There Goes Rhyming Tony: The Collected Snowking

Feedback on the print edition of EDGE YK magazine is almost always positive. But in the winter of 2013, after two issues without a piece by Old Town Versifier Anthony Foliot, a number of readers were upset.

“As soon as I pick up the magazine, it’s the first thing I read, so please bring him back,” one lady said after running into me on the street. Others sent emails urging us to bring back the Versifier right away. Mike Mitchell’s plea was the most eloquent, a portion of which we published in the June/July 2013 issue:

“Since February, you must have noticed a precipitous decline in your circulation. No, the extra copy on the rack at Down to Earth Gallery wasn’t left there by mistake: that burning sting of rejection is how my boycott is supposed to make you feel. You want the pain to stop, you cry? Bring back the poetry.

It used to be I’d flip straight to the back page of a new issue of EDGE. Now I’m just flippin’ mad. You think the world doesn’t notice a Snowking-sized hole in the last two editions?! While the ain’t-this-place-grand-feel-goodery of EDGE makes it a fine read, Anthony Foliot’s verses made it great. And I’m not just talking about the charm of his home-spun themes and Robert Service-y meter. What I miss is the predictability of a consistently good column. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about ‘cuz all the big mags have it: the cartoon in The Walrus, The New Yorker caption contest, Penthouse letters… Oh, do the right thing already and restore the monarch. Without Tony, Edge just looks like a less-shiny version of Up Here.”

While thankful for the letter, I let Mike know a couple of things:

  1. EDGE magazine would never be a less-shiny version of Up Here
  2. We were returning Anthony to his last-page perch in our next issue

And aside from those two 2013 issues in which I offered opportunities to other contributors, Anthony’s had a piece in every issue since. What’s more, he always submits his copy on time, whether busy building the Snowcastle or making East Arm freight runs.

Anthony once told me one reason he liked the magazine is because it gave him a reason to regularly write and gather feedback. Now he’s pulled together many of those magazine pieces and published his first book, Tales of an Old Town Versifier. It’s a mix of contemporary and historical works inspired by the North, which Anthony recommends reading aloud, simply because he writes the words to be heard.

This is also Verge Communications’ first-ever book project and we’re really proud to have to worked on it. Anthony’s been a huge supporter of ours from the beginning, and it’s an honour to support him here.

Anthony’s a good friend of mine and the organization, as well as a huge part of the crew that helped start EDGE magazine. Over the years, in his role as Snowking, Anthony’s also offered me many creative opportunities at the Snowcastle. As an aside, there was a question about whether to officially confirm Anthony Foliot and Snowking as the same person on the book’s cover. Thankfully, after much discussion, it was decided both personalities would receive a boost through association.

Looking for Tales of an Old Town Versifier in print? It’s at the Yellowknife Book Cellar, Down to Earth Gallery or right here on EDGE Online. You can also attend the November 28 launch at the museum to hear Anthony read aloud and get a signed copy.

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