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Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2016 Poetry Preview

Award-winners, up-and-comers, new books by old favourites, and fascinating debuts. 

Book Cover In On the Great Joke

There's so much to look forward to in our Fall Poetry Preview. Award-winners, up-and-comers, new books by old favourites, and fascinating debuts. 


If I Were in a Cage I’d Reach Out For You, the debut by Adele Barclay, is a collection of poems situated in the chasm between Canadian and American mythologies, and was shortlisted for the 2015 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Gwen Benaway was winner of the Ontario Legislature's 2015 Speaker's Award for a Young Author, and her new collection is Passage (October), a narrative journey to Northern Ontario and across the Great Lakes that examines what it means to experience loss and carry the burden of survival. The Duende of Tetherball (October), by award-winner Tim Bowling, strives to account for and address our human need to resolve tension between personal freedom and a world burdened by centralized control. And the latest by Laura Broadbent, who won the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry in 2012, is In On the Great Joke (October), blending essay, prose, poetic, and film forms in innovative ways.

Book Cover Acquired Community

Jane Byers’ Acquired Community (September) is both a first-person narrative and a collection of narrative poems about seminal moments in North American lesbian and gay history. Edward Carson’s Knots (August) forms a series of cyclical narrations, a kind of verbal asymmetry or mathematician’s knot, continuously mirroring its ideas and subject matter in a play of language and contrasting points of view. The Last White House at the end of the Row of White Houses (October), the much anticipated trade collection by Michael e. Casteels who runs his own micropress, Puddles of Sky. The poems in Small Fires (August), by Kelly Norah Drukker, highlight aspects of landscape and culture in regions that are haunted by marginal and silenced histories.

Book Cover The Blomidon Logs

Deirdre Dwyer's The Blomidon Logs (October) is an ode to small farming community of Blomidon on Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy and the legends of the First Nations Chief/God who once made his home there. Dust or Fire (September), the debut collection by Alyda Faber, examines the ties that bind us to one another and to the Earth we inhabit, and asks the question, What is left of us when we are gone? Lost Originals (September), by David B. Goldstein, explores the potential of metaphoric translation. Celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, Shirley Graham's Shakespearian Blues (October) is a modern romp through the state of mankind, drenched in Shakespeare's words and characters. And Julia Cameron Gray’s second collection is Lady Crawford (September), about the true cost of a royal marriage.

Book Cover Friendly Fire

On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood (October), by Governor General’s Award-nominated Richard Harrison, is a collection combining elements of memoir, elegy, lyrical essay and personal correspondence. Poets: A Colouring Book Anthology (October), by Melanie Janisse-Barlow, plays on the adult colouring book fad and features the likenesses of poets along with “a self-portrait text”. The long poems of M. Travis Lane are collected in The Witch of the Inner Wood (September). Danielle LaFrance's Friendly Fire (October) interrogates the discourse of the military term, "friendly fire." In the poems in Eating Matters (September), Kara-lee MacDonald explores anorexia and bulimia from within and in retrospect.

Book Cover Stranger

Reading Sveva (October) is award-winning author Daphne Marlatt’s response to the life and paintings of Sveva Caetani, an Italian émigré who grew up in Vernon, B.C. Nyla Matuk's new collection, following the Gerald Lampert Award-nominated Sumptuary Laws, is Stranger (October), whose poems lead readers to revelations about how our lives are increasingly disembodied by social media’s identity markers. Jim McLean's Nineteen Fifty-Seven (August) is a personal look at post-war Prairie life. And Based on Actual Events (October), by Robert Moore, is a book-length sequence of sleek, fiercely comic, colloquial poems whose aphoristic storytelling is pegged to a nostalgia for sublimity. 

Book Cover Digsite

Children's book author Marion Mutala releases the collection Ukranian Daughters Dance (October), poems that explore issues of immigrant identity and voice on the prairies. Owain Nicholson’s debut, Digsite (October), draws on Nicholson’s experience working in the Alberta oil sands. Renee Norman, who was awarded the Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award in 2006, releases a new collection, Hearing Echoes, co-written with Carl Leggo. Pamela Porter's latest collection is Defending Darkness (September), about the wisdom that can be gained "by waiting on the heart to finish grieving."

Book Cover 3 Summers

Marilyn Potter's debut collection is Leave Taking (October), whose poems move through the stages of grief. For Love and Autonomy (October), Anahita Jamali Rad’s debut book of poetry, juxtaposes Marxist economics with pop culture lyrics, from FKA Twigs to Sonic Youth, tangling the "You & I" of relationships and social identification.  In 3 Summers (October), Lisa Robertson grapples with time, form and embodiment. Night & Ox (October), by Jordan Scott, is described as "One part Jabberwocky-talkie, one part fatherhood ode, the poem seeks a threshold, where the “mondayescent” gives way to ardour, splendour, even love."

Book Cover How to Draw a Rhinoceros

Award-winner Kenneth Sherman's Jogging With the Great Ray Charles (October) is a collection with a number of musical motifs. Law professor and short-story writer Kate Sutherland makes her poetic debut with How To Draw a Rhinoceros (September), which mines centuries of rhinoceros representations in art and literature to document the history of European and North American encounters with the animal. With Silvija (September), a book-length requiem for a loss, Sandra Ridley follows up her celebrated collection, The Counting House. And Witness, I Am (October), is the latest collection by Gregory Scofield, whose debut won the Dorothy Livesay Prize in 1994. 

Book Cover The Emily Valentine Poems

The Description of the World (October), a new collection of poetry by the Giller-winning Johanna Skibsrud, is a book that shares its title with Marco Polo’s original title for his writings about his travels. From poet-provocateur Moez Surani comes ةيلمعOperación Opération Operation行 动Oперация (October)—a book-length poetic inventory of contemporary rhetoric of violence and aggression, as depicted through the evolution of the language used to name the many military operations conducted by UN Member Nations since the organization’s inception in 1945. 

Book Cover There is No Escape Out of ITme

With her debut collection, There is No Escape Out of Time (May), Jacqueline Valencia interweaves her love of film and literature, turning it into a playfully lyrical experiment. Patrick Warner's latest collection is Octopus (October), poems that like its eponymous totem creature are canny, slippery, and metamorphic. Tenth Anniversary Edition of The Emily Valentine Poems (November), means that Zoe Whittall’s 2006 poetry collection can now be officially considered iconic. And Governor-General’s Award-winner Jan Zwicky bears witness to environmental and cultural cataclysm in her new collection, The Long Walk (October). 

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