ICON TACT Poems 1984 - 2001
All the sections of ICON TACT were conceived as book-length single texts or serial poems; some of them were published as such in limited editions either by the author (as The Eternal Network) or by other micro presses. This book reflects a tradition Coleman has followed since Coach House released CORRECTIONS in 1985. ICON TACT represents the end of what Coleman considers to be his ‘conventional’ poetry cycle, during which only AMERICA reflects his current concerns with Oulipian constraints and poetry as a kind of word sculpture. LETTER DROP (2000) and MI SING (BookThug, 2005) represent one half of a four book set of which the third (based on Mallarmés prose) is currently in progress. The fourth book will be concerned with the writing and the lives of the Troubadours.
Victor Coleman was born in 1944 in Toronto. His first real job was as the late Ken Thomson’s mailroom clerk. He then went on to work for the Toronto Star (where the night editors mocked him for reading Joyce and Olson), and at Oxford University Press (a virtual apprenticeship in book design and the business of publishing), before jumping ship to become linotype operator for The Coach House Printing Co. and Coach House Press editor in chief (from 1966-1975). He was also once co-owner of The Bohemian Embassy, programmer for Queen’s University’s National Film Theatre, Executive Director of A Space, publicist/programmer for The Music Gallery, and editor of The Blue Book for Community Information Toronto. Since 1999 he has been the chief editorial mucky-muck for the Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art’s Canadian Art Database (www.ccca.ca). Before the unions made it impossible for practicing writers with no degrees to do so, he taught CanLit and Creative Writing for the Toronto District School Board and at York and Queens Universities. He has received grants from the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council, and in 2001 was given the Harbourfront International Writers’ Festival Prize. In 1996, when the Coach House Press had been run into the ground by various committees, he and Stan Bevington started up Coach House Books and www.chbooks.com, the world’s first simultaneous print and online publishing venture. Over the years he has broken bread, smoked dope and otherwise hung out with such significant contemporaries as bpNichol, Milton Acorn, Gwendolyn MacEwen, Raymond Souster, Gerry Gilbert, George Bowering, Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Edward Dorn, joel oppenheimer, Paul Blackburn, Robert Kelly, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, William S. Burroughs, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Philip Whalen, John Wieners, Jonathan Williams, Diane di Prima, Anne Waldman, Ted Berrigan, Basil Bunting, Barbara Guest, Robin Blaser. His five children have produced seven grandchildren. He likes to summer in Rieux-Minervois, near Carcassonne in the southwest wine region of France.