By Stuart Ross
Confessions of a Small Press Racketeer is equal parts literary memoir, advice for the emerging writer, and reckless tirade. Ross has been active in the Canadian literary underground for a quarter of a century: he’s sold thousands of his books in the streets, published and edited magazines, trained insurgents in his Poetry Boot Camps, and started Canada’s first Small Press Book Fair. Where the media focusses only on the glamorous literary lives of its few superstars, Ross gives us a glimpse into How Writers Really Live. In Confessions, he declares himself the King of Poetry, explores his floundering Jewish identity, wanders into the best bookstore in Canada, offers a crash course in avoiding writing, pisses off his publishers, runs a renegade Canada booth at the International Book Fair in Managua, and begs egomaniacal young writers to stop bugging the hell out of him. Many of these essays are culled from Ross’s bimonthly “Hunkamooga” column in Word: Toronto’s Literary Calendar. Others are written specifically for this collection.
Stuart Ross is a writer, editor, writing teacher, and small press guerrilla living in Cobourg, Ontario. The recipient of the 2019 Harbourfront Festival Prize and the 2010 Relit Prize for Short Fiction, among others, Stuart is the author of over twenty books of poetry, fiction, and essays, most recently The Book of Grief and Hamburgers (ECW Press, 2022) and 70 Kippers: The Dagmar Poems (with Michael Dennis; Proper Tales Press, 2020). Stuart has taught workshops in schools across the country and was Writer-in-Residence at Queen’s University and the University of Ottawa. His work has been translated into French, Norwegian, Slovene, Russian, Spanish, and Estonian. I Am Claude François and You Are a Bathtub is his third collection of short fiction.