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Poetry

  • Author:
    Macfarlane, Robert
    Summary:

    Since its publication in 2017, The Lost Words has enchanted listeners with its poetry. Now, The Lost Spells, a book kindred in spirit and tone, continues to re-wild the lives of children and adults. The Lost Spells evokes the wonder of everyday nature, conjuring up red foxes, birch trees, jackdaws, and more. These are summoning spells, words of recollection, charms of protection. Across a bewitching natural soundscape by renowned wildlife recordist Chris Watson, readers Yrsa Daley-Ward, Johnny Flynn, and Julie Fowlis bring the magic of both nature and language to listeners in an immersive and unique audio experience. To hear The Lost Spells is to see anew the natural world within our grasp and to be reminded of what happens when we allow it to slip away.

  • Author:
    Greenwood, Catherine
    Summary:

    Nominated for the 2014 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize (BC Book Prizes); finalist for the 2014 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize

    Atmospherically light and stylistically expansive – poems that regard our givens as a gift.

    Don McKay’s description of The Pearl King and Other Poems, Catherine Greenwood’s wonderful first book, also apply to The Lost Letters: “With discerning wit and a large range of styles and voices, she holds up each subject for contemplation as though it were a pearl. . . .”

    At the centre of The Lost Letters is a sequence of radically diverse poems based on the story of Heloise and Abelard, truly lovers in a dangerous time, the twelfth century. The raw material is heavy, tension between flesh and spirit being the serious issue carried forward from the twelfth century into the twenty-first. But Greenwood’s deft and delicate handling of scenarios of love requited but balked becomes a perceptive reading – extraordinarily inventive and constantly surprising – of contemporary secular society.

    The Lost Letters creates a world of wonder tinged with sadness on behalf of so much that goes unnoticed, whether it’s a bin of severed sows’ ears, a lizard tethered by its tail who severs it by self-amputation, or a down-and-out old schoolmate.

  • Author:
    Hunt, Ken
    Summary:

    Fraught with fatal mishaps and disastrous near misses, the missions of the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States defined an era and exemplified the global socio-political conflict of the Cold War. The Lost Cosmonauts by Ken Hunt is an elegy to humanity's fledgling efforts to explore outer space, and to those who lost their lives in pursuit of this goal. This wide-ranging collection of poems looks deep into the largely unexplored cosmos for experiences of the sublime, not only in celestial bodies and mythical figures among the stars, but also in those astronauts and cosmonauts who dared to explore them.

  • Author:
    Henderson, Mathew
    Summary:

    The lease is meaningless: a square paced first by seismic workers, and then your father, and then by every other man you know. Distilled from his time in the Saskatchewan and Albertan oilfields, Mathew Henderson’s The Lease plumbs the prairie depths to find human technology and physical labour realigning our landscape. With acute discipline, Henderson illuminates the stubborn and often unflattering realities of industrial culture and its cast of hard-living men. Shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry (2013) Shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award

  • Author:
    Clough, Margaret
    Summary:

    The Last to Leave is Margaret Clough's second collection of poetry. These poems follow on from her first extremely popular collection, At Least the Duck Survived (2011) in that the light, warm-hearted tone continues as does Clough's engagement with aging and mortality. These poems are a tonic and leave the reader feeling refreshed, saddened and better off. Clough has participated in The Franschoek Literary Festival, and has been invited to a number of reading engagements in the Western Cape, including the McGregor Poetry Festival. Her books sell out every time she reads.

  • Author:
    Kenyon, Michael
    Summary:

    Shortlisted for the 2010 ReLit Award

    Poems of disturbing beauty, examining personal and collective loss.

    This is Michael Kenyon’s third full-length collection of poems. His poetry and fiction have always been alert to the underside, the angularity of the outcast, those forced by temperament or predilection or circumstance to the fringes of middle class life. Here, it is insight itself that pushes the speakers closer to the edge. The world of these poems is dark: Kenyon names and owns our clear cuts, our overpopulation, our fossil-fueled rush to oblivion, the violence embedded in sexuality. This is a book of expanded elegy, clear-eyed, unflinching amid the wreckage of its loves.

                   …It is useless to
    choose a direction: current must find us.

    At last we swim away from each other
    to make the storm less jealous, old stars freeze
    the water, earthquakes calve an island, and
    another me adores another you
    inland.

    – from “The Stars”

    Fiercely elegiac, jaggedly sexual, The Last House stands on the brink of devastation-personal, ancestral, cultural. There is transcendence here, but no redemption: it is too late. But this is also a book about love-protean, violent, perduring-love as the key to reality, even as it mystifies us or tears us apart. These are poems of deep and disturbing vision, sustained by electrifying honesty.

  • Author:
    MacKay, Brent
    Summary:

    A sure-tongued linguistic menagerie.

    Brent’s poems also appear in News and Weather: Seven Canadian Poets edited by August Kleinzahler – This anthology cuts into the Canadian poetry scene on a fresh, oblique angle. Included are Robert Bringhurst, Margaret Avison, A.F. Moritz, Guy Birchard, Terry Humby, Alexander Hutchinson and Brent MacKay.

  • Author:
    Holland-Batt, Sarah
    Summary:

    With electrifying boldness, Sarah Holland-Batt confronts what it means to be mortal in an astonishing and deeply humane portrait of a father's Parkinson's Disease, and a daughter forged by grief. Opening and closing with startling elegies set in the charged moments before and after a death, and fearlessly probing the body's animal endurance, appetites and metamorphoses, The Jaguar is marked by Holland-Batt's lyric intensity and linguistic mastery, along with a stark new clarity of voice. Here, Holland-Batt is at her most exacting and uncompromising: these ferociously intelligent, insistent poems refuse to look away, and challenge us to view ruthless witness as a form of love. The Jaguar is an indelible collection by a poet at the height of her powers.

  • Author:
    Currin, Jen
    Summary:

    Winner of the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry A finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Prize and the Lambda Literary Award In her ambitious follow-up to Hagiography, acclaimed poet Jen Currin continues her unique exploration of the surrealist lyric, constructing a strong case that, in these frightening times, it may be the best poetic mode for capturing the complexities of lived experience. In tongues alternately vulnerable, defiant, resigned, and hopeful, The Inquisition Yours speaks to the atrocities of our time – war, environmental destruction, terrorism, cancer, and the erosion of personal rights – fashioning a tenuous bridge between the political and the personal. Trying to make sense of a world where even language is 'a danger,' Currin’s poems reject the old storylines in favour of a vigilant awareness, and wonder what might happen if we 'change the feared penmanship' and embrace a narrative that empowers everyone. 'Jen Currin writes eloquently; she writes fervently - she writes irony and truth with alarming ease … Currin's writing is always surprising and often revelatory, punctuated by epiphanies and linguistic acrobatics … Anyone who wants to write will find this book an absolute joy to read.' – Geist Magazine 'Currin's poetry … leaves us dazed and amazed at the jumble of words upon the page that fall together like so much confetti in a celebratory parade of language. We are to emerge ... with the sense that we have taken a journey to an exotic land.’ – Prairie Fire Reivew of Books 'Currin updates longstanding surrealist tropes — dreamscapes, disjointed images — with lines that would have been unthinkable to André Breton … This is a new poetry for a new century.' – Xtra! 'The pieces are minimalist and sharp, with a dark sense of humour … Though Currin’s surreal style invites multiple interpretations, her vivid imagery and intense storytelling make it easy for the reader to connect with these poems. – Shameless Magazine

  • Author:
    Ada, Limón
    Summary:

    An astonishing collection about interconnectedness--between the human and nonhuman, ancestors and ourselves--from National Book Critics Circle Award winner and National Book Award finalist Ada Limón.

  • Author:
    Gordon, Antoinnette K.
    Summary:

    This collection of Tibetan poetry and lyrics is accompanied by extensive commentary and offers a great insight into a rich literary culture. Tibet, remote and inaccessible, is less known to the western world for its literary than its artistic contributions to world culture. Nevertheless, it has produced a literature of enduring beauty and significance, the supreme achievement of which is the poetry of Milarepa, its greatest poet and saint. This Tibetan poetry book indicates in its poetic exaggeration that, to the Tibetans, his poetry contains all earthly and celestial wisdom. It is from this masterpiece that the selections for the present volume have been made-songs in which Milarepa describes his life in the solitude of mountain glaciers, his yogic attainments in self-discipline, his encounters with demons who try to obstruct his meditations, and his arrival at enlightenment and spiritual freedom. Presented here in skillful translation-in a volume decorated with original Tibetan woodcuts and motifs from Tibetan art-these poems shiningly reflect the genius of Tibet's "Old Man, Storehouse of Songs."

  • Author:
    Thornton, Russell
    Summary:

    In The Hundred Lives Russell Thornton illuminates the intricate imaginative orders of love at work within an individual life.

  • Author:
    Nudelman, Merle
    Summary:

    Courageous and astute, this collection of poems, written in varied styles, explores the emotional upheavals caused by the estrangement of a son. Weaving together complex layers of personal history, these poems capture the poet's personal journey in trying to understand how these things happen in families and the process towards reconciliation. 

  • Author:
    Tierney, Matthew
    Summary:

    Shortlisted for the 2010 Trillium Book Award for Poetry To be human is to cope with knowing. In the early sixties, Leonard Hayflick determined that healthy cells can divide only a finite number of times. Known as the Hayflick Limit, the law sets an unsurpassable lifespan for our species at just over 120 years. The Hayflick Limit concerns itself with boundaries of the cosmic and sub-atomic – how the mind contains both – and the sadsack creatures in the nexus, human beings. What does it mean to be an intelligent species? What does it mean to be an intelligent person? Shifting focus between the limits of the telescope and the limits of the microscope, the poems in Matthew Tierney's second collection place a premium on inventiveness while embracing extremes of fear, pain, cognition and time. With demotic verve and a humming line, he gives voice to a range of characters who scrape out meaning in a carnivalesque universe that has birthed black holes and Warner Bros. cartoons, murky market economies, murkier quantum laws, Vincent Price, Molotov cocktails, seedless grapes, Area 51 and competing Theories of Everything. 'The most thoroughly engaged and inventive book of poetry I have read in a long, long time. Brimming with hi-lo wit, keenly apprised and settled with cultured repose, Matthew Tierney takes The Hayflick Limit to the hoop.' — David McGimpsey 'Matthew Tierney writes poems like a mad boy scientist. His lines manage to blur the border between nomenclature and everyday insight ... Call it science fiction for the melancholic.' - Eye Weekly

  • Author:
    Widdemer, Margaret, Editor
    Summary:

    A collection of poems on supernatural themes.

  • Author:
    McOrmond, Steve
    Summary:

    Poems that occupy the difficult territory of contemporary crisis with great candour and trenchant wit.

    Steve McOrmond’s unflinching take on contemporary life, with its saturnine candour and ironic focus, may remind readers of the anti-poetry of Europeans like Zbigniew Herbert: intense, humanistic and deeply sceptical of inflationary gestures or stagy rhetoric. Shedding illusions, but equally refusing the consolations of despair, McOrmond’s well-tempered satire is carried home on its own crisp music.

    The title poem has, as it narrative background, the encounter between the narrator and a young door-to-door missionary, one who sets his worldly and jaded scepticism against her innocence and faith. The Good News about Armageddon poses questions that are difficult and durable (“In these hours of prolific / doubt, how will we acquit ourselves?”), as well as those that are topical (“Are Paris Hilton’s 15 minutes over yet?”) and probes with accurate wit (“We are an argument / for unintelligent design”). This is essential poetry for our time – astute, informed, bitingly satirical, yet grounded in its quest for words that, like Cordelia’s, reverb no hollowness.

    “A metaphysical wit and a self-mocking humour leaven this often dark account of the calamity that is our contemporary way of living. In his own distinctive way, Steve McOrmond… [weaves] in these technically deft lyric pieces a kind of post-modernist jeremiad.”  – Mary Dalton

  • Author:
    Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch, Eli
    Summary:

    Swinging from post-explosion Beirut to a Montreal balcony in summer, the verse and prose poems in THE GOOD ARABS ground the reader in place, language, and the body. Peeling and rinsing radishes. Dancing as a pre-teen to Nancy Ajram. Being drenched in stares on the city bus. The collection is an interlocking and rich offering of the speaker's communities, geographical surroundings both expansive and precise, and family both biological and chosen. THE GOOD ARABS gifts the reader with insight into cycles and repetition in ourselves and our broken nations. This genre-defying collection maps Arab and trans identity through the immensity of experience felt in one body, the sorrow of citizens let down by their countries, and the garbage crisis in Lebanon. Ultimately, it shows how we might love amid dismay, adore the pungent and the ugly, and exist in our multiplicity across spaces.

  • Author:
    MillAr, Jay
    Summary:

    Jay used to have an ego, but had it surgically removed. Get bur'd by Alex Cayce; Perfectly Ordinary Dreams by James Llar; Short Ghosts by John Elliott; heartrants by H. Azel; and Book of Leaves by Conwenna Stokes: five books written in five radically different styles.

  • Author:
    Di Michele, Mary
    Summary:

    The poems in The Flower of Youth depict the coming of age and into sexual difference of the great writer and film director, Pier Paolo Pasolini. The time of this story is World War II; the place is German-occupied northern Italy. Unlike his younger brother, Guido, who took up arms to fight in the resistance, Pasolini chose to help his mother set up a school for the boys, mostly sons of farmers, too young to fight or be conscripted. The situation ignited an internal war that nearly eclipsed the historical moment for the young Pasolini, a battle within between his desire for boys and his Catholic faith and culture. The book is a kind of novel in verse including a prologue and epilogue that details di Michele's search for Pasolini, her pilgrimage to the place and research into the time that shaped him as a man and as an artist.

  • Author:
    Lilley, Joanna
    Summary:

    A sardonic, stinging wake-up call to the complexities of modern existence

    The Fleece Era is Yukon-based, UK-born Joanna Lilley’s first book of poems: a wry and eloquent testament to the intricacies of our various relationships. From the shattered pieces of our environmental puzzles to the labyrinth of family dynamics, Lilley makes these dilemmas come alive. Chillingly sparse, attractively odd and refreshingly frank, The Fleece Era embraces the complexities of human life with an unsettling mix of the sardonic and the compassionate.

    On Sunday, my mother made me

    help her dig the garden.
    She sat back on the heels
    of her rubber boots, muddying
    the backside of her old blue trousers.

    She said: Last week I stuck a fork
    into the soil and heard a scream.
    She’d stabbed a frog.
    She definitely heard it scream.

    I was the first person she’d told.
    ~from “Biology lesson”

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