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Alberta's highest peak beckoned the vicar of Ipswich from afar. Slogging through grimy borough boulevards, James Outram sought to carve a legacy among the unclaimed crags and crannies of the Canadian Rockies. Achieving nearly thirty first ascents in the first two years of the twentieth century, the stilted clergyman made himself over in the image of intrepid claimant, planting the Union Jack on any pinnacle in sight, most notably the crown jewel of Mount Columbia. He later made record of the quest, writing of the "imperishable strokes upon [his] memory" the endless sea of snow-capped mountaintops left, demonstrating the impact untrodden terrain has upon those daring enough to cross it.
Exploration features prominently in the work of Robert Swereda, from boldly stripping Calgarian journalism of its context to playfully bending words against their will in the formation of invented portmanteaus. But Swereda's text refrains from arch diversion; rather, it reveals a world in which "the deficiency of everything is of significant worth." In a momentary break from ANC's monochrome visual orthodoxy, Hail Storm is presented in a manner suited to its modest grace. Bound in a metallic cover with illustrated endpapers, the collection depicts the control one has in starting over, be it descending one mountain to conquer its neighbor or the discovery of new truths in prosaic derivations.
68 pages, handmade and numbered
$15 (US postage paid; please inquire for Canadian orders)