Pain Not Bread is a collaborative writing group formed in 1990 by Roo Borson, Kim Maltman and Andy Patton. In Introduction to the Introduction to Wang Wei, they occupy the border created by translation, allusion and echo, and make it into habitable space, a place where the subtle sensitivities of poets from the troubled late Tang Dynasty (Wang Wei, Li Bai, Du Fu, …) blend with our own millennial anxieties. What do poets do in a difficult time? It’s as though Pain Not Bread were talking and drinking with their Tang contemporaries on some old rickety ferry making its way back and forth between English and Chinese, Chinese and English, in the process weaving together a music of supreme nuance and tonal registration, a mode of speaking and feeling which is “undisfigured by sentiment” and yet riddled with its own mortality.
Roo Borson has previously published nine books of poetry, as well as a number of essays and other pieces of non-fiction. She has served as a writer-in-residence at several major Canadian universities, and has given readings across Canada as well as in the U.S. and Australia. She currently lives in Toronto.
Kim Maltman was born in Medicine Hat and grew up in a small town nearby He has previously published six books of poetry, and has given readings across Canada, in Australia, and in the United States. He lives in Toronto, where he pursues research in particle physics and teaches mathematics at York University.
Andy Patton is a painter whose works are included in the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, and various private collections. He represented Canada in the Biennale of Sydney in 1984. A lover of poetry, he is fascinated by the work of Montale and Mandelstam. Since 1991, he has done many paintings in abandoned buildings, often illegally, throughout Southwest Ontario.
Pain Not Bread (the name is derived from the circumstances surrounding the death of Roland Barthes) was awarded the 1993 Malahat Long Poem Prize, has twice been short-listed for the National Magazine Awards, and was awarded the Earle Birney Prize for Poetry by Prism Magazine for poems from Introduction published in Prism 1999 (37:1-37:4).
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Through the questions posed to them, many Brick Books authors have taken the time to provide insights into such things as their writing process, experience as poets, reflections on poems among many other things.
Insights from Pain Not Bread can be found here.