PhD student's Summer Research Trip to the Edge of the Earth

The Department welcomes back Ph.D. candidate David Eso, whose two-month research-trip took him across Canada this summer--to the very "edge" of the Earth. David's dissertation focuses on Alden Nowlan and the Flat Earth Society co-founded by that author in 1970. The associated research trip has yielded more than 1700 photocopied-pages of archival materials from Special Collections at the Universities of Calgary and New Brunswick as well as the New Brunswick Provincial Archives. Over the next several years, these materials will form the basis of David's investigation into the Society's history and its relation to the poet's deployment of metaphor.

While in Fredericton, NB, David conducted interviews with literary associates who survive Nowlan: David Adams Richards, Raymond Fraser, Peter Pacey, and Walter Learning. UNB's Dr. Gwendolyn Davies discussed Nowlan's place in Maritime literature and artist Kay Burns provided a multi-day interview at the site of her Flat Earth Museum on Fogo Island, Newfoundland. David returns with dozens of photographs, primarily from Fogo Island, designated as one of the Earth's "corners"--specifically, that point of land known as "Brimstone Head." Members of the department will be relieved to hear that the student survived his encounter with the "Abysmal Chasm"; although, he reports lingering feelings of "edginess."

David will present the initial results of his research at the upcoming 150 Ideas that Shaped Canada conference at York University, with his paper "Unshaping Canada: Flat Earth Satire and the Fredericton Alt-left." In April of 2018, he will address the Resurfacing conference at Mount Allison University, giving a talk on “The ‘real’ world and that other”: Gwendolyn MacEwen’s Allied Flat-Earthism.

The Edge