Dropping his first name and going by the curiously arranged bpNichol, the poet Barrie Phillip Nichol gained quite the following for his concrete poetry. He is perhaps best known for the epic poem The Martyrology, but crossed over a multitude of genres in his career, including musical theatre, collage, fiction, and more. In this biography by one of bpNichol’s literary collaborators, Frank Davey, and performed with a gentle empathy by veteran narrator Kirby Heyborne, listeners get an intimate look at what inspired and drove the late poet. By examining a wide breadth of bpNichol’s work, Davey gives as complete a picture as possible of this enigmatic poet.
Reflecting on the career of a prominent poet, this biography focuses on Canadian wordsmith Barrie Nichol - more commonly known by his pen name, bpNichol - who was a practicing lay psychoanalyst and vice president of one the largest and longest-lasting North American communes for more than a decade. Recognizing his international influence as both a visual and sound poet, Nichol’s literary achievements are reviewed, including The Martyrology - a renowned, seven-volume poem - four novels, two musical comedies, six children’s books, hundreds of hand-drawn visual poems, and even 10 episodes of Jim Henson’s hit television series Fraggle Rock.
Penned by one of Nichol’s numerous literary collaborators, this account reveals the close connections among the writer’s various activities, particularly how the autobiographical inquiries and Freudian dream theory linked with the young poet’s biographical self-awareness. The audiobook demonstrates how the subject’s main psychoanalytic client was his own writing, following Nichol as he explored its slips, accidental puns, and "unintended" meanings and implications for the communal future of the human species - both in high literature and comical prime time television.