Category:Persky, Stan

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Stan Persky (born 19 January 1941) is a Canadian writer, media commentator and philosophy instructor.

Early life

Persky was born in Chicago, Illinois. As a teenager, he made contact with and received encouragement from Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and other writers of the Beat Generation. Persky served in the United States Navy, and then settled in San Francisco, California in the early 1960s, becoming part of a group of writers that included Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan, Robin Blaser and George Stanley. [edit] Life during university

In 1966, Persky moved to Vancouver, Canada, and attended the University of British Columbia, receiving degrees in anthropology and sociology. He studied with anthropologist Michael Kew, political philosopher Bob Rowan, and sociologist Roy Turner, and briefly studied as a graduate student with Rowan's teacher, political philosopher Joseph Tussman in the Experimental Program at the University of California, Berkeley. He became a Canadian citizen in 1972. During the 1960s and '70s, he was prominent as a student and civic activist, was an early staff member of the Georgia Straight, a free alternative newspaper, and co-founder with Dennis Wheeler of the "Georgia Straight Writing Supplement," which eventually became New Star Books. [edit] Career after university

After university, Persky worked at Vancouver Mental Patients Association and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation before becoming a college instructor in the sociology department at Northwest College in Terrace, British Columbia. He subsequently taught briefly at Malaspina College in Nanaimo, British Columbia and Simon Fraser University in Burnaby. Since 1983, he has worked primarily at Capilano University in North Vancouver, first in political studies and then in philosophy. Since 1990, Persky has resided part-time in Vancouver and in Berlin, Germany.

He worked as a media commentator for the CBC, a literary columnist for The Globe and Mail and The Vancouver Sun, and has written for The Body Politic, This Magazine, New Directions, Saturday Night, Sodomite Invasion Review, Books in Canada and most recently The Tyee. He is also a frequent contributor to Dooney's Cafe. Stan Persky is a long-time Vancouver public intellectual and literary activist. His most recent publication, co-authored with Brian Fawcett, is Robin Blaser, a memorial book about the Vancouver poet.

According to ABC Bookworld, a website about British Columbia literary life,

"Persky was one of the most significant figures in the rise of British Columbian writing and publishing during the 1970s and 1980s. Born in Chicago in 1941, he had served in the U.S. Navy prior to his arrival in Vancouver. In the late 1960s, he co-founded the Georgia Straight Writing Supplements which led to the formation of New Star Books by Lanny Beckman. A well-known leftist media commentator and a former Globe & Mail columnist, Persky has long taught Sociology at Capilano College. Politically and philosophically, he was influenced by Bob Rowan, one of the founders of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the Arts One curriculum at UBC. His literary influences are legion. "I notice that over the years my writing has become increasingly a tangled skein of bits and pieces of other authors' writing," Persky has observed, "a Talmudic interweaving of my own and others' commentaries, a text filled with quotes from and references to other texts. My books, like late-medieval chrestomathies, are a patchwork of books."

"Persky first gained wide attention for his popular political books, Son of Socred (1979), The House That Jack Built (1980) and Bennett II (1983). In the first volume of this series he voiced his opinion that academics were obliged "to spend more of their time and skills addressing the general public rather than just talking to each other." At the Lenin Shipyard (1981) explored Polish politics; America: The Last Domino (1983) examined U.S. foreign policy. His autobiographical meditations on homosexuality, Buddy's (1989), received a Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize nomination and marked a return to Persky's literary roots. Fantasy Government (1989) scrutinized Bill Vander Zalm's premiership. Stan Persky was a leading light in an attempt to establish a series of literary/philosophical gatherings in Vancouver cafes during the 1990s. He has been increasingly attracted to the culture of Berlin, in particular, and the societies and writers of Europe, in general. The legal, moral and philosophical issues surrounding the case of accused porn collector Robin Sharpe were explored by Stan Persky and John Dixon in On Kiddie Porn (2001)."


Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize - 1990 (nomination) Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize - 2006 (winner) Lieutenant Governor's Award for Literary Excellence - 2010


Lives of the French Symbolist Poets (San Francisco: White Rabbit Press, 1967)

Wrestling the Angel (Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1977)

Son of Socred (Vancouver: New Star, 1979)

The House That Jack Built (Vancouver: New Star, 1980)

At the Lenin Shipyard: Poland and the Rise of the Solidarity Trade Union (Vancouver: New Star, 1981)

The Solidarity Sourcebook (Vancouver: New Star, 1982; edited with Henry Flam)

Flaunting It: A Decade of Gay Journalism from The Body Politic (Vancouver: New Star,1982; edited with Ed Jackson)

Bennett II (Vancouver: New Star, 1983)

America, the Last Domino: U.S. Foreign Policy in Central America Under Reagan (Vancouver, New Star, 1984)

The Supreme Court of Canada Decision on Abortion (Vancouver: New Star, 1988; edited with Shelagh Day)

Fantasy Government: Bill Vander Zalm and the Future of Social Credit (Vancouver: New Star, 1989)

Buddy's: Meditations on Desire (Vancouver: New Star, 1989; 1991)

Mixed Media, Mixed Messages (Vancouver: New Star, 1991)

Then We Take Berlin: Stories from the Other Side of Europe (Toronto: Knopf Canada, 1995; Toronto: Vintage Canada, 1996); U.S. title: Boyopolis: Sex And Politics In Gay Eastern Europe (Woodstock, N.Y.: Overlook, 1996))

Autobiography of a Tattoo (Vancouver: New Star, 1997)

Delgamuukw: The Supreme Court of Canada Decision on Aboriginal Title (Vancouver: David Suzuki Foundation and Greystone, 1998; edited with commentary)

On Kiddie Porn: Sexual Representation, Free Speech and the Robin Sharpe Case (Vancouver: New Star, 2001; with John Dixon)

The Short Version: An ABC Book (Vancouver: New Star, 2005)

Topic Sentence: A Writer's Education (Vancouver: New Star, 2007)

Robin Blaser (Vancouver: New Star, 2010; with Brian Fawcett)


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