MMB: The Galway Years

‘I am of Ireland,
And the Holy Land of Ireland,
And time runs on,’ cried she.
‘Come out of charity,
Come dance with me in Ireland.’

And the voice of the pig is still.

Run to me, runt,
and grunt again
though never fatter in your mortal dress.


Ten weeks ago I published in the entertainment section of the Orillia Newspacket and Times an account of a skittles game between Stephen Leacock and G.K. Chesterton in Galway in 1904 (O’Toole 13). Leacock was on the last leg of his world-wide tour for the Cecil and James B. Demille Foundation, speaking on the need for closer ties among the colonies of the British Empire (Curry and Rice 102). That article (an offshoot, really, of my seminal work on some phonological similarities between the Aran Islands and Cape Breton) was based on numerous interviews with earwitnesses to the stories of those who had seen or heard the skittles game live or reported, or heard about it from someone who had been nearby. You will recall that I described a certain young serving girl, one Mary Maura Butler—“short-haired, austerely-dressed, and [becoming] well-fed” (Bailey and Bentley 13) who made a most unfavourable impression on the two leading economists of the day (O’Toole 13). Not only did this spirited wench insist that the two writers read some of her own poetry (“doggerel unfit for dogs,” Chesterton wrote ungenerously the following day to H.G. Wells, “not unlike your own positivist fantasies” [Chesterton 69]), but she also put the hungry heart across the author of What Nickel Means to the World (Leacock). Leacock records (My Discovery of Ireland’s Ports of Exit 36) that when with poised and flicking fingers he insisted that the cocktail wieners were indeed for eating, the girl dashed from the room protecting the silver serving tray like a football and whispering, “I won’t be lettin’ that ould cock touch yeh, pets” (Curry et al. 171). In said article (O’Toole 13), I announced that that oxymoronic serving girl was none other than Canada’s own Mrs. Walter Buchanan, the so-called “Hogg of Canada” (Bailey and Bentley 9), authoress of Piggy. But did anyone give heed? No. Recall too that I promised (O’Toole 13) to make a full disclosure as soon as any editor of any other publication whatsoever showed any interest beyond a rejection slip in the form of unsigned letterhead. (Thanks to the Vice-Rector at the University College of Cape Breton, the v. rev. Patrick Fitzgerald, S.J., B.A., L.L.D., enabling funds were already in place for this project; in truth, the article was written, and all that was wanting was a prescient editor and another summer spent in Galway on the consuming work of checking the proofs.) After much persistence (some of which involved the sending of an unreasonable—indeed, Edwardsian—number of variously signed letters to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in support of yet another application by Canardian Poetry Press), that time is now.
     Epistles to the politically correct dispatched, and with the promise of publication to hand, I redoubled my efforts to find appropriate epigraphs for my article, lest the tedious work should make too deep inroads on my envisioned sabbatical abroad. I sent it off at the beginning of April. Disregarding the manuscript’s typographical virtues, the editor of the present volume sent it back by return post, suggesting (in what I must suppose he fancies a gentlemanly fashion) that he “really could not consider an article with no footnotes” and that I “really should have a look at the upsurgence [!] in Buchanan scholarship [!!] over the past two months” (emphasis added). He was referring, of course, to his and his co-editor’s own scholarly edition of Piggy, that eternally mispriscioned (and, I must now say, obvious) historical-romantic-political allegory in a post-colonial feminist context (more below). He was also referring to the pseudo-scholarly ruminations of a few like-minded lackeys who keep their snouts deep in the SSHRCC trough, snorting the wind only when the swill runs dry, while with ample hams they hyperactively butt and rub for position like mutant cultures in slopping buckets of yogurt.
     As it turned out, in the ten weeks since my article (O’Toole passim) there had indeed appeared some inklings at least of interest in Mrs. Walter Buchanan, even some hints that she may not have been the heather-and-highland flinger she passed herself off as for decades in Clarksburg, Ontario. So let us give the Devil his due.
     With all the foresight of the Titanic’s watch remarking, “Bedad, me thinks I saw something big back there,” Rosemary Stuffing observed Buchanan’s use of “Irish colloquialism” in Piggy (Stuffing 70), and forthwith reclaimed that semi-conscious state that only the tenured occupy. In a textbook instance of critical projection, W.J. Kouth fantasized about Buchanan’s presence in Vienna at the heyday of the psychoanalytic movement; then, sergeant-major of non-sequiturs, he wildly speculated on her Scottish origins as illegitimate daughter of Robert Buchanan (Kouth 63). To add living-out-the-fantasy to wish-fulfilment, Kouth also referred to an entire symposium devoted to Buchanan; but, as with the alleged Calgary Conference on the Canadian Novel, there is no compelling evidence that this symposium ever achieved statistical significance, or, to put it bluntly, a reality external to its perpetrator’s thickening meninges. (It is worth opening a cramped parenthesis here to speculate: Why do so many Canadian critics of W.J. Kouth’s leanings, critical and otherwise, want to bury their sex in initials—S.L. Dragland, J.M Zezulka, I.S. MacLarden, E. Thompsow—or opt for androgynously misleading Christian names and surnames such as Tracy Ware, R.M. “Dick” Stingle, and Susan Glickman? Why?) Bailey’s and Bentley’s (D.M.R.?) all-but-useless introduction to the CPP (?) edition of Buchanan’s Piggy gives neither birth nor death dates, nor paper weight (“all-but” because, I suppose, the padding of a c.v. might be construed as of use to someone). Instead they ask, “Who, then, was this incisive chronicler of Canadian reality?” and can only concede with a blanketing critical rectitude that yet leaves visible the unclipped toe-nails of scholarly ineptitude: “Unfortunately, the historical record is almost silent about the self-styled ‘authoress’ of Piggy” (Bailey and Bentley 8). Then, with all the attentiveness to linguistic poetics of “kine in a peaceful posture” (Crawford V, 105), with all the logic of an Italian pretzel, they muse on something they call Buchanan’s “macaronic combination of Scots dialect and Canadian subject-matter” (Bailey and Bentley 9). What can one say about such evasiveness? How, or rather, how are we ever to establish a continuum of criticism in Canada when all such academics remain brazenly ignorant of Northrop Frye’s remark, some thirty years ago now, in the infamous rejected “Conclusion” to the first Literary History of Canada: “Of course, Buchanan was pathologically Irish.” (Why was this “Conclusion” rejected? It appears editor Carl F. (!!) Klinck et al. felt that, as with Tristram Shandy’s missing chapter, Frye’s speculative assertiveness unfairly set a yardstick of visionary fact against which the other contributors could only slump [Klinck]. Thus too, I must add, all of Frye’s eulogists suppressed the news that when asked by Margaret Atwood if he had any deathbed words on the “Garrison mentality,” the great man whispered in Kurtz-like fashion, “A joke, a provisional joke,” and breathed his last. But this never was a country for jokes, where, as Frances Brooke realized early on, funny bones are stiff for half the year, from the cold.)
     “Pathologically Irish.” The redundancy alone was intended surely as a glaring signal to peek, and peek again, at the biographical underpinnings of this Buchanan woman, this one-woman poke. Which, after successful application to both SSHRCC, the Department of External Affairs, my own institutions (including University College of Cape Breton, at Sydney), I did. Here follow some of my findings (the bulk of which, I regret to say, must, for reasons of scholarly decorum and professional advancement, await book publication, the manuscript of which book is currently, and for the third time, in the idle hands of readers for the Canadian Federation of the Humanities [hereafter CFH!]).
     Let me begin by insisting that no one in her right mind would want to question, if she read, what Bailey and Bentley describe as the influence on Buchanan of nineteenth-century Scottish novelist and poet James Hogg (Bailey and Bentley 9). Who doubts the evidence of the suite of “Tinker Poems,” where Buchanan displays an over-fondness for the appellation James and its diminutives: Jimmy, Jim, Jem, Jay, J., Buck, etc. (And I pause here to praise Gerald Noonan who, acting on a hot tip from an anonymous deep throat, while yet misreading a nostalgic reference to pigmentation in a personal letter from D.J. Dooley to himself as having to do with the science of swine breeding, discovered the Tinker Suite in Box #1 of the Buchanan Archive at the Clarksburg Mobile Library. Good work, boys. And I prolong my pause to congratulate Chief Librarians Francis Zichy and Richard Davies on their swelling shelf of Buchanalia, which promises something of more than marginal interest from them at long last.) What remains dumbfounding, though, is that such an exhausting and ingenious critic as D.M.R. Bentley did not wonder about the whole Hibernian context of the one poem on which he focuses obsessively to the exclusion of the one whole other poem of the Tinker Suite. The lucky one, “The Stinking Tinker,” begins, “She slouches goitre-ridden the Gypsy slut and her mutt / Saints preserve us!” Obsessed way past good taste with the form of the poem, with what Buchanan called the “Shamrock Sonnet,”2 and concluding that this rare sonnet is “no beauty, believe you me” (Bentley, “Tinkering” 3), Bentley remains as blind as a self-abusing mole to the poem’s explicit argument that Inisheer (and by natural extension all three Aran Islands) will find no peace until the Tinkers are fully assimilated into the dominant culture of another island. Now, it takes no Conor Cruise O’Brien to see that Buchanan is referring here to the historic rivalry between Inisheer and Inishmaan, and revealing thereby an historical sense which only a native Galwegian could possess. Or, I suppose, since Bentley missed the point entirely, perhaps it does take a Conor Cruise O’Brien, or some other scholarly gentleman with three whole names.
     Moreover, I concede that Buchanan made a trip to Killearn, Scotland in 1900 (when she was twenty-six and a half years old, not fifteen, as Bailey and Bentley miscalculate), but such disregard for reputation hardly makes her Scotch. Right? One simply regrets (deeply, yes, but in other dimensions as well) this hog-tying of the Irish-Canadian poet’s native hocks. For Buchanan was, as I hope to prove at length some day soon (CFH?), inarguably Canada’s foremost practitioner of A.J.M. (!) Smith’s theory of “eclectic detachment,” availing herself of many poetic styles and inventing not a few verse forms and techniques of her own (the Shamrock Sonnet, “Dung Rhythm”); while encompassing in her verse numerous nationalist aspirations, chiefly the Irish, the Canadian, and the Scottish, and expressing thereby the ontological anxieties of three peoples whose survival has always been as dicey as that of the voiceless farrow about to be rolled upon by its careless dam.3
     Having conceded all of that, and ready as ever to concede much more, I must now assert as plainly as possible that Butler/Buchanan was by birth, by nature and nurture, by inclination, and by the holy J, Irish. Of that there can remain no doubt, though the priest-ridden Irish themselves may wish some (O’Connor). If I felt like it, right now I could produce ample evidence to prove my case: scholarly things like oral records of her birth and christening at the Church of Kevin on Inisheer, the smallest and flattest of the three Aran Islands; Sister Fiona O’Faoláin’s taped corroboration of Butler’s/Buchanan’s grade two graduation certificate—still resident some century later, with much else besides, in the deep folds of her black habit—from the Carmelite Convent on Inishmore; of internal evidence in the Tinker Suite that Butler (let’s elide the deceptive slash) possessed extensive and particular knowledge of kelp (like our Inuit on snow, residents of the Aran Islands have some 100 words for kelp, though some 98 of them refer to the monetary value of different quantities rather than to actual varieties). I could also produce forthcoming accounts by those who, when stood to Guinness after Guinness, confessed to having known of a Mary or a Maura Buckley or Butler, and by those who wished they’d never said anything. Here I am thinking particularly of Liam O’Leary, tour guide of Lynch’s Castle in Galway City and my chief source of anecdotal evidence, my Deep Bog, as it were (I see no reason why biblio-bio-historico phonological scholarship should not reflect the fun inherent in the subject). It was O’Leary’s account of a local legend of familial desertion that initially led me to Porkers Folly, so named because the only attempt ever to establish legitimate livestock farming on an Aran Island, a farming which would have competed with the staple, seasonally arduous and only (three days a year) occupation of kelp harvesting. It was at Porkers Folly that I discovered the tar-paper cylinder containing that revelatory cri de coeur, “Looking for the Good Buck.”
     Inisheer. Ah, I remember it well, all of it: miles upon miles of slate-grey sky like God’s own tabula rasa, miles upon miles of salt and honeyed ocean like squiggly writing, lots of black rock like... well, like the deserted western shore of the island, where I’d been deposited by some local thug in hip-waders and a week’s growth of bristle. I will not draw out the narrative of my wandering for what seemed like an hour in search of what was still the rumoured site, of my coming upon a moss-covered cloven plateau, then a field overrun with harebells, scabious, red clover, ox-eye daisies, saxifrage, and tall grasses, then the fallen rails of a sty like the collapse of linear patriarchy itself, then the privy on its side like a toppled rectangular wooden structure where people go to perform bodily functions. Desperate, I righted the structure and entered with it into a relationship of Bloomian intimacy, before noticing I was sans papier and distant from the tall grasses. Imagine my qualified relief upon noticing the tar-paper cylinder stuck in a knothole in the side of the privy. Imagine my ambivalent surprise when with the hot scholar’s trepidation I unrolled the tar-paper cylinder and recognized... a manuscript! I held my breath and thought briefly of chance and change (I had one of one but not the other), and my hands. I hurried back to the city and to a bibliographer at University College Galway.
     “Looking for the Good Buck” proved to be a holograph manuscript written in pencil (probably a stub, given the blunt penmanship) on the backs of three cut pages of Country Roses wallpaper bearing the watermark “Fitzgibbon Fitzweber and Fukuyama Ltd.,” a local papermaker of long standing and still today chief sponsor of Galway’s annual Kelp and Karaoke Festival (traditional Irish songs only). I would describe the condition of the manuscript as not bad, and its potential worth as pretty good. It is dated, “May 31, 1904,” and signed “Mary Maura Butler.”
     (It is worth opening an abysmal parenthesis to probe some of the significances of the title “Looking for the Good Buck,” isn’t it? Sean O’Dymn, grand-nephew of Liam O’Leary and at one time thought [by himself only] to be next in line for the position of tour guide at Lynch’s Castle, suspects beyond a sober doubt that the title refers to the last of the descendants of the castle’s original owners, Buck Lynch, who left Galway for southern Ontario in April 1904. Buck, O’Dymn insists, was Maura Butler’s “fancy man” and the father of four of her sons. But Liam O’Leary claims that O’Dymn’s brain has been addled from “petrol sniffing” [a reference, perhaps, to the local pastime of skiing barefoot down the flat black rocks of Galway Bay?]. Contrarily O’Leary insists that Maura Butler was “a good wee girl” and that the title refers to her lifelong spiritual quest, that, as you will have surmised already, “the Good Buck” is Inisheer dialect for the Bible. But whether Maura Butler abandoned her home and family in search of carnal or spiritual fulfilment, or both, or neither, we shall never know. It is worth observing, though, to close this parenthesis, that when I asked O’Leary why, then, in the spring of 1904 Maura Butler was always hanging around Lynch’s Castle, where Buck Lynch still enacted the heavy drinker’s semblance of sleep each night, Liam winked with all the charm of Darby O’Gill in Disney’s “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” and said with tongue-tied difficulty, “It was the charm o’ the place, the romance o’ its past.” Here, O’Leary was slipping into his tour-guide’s stagy patter, about to tell the true story of how in the early sixteenth century a Judge James Lynch had found his son guilty of murdering a Spaniard and had hanged the boy himself [thus our “Lynch Law” and “Lynching”]. O’Dymn, however, tells a different version. Upon his grandmother’s evidence he insists, and upon her grave he swears [though she was living still, I think], that in 1904 Lynch’s Castle had fallen into such disrepair that Buck Lynch could no longer entice even the few pigs he kept for warmth to share his sleeping quarters in the old stone scullery [now “The Lassie’s Larder” souvenir shop]. The pigs, it seems, preferred the outdoors. I then put it to O’Dymn: Was Maura Butler concerned for the welfare of the turned-out swine [understandable, given the recent failure of Porkers Folly], or was she drawn by the historical charm of Lynch’s Castle, or something else? “Charm me arse!” he rudely spat. “Pigs me arse!” [He had only just learned that there would be no tour-guide’s job for him, primogeniture notwithstanding.] But then he seemed to contradict his own assertion that Maura Butler had no interest in the historical romance of a Lynch père hanging a Lynch fils. With the fiery gleam of the Gaelic bard in his good eye he mimed putting on a lady’s evening glove with reckless dispatch, and growled: “Lynch or no Lynch, she was interested all right, that one, in a man well hung.” So you go figure. And I may as well add here the obvious: that the title “Looking for the Good Buck” influenced Frederick Philip Grove’s and Leonard Nimoy’s “In Search Of ” programs, and Judith Rosner’s dirty book.)
     What the “Looking for the Good Buck” manuscript amounts to is a mini-autobiography of the kind written so elegantly by our own Oliver Goldsmith. Eventually I hope to publish the whole Porkers Folly manuscript in a scholarly edition with either Canardian Poetry Press or Ragweed Press (whichever requires the lesser CFH subvention, demands the fewer testimonials to SSHRCC, and gives notarized promise to publish my “Selected Poems,” including the expanded sequence, “All the Way in Galway”).
     In a hand more angular than angelic, less graceful than smudged, it begins:

I dont dowt but Im t’ony Irish wumin to leaf her husbond wile hes awae for tree daes to gatr t kelp not dat JesusMaryanJosif gide gard and protek us we al havent tot on it But now al t pigs is dead an t durty tinkrs has run uf wit anoder uf t childers an Im aftur wontin t tuch uf it in t wurs wae.

And so forth, in a leaden stream of unpunctuated prose that anticipates nothing so much as Molly Bloom’s universal Yea to climactic proprioception, not to mention the revolutionary spelling strategies of Nichol4 and bill bissett. (More than anticipates the latter two, I dare say, in its reduction of the definite article to its cruciform essence!) There should be no question that Maura Butler is mimicking here, for purposes of satire and disguise, the dialect of an Aran Island peasant woman. Such too was her strategy with Scots dialect (as is every writer’s, we must surmise). For proof that Maura Butler’s characteristic style had no need of a spell-checker, we have only to look into the bottom half of Piggy. But that is not my purpose here.
     The facts of “Looking for the Good Buck” are readily presented. In 1904 Mary Maura Butler was thirty and a half years old, the wife of one Timothy Butler (a sober lout by all accounts), the mother still of some seven girls and six boys, living on the desolate Atlantic side of Inisheer, the mistress of a failed piggery. How Buck Lynch came into her life is not as easily ascertained, either from internal or external evidence of the tar-paper cylinder ms. or from the conflicting reports of O’Leary and O’Dymn. It may be that Buck, also something of a swineherd recall, in a rare fit of sobriety and industry assisted one year in the uncovering of the Church of Kevin, which annually had to be dug out of occluding sands for the celebration of St. Kevin’s Feast on June 14. This is likely. He and Mary Maura would have met and talked of life and death, of their dreams and nightmares, and, perhaps, of the sexual habits of swine. (The educated imagination must launch.) One thing would have led to another, and as the kelp-laden waters slurped and slapped the darkling rock bases, the star-crossed youngsters would have made love like two rutting barnyard animals regardless of species. Buck would have made promises he could not keep, and so emigrated to Canada in search of an unpromised life. Abandoned Maura would have followed him, abandoning her husband and children (who were by most reports diminishing in number and not too bright or loving anyway). O’Dymn’s grandmother can still be enticed to remember that in the week following Maura Butler’s disappearance some men of Inishmaan (where Synge set his Riders to the Sea, a play that once inspired a joke from Northrop Frye), mistaking the object for por kelp (not much but better than nothing), fished from the stormy waters off Inisheer a hand-knitted sweater bearing the Inisheer design (kelp couchant).5 But Maura Butler, like Joan Foster of Atwood’s Lady Oracle, had staged her own death and chased after her “good Buck,” first to Lucan, Ontario, then to London (where he lost her), thence to Clarksburg (where she was picked up again). In Clarksburg she finally met and ultimately married a pioneering salesman of Amway products (at that time still the marketing catastrophe Scamway), Walter Buchanan, seduced perhaps by the sound of his name. And the rest, as they say, is literature.
     Now, fellow Canadianists, despite your understandable assumptions and suspicions to this point, I am neither a reviewer for Books In Canada, an interviewer on TV Ontario’s “Imprint,” the poetry editor for McClelland and Stewart nor even a part-owner of ECW Press, being primarily into linguistic poetics, phonology, and my own poetry. Nonetheless, I feel I must put the question with a spirited witlessness equal to any of the above: Is it not high time to read Butler’s/Buchanan’s Piggy for the historical-romantic-political allegory in a post-colonial feminist context that her “Looking for the Good Buck” so clearly reveals it to be? Think allegorically, even psychomachiacally; think of Maura and her good Buck; think of England and Ireland; think of the Famine; think of Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”; think Canadian-American relations and of the difficulties of telling the consumer from the consumed; think of pigs; then re-read Piggy and think some more. When you’ve done all that, write the article that will shame the Baileys and Bentleys and Kouths of this world, all those who still assume a woman is who she pretends to be, that a Yes is really a Yes, that a diminutive makes no difference to a real woman and a Piggy is still a pig. But whatever you do, for Canada’s sake don’t let the directions given in this paragraph go as unheeded as Frye’s “Of course, Buchanan was pathologically Irish.” Okay?
      It remains only to be asked: Why would anyone, let alone “a good wee girl” like Mary Maura Butler, and an Irishwoman to boot, pretend to be Scotch? At the thought Right Reason herself hurls upon her throne (and I note in passing that hurling is the national sport of the besotted Republic of Ireland). But perhaps we can begin to discern the rudiments of an answer in Eric McCorker’s blatant desire to be Mary Buchanan (McCorker). Like the Al Purdy who claims to be Earl Birney’s Turvey (Purdy 353), McCorker displays that classic symptom of the post-modern writer who no longer knows what a writer is, what a writer does, what he’s writing about, or even (at its most debilitative) whether he writes or is written, and then wears his confounded ignorance as the badge of his vocation. Desperate wanderers, such “writers” have learned to hook their whiffle-treeless vacant carts to historical stars, thereby giving their own dissipated onanism some semblance of universal interest (see Atwood, Ondaatje, Wiebe, Bowering, Gutteridge, Scobie). Of course it is also possible that McCorker suspected the truth about Buchanan’s Irish origins and so, himself the silent product (only in this regard, unfortunately) of the culture that gave civilization haggis and caber-tossing, availed himself of his one sensible option. More simply we can see the Truth of Buchanan’s choice of disguise in the remark of her old friend, Liam O’Leary. When asked by me why someone saved from the fate would choose to spend her life pretending to be Scotch, O’Leary took the proffered gratuity, smiled the impish smile of the single-toothed, touched his nose of knowledge on the inside, and snarled: “Think for once in your useless life, ijit. Wern’t it the perfect disguise? What Irishwoman in her right mind would pretend to be a plaid-arse? No one would ever suspect her! Now, why’n’t all youse fookin’ Yanks mind your own fookin’ business and do something fookin’ useful.” (Yanks indeed! But this was just around the time the Irish Tourist Board informed my old friend that there never had been such a position as tour guide of Lynch’s Castle, and consequently for him no seventy years’ back-pay or pension. The news left O’Leary bereft, approaching one hundred and ten years of age with nothing to look forward to but the pleasure of telling eighty-year-old O’Dymn.)
     In conclusion, it may be observed that in Canada there seems to have developed a dangerous tradition, a constraining continuum if you will, of writers who either do not know who they are or write misleadingly about the subject of no identity (Munro, Who Do You Think You Are?; Kroetsch, “No Name Is My Name”), of writers who wish to disguise who they are (I am thinking of such as our Oliver Goldsmith, who assumed his great uncle’s name in a blatant marketing strategy that failed miserably on both sides of the Atlantic, and then some; of Felix Paul Greve, a.k.a. Frederick Philip Grove/Martha Ostenso/Robert Stead; of John “Bunny” Glassco; and, not to belabour the enervated, of George “Henpecked” Woodcock and Clara “Walkman” Thomas). Why? Why have denial, disguise and duplicity fast become the Canadian norm? Who knows, really. Anyway, we can now add the names of Mrs. (Mary) Walter Buchanan/Mary Maura Butler, Irishwoman, to the forepart of the file of those who hold up the mocking mirrors of their own disintegrative sensibilities—tinkling fragments winking endlessly down the self-consuming abîmes of their destabilized psyches—to our communal efforts to maintain a distinctive identity. Or something like that. You know what I mean. And you know who you are.


  1. See my sequence of poems, All the Way in Galway (Sidney, N.S.: Hibernia, 1990). I would like here to express my gratitude to the Faculty of Arts at the University College of Cape Breton for its creative use of a faculty renewal grant. I am especially thankful to our Dean of Arts, Mons. Dr. Gerald Fitzpatrick, S.J., B.A., L.L.D. A “Selected” O’Toole, which will include the expanded Galway sequence, is currently in preparation. [back]
  2. In a rare moment of threatened clarity, Milton Acorn was reported once to have credited a certain “Mmmm” with the random lineation principle operative in his own “jackpine sonnet.” [back]
  3. The farrow-dam metaphor, widely attributed to Mary Maura Butler (O’Toole, forthcoming), was rendered gross by James Joyce in his A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (ed. Chester Anderson, New York: Penguin, 1977, p. 203: “Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow”), extended intertextually and applied anthropocentrically into the tiresomely obvious by Swift (“A Modest Proposal”). More to the point, see pp. 49-50 above, “Letter to Charles G.D. Roberts, January 12, 1908,” especially p. 50, particularly p. 50n. 17. The editor(s) of these letters fails to note (suppresses?) that Nora Barnacle was reared in Galway (in fact, a Nora Barnacle House now forms a not inconsiderable dry spot among the wet charms of “the city of the Tribes.”) Moreover, Joyce spent much time alone in Galway after his elopement with Nora (see Richard Ellmann, James Joyce [New York, Toronto: Oxford, 1959; rev. 1982], pp. 276, 286, 323-25, 478). See Buchanan’s/Butler’s unfinished “Pare me toenails, Jim me Love,” in Box #1 of the Buchanalia Collection, Clarksburg Mobile Library. Needless to add, Joyce’s greatest blackguard, Buck Mulligan, was not christened carelessly. [back]
  4. See the rare revised The Martyrology, Book I, where Nichol expands his hagiography to include one “St. Out,” who is associated with both ovular and inebriative imagery, and with the pregnant and the beerbellied, though never their coincidence. [back]
  5. “The origins of these designs gives an idea of the hardships endured by the islanders down the years: a body lost at sea could be identified by the pattern on its sweater as each district had its own pattern. Often this design was the only means of identification.” Fodor’s Ireland: With Day Trips from Dublin, eds. David Low et al (New York: Fodor’s Travel Publications, 1991), p. 292. [back]

Works Cited

Atwood, Margaret. The Journals of Susanna Moodie. Toronto: Oxford, 1970.
———. Lady Oracle. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976.

Bailey, Susan, and D.M.R. Bentley. Introduction. Piggy. London, Ont.: Canardian Poetry P, 1991, 5-11.

Bentley, D.M.R. “Tinkering with Form: Mrs. Walter Buchanan’s Shamrock Sonnet.” Canardian Poems: Essays & Queries 27: 3 (1978): 1-50.

Binks, Sarah. “Ode to a Deserted Farm.” Sarah Binks, Paul Hiebert. 1947; rpt. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1971.

Boaring, Gorge. Burning Water. Don Mills, Ont.: General Hospital, 1980.

Bratwurst, Nick E. “Little Red Man with a Big White Hand: Deconstructing Otherness in the Canadian ‘Walk-Don’t Walk’ Sign.” Open Litter, 65th. ser., 31 (Fall 1995): 199-4004.

Brooke, Frances. The History of Emily Montague. 1769; rpt. Ottawa: Carleton U P, 1985.

Chesterton, G.K. Letters to Herbert. Ed. K.G. Wells. London: Methuen, 1939.

Crawford, Isabella Valancy. Malcolm’s Katie: A Love Story. (1884). Ed. D.M.R. Bentley. London, Ont.: Canadian Poetry P, 1987.

Curry, Ralph, and Matt Rice. “Leacock in Ireland.” Erie-Ireland 36 (August 1972): 88-93.

Curry, Ralph, Matt Rice, Ernest Fowler, and Angelo Pita. “Out of Ireland: Leacock’s Deportation.” Erie-Ireland 36 (December 1972): 78-79.

Davies, Robertson. Filth Business. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1970.
Fodor’s Ireland: With Day Trips from Dublin, eds. David Low et al (New York: Fodor’s Travel Publications, 1991).

Frye, Northrop. “[Rejected] Conclusion to the Literary History of Canada.” National Library of Canada III.cix.3.14.

Goldsmith, Oliver. Autobiography of Oliver Goldsmith: A Chapter in Canada’s Literary History. Ed. Wilfrid E. Myatt, 2nd ed. Hantsport, N.S.: Lancelot, 1985.

Gutteridge, Don. Riel: A Poem for Voices. Toronto: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1972.

Katzenjammer, Gail. This Sex Which Does Not Pun: The Funniest Jokes of 100 Feminist Cultural Theorists. Montreal: Shatner UP, 1989.

Kouth, W.J. “Piggy: A Survey of Current Scholarship,” Journal of Canardian Poetry 6 (1991): 42-95.

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