Saturday, March 06, 2010

Implosions Revisted

I've been thinking about compiling a list of my favourite Canadian fiction of the past decade as a companion piece to the top 10 poetry titles I posted a few weeks ago. I say favourite as opposed to "best" as I don't get a chance to read as much contemporary fiction as I'd like (most of my spare reading time is devoted to poetry and theory). While drafting a list I realized I'd have to leave off many of my most admired fictions as I'd had a hand in their production as editor. To compensate for these omissions I thought I'd revisit the imprint I edited at Insomniac Press from 2002-2006.

Originally planned as a publishing offshoot of the Queen Street Quarterly literary journal, which Suzanne Zelazo and I had edited for the previous seven years, when Suzanne and I split up I took on the imprint at Insomniac as a solo enterprise. In starting out, I chose the title of the imprint from part of a line by Charles Bernstein ("in the imploded sentence the reader stays plugged into the wave-like pulse of the writing") and I also knew that the first book that I wanted to do was debut collection of Emily Schultz who had been a frequent contributor to the QSQ. After that first title, I continued to seek out diverse and challenging texts--often experimental in form or at least thematically unconventional--and after four years had produced a list of which I remain proud.

Working at Insomniac during this period was an exciting and occasionally frustrating time as acquiring exceptional fiction titles proved to be a greater challenge than I had expected when I began in 2002. Thus. when I began full time teaching at York in 2005, the amount of work required by both jobs meant that I had to retire Implosion in order to concentrate on academics.

As for the graphic, which I'm often asked about, in a Spinal Tap moment I scrawled my idea for the imprint's logo on a napkin while drinking at the Horseshoe Tavern and gave it to publisher and designer Mike O'Connor who kindly and admirably rendered the image as it appears above.

Checklist of Implosion titles 2002-2006:

Black Coffee Night (Emily Schultz, 2002)
A Penny Dreadful (Gustave Morin, 2003)
The Inactivist (Chris Eaton, 2003)
Meet Me in the Parking Lot (Alexandra Leggat, 2004)
Certifiable (David McGimpsey, 2004)
Asthmatica (Jon Paul Fiorentino, 2005: 1st Ed., white cover)
Asthmatica (Jon Paul Fiorentino, 2005: Reprint, black cover)
The Grammar Architect (Chris Eaton, 2005)
Whatever Happens (Tim Conley, 2006)
The Mole Chronicles (Andy Brown, 2006)