- Why Should We Read and Study Vaughan?
- Literature & Analysis
- “10 Reasons Why I Fall in Love with Inaccessible Straight Boys Every Damn Time”
- “insight into private affairs … raises certain barristers and magistrates to such great heights”
- from “The McHugh Suite”
- Analysis of Vaughan’s Poetry
- “A Garden Gnome Infestation”
- Analysis of “A Garden Gnome Infestation”
- Questions and Considerations for Reflection
- Strategies for Teachers
- Further Reading
Born in Saint John, NB in 1965, R.M. (Richard) Vaughan is one of the most eclectic artists to have emerged from the province in the past twenty-five years. Poet, playwright, filmmaker, novelist, essayist, art critic, and visual/media artist, his eclecticism finds parallel only among the Acadian artists of the province. He attended secondary schools in southern New Brunswick before enrolling at UNB Saint John, where he obtained a BA in English and Creative Writing in 1987. It was in that university’s literary magazine, The Cormorant, that he published his first works. A few years later he completed an M.A. in English at UNB Fredericton. His first full volume of poetry was published in 1996 as A Selection of Dazzling Scarves. Openly gay and seeking wider (and likely more tolerant) vistas, he relocated to Toronto in the mid 1990s, finding an early home in that city’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Toronto continues to be his base. An outspoken, fearless, and original commentator on the nation’s art scene, he has written ardently in defence of authors and artists in Canada. He is widely acknowledged as having been a pioneer in shaping a queer literary poetics in Canada.
For a much more detailed biography of Vaughan, see his New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia entry.
Why Should We Read and Study Vaughan?
- Richard Vaughan is one of the most exciting and daring of New Brunswick’s contemporary authors. Openly and unapologetically gay, he has made his orientation the subject of his work, risking frankness in front of an often-less-than-sympathetic New Brunswick and Canadian readership. And while that frankness about orientation may seem normative (or more normative) today, it certainly wasn’t in the 1990s when Vaughan began. We therefore read him for the reasons that we read other literary pioneers: for his mastery of new modes of language and form, for his challenge to the literary status quo, for his refusal to be silenced and marginalized, and for his efforts to move the social agenda toward inclusivity. His work is rife with all those advances.
- We also read Vaughan for an alternate perspective amidst what is a rather conservative literary tradition in New Brunswick. Yes, the province has had literary pioneers, and many writers featured in this curriculum have achieved national and international status, but the New Brunswick literary tradition, like the Canadian literary tradition, has sought largely to perfect rather than upset traditional forms. Again, there are exceptions to that – one thinks immediately of our confessional humanists and of our Acadian writers – but on the whole the province has not been at the forefront of literary experimentation or innovation. Boldness has not been our signature. A writer like Richard Vaughan is very important in this context. His difference calls attention to what is considered normal, providing the occasion to think about the normal in new and productive ways. His reputation, then, as one of the “bad boys of Canadian literature” says more about Canadian literature and society than it does about him. He is thus important, and New Brunswickers have many reasons to be proud to have incubated this cultural pioneer.
Literature & Analysis
“10 Reasons Why I Fall in Love with Inaccessible
Straight Boys Every Damn Time”
- cause when he laughs at my jokes or tells me he likes my
clothes it can’t be anything but the truth.
- straight boys speak a foreign tongue I never learned –
a semaphore of scruffy chin tugs, bearish shoulders, and
dead dog easy posture. straight boys can spit, far, and
seem to like urinals.
- a straight boy will always hate opera and will never,
ever play some god-awful Whitney Houston record before
he feels you up on the couch – straight boys like guitars.
- cause foreign films are for girls with glasses or nervous
Anglican boys who went to private school – and Yes, Thank
You, he does eat meat.
- straight boys don’t trust their fathers either.
- a straight boy will wear a tight tee-shirt no matter how fat
he is. I call this Innocence.
- OK, yes, even if he does have three kids and two monthly car
payments and at least one house he still has more money than
most of the fags I know and Money = Relaxation.
- cause once I went to the Y and I swear to God four straight
boys massaged each other buck naked and talked about body
fat ratios and not one got hard or even a little glassy
eyed and I knew, I knew I was on another planet and I have
always wanted to see the stars up close.
- straight boys remind me of children – big, hapless, grown
up children with sex organs it would be right and legal and
far more interesting to touch.
- because women don’t really trust them, they’d be
better off with me.
“insight into private affairs … raises certain barristers and magistrates to such great heights”
remember, you and I are not supposed
our bodies, little principalities
annexed brought to heel all our subjects, resworn
the difference between dangerous and quaint is years under
by Dad’s tongue, Mom’s china patterns, every teacher’s
talktalktalk of man and woman we learned
to design the master’s bedrooms, kitchens, stationary, printed
sheets, hair and clever talk
for a pittance for a treaty signed with crossed fingers
we agreed to not speak about love, early cultures, old border
disputes every fucking thing we made for them
remember you and I are not supposed
to betray the dubbing
but we catch our lips moving out of frame mangling foreign
words ugly with sincerity
“Mais, une fois qu’on a commencé de vivre, ca n’en finit plus.”
Anne Hebert, La robe corail
yes, I could be transparent, have no more than 2 meanings
for every sentence, smother
my small inhalations in duck-lined beds (instinctual)
but I am not
tired, only some part of me, the corner of intellect
reserved for newspapers, educated company, family fights
won’t shut up, won’t misread for me, play blind man’s bluff or
any game with kissing and shut eyes won’t say
– this means nothing, I am safe –
from harm, I take baby steps dangle limbs over balconies
sit on cane-back chairs made for light men in linens even dance
fat-legged, convinced of rhythm but from love I’m all manner
and logic, knives if necessary nothing closes me, nothing
no tricks, no practiced feints of hip or cape, no tangles of scarves
to swirl over the very idea because love happened, once, and
like anything charming love was just another language, another dress,
a sneaky link of party half-grins spread chair to chair, room to room
signing the trickster from his mark
from “The McHugh Suite”
5 wine-red truth-tellings he spilled on bone-white lozenge tile
any sensible faggot would understand to be warnings:
looking forward to Christmas
fear of big dogs
the phrase “benefit of the doubt”
my alcoholism, handled like parchment the Magna Carta
wiping, wiping every crumb and spot met with damp cloth hand towels
by the bed
I shoulda ran, remembered Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo doubles
chasing doubles, too many grey twin sets on blondes
shoulda seen the bell tower only leads down after up
lateral is a luxury (and I have so few, I guard myself no
I never do)
dismissed with a hug so unerotic, almost
paramilitary (excluding the subtexts)
I am remembering Helen Gurley Brown’s notes on elegance:
face the host, not the door the last thing you see (of him) must be
wood and numberplates never the stairs your face means Goodbye, your back
says Thank God Thank God, and wasn’t the salmon mousse
I’m learning to leave sideways, honestly
Analysis of Vaughan’s Poetry
Readers will, no doubt, immediately recognize the dazzling frankness and bravery of Vaughan’s poetry. His poetry is like nothing else in New Brunswick literature, for that literature exists, as noted above, within a larger social and discursive context that polices what can and cannot be said. The rules that dictate and police that – the “what can and cannot be said” – are both formal (enshrined in law) and informal (reinforced in discourses of education, health, politics, religion, etc.). By the time each of us comes-of-age, those rules have been well learned, and we agree to follow them or to live outside of their boundaries. For those people who live outside, as we now know, life can be very difficult. To avoid those difficulties and fatigues, members of what we now term LGBTQ communities have lived in denial or hiding for many centuries. Many still do. Better to live in silence than expose oneself publicly to a life of humiliation, violence, or scorn.
It is the more remarkable, then, when we encounter an artist, like Vaughan, who turns his supposed difference into the subject of his work. Clear for us to see in that move is his pain and frustration, but also his humour and humanity. He really is not that different, his search for love (that which we are schooled to fear and censor) not that different from the heterosexual default that we experience as the norm. As he writes in “Safe,” there are “no tricks, no practiced feints of hip or cape”; rather, “like anything charming love was just another language, another dress.” Its allurements are the same (“a sneaky link of party half-grins”) as are its games, those rife with the familiar “trickster[s]” and their “mark[s].”
Could it be, then, that the “difference” we are schooled to recognize in a queer orientation is not a difference in individuals like Vaughan per se but in the peculiarity of the norm that society has established, a norm that is aggressively pitched as natural and decreed? While most evangelicals and Republicans would disagree with that statement, increasing numbers of clearheaded citizens are starting to take that view: specifically, that what is abnormal is the desire of the few (many of those from conservative churches) to dictate the rules for everyone else. In the West, the Catholic and Protestant establishments have done just that, their influence on social ethics and behaviors infusing every aspect of society, from education to law to family values. With their decline has come a lessening of their influence – and a predictable increase in their moral outrage that their narrow view of the world no longer has the authority it once did. The times they are a changin’, as Bob Dylan once said.
But change comes slowly, especially in matters of sexual politics – so slowly that three decades after Dylan gave language to an entire culture of change a gay man like Vaughan still writes that he must “take baby steps,” “dangle limbs over balconies,” “sit on cane-back chairs made for lighter men in linens,” and “even dance / fat-legged, convinced of rhythm” (“Safe”). Safe, then, is not really safe at all. Safe exists only for those who cling to the norm or take shelter in a pantomime of the norm, as the magnificent poem “insight into private affairs…” reveals.
In that poem, Vaughan makes it clear that as a gay man his body and his appetites have been “annexed brought to heel all our subjects, resworn.” Resworn? Chinese communists under Mao and other despots called that “reprogramming,” a reorienting to the social norm. But what is that social norm in a supposedly free, democratic society? It is, the poem continues, “years under / occupation / by Dad’s tongue, Mom’s china patterns, every teacher’s / talktalktalk of man and woman.” It is the expectation that gay men become designers who work for the masters “for a pittance.” Most importantly, though, it is living under the terms of the quid-pro-quo, the tacit agreement that in exchange for “decriminalization” [of homosexuality] gay men would “not speak about love” and never “betray the dubbing”: that is, they would never betray the soundtrack that has been manufactured by society to stand in for and erase their difference.
But, of course, Vaughan lives in two spheres, both inside and outside the terms of society’s many contracts (as most of us do, if not in our sexual orientation then in other ways). On the one hand, he lives “under / occupation,” enduring the “dubbing” that has been prescribed for him. On the other, however, he catches his “lips moving out of frame mangling foreign / words,” those words “ugly with sincerity.” They are “ugly” because they are his, not the dubbers’, and because they are “sincere.” Beauty, in contrast, reflects what society decrees as beautiful, not what actually is beautiful. What actually is beautiful, Vaughan implies, is what the social norm (that norm the province – the “principality” – of evangelicals and Republicans as well as “certain barristers and magistrates”), would term “ugly.”
Again, Vaughan’s work challenges us as readers to interrogate our concept of “the norm.” Most of us accept it, live under its terms, and are accomplices in perpetuating it. But few of us ever think much about it: think about the complicated social consensus that constructs what is normal and abnormal, that separates what is supposedly natural from what is not. Vaughan’s work does this, and does so with humour, sarcasm, razor-sharp insight, and anger equal to the aggressions that he is exposing, aggressions that we in the mainstream have become inured to. Vaughan’s great lesson for us is to force us to rethink our comfort in being complicit – and even more profoundly, to rethink whether any of us is really in the mainstream. Women are certainly not, nor are people of colour, nor people who identify as or are tagged as being different. It is but a small step from Vaughan’s poetry to the conclusion that the aggressive norms that meet queer communities are also the aggressions aimed at large sectors of our population, sectors that have learned, like gay men, to live and “leave sideways” (“The McHugh Suite”). Who are the real deviants, then? And who the villains?
“A Garden Gnome Infestation”
Every summer, my home suffers from a pesky infestation. The busy little guests are not termites, flying ants or roaches. They are larger, much hairier and wear pointy boots. At last count, I had nearly two dozen, with more threatening to turn up at any time. My uninvited guests are garden gnomes – those diminutive, bearded men with the red caps and an unnatural fondness for wheelbarrow pushing. So far, I’ve resisted giving them names. So far.
It’s all my fault, this gnome invasion. A few years ago, I wrote an article about a gnome seller outside of Toronto, a specialist who imports his hirsute garden guards from Poland. In the article, I happened to mention that I find gnomes cheering, good kitschy fun. Now, about once a month, somebody drops one off at my house, usually late at night. If they weren’t all male gnomes, I’d think they were multiplying on their own.
Gnomes, and other lawn ornaments, get no respect. Some of my neighbours, people I do not even know by name, make a point of saying hello to me when I’m out gardening in order to make a point of saying hello to my gnomes – with the same infuriatingly indulgent tone one uses when acknowledging a child’s dolls. I could get rid of the gnomes (getting rid of the neighbours is too legally tricky), but why capitulate to good taste?
Such anti-garden-ornament sentiment is unique to Toronto, where people try so very hard to be smart, slick and design-y, which always means getting rid of anything fun or frivolous. In other parts of the country, garden ornaments are as necessary to the health of a garden as fertilizer. My mother in New Brunswick can’t imagine spring without a trip to the garage to unwrap her blue “star gazer” garden sphere, which looks exactly like a bowling ball dipped in nail polish. And if the bastard who stole her concrete duck and ducklings set in 1982 is still breathing, he must have papal protection.
So, this Canada Day weekend – in between listening to reverent tributes to Glenn Gould on the CBC and trying, again, to ingest some fibrous Mavis Gallant story – give a thought to the humble lawn ornament. Own up to your gnome, butterfly or windmill love without irony or apology. Merry lapses in adornment are our national calling card. You’ve seen the Prime Minister’s cowboy getup, his outback matron shorts? What’s a few whirligigs after sights like those?
Designers love to say that gardens are the outdoor room of a house. Fine, but in our case, it’s a room we only get to use for six weeks a year. Might as well fill it with toys.
Analysis of “A Garden Gnome Infestation”
This delightful short essay is characteristic of Vaughan’s saucy wit and tongue-in-cheek, ironic tone. Part celebration of the quirky, and part condemnation of the Toronto WASPishness that he detests, the essay reaches beyond what is deemed “correct” by the intellectual class and aims instead at what is a favoured fetish, even if that fetish and its adherents are ridiculed. In that proclivity to fetish over fashion (to private indulgence over schooled restraint), Vaughan betrays his roots. The people of his home province, he suggests, using his mother as an example, do not care what is culturally appropriate, but rather follow their own whimsies, adorning their lives accordingly. And by doing so, he insinuates, they are free.
“[W]hy capitulate to good taste,” then, at the expense of “good kitschy fun,” of what is “fun or frivolous”? The lesson should not be lost on readers. This is only incidentally an essay on garden gnomes. It also functions figuratively as a social statement that admonishes self-censor for “good taste.” Better, it counsels, that we Canadians follow our pleasures, however frivolous, at least as often as we ingest the cultural diet of the CBC, that diet rife with the ruffage of Glenn Gould and Mavis Gallant. In a national culture so concentrated in a few centralized institutions (the CBC the most insistent), that advice seems wise indeed – and comes, not surprisingly, from an outlier, a New Brunswicker squatting uneasily at the heart of the empire.
Questions and Considerations for Reflection
► In assessing why Vaughan should be read and studied, one of the comments made above is that we study him for an “alternate perspective.” Specifically, because “the province has not been at the forefront of literary experimentation or innovation. Boldness has not been our signature.” In other words, we study him (artistic novelty, forthrightness, and unchecked passion) against the backdrop of what is a rather buttoned-up, conservative literary tradition. Those comments invite further thought. First, why is our literary tradition conservative? Why did modernist advances like realism, as literary critic David Creelman has observed, emerge so late in the province and region (5)? What is it about us that bends toward a conserving ethos? Is it solely a feature of our provincial heritage: that we are the descendants of Loyalists and other vanquished groups that cultivated ethnic nationalisms as survival strategies? Or does our position on the periphery of the nation (both literally and symbolically) contribute to a constructed conservatism? There is no doubt that New Brunswick has very little status in the federation. As a result, we have scant means to contest the perception that other, more structurally advantaged regions have of us as quaint, slow to adapt, and even backward. The fastest track to acceptance in that context is often to fulfill the expectations others have of us, harmful and inaccurate as those may be. Richard Vaughan’s appearance on the scene occasions this consideration of cultural attribution, focussing attention on how and why regions in large federations have certain characteristics that do not accurately (or charitably) define them.
► A technical aspect of Vaughan’s poetry that bears consideration is his use of the fragmented line. His poetic lines are rarely fluid and almost never rhythmic; they do not flow neatly but rather cascade off in unpredictable directions. Fragments of thought and clause are also often separated by long spaces within lines. The unusual poetics begs the question of effect: what is the effect of this linguistic technique, and does it bear any relation to Vaughan’s intentions? In other words, how does his form complement his meaning? (Hint: If one thinks of the unbroken syntactic line as conventional – in poetry, that convention uses iambic pentameter, rhyme, and forward movement of thought – the fragmented or broken line, a feature of modernist verse, is a disruption of convention. To fragment or break the line is to transgress convention, and to snub the King’s English. Moreover, to adopt disruption as one’s own convention is to signal not only discomfort with the tradition but also certain discomforts in one’s living. Is the fragmented line, then, a reflection of an imposed fragmentation on a writer? Is Vaughan queering convention in his use of the fragmented line, or is he using fragmentation to reflect something more basic about his reality as a gay man in a straight society? Is the conventional poetic line incompatible with the set of social conditions that Vaughan is describing in his work? Fascinating, too, of course, is how formal line manipulation can be brought to bear on literary meaning.)
Strategies for Teachers
Strategy 1: Masculinity (“10 Reasons Why I Fall in Love with Inaccessible Straight Boys Every Damn Time”)
Students might react to this poem defensively, since it is full of dubious generalizations. Ask them to reread, questioning whether the speaker really believes that all straight men, for instance, hate opera and spit frequently. Do students think the poem is earnestly fetishizing and/or mischievously playing with societal expectations for straight masculinity? Have students identify the generalizations in the poem, and expand the list from their own experience, perhaps providing examples from pop culture. In what ways could these specific gendered expectations harm straight men? Queer men? Women?
To extend the discussion on gender expectations, ask students to respond to the following Vaughan quote: “Like many gay men, I have a theatrical relationship with masculinity. I don’t mean theatrical as in flamboyant, but artificial, playful, performative. Masculinity, or to be more precise, the traditional trappings of masculinity – stalwart and stoic talk, an attraction to the rough and outdoorsy, a blunt demeanour – are, to me and my kind, merely a handful of behaviour patterns to be pulled out of the dress-up box, another form of drag.” Gender theorist Judith Butler would argue that the “masculine” straight men are performing their gender as well, though the performance has become so ingrained that they may no longer be consciously aware of the theatre. That considered, do people sometimes behave in an exaggeratedly “feminine” or “masculine” way for fun? In what situations does that happen? And is it due to societal or familial pressure?
Key Stage Curriculum Outcomes:
- Reading and Viewing: Examine how media texts construct notions of roles, behaviour, culture, and reality
Strategy 2: Reasons Why I . . . (“10 Reasons Why I Fall in Love with Inaccessible Straight Boys Every Damn Time”)
List structures can make it easier for reluctant writers to begin and complete a piece. After reading Vaughan’s poem for inspiration, challenge students to write their own, in the format “____ Reasons Why I _____.” Emphasize that the poem need not be confessional. Students might enjoy writing from the perspective of a villain, object, person from history or the future, etc. Offer a few examples: “5 Reasons Why I Am Banned from Disneyland” or “6 Reasons Why Neolithic People Invented the Wheel.” (To make the exercise even more meaningful, ask students to write a poem from the prompt “14 Reasons Not to Eat Potato Chips on Church Street,” explaining that they should write the poem, perhaps in groups, from the perspective and using the tone of Richard Vaughan – and also explaining to them that Church St. is a gathering spot for Toronto’s gay men. When students complete the exercise, show them Vaughan’s poem of the same name, which is in the collection Invisible to Predators. Which group came closest to the sense and tone of Vaughan’s actual poem?)
Key Stage Curriculum Outcomes:
- Writing and Representing: Make effective choices of language and techniques to enhance the impact of imaginative writing and other ways of representing
Strategy 3: Found Poem (“insight into private affairs…” and “The McHugh Suite”)
Have students highlight selected words and phrases from the poems, then transcribe and edit them to create new “found” pieces. This strategy could be applied to any of the poetry or prose pieces in this curriculum, though the vocabulary of Vaughan’s work will likely make for a particularly lively activity. Results could vary from silly to profound. Discuss how the students’ new poems compare with the tone, speaker, etc. of Vaughan’s work. If students have done a found poem activity before, challenge them with more specific goals, such as creating a militant, philosophical, or uplifting found poem that exhibits the same spirit as that of the original.
Key Stage Curriculum Outcomes:
- Writing and Representing: Demonstrate a commitment to the skilful crafting of a range of writing and other representations
Strategy 4: Heterosexual Questionnaire (“insight into private affairs…”)
As an accompaniment to this poem, have students complete the “heterosexual questionnaire.” This self-reflective activity could be followed with a small group discussion, relating how it feels to be positioned as abnormal. Has it also been the students’ experience (like Vaughan’s) that school or the language arts curriculum is heterosexist, assuming that “man and woman” is the norm? What can or should teachers do to address this problem?
Extension: Another very good self-reflective resource is the “white privilege checklist,” which exists in various iterations on the Web.
Key Stage Curriculum Outcomes:
- Reading and Viewing: Examine how texts work to reveal and produce ideologies, identities, and positions
Strategy 5: Baiting a Response (“A Garden Gnome Infestation”)
Vaughan’s short essay contains a middle paragraph that contrasts people in Toronto, with their affection for “slick and design-y” things, with people from New Brunswick, who are into kitsch like garden gnomes. That’s usually the kind of contrast that prompts people to say, “wait a minute, is that accurate?” In painting people with a broad brush, such arguments bait a response; some readers may feel that the idea has truth to it, while others may get their backs up at the bold generalization. Teaching strategies are offered below.
- Ask students to discuss their own response to the essay. Employ any discussion techniques that work for your classroom, such as four corners or think/pair/share. Do students accept or refute this characterization of New Brunswickers?
- Have students collaboratively rewrite Vaughan’s paragraph so that it is nearly immune to criticism. For example, they could try phrases like “From what I’ve noticed, there are more lawn ornaments in New Brunswick than in Toronto.” If their new paragraph is more defensible or accurate than the original, does that make it better? Why or why not?
- Ask students to brainstorm about how New Brunswickers differ from other Canadians, or from the rest of the world. Individually or in groups, have them compose one or more of their ideas as short and strong assertions (strongly stated opinions, rather than facts). Share these with the whole class, and challenge students to refute each assertion verbally or in writing. Which activity best clarified their own beliefs: the initial making of assertions, or the refutation?
- If students had a lively response to Vaughan’s article, another source of discussion or writing prompts might be artist Jenny Holzer’s provocative Truisms.
Key Stage Curriculum Outcomes:
- Speaking and Listening: Examine others’ ideas and synthesize what is helpful to clarify and expand on their own understanding
- Reading and Viewing: Examine how media texts construct notions of roles, behaviour, culture, and reality
Brophy, Sarah. “‘In Sotto Howl’: Sexuality and Politics in the Poetry of R.M. Vaughan.” Essays on Canadian Writing 63 (Spring 1998): 172-196.
Creelman, David. Setting in the East: Maritime Realist Fiction. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2003.
Grubisic, Brett Josef. “Margin, Vanguard.” Rev of Spells, by R.M. Vaughan. Canadian Literature 187 (Winter 2005): 122-124.
Knight, Chris. Rev. of Ruined Stars, by R.M. Vaughan. Canadian Book Review Annual (2005). 233-234.
Morgan-Feir, Caoimhe. “R.M. Vaughan is Bright Eyed: Insomnia and Art.” Canadian Art [Interview] 11 June 2015. 22 July 2020
Ricci, Nino. “R.M. Vaughan’s Bright Eyed Shows Why Insomnia is the Banner Affliction of Our Time.” Rev. of Bright Eyed, by R.M. Vaughan. Globe and Mail 24 July 2015.
Richardson, Bill. “Quilted Heart.” Rev. of A Quilted Heart, by R.M. Vaughan. Quill and Quire 64.9 (Sept 1998): 56.
Stark, Leslie. “Writing in the Dark.” Rev. of The Monster Trilogy, by R.M. Vaughan. Canadian Literature 186 (Autumn 2005): 187-188.
Syms, Shawn. “Particularly Mouthy: An Interview with R.M. Vaughan.” The Winnipeg Review 6 January 2014.
Vaughan, R.M. 96 Tears (In My Jeans). Fredericton, NB: Broken Jaw Press, 1998.
---. Bright Eyed: Insomnia and its Cultures. Toronto: Coach House, 2015.
---. Camera, Woman. Toronto: Coach House, 1998.
---. Compared To Hitler: Selected Essays. Toronto: Tightrope Books, 2013.
---. The InCorrupt Tables. Fredericton: Wild East, 1992. [Rpt. Fredericton: Broken Jaw, 1995.]
---. Invisible to Predators. Toronto: ECW, 1999.
---. To Monsieur Desmoulins: Dear Camille, in Response to Your Last Letter Before Execution: 203 Years Late. Toronto: Tortoiseshell & Black, 1997.
---. The Monster Trilogy. Toronto: Coach House, 2003.
---. A Quilted Heart. Toronto: Insomniac, 1998.
---. Ruined Stars. Toronto: ECW, 2004.
---. A Selection of Dazzling Scarves. Toronto: ECW, 1996.
---. Spells. Toronto: ECW, 2003.
---. Troubled: A Memoir in Poems and Fragments. Toronto: Coach House, 2008.
For much more detailed primary and secondary source bibliographies of Vaughan, see his New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia entry.
We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of R.M. Vaughan for allowing us to use the poems and essay above for this curriculum. Further use or distribution of this work, however, is a violation of Canadian copyright law and is strictly prohibited. Under no circumstance may literary material used in the curriculum be reproduced, distributed, or stored without the permission of the copyright holder.
“10 Reasons Why I Fall in Love with Inaccessible Straight Boys Every Damn Time” and “insight into private affairs…” appear in Vaughan’s A Selection of Dazzling Scarves. Toronto: ECW Press, 1996. “Safe” and the two sections from “The McHugh Suite” appear in Vaughan’s Invisible Predators. Toronto: ECW Press, 1999. “A Garden Gnome Infestation” appeared in the Globe and Mail [Toronto] 23 June 2007.
All contents except for poetry and fiction copyright © Tony Tremblay, James W. Johnson, and Alexandra Cogswell.