$19.95 CDN / $18.95 US | Trade Paperback
Constructive Negativity is a book of criticism without precedent in Canadian Literature. The result of over twenty years of participation in the nation’s poetry community, it combines Shane Neilson’s lived experience of disability with prize culture theory in order to create that rarest of creatures: criticism as page-turner. In the first section of the book, Neilson repurposes Rilke’s famous admonition, saying to poets “You must change your genre” – meaning, you must write criticism – in order for poetry to have a life in an era dominated by prize culture. Later, Neilson provides a starting point for others to engage with books of Canadian poetry using the lens of disability, covering a range of texts and especially weighing in on the author’s particular community, those with invisible disability.
Excerpt from Constructive Negativity:
Trouble is inherent in my identity as critic. I practice evaluative criticism because it is in my nature, a nature that, displeased by stigma, learned to disavow the norm’s definitional prerogatives in order to dissolve the hegemonic positivity of literary discourse. To survive, friends, I had to speak my mind – otherwise I would agree with everyone else, acknowledge myself as problem mind-body, and die.