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B. P. Nichol (Barrie Phillip Nichol) Biography

(1944–1988), (Barrie Phillip Nichol), The Martyrology, Dada Lama, Two Novels, The Cosmic Chef, Still Water

Canadian writer, born in Vancouver, educated at the University of British Columbia. Nichol first achieved recognition for ‘concrete’ poems which express their thought through physical shape. All his work explores the way in which language operates to construct meaning, and his poetry frequently questions the premises on which verse has traditionally been based by breaking down barriers between the literary and the oral and between art and popular culture. His best-known work, the multi-volume poem The Martyrology (books 1–8, 197290), which has been described as the longest of contemporary Canada's many long poems, is a present-tense autobiography which attempts to document in language how mental and physical processes work. Nichol also wrote a considerable body of sound poetry and stream-of-consciousness prose. His other works include Dada Lama (1968), Two Novels (1969), The Cosmic Chef (1970), Still Water (1970), The True Eventual Story of Billy the Kid (1970), Craft Dinner (1978), and Journal (1978). Nichol's Selected Writings were published in 1994; he is also a noted author of books and television scripts for children. Sons of Captain Poetry (1970) is a film about his early sound poetry, made by Michael Ondaatje.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: New from Tartary to Frank O'connor