Stuart Ross is a Toronto fiction writer, poet, editor, and creative-writing instructor. He has been active in the Toronto literary scene since the mid-1970s. In 1987, he co-founded, with Nicholas Power, the Toronto Small Press Book Fair, a long-standing underground literary institution. In 2008, he became a founding member of the Meet the Presses collective.
Stuart is the author of six major poetry collections, most recently Dead Cars in Managua (DC Books, 2008) and the acclaimed I Cut My Finger (Anvil Press, 2007) and Hey, Crumbling Balcony! Poems New & Selected (ECW Press, 2003). His collection Farmer Gloomy’s New Hybrid (ECW Press, 1999) was one of seven books shortlisted for the 2000 Trillium Book Award, given to the best book of any genre published in Ontario. His collection I Cut My Finger (Anvil Press, 2007) was shortlisted for the 2008 ReLit Award for Poetry.
Stuart is also the author of two fiction collections — Henry Kafka and Other Stories (The Mercury Press, 1997) and Buying Cigarettes for the Dog (Freehand Books, 2009) — as well as two collaborative novellas and the book of personal essays Confessions of a Small Press Racketeer (Anvil Press, 2005). He is editor of the anthology Surreal Estate: 13 Canadian Poets Under the Influence (The Mercury Press, 2004), and has edited several literary magazines, most recently Peter O’Toole: The Journal of One-Line Poems. He is the Fiction & Poetry Editor for This Magazine and Poetry Editor at Mansfield Press.
Stuart’s work has appeared in scores of journals here and in the U.S., including Harper’s, The Walrus, This Magazine, Geist, Rampike, Canadian Forum, West Coast Line, The Capilano Review, Bomb Threat Checklist, sub-Terrain, and Taddle Creek, as well as several anthologies and textbooks. His column “Hunkamooga,” which appears regularly in sub-Terrain, has been nominated for a National Magazine Award and a BC Magazine Award.
Stuart has frequently collaborated with musicians in live performance and on recordings. In 2008, U.K. singer-songwriter Ben Walker adapted 15 of Stuart’s poems as pop songs; the results is the CD An Orphan’s Song: Ben Walker Sings Stuart Ross. In 2006, Nova Scotia choreographer Lisa Phinney created a dance piece based on one of Stuart’s poems.
Stuart has given readings at hundreds of venues in Canada, the U.S., England, Chile, and Nicaragua. He has appeared widely at festivals, including the Ottawa International Writers’ Festival, the Banff-Calgary WordFest, the Ashkenaz Festival of Yiddish Culture (Toronto), MayWorks (Toronto), Scream in High Park (Toronto), the Vancouver Jewish Book Fair, the West Coast Poetry Festival (Vancouver), BookFestWindsor, Poetry on the Rocks (Kimberley, BC), the Lucerne Writers Festival (New Denver, BC), Words in Whitby, and Rage on ’24th (Edmonton).
Stuart has led residential poetry and fiction workshops for adults and teens and has taught several professional-level editing workshops. He has taught writing at the elementary and high school levels and has conducted his one-day intensive Poetry Boot Camps in Vancouver, Pickering, Toronto, Oakville, Ottawa, Nelson, New Denver, St. Albert, and Banff.
In January 2006, Stuart led a two-week poetry workshop at the Los Parronales Writing Retreat in Chile. He was also invited by the Chilean Ministry of Education to address Chilean English teachers, at the 2006 English Summer Town in Santiago, on using poetry as a language-teaching tool.
Stuart was the 2002 Writer in Residence for the Writers’ Circle of Durham Region, the 2003 Poet in Residence for the Ottawa International Writers’ Festival, and the 2005 Electronic Writer in Residence for the Toronto Public Library’s youth website.
Stuart regularly gives talks to teachers, librarians, writers, students, and others on the small press movement, self-publishing, the writing life, nurturing creativity in non-writers, and other topics.