Pen names

Some of my pseudonyms are listed below. Having pseudonyms is a fine old tradition among writers. There is a bit of a hassle when you have to figure out how to cash any cheques they might earn.

Eric Blackhead

The Georgia Straight:

The Granville Grange Zephyrs, artistically & politically correct, but often revisionist on the field, put together yet another of their unbelievable eighth inning rallies, & defeated the East End Punks, the strong new entry in the Kosmik Leak Wednesday evening at Trafalgar.
Till that time the Punks had made the Zephyrs look like Social Credit cabinet ministers, taking a grip on Early Lead and blowing the mystery visitor late in the game as the sun set behind the bashed-in roof of Ethel Birkbech’s pickup truck….
The game was also marked by the worse short-stopping in the history of Kitsilano. Punk shortstop Brian Fawcett booted the ball around quite a bit, but redeemed himself with some wicked line drives. But Whip Bowering, usually a gazelle in the field, was responsible for several Punk tallies with his many miscues at short for the Zephyrs.

Ellen Field

I invented Ellen so I could enter contests in Books in Canada. Her most successful work is the long poem A, You’re Adorable. Her favourite poet is bpNichol and she’s influenced by sound poetry and concrete poetry.

Helmut Franz

My pseudonym as a UBC student when writing idiotic but real-sounding anti-socialist, anti-hipster letters to The Ubyssey.

George Bowering

“Helmut Franz”

E. E. Greengrass

I invented E.E. (Eytan Edward) Greengrass, my Jewish pen name, in the Sixties. (Jim Greengrass was a ballplayer with Cincinnati and Philadelphia in the National League).

Brian Brett’s contribution to Notes on 71(+) for GB was a poem called “Other Times, A Nostalgic Letter.” Its second stanza begins: “I loved your E.E. Greengrass letters/ anonymously demanding my firing/ for writing bad reviews of your books…”

1980, Books in Canada:

I notice in the June-July issue that Al Purdy makes this claim: “After reading eight times in three days to audiences near Sudbury, Ont., a large moose appeared at the window whenever I spoke.”
I think I have an idea why that happened. If this moose was smart enough to give poetry readings outside of town, presumably in the Ontario woods, he was probably thinking that he might move into the Canada Council reading circuit, where poets, mooses or Purdies, are allowed to read indoors, and he was peeking inside to see how it is done.
I hope that he succeeds, and if he does, I hope that he passes on some advice to a bear I know. He has written a cycle of love poems about a bad-tasting but energetic lady who seduced him in the bushes a few summers ago.

Vancouver Sun, 1989:

A Wrenching trauma for a former colony

I noticed that in a story on your front page on June 6, Suriname, a former Dutch colony, is now “off the coast of South America.”
I agree that such a geographical disruption is page-one news. But why did the story not tell us how the country was wrenched from its former position?

Ed Prato

George Bowering

“Ed Prato”

My Italian-Canadian alter ego. Seventy-One Poems for People (RDC Press, 1985) ends with a section called “The Poems of Ed Prato,” containing 13 poems. I invented him so that I could get published in an announced anthology of Italian-Canadian writers to be edited by Pier Giorgio Di Cicco. In notes on contributors I offered several clues, including the news that my parents came to Trail B.C. from Trieste.

1980, Books in Canada:

Sir: First we had all the Hollywood vavavoom girls saying that they wanted to be recognized as Serious actresses, and now we get Sylvia Fraser (Letters, May) complaining that the reviewer I. M. Owen did not respect the “literary merits” of her novel.
Why should a person who is so successful at escapist porno-costume stuff want to go for “art”? There is nothing wrong with trash fiction, as long as its author does not confuse it with literature.
While I am here, maybe I should answer the question asked near the end of Ms. Fraser’s funny letter. She asked, of Owen’s remarks about a sex scene in her book: “How does Owen’s act of dismemberment differ from that of the book-banners who snip out sexual scenes to be railed against, sneered at and drooled over?”
Here is the answer: the difference is that the book-banners complain that the sexual scenes are there. Owen (correctly) criticized the ludicrous writing in the sexual scene in question.