Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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A very smart reviewer of my new book of poems, A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent, recently expressed perplexedness at my resistance to closure. I shall, herein, endeavour to defend my stance, in the fine tradition of Sir Philip Sidney. Sir Philip knew his shmoos.

(I admit that I am hesitant to share these startling writing tips, because I don't really want the competition. I've already bought my ticket to Stockholm.)

1. Nothing much ever ends tidily in life. Threads dangle, quivering in the breeze.

2. Cleverness may not kill you, but it can kill your writing. Even boringness rules over cleverness when it comes to endings.

3. The reader will walk into a wall, instead of having the more pleasurable experience of getting lost in a swamp or floating off into space clutching a paperback novel with the covers and title pages torn off and no running heads.

4. Enigmas are sublime. Answers are bureaucratic.

5. The writing is more important than the plot. What’s a plot, anyway? Really, what’s a plot? I don’t even know what a plot is. Sad!

6. If nothing comes next, what then?

7. The absence of satisfaction can be the most satisfying phenomenon.

8. Disjunction, in a very real sense, makes the world go round, at whatever speed, on its conceptual axis bicycle my lobster.

9. Destroy capitalism. Destroy patriarchy.

10. Nothing is unassailable. What are you talking about?

11. What are you talking about?

12. A gun introduced in Act I no longer exists in Act III, just as the winner of a 50-metre race between shmoos wouldn’t have been born when the race began.

13. The horizon is always far off. (“You lie,” he cried, / And ran on.)

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Stuart Ross

Stuart Ross is a writer, editor, and writing teacher living in Cobourg, Ontario. The acclaimed author of 20 books of poetry, fiction, and essays, Stuart got his start selling his chapbooks on Toronto’s Yonge Street during the 1980s. His recent books include Our Days in Vaudeville (Mansfield Press, 2014), A Hamburger in a Gallery (DC Books, 2015), (Anvil Press), and A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent (Wolsak and Wynn, 2016). He is the co-translator or Marie-Ève Comtois’s My Planet of Kites (Mansfield Press, 2015). You Exist. Details Follow. (Anvil Press, 2012) won the sole award given to an anglophone writer by the Montreal-based l’Académie de la vie litteraire au tournant du 21e siècle; Buying Cigarettes for the Dog (Freehand Books, 2009) won the 2010 ReLit Prize for Short Fiction; and the novel Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew was co-winner of the 2012 Mona Elaine Adilman Award for Fiction on a Jewish Theme. Stuart has taught writing workshops across the country, and was the 2010 Writer-in-Residence at Queen’s University. Since 2007, he has had his own imprint at Toronto’s Mansfield Press. Stuart is currently working on several poetry and fiction projects, as well as a memoir.

You can write to Stuart throughout the month of August at

Go to Stuart Ross’s Author Page