Monday 21 December 2009

Daddy, Where Do Poems Come From?

I got a copy of this book the hard way: I wrote something for it. You'll have a easier time. You can just click and buy it. And you really should. Don't be fooled by the dry-as-dust textbook title: Approaches to Poetry: The Pre-Poem Moment. This is a book any poetry lover will wolf down. Twenty-seven Canadian poets (among them Geoffrey Cook, Jim Johnstone, Amanda Jernigan, Stephanie Bolster, Nyla Matuk, Evie Christie and Zach Wells) were asked to choose one of their poems and discuss the event or circumstance that triggered its composition. "The poems will not be analyzed," writes editor Shane Neilson in his introduction, "only their gestation." The result is a series of eloquent, honest, psychologically astute essays on the creative process. I won't lie: it's a bit pricey ($70 hard, 40, soft). But it doesn't hurt that the book is lovingly and handsomely designed and typeset by Cary Peters of Frog Hollow fame. It also doesn't hurt that the book is basically a twofer: a compact poetry anthology riding in the saddle of a collection of smart and often original literary criticism. For a taste, go here.

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