18 August 2019

Nelson Ball (1942 - 2019)

Thoughts this weekend have been with Nelson Ball, who died this past Friday. I first encountered Nelson as a poet, and later as a bookseller. He knew more about Canada's fly-by-night post-war paperback houses than anyone. It was my good fortune to have been able to tap his knowledge. Unfailingly generous, Nelson shared my enthusiasm, encouraged my exploration of CanLit's dustier corners, and took joy in my discoveries (most particularly Richard Rohmer's pseudonymously published volume of verse).

Nelson supplied me with dozens of books over the years: Sugar-Puss on Dorchester Street, Flee the Night in Anger, Bad Men of Canada... but of all he sent my way, I value nothing so much as Minutiae, a limited edition chapbook he published in 2014 with Cameron Antsee's Apt. 9 Press. A gift, it was included in an order for Sin for Your Supper, Dirty City, Frustration, No Place in Heaven, Overnight Escapade, Strange DesireDaughters of DesireHe Learned About Women, and Too Many Women.

Its inscription reads "For Brian Busby - with admiration."

Right back at you, Nelson.

I thank you for your kindness. I'm grateful that our paths crossed.

You will be missed.

You are missed.


Addendum: Cameron Anstee and rob maclennan share their memories of Nelson.

1 comment:

  1. Sad news. I have quite a few obscure bits of Canadian poetry thanks to him.