Longlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award
An A-to-Z compendium that finds the wonder in information overload.
The Truth About Facts makes intimate the seeming noise of information and facts by using the tradition of the alphabet book to get back to basics: to make room for wonder, devotion, and a reinvigorated role for poetry in both quick and methodological thought. Vautour leads his readers on an info-drenched, abecedarian jaunt that is both tongue-in-cheek and unquestionably earnest. Ranging from topics as assorted as Brazil Nuts and Juggling to meditations on Rememoration and the Zodiac, The Truth About Facts moves between the surety of aphorism and the anxieties of critique.
Bart Vautour is a writer, editor, and teacher. He is editor of the Throwback Series of books for Invisible Publishing and co-editor of a series of texts about Canada and the Spanish Civil War. He lives in K’jipuktuk/Halifax with his partner, daughter, and Marley the dog.
“What is a fact? What is a poem? While a reconciliation of the two might seem scholarly and ambitious, you’ll find nothing but friendly invitations in The Truth About Facts. On this meandering journey through an alphabet of facts, you’ll encounter dementors and characters born of anagrams on the more lighthearted routes, while darker paths lead to lying US Presidents and racist exclusionary labour policies. Capital-f Facts and aphoristic lyrics dot these pages, stepping stones of thought that Vautour hops deftly across. Each poem reveals a smart and thoughtful mind in motion, and there is as much playfulness here as there is necessary critique. If, like me, you find yourself randomly clicking through Wikipedia articles late into the night, you will love this delightful ramble through the facts.”—Sachiko Murakami, finalist for the Governor General’s Award for English-language poetry
“There is a solid tradition of poets taking up the alphabet itself as their point of attack. But I have a hard time thinking of anyone who has done so with as much gusto as Bart Vautour. Following the wisdom of his daughter, through whose eyes and ears the alphabet is encountered anew, Vautour tracks factual and fictional subjects out of anagrammatical accident, on through dictionaries, histories, lexicons, and archives—a Borgenian infinite library we spiral through, as “hard facts” encrust the edges of the world’s ‘fake news.’ I want to call Vautour ‘the Glen Gould of poetry,’ and The Truth About Facts his unmatched alphabetical variations. There’s no jiggery-pokery here—just the worshipping of strange alphabetic gods. I am a convert. I believe every word of it.”—Stephen Collis, author of Once in Blockadia and DECOMP
Fact: this ain’t your colonist schoolmarm’s New England Primer. In The Truth About Facts, Bart Vautour offers a poetic chrestomathy through which we may un/learn the language “of buoyancy in being.” Ebbs and flows of data, his/tories, and records mingle with inter/personal truths and untruths that gather their colours in an intimate orchestra of alphabetic movements. Yet here, nothing is ever sure, and that’s a fact: cold scientific exactness collides with the warmth of language’s poetic undoing to create a balmy fog of inconclusivity, empathy, and communitas. Under Vautour’s hand, the “y-axis breaks” … and in its space, the self, the other, the other’s others uprise. These are the facts and truths, and their implosions and undoings, that you want to sit with, savour, and, with childlike vigour, question everything you thought you already knew.—Kate Siklosi, co-founding editor of Gap Riot Press and author of po po poems and may day