To reveal all is to end the story. To conceal all is to fail to begin the story.


Nicole Markotić is a novelist, critic, and poet. Her books include: Scrapbook of My Years as a Zealot, Bent at the Spine, and Whelmed. She is professor of English Literature, Creative Writing, and Canadian Literature at the University of Windsor.

These essays span the period of Kroetsch’s writing and cover (some of) his novels, poetry, and even critical writing. The contributors are writers who knew Kroetsch well and those who met him only on the page, as well as critics at the beginning of their careers and those well established in the Canadian literary field. Among the contributors are Ann Mandel, George Bowering, Catherine Bates, Gary Geddes, and Aritha van Herk.


Markotić’s inclusion of biography, interviews, and poetic responses in addition to a series of compelling scholarly essays ultimately provides Essays with its unmistakably documentary feel. It surprises a reader with lyrical scholarly prose (“Tradition is not automatically bad and getting lost is not automatically good.”); with risky linguistic gestures protected by their status as academic sass (“Robert Kroetsch is a liar. Or so he’d like us to believe.”); and with scholarly citations legitimating scandalous explorations of deeply personal responses and musings (“As a serialist fondler, of words and objects, his was a citrus mind”).

- Canadian Literature A Quarterly Criticism and Review