Dr. Luke Maynard is a Canadian writer, academic, and young sage of narrative. Born in London, Ontario, he has recently moved to the big city to study Law at the University of Toronto. As an academic, law student, writer, musician, and incorrigible storyteller, Luke clearly didn’t have enough things on his plate, and so decided to start blogging for reasons nobody can fathom.
Luke just completed his PhD in English at the University of Victoria, successfully defending in December of 2013. His dissertation, Shadow and Voice: The Vampire’s Debt to Secular Modernity, is a study of supernatural fiction (and especially “vampire narratives”) in English from 1732 to 1897, linking their development to the new narrative of secularization advanced in Charles Taylor’s 2007 study A Secular Age. Most of his recent work in this field has been in the area of Romanticism, the long eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the early development of speculative genres; but he remains attached to a wide variety of academic interests, from medieval manuscripts to digital literary editions. Returning to academia to study Law at the University of Toronto, Luke’s interests in narrative and the humanities drive his understanding of the law as a public sphere in which a richer understanding of people and their stories is a fundamental cornerstone of justice.
Although Luke’s academic career has made him less prolific as a poet, playwright, and writer of fiction, Luke still actively pursues this work and has gone full-steam ahead as a writer since completing the PhD. This blog has been started, in part, as a means of getting away from Facebook and its dodgy content-rights provisions, so that Luke can share some more of this work without it falling out of his control. Outside of academia, Luke is best known as a poet with a penchant for bringing old metres and prosodic forms into the present day: outside the dodgy business of private-release chapbooks, Luke’s poetry has appeared in Grubstreet, Sparks, and Transverse, and he was shortlisted for Cambridge University’s Spenserian Stanza prize. His short fiction has appeared, among other places, in three Martian Migraine Press anthologies, and his first novel (please inquire) is on the agent-query circuit now.
As a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Luke may be one of Canadian music’s best-kept secrets. Luke has worked on stages large and small (but mostly small) since his early teens, when he started in the folk clubs and open stages that flourished in Southwestern Ontario at the time. He later later spent three years as a bassist with the London-based Dixie Flyers, Canada’s longest-running bluegrass band and recent inductees into the JRMA Hall of Fame. In his three years with the Dixie Flyers, he shared festival and concert stages with performers as varied as Ron Sexsmith, Willie P. Bennett, Ashley MacIsaac, and Fred Eaglesmith.
From 2004 to 2012, Luke was a regular performer with Victoria’s award-winning Tongues of Fire spoken word collective. His 2011 independent-release CD, Desolation Sound, was sold exclusively from the Tongues of Fire stage, moving “tens of copies” (Luke jokes that the CD “went plastic” overnight) and led at least one interviewer to describe him as “a modern day Leonard Cohen,” a flattering comparison he finds it difficult to accept while Leonard himself is still alive and well.
Now settled in Toronto, Luke is back in the studio working on his second CD and actively seeking collaboration with other bands and musicians. In the meantime, his Youtube channel Luke’s Ukes is a fun side project offering highly unlikely ukulele covers of some surprising songs.