The Lacuna Cabal had not always met on the fifth floor of the Jacob Lighter Building at 5819 St-Laurent. In our efforts to keep moving, we tried cellars, garrets, walk-in closets, and bell towers, with very little account given to our general welfare and comfort. Priority was given rather to the idea that the location should suit the book, the book the location. It went beyond re-enactment and into the realm of living out, as much as possible, the story of the book, in the hope that its experience would rub off on us. Thus we considered ourselves to be the premium reading club of the English-speaking world.
This method took some refinement. An early example: we once conducted a spontaneous public reading of a novel in verse called Autobiography of Red
at the airport, for which we all painted ourselves top to toe for the occasion. It was later agreed, however, that we did not absorb a great deal from the presentation, beyond a bit of pigment, some skin rashes, and a charge of public mischief (dismissed).
And another time, early on, we kidnapped the aging poet Irving Layton for four hours from the Maimonides Geriatric Centre in Côte-Saint-Luc and took him for an excursion up the mountain–a trip from which he was reported to have reappeared sporting a diadem of autumn leaves and looking immensely satisfied. That one made the papers. And the evening news. Still, it had been dangerous and seemed like a cheat to meet the poet himself rather than the words in his book.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Excerpted from The Last Days of Lacuna Cabal by Sean Dixon. . Excerpted by permission of Other Press, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.