Books

Phonopoetics: The Making of Early Literary Recordings (2019)

pid_23893Phonopoetics tells the neglected story of early “talking records” and their significance for literature, from the 1877 invention of the phonograph to some of the first recorded performances of modernist works. The book challenges assumptions of much contemporary criticism by taking the recorded, oral performance as its primary object of analysis and by exploring the historically specific convergences between audio recording technologies, media formats, generic forms, and the institutions and practices surrounding the literary. Opening with an argument that the earliest spoken recordings were a mediated extension of Victorian reading and elocutionary culture, Jason Camlot explains the literary significance of these pre-tape era voice artifacts by analyzing early promotional fantasies about the phonograph as a new kind of speaker and detailing initiatives to deploy it as a pedagogical tool to heighten literary experience. Through historically-grounded interpretations of Dickens impersonators to recitations of Tennyson to T.S. Eliot’s experimental readings of “The Waste Land” and of a great variety of voices and media in between, this first critical history of the earliest literary sound recordings offers an unusual perspective on the transition from the Victorian to modern periods and sheds new light on our own digitally mediated relationship to the past. Publisher: Stanford University Press

CanLit Across Media: Unarchiving the Literary Event (2019)
Co-edited with Katherine McLeod)

Camlot2Exploring the production of culture through and outside of the archives that preserve and produce CanLit as an entity, CanLit Across Media asserts that CanLit arises from acts of archival, critical, and creative analysis. Each chapter investigates, challenges, and provokes this premise by examining methods of “unarchiving” Canadian and Indigenous literary texts and events from the 1950s to the present. Engaging with a remediated archive, or “unarchiving,” allows the authors and editors to uncover how the materials that document past acts of literary production are transformed into new forms and experiences in the present. The chapters consider literature and literary events that occurred before live audiences or were broadcast, and that are now recorded in print publications and documents, drawings, photographs, flat disc records, magnetic tape, film, videotape, and digitized files. Showcasing the range of methods and theories researchers use to engage with these materials, CanLit Across Media reanimates archives of cultural meaning and literary performance. Contributors include Jordan Abel (University of Alberta), Andrea Beverley (Mount Allison University), Clint Burnham (Simon Fraser University), Jason Camlot (Concordia University), Joel Deshaye (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Deanna Fong (Simon Fraser University), Catherine Hobbs (Library and Archives Canada), Dean Irvine (Agile Humanities), Karl Jirgens (University of Windsor), Marcelle Kosman (University of Alberta), Jessi MacEachern (Concordia University), Katherine McLeod (Concordia University), Linda Morra (Bishop’s University), Karis Shearer (University of British Columbia, Okanagan), Felicity Tayler (University of Ottawa), and Darren Wershler (Concordia University).

Style and the Nineteenth-Century British Critic (2008/2020)

41RvkYEwVYL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_In analyzing the nonfiction works of writers such as John Wilson, J. S. Mill, De Quincy, Ruskin, Arnold, Pater, and Wilde, Jason Camlot provides an important context for the nineteenth-century critic’s changing ideas about style, rhetoric, and technologies of communication. In particular, Camlot contributes to our understanding of how new print media affected the Romantic and Victorian critic’s sense of self, as he elaborates the ways nineteenth-century critics used their own essays on rhetoric and stylistics to speculate about the changing conditions for the production and reception of ideas and the formulation of authorial character. Camlot argues that the early 1830s mark the moment when a previously coherent tradition of pragmatic rhetoric was fragmented and redistributed into the diverse, localized sites of an emerging periodicals market. Publishing venues for writers multiplied at midcentury, establishing a new stylistic norm for criticism-one that affirmed style as the manifestation of English discipline and objectivity. The figure of the professional critic soon subsumed the authority of the polyglot intellectual, and the later decades of the nineteenth century brought about a debate on aesthetics and criticism that set ideals of Saxon-rooted ‘virile’ style against more culturally inclusive theories of expression.     Publisher:  Routledge

Language Acts (2007)

419This collection brings together twenty provocative essays on the state of English-language poetry in Québec since 1976. Born and raised during this historically resonant period of Trudeauism, organized Québecois nationalism, language legislation, and profound demographic and cultural change, Anglo-Québec poetry has come of age in the 21st century as a literature with its own distinct arguments about itself, and its own poetical acts in language. Language Acts features essays on many important, even canonical, figures such as Robert Allen, Anne Carson, Leonard Cohen, Louis Dudek, D.G. Jones, Irving Layton, Michael Harris, Erin Mouré, David McGimpsey, Robyn Sarah, and Peter Van Toorn, and on a wide range of poetry activities including those of the Véhicule Poets and the Montreal Spoken Word scene. This is the first critical collection of its kind to appear in over forty years and will set the terms used to discuss English language poetry in Québec for years to come.  Publisher: Vehicule Press

What The World Said (2013)

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Jason Camlot’s fourth full poetry collection, a Kaddish for the post-google age, explores the meaning of ignorance in the face of death—ignorance of how to practice sadness and rituals of mourning, and of how properly to experience longing and loss.

Camlot manipulates a wide range of forms to mine the relationship between the most intimate kinds of grief and the impersonal flood of discourse that the world pours upon us. Publisher: Mansfield Press

The Debaucher (2008)

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The Debaucher, Jason Camlot’s third collection of poetry, walks an oscillating lyrical tightrope between realms of cosmopolitan sophistication and ribald hilarity.

In these surprising poems high art and low art gather together, sometimes on the battlefield, sometimes at lover’s leap. Camlot’s poetry always maintains an evocative connection to the tender absurdities of our daily lives. Publisher: Insomniac Press

Attention All Typewriters (2005)

51YNbBH+sjL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Lewis Carrol meets Allen Ginsberg…. This is poetry about an angel-poet, wings paper-clipped, seeking spiritual food in the modern office cubicle. He pecks away at office-machinery (à la Dilbert) and dreams among his fellow stick men and women of being a Wordsworthian visionary — or at least an “action figureen”. Jason Camlot is a scholar of Victorian nonsense and humorous verse and these poems are a ‘howl’ amidst the “slithy borogroves” sort of affair, a wild, brilliantly refitted variety theater act. Other pieces, equally wan, hilarious, noir, plumb nineteen thirties Hollywood (and present day movieland) hijinks, Hemingway’s war-with-booze style, and the dark obsessions of Important Men. The writer and his writing is ‘past’ conscious, but completely versed in contemporary Canadian and American poetry. This is an immensely funny, witty, up-to-date collection — zany, zippy, and zine-y!   Publisher: DC Books

The Animal Library (2000)

0919688624.alJason Camlot’s father was a furrier and he grew up in a world where, inevitably, “baby fur gets in your eyes” or in “your mouth.” In dreams, the poet becomes a whale corpse “washed up/ on a very pale beach/ and hundreds of flies came,/ and people,/ to see the tusk,/ spun like coral glass.” And as the boy grows up, images, at once curiously literal and yet surreal — images of being devoured or skinned alive — stay with him. The beauty of this collection is one of themot juste, a concreteness and precision, coupled with a superb sense of rhythm.— Marjorie Perloff     Publisher: DC Books