of an earlier short story, “Dog Attempts to Drown Man in Saskatoon.” Glover’s catalogue of opening sentences would nearly make a book on its own. He is a master at setting up the awkward and the curious, often romantic, situation that demands explication. The frisson of desired transcendence lost in repeated failure veers seemingly inevitably toward catastrophe. Carol Shields used to say that Alice Munro’s stories don’t end, they swerve into mystery. Glover’s stories enter mystery early and never leave. Readers are drawn along for the journey on slipstreams of luminescent prose.

Read the rest at Savage Love | Music & Literature.

Oct 212013



DG is on the road again later this week. My first appearance in Vancouver is Saturday morning at the Vancouver Writers Fest, details above. Click on the post to buy tickets, or go here. If you’ve been following my wanderings, you get a sense of what these tours are like. Elizabeth Ruth and I were on a panel together Thursday in Calgary; Nancy Jo Cullen and I were on the Sexual Politics panel in Calgary the same day; Wayne Johnston and I read together Thursday night. It’s a traveling road show. This aspect of the book tour thing can be quite pleasant; new and old friends, catching up. And there is always a hospitality suite in the evening after the events are over.


Oct 072013

Savage Love is Glover’s fifth collection of short stories, and it confirms his longstanding mastery of the genre. As the title indicates, Eros and Thanatos are the proprietary gods of this textual cosmos, the psychic demons flagellating the characters, and the stories veer between these extremes, chronicling homicidal rampages, ravaging libidinal entanglements or, by far the worst possibility, some mutant hybrid of both pathologies (at least one story could be accurately described as an orgy of death). In concrete terms, this book contains both the most gruesome encounter with deliquescing corpses and the most exquisitely literary orgasm (male) likely to be experienced for the foreseeable future. Such a menagerie will come as no surprise to readers familiar with Glover’s fiction, because this is vintage Glover, and if you haven’t yet tuned in, Savage Love affords an excellent chance to get up to speed and find out what you’ve been missing.

 Read the rest at The Los Angeles Review of Books.

Oct 072013

Savage Love Cover

For his most recent book, Savage Love, a collection of short stories released by Goose Lane Editions last month, its weddings that preoccupied his imagination.

“I’ve just been thinking of literature as a whole and became a bit obsessed,” says Glover. “I realized that if you stick a wedding in at the end, you immediately insert a sense of optimism.”

Glover’s fascination evolved in opposition to the obsession that forced him to write his 2000 book of stories, 16 Categories of Desire. That collection was inspired by a comment made to him during a tour of Soviet Union in the 1980s: “All my life has been an effort to liberate myself from love.” The idea was so counter-intuitive that he kept returning to it for more than a decade. But when the book was finished, he told himself he had to move on.

Telegraph-Journal Salon: Mike Landry on Douglas Glover & Savage Love

Oct 042013

There is absolutely nothing prosaic about Savage Love. These stories engage in a process of aggressive defamiliarization, wreaking havoc with readerly sensibilities and exploring — deliberately and insistently — the extreme possibilities of language. Glover’s collection is bracing, angry, violent and funny. It is, regardless of genre, one of the best books you will read this year.

Read the rest at Shortcuts: Oh, My Darling, and Savage Love | National Post.

Oct 032013

Here’s the date, time and place for short story panel — Short Break — in which I am a participant at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto.


Théodora Armstrong, Kevin Barry and Douglas Glover debate the merits and complications of the short story form. Hosted and moderated by Tim Conley.

Saturday, November 2, 2013 – 2:00 PM
Round table: IFOA
York Quay Centre – Brigantine Room
235 Queens Quay West
Toronto M5J 2G8
Cost: $18/$15 supporters/FREE students & youth 25 and under

via Short Break | International Festival of Authors.

Oct 032013

Here’s the date, time and place for my International Festival of Authors reading. Wonderful to be reading with Cynthia Flood who has twice published fiction here at NC.


Authors George Elliott Clarke, Cynthia Flood, Aminatta Forna, Douglas Glover and Charlotte Gray share their latest works. Hosted by Helen Guri.

Friday, November 1, 2013 – 8:00 PM Reading: IFOA York Quay Centre – Studio Theatre235 Queens Quay WestToronto M5J 2G8Cost: $18/$15 supporters/FREE students & youth 25 and under.

via READING: George Elliott Clarke, Cynthia Flood, Aminatta Forna, Douglas Glover, Charlotte Gray | International Festival of Authors.

Sep 272013

The first big (the Toronto Globe and Mail) review of Savage Love, and it’s beautiful, intelligent, well-written and perceptive (if I do say so myself). I could not have asked for a better reading. I am touched. The reviewer knows my work well enough to gauge the differences between my last book of stories and this one, the modulations of theme, and so on. He does a wonderful job of illustrating the emotive range of the texts. It’s rare to get this kind of adult attention, let me tell you.


Douglas Glover is a distinguished member of the tribe of Nabokov. Glover is as gifted a writer as Canada has ever produced and the source of his strength is the ferocious quirkiness of his sentences.

Glover’s new story collection, Savage Love, is an astonishing book only partly because of the loopy and incessant inventiveness of his narratives. The 22 stories range daringly in space and time, taking us from a stomach-turning battle scene during the War of 1812 to a contemporary farm family whose sheer wackiness, condensed into 25 pages, puts to shame any eccentric clan one can think of, whether it be J.D. Salinger’s Glass family or Wes Anderson’s Tenenbaums.

These stories are rich in plot, full of love triangles, murders and descents into madness. The appalling events Glover describes might, in the hands of a lesser writer, seem like mere attention-grabbing sensationalism. Yet his stories leave a genuine emotional scar, because the words he uses are sharp enough to claw into us.

Read the rest at Douglas Glover comes out swinging, prose first – The Globe and Mail.

Sep 272013

Packed house, fresh chairs had to be brought in, vivid paintings all around the walls, bad lighting for photos (sorry). The first question in the aftermath was whether DG used psychotropic drugs to write the stories in Savage Love. Answer: Absolutely. (Actually, DG is a total innocent, embarrassingly so; he might as well have been a monk.) (Actually, actually, you should believe nothing DG says about anything.) Post-reading, NC writers Mark Jarman, Sharon McCartney and Gerard Beirne and Sharon’s dog Jack (among many others, and, to be absolutely precise, Jack is not an NC writer yet) adjourned to Alden Nowlan’s former home, now a student pub just off campus, where DG partook of the Barking Squirrel to assuage his shattered nerves.



Sep 272013

I dunno. Sometimes I overshare.

Also, this terse description may be a bit confusing. John Metcalf was a bystander and observer. My argument was with someone else entirely — just in case you thought otherwise.


Well, there was the time I got into a fistfight in the bar at the Frontenac Hotel in Kingston, Ontario, during a conference organized by John Metcalf, Leon Rooke and David Helwig. This was in the early 1990s. I still remember the look on John’s face as the bouncers pulled me away. The next time I was invited back to Kingston, the organizers had to pay the hotel a damage deposit before they could book me a room. Naturally, I expect nothing like this to happen in Vancouver as I have mellowed over the years.

via Douglas Glover | Vancouver Writers Fest.

Sep 242013

My inaugural reading as Writer-in-Residence at the University of New Brunswick is this Thursday at 8pm in the East Gallery at Memorial Hall. I’ll be reading from Savage Love. This time I get to stretch it out a bit. The readings last week were all pretty short, fifteen minutes or so.  I’ve been reading “Light Trending to Dark” and nothing else. Might have time for the amputation scene from “Tristiana” or some such delight. Someone put in a request for “Little Things.”

A special note to my NC supporters: Please do not consume alcohol before or during the performance, also no fireworks, no flaming lighters (remember what happened last time), no throwing footballs, no water balloons, try not to clog the toilets on the chartered buses, someone keep an eye on Rich.


Douglas Glover -large

Sep 232013


Moonlight illuminates the dancers
and the whitewashed concrete birdbath by the standpipe
and coiled green garden hose and the liquid amber gum tree
and the tree nursery under the chicken-wire frame
that keeps out rabbits and deer.

— from “Dancers at the Dawn” in Savage Love

Here is a picture of the birdbath that appears in Savage Love. You can’t see the standpipe, and the tree nursery is gone, but the liquid amber gum is behind the birdbath. I’ve probably said this before: the farm is in southern Ontario, about 20 miles north of Lake Erie just outside a little town called Waterford.

DSCF6715From the garden.

DSCF6760Red dogwood osier

DSCF6761Sign of fall coming.

DSCF6756Hives are brought onto the farm during the growing season.


DSCF6737Field tomatoes, note the wastage, a fact of modern agriculture — many of these are perfectly good tomatoes that can’t be sold in the current market.


DSCF6771Cherry tomatoes



Sep 222013

Douglas GloverDG @ Bryan Prince Bookseller in Hamilton

Stayed at the farm Wednesday: NC poet Butane Anvil (aka Amber Homeniuk) drove us to Hamilton for the Bryan Prince Bookseller event. Scotch at the Snooty Fox first, then reading.

IMG_0268DG at Words Worth Books in Waterloo

The excellent publicity person at Goose Lane Editions, Colleen Kitts (bless her heart) sent DG a bottle of Scotch for the Words Worth event in Waterloo. Somehow the Scotch briefly  resided in a bin of childrens’ books but was subsequently rescued and put to proper use. David Worsley, co-owner of the bookstore, gave the best bookstore introduction DG has ever heard and then proceeded to ask acute and intelligent questions in the aftermath. Jonah was there with friends and housemates. Also NC playwright Dwight Storring and Kim Jernigan, former editor of The New Quarterly, and Pamela Mulloy, the current editor. Prior to the reading, DG partook of Barking Squirrel beer at the Works next door. After, there was more Barking Squirrel. A good time was had by all.

IMG_0275DG, Catherine Bush, & co-owner David Worsley @ Words Worth



Sep 212013

Douglas Glover at TINARS

d podium

Mark Medley Catherine Bush and Douglas Glover at TINARS

2013-09-17 20.56.04

Photos of the Toronto launch Tuesday evening at This Is Not A Reading Series in the Gladstone Hotel, hosted by Marc Glassman. Melissa Fisher (photos and essays on NC) took the first two photos with her camera, former NC Contributor Cheryl Cowdy took the last two. Packed house, SRO. DG did an impromptu aphorism contest and gave away a free copy of Savage Love. Catherine Bush showed her book trailer and conducted an Accusation Chorale. In the last two photos: Mark Medley, Book Page Editor at the National Post, Catherine Bush and the inimitable DG, being, well, er, inimitable. After: pleasant painfulness in the wrist from signing books.

There were lots of NC people including Contributing Editor Ann Ireland, Contributor Eric Foley, Michael Bryson, Stephen Henighan, Karen Mulhallen, Melissa Fisher and Cheryl Cowdy (have I forgotten anyone?).



Sep 202013

IMG_20130916_105823Fredericton Airport, Monday morning

DSCF6673Detroit from the Windsor side of the Detroit River

DSCF6672Local Colour

DSCF6684Dan Wells, Publisher at Biblioasis

DG started his Savage Love book-launch reading tour (along with his co-launch touring partner Catherine Bush) at the Biblioasis Bookstore in Walkerville, the historic Windsor, Ontario, distillery district, still thriving, the air full of the yeasty smell of rye whisky in the making (delightful miasma). The bookstore is at the corner of Gladstone and Wyandotte, the Biblioasis publishing house offices in the basement, the Lorelei Bistro next door (dinner was Lake Erie perch caught off Wheatley — for the sake of tradition, I always order Lake Erie perch when near the lake). Two blocks down Gladstone you come to the riverside park and a vision of America’s largest and most famous bankrupt city. You will recall that Biblioasis published my last book, Attack of the Copula Spiders. I hadn’t seen inimitable Dan Wells, the publisher, since our launch at the AWP Conference in Chicago the year before.

Marty Gervais, whose poems we published in the current issue, was there. Also André Narbonne, whom I included in one of the Best Canadian Stories collections I edited. And Karl Jirgens who edits Rampike Magazine. Also my mother’s neighbours from years ago, the Greenslades, whom she still phones now and then for advice about chickens.

The talk at dinner was about how Detroit is contemplating selling off the trove of paintings at the Institute of Arts to cover its debts. In the past, the only reason I went to Detroit was to look at the art, driving through blocks and blocks of devastated urbanscape to get there. There is a huge Diego Rivera mural. We were wondering how they were going to move that sucker.

Great, responsive crowd at the reading including the guy in the front row at my feet who got so into the RHYTHM of what I was reading that he clearly started to laugh about a second BEFORE the punch lines.



Sep 182013

1. I live in a virtual world outside my real country and in a place where I get my mail addressed to another place entirely. For lack of a literary community, I invented one: the online magazine Numéro Cinq. It started out as a student blog for a class I taught, then it became a literary blog, then it became a magazine. It keeps shedding its skin. It’s a community. I have re-found old friends, formed new friendships, become a patron for new writers, resuscitated the forgotten, changed people’s lives for the better and made myself a very busy person.

Read the rest via Five Things Literary: The Virtual Literary World, with Douglas Glover | Open Book: Ontario.

Sep 142013

A Note from the Hosts: Why We ♥ Doug

Douglas Glover—who manages to be both prolific and consistently excellent at once—is the author of five short story collections, four novels, two books of essays, and a critical work on Don Quixote. He’s the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada Timothy Findley Award for best mid-career writer (2007), the Governor General’s Award for fiction for his novel Elle (also shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Award), and he was the subject of a critical documentary called The Writing Life. He’s been hailed by The Wall Street Journal as “a master of narrative structure,” and by Maclean’s Magazine as “the most eminent unknown Canadian writer alive” (!). We were delighted to publish one of his critical books last year (Attack of the Copula Spiders, Biblioasis 2012), and we’re very much looking forward to reading the collection of short stories he’ll be sharing with us in a few weeks’ time.

As a fiction-writer Doug is known for two things: for the intensity of his attention to prose style, and—again, in an unusual combination—the humanity and warmth of his plots. As a teacher, moreover, he’s famous, if not notorious, for the care he lavishes on student work. When we launched Copula Spiders with Doug last year at the AWP annual convention, at least half-a-dozen former students approached us to say: I’ll never forget him. I would hand him a 5-page story, and a few weeks later he’d hand me my story back, along with TWENTY PAGES OF NOTES. From what we hear his lectures on “How to Write a Novel” and “How to Write a Short Story” are legendary. It’s a real coup to have him in Windsor for a night, and I’d heartily encourage anyone who enjoys creative writing—and especially anyone who has aspirations to one day be a writer—to come out, listen to his stories, and stay and chat with him afterwards. It’s a rare opportunity.

via email : Webview : Live at Biblioasis: Douglas Glover & Catherine Bush.