12 April 2010
Peter Sanger was at the fabulous Arts and Letters Club in Toronto last Friday evening for the launch of Through Darkling Air: The Poetry of Richard Outram. My sources report that there were over fifty people in attendance and that the book was well received. Of course, back home in Kentville, we’re still madly binding books and filling orders. (Event photos by Peter Newman.)
Peter Sanger and Amanda Jernigan
Antiquarian bookseller Hugh Anson-Cartwright with Sanger
Sanger Signing Books after the reading
Happy bookseller, Ben McNally
This book has been, in a sense, a long time coming. It was instrumental in my meeting Peter Sanger for the first time back in 2000. Peter blew into my office one day, quite insistent that Gaspereau should publish a book he was writing about Richard Outram, and publish it right away (there was some sort of event planned in the coming months, so time was of the essence). I admired Peter’s writing, but was indifferent about Outram and his work, and so I declined.
“So what will you do now?” I asked Peter, and seeing that he would proceed regardless I offered to help him to produce an affordable but elegant privately-published edition of his text. And this is exactly what we did, producing a short run of “Her Kindled Shadow …”: An Introduction to the Work of Richard Outram for The Antigonish Review Press in 2001.
This curt rejection tempered with a small act of generosity launched a friendship and professional association which has resulted in a very productive decade for Peter as a writer. Since that first meeting, Peter has published numerous books and chapbooks with Gaspereau Press, including the poetry books Kerf (2002) and Aiken Drum (2006) and prose projects such as Spar: Words in Place (2002), White Salt Mountain: Words in Time (2005), and The Stone Canoe (2007). I've also colaborated with Peter and Thaddeus Holownia on a number of Anchorage Press projects. These books have helped cement Sanger’s literary reputation.
After the death of Richard Outram in 2005, the time seemed right for Peter to revise and expand his book on Outram’s life and work. As he embarked on this task, I decided to reconsider Gaspereau’s role. Regardless of our difference of opinion on Outram’s importance as a poet, I knew that Through Darkling Air was to be a key book in Peter’s own writing career and I wanted to support Peter by publishing it.
In the long haul, what the reading public will make of Through Darklinig Air, or Peter’s poetry, or Outram’s, is anyone’s guess, but I do know that we have produced a book that honours both the author and his subject matter, and which demonstrates one way in which the culture might engage a poet and his life’s work.
ANDREW STEEVES ¶ PRINTER & PUBLISHER