John Lent

John Lent has been publishing poetry, fiction and non-fiction nationally and internationally for the past thirty years.  His work has appeared in various issues of: The Malahat Review, Event, West Coast Line, NeWest Review, Grain, Prairie Fire, CV2, The New Quarterly, This Magazine, The Canadian Forum, Matrix, Waves, Fiddlehead, The Antigonish Review. He has published eight books of poetry and fiction and a book of conversations with Robert Kroetsch about the writing life, called Abundance.  His last novel, So It Won’t Go Away, was short-listed for the BC Book Prizes in 2005, and Thistledown Press released a volume of Lent’s poems called Cantilevered Songs in 2009 that was long-listed for the Re-Lit Award that year.  A novel, The Path To Ardroe, was released by Thistledown Press in the spring of 2012.

Lent has read his from his work in France, England and the USA, and has given Canada Council Readings of his work across Canada over the past twenty-five years, most recently in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary and Victoria. He has taught Creative Writing & Literature at various institutions in this country for the past forty years, and has, most recently, taught at The Sage Hill Writing Experience and The Victoria School of Writing.  He has been writer in residence at Red Deer College and a resident writer at The Wallace Stegner House and The Leighton Artists Colony at The Banff Centre For The Arts. His most recent novel, The Path To Ardroe, is a novel that has taken over a decade to write and surfaces from experiences Lent had living in Strasbourg, France, in 1988, and Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1995.

Aesthetically, Lent will tell you that he has specialized in exploring the narrative forms connected to the genre of stream of consciousness fiction.  He strives for a unique, unprecedented intimacy in his writing that comes from years of playing with different ways to represent subjectivity/consciousness in narrative,and years of studying writers like Malcolm Lowry, James Joyce, Céline, Margaret Laurence and Alistair Macleod.  Lent has published and presented critical articles on spatial form in these kinds of  narrative in the work of Thomas DeQuincey, Malcolm Lowry, Kristjana Gunnars, Mavis Gallant, Wilfred Watson, Sheila Watson & Robert Kroetsch.  Lent considers The Path To Ardroe to be a breakthrough result of all this work and hopes to reach a wide audience through it.

Lent lives in Vernon, BC, with his wife, the artist Jude Clarke, and plays in The Lent/Fraser/Wall Trio, a jazz and roots group.  He is one of the founders of Kalamalka Press and The Kalamalka Institute For Working Writers, and though he has taught Creative Writing and Literature classes for years, and served as the Regional Dean, North Okanagan, for Okanagan College, for the past five years, John Lent is currently, and happily, retired.


Books


 

novel

320 pages / paper

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REVIEWS

ISBN: 978-1-927068-01-4
List Price: $19.95

John Lent

The Path to Ardroe is an exploration of friendship and its limits, life changes, and the challenges and aspirations of writers. Peter Chisholm, a writer wrestling with his craft, finds himself at forty-two without direction, and so it seems an eerie coincidence to him that unplanned events have conspired to place him in Lochinver, Scotland, developing his next novel, seeking out his former lover, and trying to find a solution to his restlessness and self-imposed fakery. But he has no idea of the fearful ghosts he will conjure. In various states of introspection Peter’s friends are also coming to terms with their own life-changing moments. For emerging writer Melissa Picard, on a six-month trip to Strasbourg, France, it will be her struggle with the past criticisms of her writing. Through a budding friendship with a celebrated writer and a transformative affair with an artist, she begins to understand that her challenges are not unique and that to write with a simple purity, the way Derain painted, she must finally listen to her own voice.

Another friend, Rick Connelly, at a creative crossroads of self and meaning is struggling with the control of his writing voice and intently floundering in his need to show what his father meant to him. He seeks the solitude of nature to reshape his instincts about himself and the life path he has chosen.

Finally there is Tania, who lost her mother too young and whose immigrant roots shape her in ways she is only beginning to understand. Faced with her own immanent death from pancreatic cancer, she is stripping her life bare of all pretense, while taking stock of the people and events who have made her who she really is. But it will be Peter Chisholm at the novel’s end, who in a profound epiphany, will discover the fulcrum that balances private compromises with the artistic quandaries of the literary life, and it will not be the revelation he assumed.

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poetry

80 pages/trade paper

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REVIEWS

ISBN: 978-1-897235-66-9
List Price: $16.95

John Lent

Readers familiar with John Lent’s work will be drawn into Cantilevered Songs by his impressive ability to make poetry useful, not in the sense that it will solve problems, or create codes or alibis for how live. No. Useful in the sense that we all live somewhere, come from somewhere, hear things, see other things, and remember. When we share this with others as writers do, we transform the ordinary. We make it magical; make it important. This is Lent’s gift – to remind us all that we have lives worth thinking about; to remind us that our own backyards, roads home, work, play and love are uncommon wonders. This is what he means when he says: “Play that song. Play it again. Now, improvise,”

Lent’s poetry gains its energy from his own recognition of its usefulness as much as it gains its art from his own experiences with music, art, family friends and the his work as a teacher, musician and writer in the Okanagan. And while it is important to recognize his structured play with visual architecture, to make the poems resemble what they observe, to capture the cadence of those crazy personal mysteries, to hear the backbeat moments of when you catch a big and strange idea sideways and then it disappears, in the end it is the small, but beautiful, epiphany of feeling triumphant for no reason other than you have lived.

"I can think of no Canadian writer who so thoroughly positions us in front of the mirror that might offer us at once both reality and the imagined. It is to Lent that I turn when I need to be reminded, when I need to discover again, how the writer works in the daily world of place while aspiring to what endures.
He is there, the writer writing out of and in the present." — Robert Kroetsch

  • Longlisted for the 2010 ReLit Award for Poetry

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NOVEL

264 pages/trade paper

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World Rights Available

REVIEWS

 


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ISBN: 978-1-894345-86-6
List Price: $16.95

John Lent

Lent continues to explore the spatial viewpoints of the unique, often funny, dysfunctional Connelly family, to whom readers were first introduced in his previous experimental fiction, Monet’s Garden. Then, as now, we get to hear and see Neil, Rick and Jane dissect their own thinking, second-guess their destinies, and generally revel in and reinvent their relationships with each other as they confront their addictions, dreams, and failures. Throughout the ride, Lent’s humour and Lent himself transcends the page to join us through the read. While sharing such intimacy, he engages us in another dialogue, one that has a lot to do with fiction’s relationship to reality, one that rearranges our fixed perception of the writer’s place in the written work.

“I can think of no Canadian writer who so thoroughly positions us in front of the mirror that might offer us at once both reality and the imagined...” — Robert Kroetsch

“I think what I most love in Lent’s writing is the way it lifts ordinary speech toward lyric without sacrificing its ordinariness.” — Don McKay

  • Nominated for the 2006 Ethel Wilson BC Book Prize for Fiction

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short fiction

208 pages/trade paper

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ISBN: 978-1-895449-56-3
List Price: $11.95

John Lent

“...John Lent has written a book of tender short stories which carries the kind of insight that encourages the reader to read on. His use of detail including the familiarity of Western Canadian landmarks creates an introspective that draws out aspects of Canadian culture which are often difficult to define.”
— Vernon Daily News.

“...his powerful expression of the hypnotic rhythm of the ordinary...” — Michael Estok.

 Reviews

Broughton, Katheryn. Canadian Materials 3.5 (November 1, 1996).
Compton, Valerie. “Edmonton 1960 evoked here.” Edmonton Journal . March 9, 1997.
Hagarty, Britt. “Lyricism, comprehension and the elements of style.” Vancouver Sun . March 29, 1997.
Harrison, Dallas. “Delicate connections.”
Keller, Betty. “Western writers well-represented in meagre crop of fall fiction.” Coast Independent . November 4, 1996.
“Lent releases short stories.” Vernon Daily News . October 1996.
van Luven, Lynne. “Figured out.” NeWest Review (February/March 1997): 28-9.
Martin, Cam. “In Monet's Garden with John Lent.” Night and Day (June 20 - July 3, 1997). 13-4.
Milestone Review (Fall/Winter 1997): 22.

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short fiction/poetry

176 pages/trade paper

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ISBN: 978-0-920633-75-5
List Price: $14.00

John Lent

“John Lent's suite of stories and poems is a disarming and pleasing work that resists categorization.” – Malahat Review.

Reviews
Leblanc, John. “Male Expression.” Canadian Literature (November 1992): 179-181.
Clemence, Verne. “New writers reap rewards for Thistledown.” Saskatoon StarPhoenix. December 15, 1990.
Kelly, Elinor. Canadian Materials (March 1991): 128.
Kenyon, Michael. Malahat Review (April 1991): 108-9.
Moyles, R.G. Canadian Book Review Annual (1990): 196.
St. Jacques, Elizabeth. Freelance (December/January 1991-2): 38.
Gom, Leona. “Thistledown titles worthwhile fiction.” Edmonton Journal . June 16, 1991.

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