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The Perfect Archive

The Perfect Archive

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Figure 3 on page 18 is an artwork titled Der Engel that is part of the permanent collection at the AGH.

  • 98 pages
  • Trade Paperback

At the core of the dry and purposeful language of Library Science and the Rules of Archival Practice is an Orwellian impulse that serves as a lens through which to consider what Hannah Arendt famously called “the banality of evil.” The Perfect Archive is a story in verse about an archivist who moves beyond his role as protector and cataloguer of others' work and begins to question the very nature of a “pure and accurate” archive. The role of a government Archivist is to organize and catalogue books, statutes, and memoranda. What happens when these documents are weaponized?

Poet, archivist, and librarian, Paul Lisson was born into a family of union card carrying steelworkers who played in bagpipe bands. Paul has twice been the recipient of the City of Hamilton Arts Award—for visual art and literature in 1997 and for arts administration in 2017. He received the Rand Memorial Prize for accomplishment in print, established by the graduating class of 1898, McMaster University, and the International Merit Award for poetry from The Atlanta Review. He is the Founding Publisher / Editor of Hamilton Arts & Letters. The Ontario Arts Council says that HA&L has the “distinction” of being the first online magazine they have funded.