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Eric Schmaltz's Reading Love: His Strangest, Most Comforting, & Most Unsettling Reads

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Artist and writer Eric Schmaltz's Surfaces (Invisible Publishing) is a debut collection to remember. The poems are sharp and timely, reflecting Schmaltz's multi-media, cross-platform approach to art. Drawing on typography, graphic design, found elements, and more, Surfaces asks questions about our relationships with our bodies in a digital age, where the tiniest movements can mean the delivery of huge amounts of information or even emotion. Derek Beaulieu praised the collection saying "Surfaces reminds us that the page is a 3D object... [it's] a glistening moment, an uncanny reminder of what language could be, if only we let it."

Today we're excited to welcome Eric to Open Book where he takes our WAR quiz - the Writers as Readers questionnaire, where we ask writers about the books that moved, delighted, inspired, and shaped them. Eric tells us about the CanLit classic that gives him comfort, a very creative encyclopedia you will want to check out, and an overlooked beauty to seek out for your next read. 

WAR: Writers as Readers, with Eric Schmaltz

A book that made me cry:

Books give me all sorts of feelings: Maidenhead by Tamara Faith Berger unsettles me; Martyrology Books 1 & 2 by bpNichol comforts me; Checking In by Adeena Karasick makes me LOL; Nets by Jen Bervin fills me with envy. I’m not sure if there’s a book in my recent reading history that made me cry. However, I can say for certain that the poem “All the Whiskey in Heaven” by Charles Bernstein left me weeping.

The book I plan on reading next:

I’m currently reading Deafening by Frances Itani. Once I finish that, there are so many books that are currently waiting for me: Johnny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead, My Conversations with Canadians by Lee Maracle, Once in Blockadia by Stephen Collis, Honestly by Steve Zultanski, Cat Call by Holly Melgard, among many others.

The book I would give my seventeen year old self, if I could:

I’m relatively content with the reading I was doing at seventeen years old. It certainly wasn’t as interesting or diverse but I wouldn’t change a thing. Who knows how a different book might have altered my pathway to here? 

The strangest book I've ever read and how I felt about it:

Codex Seraphinius by artist Luigi Serafini is among the many strange books I own and it is among my favourites. For those who haven’t yet encountered it, Codex Seraphinius is an encyclopedia for an unknown world. Serafini adapts the genre of the encyclopedia to capture all elements of a strange, imaginary world including the bizarre and beautiful plant and animal life, language, machinery, social customs, and architecture.

A book I loved that I think has been overlooked:

I still love The Sorrow and the Fast of It by Nathanaël and I think it is overlooked. 

A possible title for my autobiography:

The title of my autobiography would be The Adventures of a Summer Boi.


Eric Schmaltz is a Toronto-based artist and writer who works with language in a variety of forms and media including print, sound performance, and video. His work has been published and exhibited in Canada, the United States, and U.K. See more at

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Writing at the intersection of language, bodies, and digital culture

Pushing writing to its limits, Surfaces is Eric Schmaltz’s compelling debut collection that’s situated at the intersection of language, bodies, and digital culture. Opening toward the embodied and the intersubjective, Surfaces is at turns playful and unsettling as it explores the processes, interactions, and erasures that occur on and below the surface of writing with machinery.

Composed with a minimalist aesthetic and conceptual elements, the book combines found elements, graphic design, imprint, translation, and experimental typography to engage questions about writing and feeling in the 21st century: Where does the body go when we write to one another thru digital channels? How and what do we feel when information is realized through taps, clicks, and pressures? What happens to meaning within a digital economy when information is considered to be bodiless? Concerned with these questions, Surfaces begins to probe for their depths.