Foreword by David Beers
Introduction by Greg Lang
This book tells the story of a man and a city. Curt Lang was a legend in Vancouver. An intellectual and a catalyst, Lang’s interests spanned many worlds. As a teenager, he met Malcolm Lowry and became friends with Al Purdy. Excerpts of previously unpublished correspondence between Al Purdy and Curt Lang reveals much about both their characters. In his twenties, Curt Lang was a beat, who published poetry and painted. He was friends with many in Vancouver’s creative community―poets, Peter Trower, John Newlove, and Jamie Reid; artists Fred Douglas, David Marshall, and Roy Kiyooka; and musician Al Neil. He became a street photographer in the early 1970s and was a member of the Leonard Frank Memorial Society of Documentary Photographers, along with Nina Raginsky, Fred Douglas, Tod Greenaway and Rod Gillingham. (The National Gallery of Canada’s Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography purchased some of his prints.) Then in his thirties, he built boats and fished when the money in that industry was so good, the scene in Prince Rupert was like a Gold Rush. In his forties, he became involved in the high-tech industry, where he was awarded two patents, and started several companies. He also developed hardware and software for the railroad industry that today is used all over North America. Curt Lang’s life energetically parallels the evolving history of Vancouver from the hip subculture years to the electronic postmodern 1990s. For more information, see the book trailer.
At the World’s Edge includes many of Curt Lang’s previously unpublished poetry, drawings and photography; as well as a portfolio of forty rare 1972 Vancouver photographs.
Claudia Cornwall was a friend of Curt Lang and in this part biography, part memoir she draws on conversations during her (and her husband’s) twelve-year friendship with Curt. A freelance writer for more than twenty years, Claudia wrote about the artist Jack Hardman in the second book in the Unheralded Artists of British Columbia series, The Life and Art of Frank Molnar, Jack Hardman, and LeRoy Jensen (Mother Tongue Publishing, 2009). Her book, Letter from Vienna: A Daughter Uncovers Her Family’s Jewish Past (Douglas & McIntyre), won the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize in British Columbia for 1996. She has been published in many Canadian magazines and newspapers, including the Globe and Mail, Reader’s Digest, BC Business, and the Tyee. Claudia teaches courses at Simon Fraser University and Douglas College. In 2009, she received a $20,000 journalism award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to support medical journalism and reporting. Claudia grew up in Vancouver and studied philosophy at the University of British Columbia and the University of Calgary. She and her husband live in North Vancouver.
Greg Lang was born in Vancouver in 1953, and grew up in East Van’s Renfrew Heights. When he was two years old, his brother, Curt, went off to Europe with poet Al Purdy and his school friend Jim Polson, and Greg didn’t see much of him when he was a kid. When Greg was in his teens, his brother became part of his life again. At various times Greg served as “sorcerer’s apprentice” in some of Curt’s schemes: renovating houses, chipping slag off welds, salvaging logs, and fishing. Today Greg runs a small technical-writing consultancy in Victoria.
David Beers has won national awards for his journalism in Canada and the United States. He is editor of The Tyee, an award-winning independent online source of news and ideas based in Vancouver. He is author of a memoir, Blue Sky Dream: America’s Fall from Grace, and teaches at the University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.
An exhibition of Curt Lang’s photography is planned for 2012 at the Teck Gallery, SFU
7 x 9 | 288 pages | CDN $29.95
Trade paperback with French flaps