Tuesday 26 October 2010

Early Warning Systems

This friday, October 29, Asa Boxer, Anita Lahey and I will appear with three francophone poets (Vincent Charles Lambert, Rosalie Lessard, Thomas Mainguy) at a bilingual reading organized by DHC/ART Foundation as tribute to American artist Jenny Holzer. The event is called Early Warning Systems: Inflammatory Poetry by Six Montreal Poets (the title is lifted from one of Holzer's pieces), and it takes place in the Maxwell-Cummings Auditorium at the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montreal. 7pm. 1379 Sherbrooke Street W. Admission is free. Please come.

Friday 15 October 2010

QWF Awards

The cup spillith over. Two Vehicule authors have been shortlisted for the 2010 QWF Literary Awards. Michael Harris' GG-nominated Circus is now up for a second award, The A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry. And Avi Friedman's A Place in Mind: The Search for Authenticity is in the running for The Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction. Winners will be named on Nov. 23.

Thursday 14 October 2010

Jury Duty

Kim Goldberg speaks out on her experience as one of the three jurors for this year's Governor-General's Award for Poetry.

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Maisonneuve goes to the circus

In my excitement over the GG shortlist, I forgot to mention that Maisonneuve has posted a great review of Michael Harris' collection, Circus, by Toronto poets Nyla Matuk and Jeff Latosik.

The Gee Gees

Well, after the drought, a deluge. Just learned that two Signal books were nominated for the Governor General's Award for Poetry: Circus by Michael Harris and Boxing the Compass by Richard Greene.

I honestly can't remember the last time a press had such a strong showing in one category. I'm tremendously proud of these books, especially when you consider the quality of what they were up against.

Here' s how the jury rated them:
Boxing the Compass includes the long, remarkable narrative poem "Over the Border," a poem of chance meetings on American buses and trains. Richard Greene’s writing is restrained in the best sense, striking no indulgent or false notes. One has the impression of a nation in deep trouble as witnessed by a traveler of sympathy and concern.

Circus speaks to the knife-edge of anarchy that underlies the civilization we are asked to accept. Michael Harris tells us that life often disappoints; that sometimes the ridiculous is sublime and sometimes it is just ridiculous. He reveals the unpredictability and mess behind the glitz, glamour and grease-paint of life.
Congratuations to the other nominees: Daryl Hine, Sandy Pool and Melanie Siebert. It's a special honour to share the list with Hine, who is as underrated as they come (Jason Guriel has a very fine essay on him).

Sadly, I'm not familiar with Pool and Siebert's poetry. I'm going to remedy that immediately and order their books today. You should too.

Sunday 10 October 2010


The October issue of The New Criterion has a lively review by Jason Guriel (author of Pure Product) on the Selected Poems of Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, an early American poet who, Guriel argues, was "too weird to be much appreciated in his own milieu, the United States of the nineteenth century, and not weird enough to distinguish the poet for many of his later readers who, failing to squint, saw little more than an accomplished sonneteer."

Saturday 9 October 2010

[UPDATE] Recommendations

Ah, I knew I left one out! The Reinvention of the Human Hand (M&S), Paul Vermeersch.


In anticipation of the GG shortlist announcement on Wednesday, I thought I'd take a moment to mention the Canadian poetry I enjoyed most this year.

Excluded is The Crow's Vow, a Signal book and therefore, according to industry etiquette, not eligible for objective recommendation. I would, however, like to make a plug (plea?) for Michael Harris's Circus which, except for a couple of notices, has been roundly ignored. And I think that's just criminal.

I suppose I should also disclose that I provided blurbs for two books on this list (Patternicity and Complete Physical). But I don't see why that should make any difference. I blurbed them precisely because I admired them.
For and Against (Goose Lane), Sharon McCartney.
Patternicity (Nightwood), Jim Johnstone.
Bloom (Anansi), Michael Lista
Welling (Your Scrivener Press), Margaret Christakos
Tiny, Frantic, Stronger (Insomniac), Jeff Latosik
Hump (Palimpsest), Ariel Gordon
Complete Physical (Porcupine's Quill), Shane Neilson

Thursday 7 October 2010

D.G. Jones

Hot off the press and nearly two years late. The Stream Exposed with All its Stones, the D.G. Jones Collected, turned out to be an insane amount of work to assemble, edit and proof.

But it’s finally here, and it’s glorious. For $18.95 you get all nine of Jones’ major collections—from his debut Frost on the Sun (1957) to the most recent, Grounding Sight (1999). You also get a 4000-word essay by W.J. Keith that explains Jones’ development from the early “perfection of the well-wrought urn” to the later aesthetic that “embraced the daunting but exciting diversity of chaos.” You also get more good poems that you can shake a stick at.

If you’re a blogger, reviewer or small magazine editor and want a review copy, please get in touch.

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Giller Thriller

Congratulations to Dan Wells and the team at Biblioasis for nabbing a well-deserved spot on this year's Giller shortlist with Alexander MacLeod's sterling short-story collection, Light Lifting.

It's a great list all around (even if it's sure to make one lucky publisher depressed), and exactly the kind of list we need now and again -- one that operates like a market correction, bringing overpriced stocks down a notch and keeps our assessments honest.

The winner will be announced on November 9th.

Saturday 2 October 2010


The Crow's Vow gets another good notice, this time across the pond.

The book's fans now include Bert Almon, who called it "brilliant" in the MRB, and Brian Campbell who, writing for Rover, praised the book's "keen observation, exquisite detail and masterful rendering of the passage of time."

The book is also picking up plaudits for its look. It was included in a recent round up of "40 stunning minimalist book covers."

Listen to an interview with poet Susan Briscoe on CKUT radio. You can also read another interview here.

You can buy the book here.

Friday 1 October 2010

Sold Out

Mark Callanan’s chapbook, Sea Legend, has sold out! Mark has (with publisher Frog Hollow's kind permission) made an electronic version available here.

When his head shrinks back to normal size, Mark will be hard at work on his second collection, due out with Signal Editions in Fall 2011.