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Poetry

  • Author:
    Barwin, Gary
    Summary:

    Poet and musician Gary Barwin both continues and extends the alchemical collision of language, imaginative flight and quiet beauty that have made him unique among contemporary poets. As the Utne Reader has noted, what makes this work so compelling is 'Barwin’s balance of melancholy with wide-eyed wonder.' The Porcupinity of the Stars sees the always bemused and wistful poet reaching into new and deeper territory, addressing the joys and vagaries of perception in poems touching on family, loss, wonder and the shifting, often perplexing nature of consciousness. His Heisenbergian sensibility honed to a fine edge, the poems in this bright, bold and acutely visual book add a surreptitious intensity and wry maturity to Barwin’s trademark gifts for subtle humour, solemn delight, compassion and invention. 'Between the freaky, funny filmmaker Guy Maddin and author Gary Barwin, Canada is producing some of the most innovative creative works of our time.' – Utne Reader

  • Author:
    Ball, Jonathan
    Summary:

    Winner of the 2013 Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry (Manitoba Book Awards) If David Lynch crashed into Franz Kafka in a dark alley, the result might look like The Politics of Knives. Moving from shattered surrealism to disembowelled films, these poems land us in a limbo between the intellectual and the visceral, between speaking and screaming. Finding the language of violence and the violence in language, Jonathan Ball becomes the Stephen King of verse.

  • Author:
    Summary:

    This is a collection of 20th and 21st century poets, handpicked by JoAnn Becker and Diane Croft. These are frank poems about young passions and old love, nature and nurture, work affairs and love affairs.

  • Author:
    Dodds, Jeramy
    Summary:

    Gods, giants, violence, the undead, theft, trolls, dwarves, aphorisms, unrequited love, Valkyries, heroes, kidnapping, dragons, the creation of the cosmos and a giant wolf are just some of the elements dwelling within these Norse poetic tales. Committed to velum anonymously in Iceland around 1270, they were flash frozen from much-older oral versions that had been circulating throughout Northern Europe for centuries. The Poetic Edda is an epoch-making cache of mythological and heroic tales that have compelled Wagner, Tolkien, Borges and Auden, among many others. It is one of the few extent sources that provide a periscope into the Viking Age consciousness.In this rousing line-by-line translation, award-winning poet Jeramy Dodds transmits the Old Icelandic text into English, placing it in the hands of poetry fans and academics alike, without chipping the patina of the original. 

  • Author:
    Nardo, Desi Di
    Summary:

    Written with a probingly sensitive eye, this collection of poems illuminates the subtle and poignant moments in life-moments that cause people to grow and, occasionally, to digress as individuals. Greatly emphasizing musicality, this compilation re-examines the common aspects of everyday life from a female perspective. The urban world and its intricacies are explored and, as a result, a profound zeal for nature emerges. Insightful and unique, these free verses delve deeply into human emotion.

  • Author:
    Antrobus, Raymond
    Summary:

    The Perseverance is the remarkable debut book by British-Jamaican poet Raymond Antrobus. Ranging across history and continents, these poems operate in the spaces in between, their haunting lyrics creating new, hybrid territories. The Perseverance is a book of loss, contested language and praise, where elegies for the poet’s father sit alongside meditations on the Deaf experience.

  • Author:
    Humphreys, Helen
    Summary:

    In her third book of poetry The Perils of Geography, Helen Humphreys charts a world that opens under the prodding and promise of language. With the wit and eye for evocative detail which gained readers for both Gods and Other Mortals and Nuns Looking Anxious, Listening to Radios, Humphreys probes the immediacy of now, the intensity of this, the residue of then. Don’t be deceived by the spare appearance; her poems are resonant and full, "all angles and confidence." Light falls slant across them. She maps "what surrounds not what's made still" -- "the moving line." The line she traces connects the pull of memory and moment, open roads and winter aconite, transcendental basements and ornamental shrubbery. In "Singing to the Bees," the ten poem sequence which makes up the second of three sections in Perils, she slips inside folk wisdoms, wears them with an easy grace, all flesh and wit and possibility: dancing shoes, gifted pigs, swarming bees, airplane nuns and spectre ships. These poems make superstition delicious.

  • Author:
    Greenwood, Catherine
    Summary:

    Notable Book in the 2005 Kiriyama Prize and longlisted for the 2005 ReLit Awards

    Catherine Greenwood draws on the stories and legends which surround the development of cultured pearls by Mikimoto, the fabulous Pearl King, to engage a rich array of themes, including the clash between an aesthetics of refinement and nuance, and mass manufacture. With discerning wit and a large range of styles and voices, she holds up each subject for contemplation as though it were a pearl, and explores the sometimes bizarre consequences of an overwhelming rage for beauty.

    As the seal is strong and breathes air,
    As the fish is quick and breathes water,
    So make me, a mermaid strong and quick.

    Bless me with abalone abundant as mushrooms,
    Oysters dropping ripe as plums into my palm.
    Let my births keep me ashore a few days only,
    Only for a little while let labour make me rest.

    from “The Diving Girls’ Prayer”

    When, in other sections of the book, Catherine Greenwood turns her attention to such matters as the still birth of a calf, teeth, moles, or the Shetland Island stone, she does so with the same care for the exact fit of style, the same sharply-angled craft.

    “The ancient Taoists believed that a pearl was grounded at the soul’s centre, that it took wisdom and clarity to create its essence. Catherine Greenwood’s first collection of poems is proof of that. Here is a new pearl, the beginning of a strand I hope, that will continue to be added to with such depth of field and luminosity.” – Don Domanski

  • Author:
    Rahimi, Atiq
    Summary:

    In Persian folklore, Syngue Sabour is the name of a magical black stone, a patience stone, which absorbs the plight of those who confide in it. It is believed that the day it explodes, after having received too much hardship and pain, will be the day of the Apocalypse. But here, the Syngue Sabour is not a stone but rather a man lying brain-dead with a bullet lodged in his neck. His wife is with him, sitting by his side. But she resents him for having sacrificed her to the war, for never being able to resist the call to arms, for wanting to be a hero, and in the end, after all was said and done, for being incapacitated in a small skirmish.

  • Author:
    Major, Alice
    Summary:

    In this ambitious long poem, Alice Major exemplifies the redemptive force of story. Through the light-hearted interplay of such literary touchstones as Chaucer, The Thousand and One Nights, and Greek myth, readers meet receptionist Aphrodite, Sheherazad in PR, and Pandora, expectant grandmother from accounting, who gather to share tales during coffee breaks from their male-dominated engineering firm. Literary pilgrims, lovers of narrative and long forms, or fans of Major’s past explorations are certain to find redemption here.

  • Author:
    Giovannone, Aaron
    Summary:

    Compulsively confessional and cracking-wise, The Nonnets is an utterly unique alchemy of poetry and comedy. Aaron Giovanonne's latest collection is a book-length sequence of 'nonnets'-nine-line poems that Giovannone handles with ruthless dexterity. Capturing transformations from first dates to goodbye texts, from mama's boy to unrepentant shoplifter, from post-industrial downtown to eleventh-century Italian monastery, these poems present a kaleidoscopic world that careens wildly between despair and ecstasy.

  • Author:
    Hoefle, Harold
    Summary:

    A whistling through teeth. / He shuts his eyes but still sees / the red glow of exit signs. Harold Hoefle's The Night Chorus rises out of forests and country roads, bars and buses, cities and small towns. These locales are the haunts of outsiders ranging from travellers and farmers to a soldier, a drug addict, a refugee, and the murdered. The past clings in these stark, evocative poems, "memory a closet of clothes / that hang from bent wire." In the tradition of songwriters like Gordon Lightfoot and Gord Downie and poets such as Al Purdy, Karen Solie, and David O'Meara, The Night Chorus presents so-called "obscure" lives, where dark and playful humour collides with historic and mythic characters including Ovid and Dante, Odysseus and Desdemona. Using lyric poetry and the ghazal, the prose poem and the elegy, The Night Chorus brims with images as sharp as wild geese scrawling letters against an evening sky and as humble as "pots of plum dumplings and still-warm soup." Bookended by a sequence of lyrics inspired by cross-country road trips, Hoefle references iconic places like Black Dog Road and Seldom Seen and peoples the landscape with imagined characters. Their voices - damaged, rough, intimate - will echo in the reader's mind.

  • Author:
    Birbiglia, Mike
    Summary:

    With laugh-out-loud observations on the rollercoaster ride that is being a new parent, New York Times bestselling author and award-winning comedian Mike Birbiglia delivers a book that is perfect for anyone who has ever raised a child, been a child, or refuses to stop acting like a child. In 2016 comedian Mike Birbiglia and poet Jennifer Hope Stein took their fourteen-month-old daughter Oona to the Nantucket Film Festival. When the festival director picked them up at the airport she asked Mike if he would perform at the storytelling night. She said, "The theme of the stories is jealousy." Jen quipped, "You're jealous of Oona. You should talk about that." And so Mike began sharing some of his darkest and funniest thoughts about the decision to have a child. Jen and Mike revealed to each other their sides of what had gone down during Jen's pregnancy and that first year with their child. Over the next couple years, these stories evolved into a Broadway show, and the more Mike performed it the more he heard how it resonated--not just with parents but also people who resist all kinds of change. So he pored over his journals, dug deeper, and created this book: The New One: Painfully True Stories From a Reluctant Dad. Along with hilarious and poignant stories he has never shared before, these pages are sprinkled with poetry Jen wrote as she navigated the same rocky shores of new parenthood. So here it is. This book is an experiment. Sort of like a family.

  • Author:
    Tilberg, Mary
    Summary:

    The poems in this collection describe the survival of love and family during times of war. Spanning early-20th-century Russia to the present day, each war and upheaval is described as both a failure of peace and another step backward. The deeply antiwar poems attest to the survival of human love and the creative spirit during the most trying times.

  • Author:
    Boxer, Asa
    Summary:

    An old idea of reality animates the poems in The Mechanical Bird: things are never what they seem. Opening with a quick-talking disquisition on lying (Keep it simple, tidy, / take a noncommittal stance) and ending with masterly mediation on the workshop and its drawing-board dreams, Asa Boxers debut constantly tests the claims of authenticity over artifice. Objects, settings and everyday details are swept up in an imagination that can never quite shake the sense of the visible worldeven nature itselfas an artful mixture of fact and invention. As suggested by the eponymous metal songster, these poems are exquisitely crafted, infused with a sense of kinetic spell-making, and sing with an exuberant trust in their own guile.

  • Author:
    Thibaudeau, Colleen
    Summary:

    Readers of Colleen Thibaudeau's selected poems, My Granddaughters Are Combing Out Their Long Hair, will feel at home in The Martha Landscapes, where domestic dearness and the exotic, like strangers, "make their first acquaintance….. in a blur of words." The cross-relationships that occur, in a poetry of technical virtuosity that feels as easy as breathing, are sensed to be permanent.

  • Author:
    Acquelin, José, D'Alfonso, Antonio
    Summary:

    This selection of poems offers the reader a good introduction to a poet of oxymorons, the poet who brings light out of the darkness. Born and living in Montreal, José Acquelin is known to be a poet open wide to the world. He is the author of fifteen poetry collections and, for over twenty-five years, has been an active reader-performer-organizer of events mixing poetry, music and the visual arts, across the country as well as in Europe and Latin America.

  • Author:
    Wilde, Oscar
    Summary:

    This authoritative edition was formerly published in the acclaimed Oxford Authors series under the general editorship of Frank Kermode. It brings together a unique combination of Wilde's poetry and prose short stories, plays, critical dialogues and his only novel - to give the essence of his work and thinking.

  • Author:
    Reid, Monty
    Summary:

    Shortlisted for the 2009 Lampman-Scott Award (for the best book of poetry in the National Capital Region)

    A book of lyrics, fragmented, extended, and recovered, which read as a single long poem.

    The Luskville Reductions records a year in the life of a small Quebec town and the marriage that disintegrates there. While a book about loss, it is also a book about the state of becoming that coexists with change, the imbalance that for a time makes everything lucid, all the details adding up to much more than only an “us.” The visible goes beyond mere facts in these poems, transformed into the deeply seen – and therefore sacred.

    The problem with daylilies
    is the usual contemporary twaddle: how is it
    we know anything
    now that you’re gone.

    What do you mean
    now that you’re gone?

    What do you mean
    daylilies?

    “Marry the passionate grief of By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept with the pared-down utterances of Beckett’s lost men and you might arrive at The Luskville Reductions. While it evokes the dark cry of the lover in ‘O Western Wind,’ this long poem is entirely contemporary in its ontological alertness, its wry ironies. At once threnody and enactment of loss, it brings something utterly new into the corpus of Canadian poetry. It is a brilliantly achieved poem.” — Mary Dalton

  • Author:
    Summary:

    The Love Poems of Rumi, as translated by Philip Dunn in this gorgeous little book, maintain the same emotional significance with readers today as they did seven centuries ago when originally composed by the Persian poet.

    Samples: The heart is comforted by true words, just as a thirsty man is comforted by water. Don’t hide your heart but reveal it, so that mine might be revealed, and I might accept what I am capable of. If the heart isn’t there, how can the body speak?  If the heart doesn’t seek, how can the body seek?

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