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Daniel Canty is a Montreal-based writer and film director who works in literature, film, theatre and design, and new media. Canty collaborated with the pioneering multimedia studio DNA Media, in Vancouver, and directed the inaugural issues of Horizon Zero, the Banff New Media Institute’s web space on the digital arts in Canada.
Canty’s first book, Êtres Artificiels (Liber, 1997), is a history of automata in American literature. From 2002 to 2005, Canty co-directed the poetry magazine C’est Selon. He has devised three award-winning collaborative books: Cité selon (2006), on the city; La Table des Matières (2007), on eating; and Le Livre de Chevet (2009), on sleeping. He has also translated books of poetry by Stephanie Bolster, Erin Moure, Charles Simic, and Michael Ondaatje.
Canty has directed several short films. His latest, Longuay (2012), melds the gaze of an ancient French abbey with that of a tablet computer, while Cinema for the Blind (2010) lets the audience slip into oneiric depths behind the cinema screen. Canty also conceives poetic interfaces for the Web and live interaction; he built Bruire (2013), an architectural poetry-reciting machine, and wrote the libretto for Operator (2012), an alphanumeric automata by Mikko Hynninen presented at Lux Helsinki.
September 2015 : Our windiest book yet has just blown in
May 2014 : We Believe in Wigrum
February 2014 : Wigrum Wins!
January 2014 : New Year, New Logo
December 2013 : Wigrum Found in the Glasgow Review of Books & Geist Magazine
October 2013 : Launched! Daniel Canty's Wigrum in Brooklyn, NY
October 2013 : A Collaborative Affair: Wigrum Launch in Montreal
October 2013 : Talon Authors Unite at WORD Vancouver
September 2013 : Daniel Canty To Launch Wigrum in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver!
July 2013 : Meta-Talon: The Wigrum Font
July 2013 : ALA 2013: Talonbooks Was Here
Winner of 2014 Alcuin Award for Book Design in Canada (Third Place, Fiction category)
Grafika Grand Prize Winner (Typography), 2012”
QUOTES OF NOTEThe United States of Wind
“We accompany [Canty] on a wind-blown odyssey through the American mid-west … The United States of Wind presents Canty’s take on this elemental adventure, and a sense of his poetic perspective can be gained from [reading even the book’s subheadings] and from his vow – a kind of secular consecration – on the eve of their departure: ‘Trust the wind. Only it. Like we trust ourselves.’ ”
“There’s a romantic quality … Canty’s travelogue becomes that transfixed contemplation, a way of tracking the wind’s phantasmagorical landscape: a kind of narco-imaginary … Written under the influence of the weathervane’s pointer, it is not at all surprising that there is such an expansive and sprawling character to Canty’s prose. It is not that his sentences are long, but it’s the way they move with the compression of a poem. There’s a cumulative aspect to the writing as the narrative picks up—not speed … but narrative mileage. The process (and progress) is contagious.”
– Geneviève Robichaud, The Town Crier
“I read this book as an essay, a method of thought. Canty doesn’t propose as much a theory of wind as a map of reflections on what emptiness holds, on what the imperceptible space between us occupies … The true object of this book’s love, or quest, is not a weather phenomenon, but rather something more akin to the American soul.”
– Valérie Lefbvre-Faucher, Revue Liberté
“Wind art? Almost. It’s certainly a sensitive and intuitive documentation of a journey determined by air currents.”
— Catherine Lalonde, Le Devoir
“Canty not only tells the story, but has a keen sense of observation: the similitudes between the cities visited, the people encountered at rest areas looking for places to stay or to eat, the ubiquity of sports and of televisions. Observation is never far from commentary, yet Canty’s total absence of prejudice against our southern neighbours allows for a tone of curiosity and intelligence which this narrative needed.”
—Élizabeth Lord, Les Méconnus
QUOTES OF NOTEWigrum
“This is a new novel genre. An inventory! … The inventory is a list of more or less fantastic objects – sometimes computer-based, electronic, historical, or purely useless – but each finds its place in this collection for one reason or another. In the last part of the book, Daniel Canty mixes fact and fiction, deconstructing our vain attempts to discover the truth. Unique and very exciting!”
– Shannon Desbiens, Les Bouquinistes
“In Wigrum, the reader should expect plenty of humour and a very special cabinet of curiosities. This most original work is difficult to characterize as a novel. Rather, it takes a truly literary approach that will satisfy the curious reader.”
– Mélanie Robert, Voir
“To Sebastian Wigrum, the central character of Daniel Canty’s novel, objects represent the unknowable—the ‘patron saints of a godless world,’ he calls them—and as a collector he has made his life’s work the acquisition and meticulous cataloging of them. … Canty’s dreamlike narrative reads like the ethereal ruminations of a man whose accrual of artifacts has transcended physical limits.”
– The Believer
“Wigrum sets up stories which are fascinating but which receive … sparse, suggestive treatment. The draw of this is that the glimpse of a story tantalizes, so that perhaps our imaginations supply possible stories, or, even more compelling, they reach, only to find that the truth exceeds our grasp. … The museum catalogue writer … is tasked with only suggesting a more complete experience. There is a certain impulse towards honesty in writing a novel in that mode: the form that clings most closely to ‘reality’ here demonstrates its commitment to that by applying itself with scholarly diligence to the construction of a system of traces. [Wigrum’s] stories, always changing and questioning their own truth, work to model (like a museum diorama) the way that we all construct our own history and experience.”
– Glasgow Review of Books
“Those imaginative enough will leave with their pockets stuffed with stones, metal bits, shards of crockery. They will tell their friends what it is and the things will transform before their eyes. In a hidden recess of themselves, even those who say they don’t believe will believe. … a special, and rare accomplishment: form, content, and style align to make a complete work, with the loose ends being purposeful… as Canty writes that Wigrum ‘commenced ceasing to exist,’ the ending, and the disconnections, are opportunities to take our own risks, creating the rest of the stories, linking what we are able, and letting be lost what must be lost.”
– P. T. Smith, Three Percent
“a new kind of novel that blends the line between reality and fiction in small ways that are nonetheless important”
– Jenny Blenk Book Reviews
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.