Most Anticipated: Our 2018 Spring Poetry Preview

Our Spring Preview continues with poetry, exciting debuts, new books by award-winners, and books by your favourites. 

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David Alexander’s After the Hatching Oven (April) explores chickens: their evolution as a domesticated species; their place in history, pop culture and industrial agriculture; their exploitation and their liberation. Cameron Anstee’s Book of Annotations (April) deploys a number of minimalist strategies to question how small a poem can be made, and how can a small poem be made expansive. Joelle Barron’s debut is Ritual Lights (March), a meditation on trauma and identity, deeply vulnerable and reserved, funny and full of rage. Jonathan Bennett’s latest collection of poetry is Happinesswise (April), poems that interrogate what we tell ourselves about happiness, about its opposite, and about ourselves in the process. And False Spring (May), by Darren Bifford, is a collection of poems with great weight and energy, largely concerned with various forms of collapse and cultural disintegration.

E.D. Blodgett, two-time winner of the Governer General’s Award, releases Songs for Dead Children (February), a search for meaning amidst grief. Nicholas Bradley’s Rain Shadow (March) is a collection that explores the fraught relationship between the natural world and humans' yearning to connect with something greater than themselves. Award-winner Kate Braid’s Elemental (January) combines blue collar tradeswork with unapologetic feminism and untameable nature of BC. David James Brock follows up Everyone is C02 with Ten Headed Alien (March), whose poems draw from sci-fi and poli-sci, prog rock and politics, climate fiction and ancient mythology. From a student's confrontation with a teenage streaker, to a company man's complete undoing at his summer party, Michelle Brown's Safe Words (April) finds rich darkness in happy partnerships.

Heather Cadsby’s latest collection is Standing in the Flock of Connections (April), poems that skitter between life and death, “sleep and hurry,” at their heart a kind of tender panic. In his debut collection, Short Histories of Light (February), Aidan Chafe recounts his Catholic upbringing in a household dealing with the common but too often taboo subject of mental illness. Herménégilde Chiasson’s To Live and Die in Scoudouc (April), which was first published in 1974 out of a period of cultural awakening, is translated into English by Jo-Anne Elder. And although many readers may be familiar with stories about rural Saskatchewan from the early 20th century, Chelsea Coupal’s poetry collection Sedley (May) tells a different story: one of small town Saskatchewan from a modern perspective.

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Dani Couture’s new collection is Listen Before Transmit (March), poems that travel across the cosmos and the spaces we live in, as well as within the more intimate distances we navigate between one another. Award-winning writer and journalist Carol Rose Daniels’ follows up her debut novel, Bearskin Diary, with a collection of poetry, Hiraeth (May), about women supporting and lending strength to other women, many of the poems speaking to the experiences of those affected by “the ‘Sixties Scoop.” Degan Davis’s What Kind of Man Are You (April) poems about what it means to be a man now, “has found a church of sorts in jazz and blues,” according to Stevie Howell. And Canada's poet laureate George Elliott Clarke has called Adebe DeRango-Adem a young Canadian author to watch; her latest collection is The Unmooring (April).

Pier Giorgio Di Cicco’s new collection is Wishipedia (April), the public code to the dimension only the reader owns. Adam Dickinson follows his Governor General’s Award-nominated The Polymers with Anatomic (April), a chemical autobiography. A.B. Dillon’s debut is Matronalia (May), interlacing ancestral legacies and personal tribulations to reveal what often remains unsaid from mother to daughter. Jeffery Donaldson’s sixth collection, Fluke Print (April) considers the implications of imprints, opposites and offsets—and in so doing creates a poetry that reflects on and re-imagines creativity, emotion and intellect. And multilingually inflected, Klara du Plessis' first collection of poetry, Ekke (April), explores the multiplicity of self through language. 

Sarah Feldman’s debut is The Half-Life of Oracles (March), poems of ideas and philosophy based in everyday life. Linda Frank’s new collection is Divided (March), poems that elegantly display our complex interaction with nature. Award-winner Patrick Friesen’s new collection is Songen (March), whose poems track the movement of the mind. The poems in Kayla Geitzler’s That Light Feeling Under Your Feet (April) plunge headfirst into the surreal and slogging world of cruise ship workers. And Aaron Giovannone’s second collection is The Nonnets (April), an alchemy of poetry and comedy.

Lenea Grace’s debut, A Generous Latitude (April), is not afraid of beer, bears, internal rhyme, David Hasselhoff, sediment, or sentiment. Sonja Greckol’s No Line In Time (June) probes the mechanisms of unsettlement in Western Canada, the confrontations and collaborations among Muslims, Christians, and Jews that constitute medieval al Andalus, and some remnants, imagined and recovered, in contemporary Andalusia. Rayanne Haines’ debut is Stained With the Colours of Sunday Morning (May), a fictional novel-in-verse that takes its reader from Italy in 1944 to the prairies in 2014. And the latest title in the Laurier Poetry Series is Sohkeyihta: The Poetry of Sky Dancer Louise Bernice Halfe (May), selected by David Gaertner.

Using a wide variety of subjects (from Tinder to pharmaceutical research testing methods) as jumping-off points, Emma Healey’s provocative new collection of prose poems, Stereoblind (April), explores the urgent themes of feminism, mental illness, sexuality, artistic practice, alienation, connection, technology, and time. Stevie Howell’s second collection is I left nothing inside on purpose (March), poems that take their reader from geology to theology, lyric pain to the contemplative mind of the quasi-saint. And in Years, Months, and Days (April) Amanda Jernigan translates a collection of Protestant hymns originally compiled by a Pennsylvanian-born Swiss-German Mennonite into heart-breaking lyric poems that bridge secular spirituality and holy reverence with the commonalities of life, death, love, hope, and pain.

Checking In (February), by Adeena Karasick, consists of the major title poem (which takes up about half the book) and a series of other post-conceptual pieces that luxuriate in the physicality and materiality of language and meaning production (featuring concrete poems, homolinguistic translations, Yiddish aphorisms). A decade since her last book, Sonnet L’Abbe returns with her third collection, Sonnet’s Shakespeare (March), a work that breaks open the sonnet and invents an entirely new poetic form. And Dreampad (March), Trillium Book Award for Poetry winner poet Jeff Latosik’s new collection, ponders whether an ideal for living is viable when we’re not sure we can say yes or no to anything in a world that’s growing increasingly ephemeral and entangled with the virtual.

Little Wild (April), by Curtis LeBlanc, explores the performance of masculinity in contemporary Canada, with a focus on how toxic masculinity relates to mental health, aggression, substance abuse and crises of identity. The latest collection by Alice Major, Edmonton’s first Poet Laureate, is Welcome to the Anthropocene (February), in which the author continues her long engagement with science and math as means of finding significance in human life and the universe. Dimensions of an Orchard, the most recent poetry collection by Dave Margoshes, won the Anne Szumigalski Poetry Prize at the 2010 Saskatchewan Book Awards; his latest is A Calendar of Reckoning (May).

Tar Swan (April), by CBC Poetry Prize-winner David Martin, is a multi-voiced reckoning that surveys the mythos of the Alberta oil sands with an approach 
that is both lyrical and experimental. Atlantic Poetry Prize-winner Steve McOrmond’s fourth collection is Reckon (April), a collection described as “at once sardonic, self-exoriating, and ‘chronically wishful.’” In Goodbye Horses (April), Nathaniel G. Moore reanimates the lion's share of Catullus' surviving poems in an absorbing homage to the beloved romantic. And The Sparrow (April), by A.F. Moritz, is more than a selected poems; it is also a single vast poem, in which the individual pieces can be read as facets of an ever-moving whole. 

Garry Thomas Morse resumes his expansionist mapping of lyrical consciousness onto geographical concerns, acknowledging the unsettled edges of an imaginary territory in Safety Sand (January). Mary Ann Mulhern’s new collection is All the Worlds Between (April), poems that promise to be powerful and yet lucid and concise. The poems in Merle Nudelman’s The Seeker Ascends (April) trace the emotional and spiritual journey of a woman whose son dies after a battle with cancer. West Coast performance poet Hilary Peach’s debut is Bolt (April), a compilation of poetry, performance scores, and autobiography. Shannon Quinn’s Nightlight for Children of Insomniacs (April) is a feminist collection of poetry that examines the legacies that echo through families. 

Award-winner Robin Richardson’s third collection is Sit How You Want (April), whose poems work as counter-charms against the lingering trauma of abusive relationships, both familial and romantic. Laura Ritland’s first book is East and West (April), with poems that explore the “middle ground” of childhood, family, diaspora, and migration, and how new cultural ideas can disrupt traditional perspectives. Ask the River (April), by Denis Robillard, is a poetry collection situated in the cartography and rich history of Windsor. And the latest in Porcupine’s Quill’s Essential Poets series is The Essential Dorothy Roberts (March), selected by Brian Bartlett.

Laisha Rosnau’s new book is Our Familiar Hunger (April), a book about the strength, will, struggle and fortitude of generations of women and how those relationships and knowledges interact, inform, transform and burden. Like a domestic Dante navigating the dark woods of mid-life, Richard Sanger looks back at raising children while he confronts the mortality of aging relatives and mentors in Dark Woods (March). And Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Brenda Schmidt’s latest book is Culverts Beneath the Narrow Road (May), inspired by the dark and in-between spaces culverts are, providing another sense of the connections we share and the way stories emerge and flow. 

Surfaces (April), by Eric Schmaltz, combines found texts, graphic design, imprints, translation, and experimental typography to trace the hidden rhythms, structures, and feelings of language. A star shines bright, fades and even dies. When it is gone we have the memory of the warmth and light it bathed us in. Williams, Cash, Cohen, Bowie, Marx, Kong and more weave their way throughout Brenda Sciberras' new collection of poems, Starland (April). charles c. smith’s new collection is destination out (June), a collection which  reveals elders, mystics, lovers, and seers who glimpsed shades of light and reached out to them, falling into the inexpressible and the unknown. And Jason Stefanik’s Night Became Years (April) is a collection of poetry in the sauntering tradition of the flaneur.

Caroline Szpak’s debut collection is Slinky Naïve (April), in which the poet is a grand ventriloquist, manipulating words and voices in strange and fantastical ways. Mallory Tater’s This Will Be Good (March) tells the story of a young woman’s burgeoning femininity as it brushes up against an emerging eating disorder, and according to Adèle Barclay, the collection is “a prayer, vicious and sweet.” The second collection by Sarah Tolmie, whose first book was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, is The Art of Dying (February), a traditional ars moriendi, a how-to book on the practices of dying. And Building on River (April), by Jean Van Loon, builds on known facts to imagine the life of John Rudolphus Booth, who arrived in roughhouse Bytown in the early 1850s with a wife, a child, and carpenter’s tools bought on credit.  

Shannon Webb-Campbell’s Who Took My Sister? (March) is a collection of poems and letters written to the many members of her community that hold and carry trauma. Mina Loy and Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, two of the 20th Century’s greatest art provocateurs, avant-gardists and bohemians, finally connect with Suzanne Zelazo’s collection, Lances All Alike (April). The latest by Myna Wallin (whose 2010 novel was Confessions Of A Reluctant Cougar) is Anatomy of an Injury (April), weaving themes of death, gender and sexuality. And the poems in Stephanie Warner’s A Violent Streak (February) travel along a ragged b-line from the banks of the frozen Yukon River to the sun-blasted hinterlands of Barcelona, and all the way to the “cat’s cradle” of the ring-roads in Beijing.

February 5, 2018
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