The Semiconducting Dictionary: Our Strindberg is a playful original re-visioning of the life of notorious misogynist and modern drama master August Strindberg, mixing prose and poetry of various forms from different historical periods including straightforward lyric, found poetry, haibun, list poems, magic spells, and alchemical recipes to construct a portrait and to tell a story.
August Strindberg is a hotly debated figure, a master of the Modern theatre and a contemporary of Ibsen; the influence of Strindberg’s work continues to this day. However, in contemporary times his often outrageous misanthropy and misogyny (he claimed that women were demons) have been variously apologized for as poetic licence, self-portrait, critical posture, or simply mistaken (how could he be a misogynist when there were so many women in his life?). Caple contributes to the apologist literature surrounding him by pretending that he was actually a woman playwright living as a man and his supposed hatred either part of the disguise or else self-loathing. By embracing Strindberg, Caple is able to highlight the excessive beauty of human complications and to represent a world at the end of the enlightenment, as the magic of the church gave way to the magic of the sciences.
Natalee Caple is the author of four books of fiction and two books of poetry, including the novel The Plight of Happy People in an Ordinary World (Anansi), the short story collection The Heart is its Own Reason (Insomniac), which was positively reviewed by the New York Times and has been optioned for film, the poetry collection A More Tender Ocean (Coach House), which was nominated for a Gerald Lampert Award, and the novel Mackerel Sky (Thomas Allen/St. Martin’s). Caple is pursuing a Ph.D. in English at the University of Calgary. She lives in Calgary, Alberta.
Published: September 2010
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.
"Caple's poetic sequences and variations are magisterial and masterful . . . Her language is hypnotizing with an imagery so stark and yet so eloquent that captivates that aura of a complicated world one is most fearful in admitting exists but secretly invested in exploring further and experiencing." — Sacramento Book Review
“In Caple's poems, the writer, alchemist, journalist, librarian, painter, father, servant's son and husband is pieced together, ironically and tenderly, anew. . . . Through lists, found poems, timelines, letters, stage plays and lyrics, Caple divines an evocative collection as undecided and evolving in form and tone as Strindberg himself.” — Winnipeg Free Press
"What's interesting about this decade-long project is that [Caple's] own subjectivity and gender concerns are layered on top of her portrayal of Strindberg as both adversary and almost-lover."— Georgia Straight