Most Anticipated: Spring 2014 Poetry Preview

Last but not least in our 2014 Spring Preview is the Poetry List, and it's the longest list of them all. We're willing to bet that you won't make it though this list without highlighting a title or two for pre-ordering. Happy reading, everybody! 

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Book Cover Why Poetry Sucks

Acclaimed Métis poet Joanne Arnott's latest collection is Halfling Spring (February), illustrated by Leo Yerxa; it is described as a playful exploration of online love. A new anthology, Why Poetry Sucks (March), edited by Jonathan Ball and Ryan Fitzpatrick, scrutinizes Canada's avant-gardes for signs of humorous life—and even finds some. Polari (April) is the latest by the award-winning John Barton, the title referring to the historic coded language that allowed gay men to assert their personal and shared identities; Barton's poems similarly communicate a sense of history, politics, and aesthetics. Doug Beardsley's Swimming With Turtles (March) is a poetic travelogue of a sailing trip through Caribbean, Mexican, and Pacific waters.

Book Cover As If a Raven

andrea bennett's debut is Canoodlers (April), poems about contemporary suburban life whose essence might be communicated in a line like, "Dearly beloved, Don Cherry has better conversation skills than my stepfather, and my mother doesn't love me anymore." Yvonne Blomer's As if a Raven (April) explores birds and their taming, and questions whether poetry might come as close to damaging the wild things of the world as Audubon did in his collecting of birds to create his paintings. Due out under Wolsak and Wynn's new imprint, Buckrider Books, is Everyone is CO2 (April), the debut collection by librettist and playwright David James Brock. Steeling Effects (February), by Jane Byers, is a collection about resilience, told through stories of queer identity, parenthood, and being female in a male-dominated workplace. And Alison Calder's second collection is In the Tiger Park (April): poems about that which exists on the edge of human experience: "animals; the line a receiver makes running down a football field; the calligraphy of pheasant wings in the snow." 

Glad and Sorry Seasons (April) is a new collection by Catherine Chandler, past winner of the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. With Theseus (April), a long-time collaborative project (since 1966) between Wayne Clifford and bpNichol is finally published. YAW (April) is the third collection from acclaimed poet Dani Couture. School (February) is the latest by Vancouver poet Jen Currin, described as "an instruction manual for igniting transformation through a collective effort of love and community." Under the Mulberry Tree (April), edited by James Deahl, is a tribute to the late Raymond Souster. In Blind Items (May), Dina Del Bucchia plays with celebrity culture, with poems that ask such questions as "What would you do if you met Lindsay Lohan in a Walmart parking lot? James Franco in a thrift shop? The Olsen twins behind a dumpster?" 

Ordinary Hours

"This is an abundance that invites abundance," wrote Robert Kroetsch of he'll (May), by Nathan Dueck, a collection of poems about a dead mailman and letters he refused to deliver. These poems are also described as an "elegy" to Plaut’dietsch, the Mennonite dialect of German. Karen Enns, whose previous collection was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award, returns with Ordinary Hours (March), which explores memories of her rural Mennonite childhood. Howard Scott has translated This Could be Anywhere (April), by Maude Smith Gagnon, which won the 2012 Governor General's Award for French Language Poetry. And Ariel Gordon's second collection, Stowaways (May), is described as "Half survival guide, half invasive species list ... poems that stick to your socks." 

Book Cover Sin Eater

In Skein of Days (March), Sonja Greckol harvests newspaper and magazine headlines and titles, poems from Governor General's Awards for Poetry, plus hit song titles and physics articles. The poems in Elizabeth Greene's collection, Understories (April), are about loss, but also about recovery through memory and language. Award-winning poet and critic Jason Guriel's new collection is Satisfying Clicking Sound (May): "Like the hard-to-master knuckleball he celebrates as being 'less spun / than blown / out onto the air, / its course unknown,' Guriel’s poetry is equal parts art, talent, luck and mystery." The Stag Head Spoke, by Erina Harris, is a decade in the making and described as "part Mother Goose, part Anne Carson." In Sin Eater (May), Angela Hibbs reassembles the seven deadly sins to reflect a modern context and culture.

Jonas in Frames (May) by Chris Hutchinson is [choose one]: (a) a series of loosely connected narrative fragments written in poetic prose; (b) a maze of postcard stories bursting with literary in-jokes; (c) a delicate sequence of prose poems interspersed with narrative interludes; or (d) haunted by the ghost of Samuel Beckett. Thou (April), by Aisha Sasha John, investigates the idea of “you”—what it is and what it means to say “you,” the stories we make of our own multiple “yous,” and by extension, the “you” an author can make of her own book. E.J. Pratt Medal-winner Jim Johnstone's latest is Dog Ear (May). Sarah Lang's For Tamara (April) is "a roughly-hewn, genre-bending, post-apocalyptic survival guide" written by a mother for her daughter. 

Never More Together

Shawna Lemay's sixth book, Asking (March), takes its title from these lines by Phyllis Webb: "Listen. If I have known beauty / let's say I came to it / asking." Priscila Uppal calls the poems in Fionncara MacEoin's collection, Not the First Thing I've Missed (March), "as much mini short-stories as they are quirky and biting minimalist observations on contemporary living." Garth Martens won the Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers in 2011, and his first collection is Prologue for the Age of Consequences (April). In Steven McCabe's "wordless poem," Never More Together (April), "the invasion of a malevolent corporate regime causes a peaceful society to become embroiled in disquiet and savage upheaval."

Book Cover Notes and Dispatches

David W. McFadden, whose previous collection won the 2013 Griffin Prize, releases Shouting Your Name Down the Well (April), a collection of haiku and tankas. Notes and dispatches (May) is a collection of essays, interviews, and reviews by rob mclennan. Award-winner Bruce Meyer's latest, The Seasons (May), offers readers a glimpse into the many moments of beauty and promise between a lover and his beloved. In What Became of My Grieving Ceremony? (March), Cara-Lynn Morgan explores what it means to be a woman who must navigate the world from the duality of a mixed race background.

Book Cover From the Poplers

Erín Moure and Chus Pato's Secession/Insecession (April) is a homage to the acts of reading, writing, and translating poetry. At the heart of Jane Munro's Blue Sonoma (May) is "a beloved partner’s crossing into Alzheimer’s… and his 'battered blue Sonoma' is an evocation of numerous other crossings." Cecily Nicholson's new collection, From the Poplars (April), is the poetic outcome of archival research and of listening to old and new stories about an uninhabited island at one end of the North Arm of the Fraser River.

Book Cover Artificial Cherry

We're intrigued by the sound of Artificial Cherry (April) by Billeh Nickerson: "From Elvis Presley and glass eyes to phantom lovers and hockey haiku, you're never quite sure where Billeh will take you, but the outcomes are worth the ride." Catherine Owen's new collection is Designated Mourner (April), elegies for an unconventional spouse and artistic collaborator lost to addiction at a young age. Lake of Two Mountains (April) is the second collection by acclaimed poet Arleen Paré, a collection that maps, probes, and applauds the riparian region of central Canadian geography that lies between the Ottawa and the St. Lawrence Rivers. The 300 short, linked poems in Outside, Inside (April) by Michael Penny begin with a complaint about the unknowability of what's outside and what's inside, but then shift to an engagement with the very nature of this dichotomy.

Book Cover MxT

The new collection by poet/critic Sina Queyras is MxT (February), whose title ('Memory x Time') is one of the formulas she posits as a way to measure grief. In her second collection, Downverse (April), Nikki Reimer "defamiliarizes the language of new media—hashtags, You Tube videos, insurance policies—to craft an ode to and elegy for Vancouver's Gen Y and millennial angst." Bruce Rice, a previous winner of the Saskatchewan Book Award, is back with a new collection, The Trouble With Beauty (April), inspired by the natural beauty in southwestern Saskatchewan. And Laisha Rosnau follows up Lousy Explorers with Pluck (March), a series of poems taking on issues of sexuality, female vulnerability, and parenthood with delicacy and intent.

Book Cover Corked

Suzannah Showler's debut collection is Failure to Thrive (April), which is "as quick to make fun of itself as it is to turn its humour outward, where false historians have free rein, answers come in the form of questions, and the apocalypse seems like a good time to knit a sweater." Multiple award-winner Adam Sol publishes his fourth book, Complicity (March). Alberta food writer dee Hobsbawn-Smith's first collection is Wildness Rushing In (May), a book of which Don McKay writes, "Here is a feast of tastes and flavours arriving from many regions and nooks of existence." And in Corked (April), Catriona Strang fabricates a series of letters to Marcel Proust. 

Book Cover Summertime Swamp Love

The poems in Bonsai Love (March) by Diane L. Tucker are described as, as the book's title might suggest, "carefully pruned, intricate in design, and sensitive to intrusion." Old Hat (March) is the third collection by the award-winning Rob Winger. in Summertime Swamp Love (April), Patricia Young shifts her creative attention from humans to the mating habits of animals, birds, fish, and insects. And the prize for most intriguing title goes to Adrienne Weiss for There Are No Solid Gold Dancers Anymore (March).

January 30, 2014
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