Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Spring Poetry Roundup

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National Poetry Month is coming up, and to gear up for it, here's a roundup of poetry titles coming out this spring with some of Ontario's publishers. The new poetry titles explore both the human condition and the human heart. Here's what Canadian publishers had to say about their new releases:

Bookland Press

Fraser Sutherland, The Philosophy of As If
The Philosophy of As If concerns "fictions," ideas that may not correspond directly with reality but help us to interact with reality better.

To read more from Bookland Press, visit their website.

Brick Books

Lorri Neilson Glenn, Lost Gospels
A book of spiritual explorations fully immersed in both the east coast and the prairie geographies.

Antony Di Nardo, Alien, Correspondent
Writing about life in the Middle East, the poems have an exotic allure. He possesses both substance and imagination, his work rich and diverting.

Eve Joseph, The Secret Signature of Things
A quietly graceful collection, every word counting itself essential. It feels like looking through a telescope, the universe brought closer.

Steve Mcormond, The Good News about Armageddon
Poems about a post-modern urban life brimming with neuroses, daily doses of horrific headlines and much black humour.

To read more from Brick Books, visit their website.

Coach House Books

Rachel Zolf, The Neighbour Procedure
Rachel Zolf (author of the Trillium Award-winning Human Resources) is back with Neighbour Procedure, a brand-new poetry collection that, using a variety of source texts, looks at the ongoing conflict in Israel/Palestine.

Jen Currin, The Inquisition Yours
Currin is the author of two previous collections -- The Sleep of Two Cities and Hagiography. The Inquisition Yours is a collection of surrealistic lyrical poetry.

kevin mcpherson eckhoff, Rhapsodomancy
If you're up for something really different, kevin mcpherson eckhoff has a debut book of visual poetry, Rhapsodomancy, out this April. The book uses two visual languages (Shorthand and Unifon) for most of the poems. It's beautiful work.

To read more from Coach House, visit their website.

ECW Press

David, Donnell, Watermelon Kindness
Angels are aliens in spaceships. Angels descend and eagles soar. I am not an eagle. If I were an angel I would descend and give you of the bread of happiness the salt of anger & the message you already know better than I know: the moon & the lakes & the hills are forever.

The much-anticipated Watermelon Kindness, David Donnell’s first new collection in six years, comes from a part of the country that’s somewhere between Archie Bunker and Dale Peck — a contentious, but genial place.

Matt Robinson, Against the Hard Angle
The two sections that comprise matt robinson’s fourth full-length volume of poetry, Against the Hard Angle, though disparate in terms of form – the first consisting primarily of a long poem; the other a collection of shorter lyrical pieces – nonetheless share a common concern with ideas of relationship and its examination. At their core, these are poems about where we stand in relation to the rest of our various worlds.

To read more from ECW Press, visit their website.

Guernica Editions

Merle Nudelman, The He We Knew
Merle Nudelman’s first poetry collection, Borrowed Light, won the 2004 Canadian Jewish Book Award for Poetry. We, the Women and Borrowed Light each garnered a prize in the Arizona Authors Association Literary Contest. The He We Knew is her third volume of poems. “With lyrical concision and emotional restraint, the fierce, elegant and sometimes elegiac poems in The He We Knew speak to the joys and losses of the human heart. These are poems that startle and haunt.” – Catherine Graham.

John Oughton, Time Slip
Time Slip is a collection of poetry that mirrors the author's journey through time - sixty decades - and space - visits to the Middle East, Japan, and many parts of North America. It includes selections from John Oughton's first four collections of poetry, plus new work written over the last ten years. The poems vary considerably in style and theme, ranging from sonnets and haiku to free-form experimentation, and consider technology, science, the nature of language itself, art, music, families, ageing, and the murky fluctuations of the human heart. The poetry is distinguished by a careful ear to the sound or words and lines, a keen and often wry sense of humour, and a celebration of existence at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

To read more Poetry titles from Guernica Editions, visit their website.

House of Anansi

Suzanne Buffam, The Irrationalist
In her remarkable second collection, Suzanne Buffam introduces us to the mischievous meditations of a Chaplinesque literary “irrationalist” whose musings on such earthly wonders as clouds, flags, middle names and moonlight disclose new perspectives on time, faith and the origins of life. At once whimsical and heartbreaking, these eccentric lyrics investigate the shifting grounds of knowledge while refusing to take any authority – be it Epictetus, Thérèse de Lisieux, Nicolaus Copernicus, Ma Yuan, or the fugitive specter of self, to name only a few of the volume’s dramatis personae – too seriously. Here one inhabits a world on the eve of extinction, in which “astronomers predict a ‘Big Rip’ in the cosmos resulting in a cold, dark, never-ending end,” and yet the darkness is continually illuminated by a pyrotechnics of curiosity, candor and wit.

Steven Heighton, Patient Frame
From the court of Medici to the My Lai massacre; from love for a daughter and mother to moments of painful acceptance; from erotic passion to situations of deep moral failure, the poems in Patient Frame are part of Steven Heighton’s ongoing search, a scanning of our human horizons for moments of lasting value. Dynamic, vigorous, tender poems as engaged with the moment as they are with traditions of East and West, Patient Frame also brings together more of Heighton’s vital translations of poets as diverse as Jorge Luis Borges and Horace.

Michael Lista, Bloom
On May 21, 1946, the day of a lunar eclipse, a Canadian physicist named Louis Slotin was training his replacement on the Manhattan Project, preparing the bombs to be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But Slotin decided to forego the standard safety procedures, and there was an accident: the plutonium went critical, a phenomenon scientists call a “bloom.” Nine days later Slotin died. Michael Lista, a thrilling and wildly engaging new voice in poetry, reimagines this fateful day in a long poem that draws upon the still-mysterious events of May 21, 1946; the connection to Slotin’s ancient predecessor Odysseus, creator of the Trojan Horse, the first weapon of mass destruction; and the link to Slotin’s literary mirror, the cuckolded Leopold Bloom in Joyce’s Ulysses. Bloom brilliantly draws these stories, themes and images together, and moves us toward the untranslatable moment of human novelty and creativity, the eclipse — the moment of the “bloom.”

Erín Moure, O Resplandor
Erín Moure’s brilliant new collection explores the idea that the act of reading contains all the experiences of the body itself: love, splendour, travel, doubling, loss. In unexpected ways — through impossible translation, anachronistic journeys, and a fictional mystery that involves a search for a translator who exists only in the future beyond the book itself — O Resplandor confounds notions of authorship and translation, all while conveying the clamour over love and loss. Richly challenging and charged with Moure’s distinctive energy, O Resplandor is a work about the powerful light contained in the human body, in translation, and in poetry — even as it shows how these are all one and the same in the end: inventions.

Edited by A.F. Moritz, The Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology (2010)

Insomniac Press

David W. McFadden (edited by Stuart Ross), Why Are You So Long and Sweet? (Collected Long Poems)
This book finally brings together, in one place, all of McFadden’s masterful long poems. Here is McFadden’s prodigious imagination at full gallop, his language always mischievous and mesmerizing, spinning yarns both comic and cosmic.
Jeff Latosik, Tiny, Frantic, Stronger
In these gritty urban poems, ancient and elemental forces collide with the sophisticated infrastructures of modern life, a system that brings with it not only incredible strength but also profound vulnerability. Tiny, Frantic, Stronger asks the question: what aspects of our daily lives will actually last beyond the here and now, beyond their own inherent limitations of time and place?

To read more from Insomniac Press, visit their website.

McClelland and Stewart

John Steffler, Lookout
The first collection of new poems in more than a decade from one of Canada's most respected poets and the recent Poet Laureate of Canada.
The wide-ranging poems in Lookout celebrate the landscape and history of western Newfoundland, which is inseparable from an exploration of the poet's own life.
Paul Vermeersch, The Reinvention of the Human Hand
Paul Vermeersch's new book of poems illuminates the sometimes unexpected yet profound consequences of the collision between technology and the natural world, between the evolutionary process and the human condition.

Dionne Brand, Ossuaries
Toronto’s poet laureate releases a mesmerizing new collection of poems is about human zoos in the contemporary world, about the bones of fading cultures and ideas, about putting these bones away even as Brand examines their textures of powder and stone, their resilience.
Melanie Siebert, Deepwater Vee
A stunning poetic debut that explores some of Canada's most threatened waterways — places both altered and untamed — and tracks their currents of history and myth.

To read more from McClelland and Stewart, visit their website.

Pedlar Press

Phil Hall, The Little Seamstress
A book of poems like an Alexander Calder mobile, or a Jean Tinguley sculpture. The critical mind has been replaced by an open invitation. The Little Seamstress is breath. Sad breath growing down. May guck turn regal!

Dani Couture, Sweet
Sweet is a gravity-clutched leap into personal emergency and the turbulent landscape surrounding ambivalence, including what lives in ambivalence — invited or not. Dani Couture's second collection of poetry takes the traveller from the emerald ash-borer infested trees of Essex County, Ontario to the frozen lakes of Alaska and to points in-between.

To read more from Pedlar Press, visit the OBPO website.

Porcupine’s Quill

James Reaney, A Suit of Nettles (illustrated by Jim Westergard)
A new edition of James Reaney's Governor General Award Winning long poem.
The poem, like Spenser's Shepherd's Calendar, is a sequence of pastoral eclogues, one for each month of the year, but here the dialogues are not between bucolic swans, they are between Ontario geese! There are some ambitious satirical wallops at the English critical school headed by F. R. Leavis, at philosophy, progressive education and Canadian history. Here is a poet who believes in merry invective.

Edited by poet Zachariah Wells, The Essential Kenneth Leslie
From Zach Wells’ Foreword:
One explanation for Leslie's all-but-disappearance is his old-fashionedness. Leslie, whom Milton Acorn called “the loveliest of our orthodox sonneteers,” was keenly aware that the verse he wrote was out of step with Modernism and the dictum of Pound - seven years Leslie's senior - to “make it new”: “I cannot sing a new song, / I fear to sing the ol”' is how he begins a poem that ends with Pound's very phrase. If the chart for Leslie's poetic course was doubtful - to modify the opening line of the title sonnet of “By Stubborn Stars” - it didn't keep him from proceeding headlong: “I sail by stubborn stars, let rocks take heed, / and should I sink ... then sinking be my creed!”

Shane Neilson, M.D., Complete Physical
“If love were my diagnostic quarry
I'd hunt it like Cupid,
readying my quiver: Have you ever been in love?” - Shane Neilson
“In a clinical universe where suffering is distanced by language, Complete Physical becomes a kind of extraordinary talking cure. The human predicament has rarely found itself in such good hands.” - Carmine Starnino

To read more from Porcupine’s Quill, visit their website.

These are just a few of the poetry books coming out with Ontario publishers this spring. For more titles, please visit these websites:

Canadian Scholars' Press, Inc.
Dundurn Press
Kids Can Press
Oberon Press
TSAR Publications
University of Ottawa Press/Presses de l'Université d'Ottawa
University of Toronto Press
Wilfrid Laurier University Press


Is Anansi not publishing poetry this year?

Thanks for the note, Rob. Anansi is indeed publishing some brilliant poetry books this spring: The Irrationalist by Suzanne Buffam, Patient Frame by Steven Heighton and The Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology (2010)
edited by A.F. Moritz. We've added the titles with links, and we'll add the descriptions shortly.

Related item from our archives

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications


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