CWILA Reply by Gillian Jerome

As a follow-up to my previous post about CWILA: Gillian Jerome has replied to me, and clears up most of my concerns. (As she notes, in retrospect I should have simply e-mailed CWILA to ask about how they arrived at the number 13. I am still a child of the small, isolated town in which I was raised, and it rarely occurs to me that one can do things like this in the Internet age.)

I am particularly interested in this idea of “influence” and how it might be quantified — I should note that I am not trying to criticize Moss here, so much as wonder openly how one might actually articulate and quantify how “influence” operates in a limited field like Canadian reviewing. Jerome raises some interesting questions (literally, a list of questions) that might be of use in terms of moving towards an answer.

Jerome has an interesting question about whether or not somebody like myself, who reviews 40+ books a year, might in fact receive more reviews. I can’t really compare, but I am under the impression that I do receive more reviews than others. Certainly, Clockfire received a lot of reviews for a poetry book, and was even featured as a lead story in the National Post‘s books section. Interestingly, my latest book, The Politics of Knives has received few reviews by comparison, although I have become more active as a reviewer in the time between the two books. (I believe this is because its core concepts cannot be summarized in a line the way Clockfire can be called a book of “plays that are impossible to produce.”) However, it has still probably received more reviews than most poetry books.

And now, while it’s fresh in my head, I need to remember to join CWILA!