Thursday, July 30, 2009


DESK SPACE Who (a one-liner or a bio)?

Steven W. Beattie, an intrepid Toronto-based writer, blogger, and literary critic, who spends his days (and some of his evenings) masquerading as the mild-mannered review editor for Quill & Quire magazine.

DS When did you start writing?

SWB Well, my first poem, called “Snow Is Like,” was written in senior kindergarten, but I think that would properly be classified as juvenilia. I’ve been writing literary criticism for the past six years or so. I started writing for the now-defunct Books in Canada, then branched out to places like Q&Q, the Edmonton Journal, the Vancouver Sun, and Canadian Notes and Queries.

In 2006 I also launched a narcissistic little online side-project – a litblog called That Shakespeherian Rag – largely because I like to hear myself talk, and the only thing I feel well-versed enough to talk about is books. The blog seems to have taken on a life of its own, though, and has gone through several incarnations (including its latest this past May, when I inadvertently napalmed the whole site while trying to update my blogging software). It’s basically a place for me to spout off about CanLit, the book biz, and literature in general. In its newest incarnation, I also changed the name to That Shakespearean Rag, since there seemed to be a fair bit of confusion around T.S. Eliot’s idiosyncratic spelling. Never let it be said that I’m not a populist at heart.

DS Where do you write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

SWB Most of my writing is done at my desk; most of my reading is done off site.

DS Why do you work where you do (at your desk because it is a quiet space/outside b/c it helps you think/in the park b/c you can smoke, etc)?

SWB I write at my desk because no one gives me dirty looks about the bottle of Jim Beam that I keep by my elbow at all times, and I can deck myself out like Charles Bukowski in my boxers and a wife-beater undershirt.

That, and I have access to my library. Much of my writing process involves tearing through reference books, old novels I haven’t read in years, and other idiosyncratic stuff on my bookshelves. There’s a sense of security in knowing that all that stuff’s at hand, which makes it feel less like I’m working without a safety net.

If I were writing fiction, I could see maybe wanting to change locations, just to shake things up a bit. I’ve always been partial to writing in pubs, although the prose gets less articulate with each successive drink.

DS What are you working on now?

SWB A proof of Einstein’s theory of relativity. That, and some more criticism. There may be some fiction in my future, but that’s a bit further down the road. Right now I’m concentrating on what I do best: annoying people in the Canadian literary world.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Coming up

This week on DESK SPACE: Steven W. Beattie

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Here’s some of what’s actually on the desk: Paul Blackburn, Jack Spicer, Robin Blaser, Robert Lowell, Ezra Pound, Thomas Traherne, a Milton dictionary, W.S. Graham, Robert Burton, Delmore Schwartz, Samuel Johnson, Blake, Auden, Jules Supervielle, Janet Frame, Walter Benjamin’s “archives,” Lamb’s essays, tiny volumes of Thoreau & Marcus Aurelius, Michael Hofmann, Basil Bunting, compact OED, dictionary of similes (!).

RR spikes from Memphis, cheap reproduction of New York Public Library clock, bit of the wall from a Boston subway tunnel (Red Line – Harvard Square), bowl I made when I was 7, picture of place in Denmark where I lived as a kid, photo my dad took in NYC, cotton ball from Memphis, photo of famous ghostly poet. Wires.

Don Share for DESK SPACE

Who (a one-liner or a bio)?

Don Share is Senior Editor of Poetry magazine. He has been Poetry Editor of Harvard Review and Partisan Review, Editor of Literary Imagination, and Curator of Poetry at Harvard. His books include Squandermania (Salt Publishing), Union (Zoo Press), The Traumatophile (Scantily Clad Press), and Seneca in English (Penguin Classics); forthcoming are a critical edition of Basil Bunting¹s poems (Faber and Faber) and Bunting¹s Persia (Flood Editions). His translations of Miguel Hernández, collected in I Have Lots of Heart (Bloodaxe Books) were awarded the Times Literary Supplement Translation Prize, the Premio Valle Inclán Prize, and the PEN/New England Discovery Award.

DS When did you start writing?

DON SHARE My fifth grade teacher - to punish me for doodling rather than taking notes on his lecture about volcanoes - smacked me on the crown of the head with the stone in his bulky class ring, exclaiming "One day, Don is going to be a GREAT WRITER." The gauntlet... almost literally... was laid down. Pete Townshend had his nose for motivation; I had Mr. Kramer.

DS Where do you write?

DON SHARE I write - and read - mostly on public transportation, which is where I spend almost all of my quality time. My desk (which is actually an old table), as you can see, is specifically designed to facilitate reading... and inhibit writing.

DS Why do you work where you do (at your desk because it is a quiet
space/outside b/c it helps you think/in the park b/c you can smoke, etc)?

DON SHARE I work on the train because... well, because I have to.

DESK SPACE What are you working on now?

DON SHARE I'm working on a long poem about Heath Ledger which is dedicated to Kent Johnson - neither of whom I have ever met. Since that's a complete disaster, I'm also working on the preface to a book coming soon from Flood Editions called Bunting's Persia.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Coming up

Friday on DESK SPACE: Don Share

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Native Canadian and now San Francisco staple 'Dirty' Donny Gillies' early fascination with Cartoons, comic books and model kits lead directly to Donny receding into his own self-created world of monsters and hot rods.

His unconventional approach to the art world along with a blast of natural talent has landed him lucrative jobs with Fender guitars, Vans apparel, Dunlop guitar picks and Bell motor cycle helmets, not to mention vinyl toy company Kid Robot and sticker apparel label Poster Pop. Donny's art has also been featured in countless magazines including Juxtapoz, International tattoo art and Metal hammer.

Donny has also done extensive work for San Francisco Metalheads Metallica as well as Sweden's The Hellacopters.

More of his work can be viewed here.

'Dirty' Donny Gillies for DESK SPACE

DESK SPACE When did you start becoming interested in art or produce your first work of art?

DIRTY DONNY GILLIES I have been interested in art since I could hold a pencil.

I started getting jobs in the late 80's and early 90's doing flyer's for local puck bands and that lead me into sign painting and chalkboard's for bars and restaurants. In the mid 90's I started doing record covers for out of town bands and that's when the ball started rolling out of control.

DS Where do you work (at your desk/outside/in a studio)?

I had a studio on Haight St. for about 3 years and when the lease ran out I decided to start working from home again. My wife Oriana and I have a nice space here in SF and I also have a big garage witch is handy for larger projects.

DS Why do you work where you do (at your desk because it is a quiet space/outside b/c it helps you think/in the park b/c you can smoke, etc)?

DDG I have a perfect size room, set up in 3 sections, light/drafting table for illustration, computer table and flat file for storage.
Again the garage serves it's purpose for pinstriping, woodwork and larger commissions, plus messing around with my '69 Satellite, my other love.

DS What are you working on now?

DDG Just finished a guitar pic set for Dunlop. I'm doing a one of a kind pinball machine for Metallica right now with my friends Wade Krause and Tanio Klyce.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009

Coming up

This week on DESK SPACE: Dirty Donny Gillies

Wednesday, July 1, 2009