Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2018 Poetry Preview

Welcome to the third instalment of our 2018 Fall Preview, in which we tell you what the poets are doing.

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Book Cover Bec and Call

The poems in Jenna Lyn Albert’s Bec and Call (September) refuse to be silent or subtle, instead delving into the explicit, the audacious, and the boldy personal. Award-winner Chris Bailey’s debut collection is What Your Hands Have Done Lately (September), which looks at how growing up in a PEI fishing community can mark a person’s life. Intimately inhabited and passionately shared, Nova Scotia's farms, woods, and shores reveal themselves to be our Earth in microcosm in Janet Barkhouse’s collection, Salt Fires (August). And Gwen Benaway’s third collection of poetry is Holy Wild (September), exploring the complexities of being an Indigenous trans woman in expansive lyric poems.

Dominique Bernier-Cormier’s debut collection is Correspondent (September), an on-the-scene report of a childhood abroad. Dionne Brand, author of the Griffin Poetry Prize-winning collection Ossuaries, returns with The Blue Clerk (September), a startlingly original work about the act of writing itself. Glitter and Fall (September) is inspired by the Dao de Jing, and Di Brandt's responses explore the intersections of east and west, male and female, bringing her prairie sensibilities to the second most translated work in the world. And the 18th volume in Porcupine’s Quill’s Essential Poets series is The Essential Charles Bruce (October), edited by Carmine Starnino, exploring the clear, direct verse and vernacular imagination of the Maritime poet whose practical, no-nonsense lyrics eschewed the trappings of modernist poetry. 

Governor General’s Award-winner Julie Bruck’s How to Avoid Huge Ships (September) is a book of arguments and spells against the ambushes of time. Deportment (November)—selected by Alessandro Porco—collects surreal, cerebral, and defiant poems by Alice Burdick, poems which examine the dangers of dogma, women’s rights, and environmental degradation in biting satires, moving elegies, and anti-sentimental lyrics filled with mischievous wordplay. And award-winner Lori Cayer’s fourth poetry collection, Mrs. Romanov (September), reveals the unexpectedly quotidian concerns of Alexandra Feodorovna, the last tsarina of Imperial Russia. 

On the Count of None (September) is the first full-length poetry collection by Allison Chisholm, an audacious debut exploring the relationship between the serious and the absurd, the formal and the illogical, whimsy and threat, and meaning and tone. The Flame (October) is the final work from Leonard Cohen. The belief in translation as an act of self-portraiture drives Afterwords (September), Geoffrey Cook’s reimagining of German poems by Goethe, Heine, Rilke, and Brecht. Lorna Crozier’s God of Shadows (August) offers a polytheistic gallery of the gods we never knew existed and didn’t know we needed. What begins as a look back at a different time in history quickly takes a dark turn in Robert Currie's latest collection, One Way Ticket (October).

Emilia Danielewska’s debut collection is Paper Caskets (September), which looks beyond grief to see the dead as dynamic places where memory and body collide. Retired Palliative Care Nurse Sandra Davies’s debut collection is Giacometti’s Girl (September), with poems that out enduring moments of beauty and human connection that redeem difficult remembering. Maureen Evans’s debut poetry collection, Fate & Knives (October), skirts a diverse geography, threaded by a voice that is sensorially-awake, curious, and humane. Everyone Rides the Bus in a City of Losers (September), by Jason Freure, is about wandering Montreal’s streets, with an eye on the storefronts and alley cats, and one foot already in the nearest dive bar.

Yellow Crane (November), Susan Gillis’s fourth collection of poetry, is a book of many views, and many voices. Resistance (October) is a powerful new anthology of poetry from writers all over the world on sexual assault and abuse, edited and with a foreword by Sue Goyette. The poems in Heidi Greco’s Practical Anxiety (September) confront the realities of climate change, the desecration of habitat, and some quiet truths about aging and death.  In Dividing the Wayside (September), Jenny Haysom navigates the territory in between, searching the intricate periphery of experience for hidden meaning and beauty. And in the tradition of songwriters like Gordon Lightfoot and Gord Downie and poets such as Al Purdy, Karen Solie, and David O'Meara, Harold Hoefle’s The Night Chorus (September) presents so-called "obscure" lives, where dark and playful humour collides with historic and mythic characters.

Ken Hunt’s The Last Cosmonauts (November) is a wide-ranging collection of poems looking deep into the largely unexplored cosmos for experiences of the sublime. SKY WRI TEI NGS (October), by Nasser Hussain, is a collection based entirely on the three letter codes for major airports, as assigned by the International Air Transport Association. Wanda John-Kehewin instigates a therapeutic process of restoration and transformation in Seven Sacred Truths (October). And Guyleigh Johnson’s second book is Afraid of the Dark (August), poems about a young Black woman who longs for freedom. 

Unearthing of Secrets: Gathering of Truths (September), by Jules Koostachin, explores the heartfelt and evocative fragmented experiences through the eyes of an Indigenous woman. Obits (October), by Tess Liem, is a collection in which a speaker attempts and fails to write obituaries for those who don’t get memorials, including victims of mass deaths, fictional characters, and her aunt. The poems in D.A. Lockhart’s The Gravel Lot That Was Montana (October) explore the physical and emotional spaces of contemporary southern Three Fires Territory and contemporary Montana. Translating Air (September), by Kath MacLean, is a dreamy yet haunting account of modernist poet H.D.'s imagined conversations with Sigmund Freud during her sessions with him in the 1930s. And We Like Feelings. We Are Serious (October), by Julie McIsaac, is an exploded view of contemporary feminism, sex, loss, beauty myths, self-doubt, psychology, menstruation, resistance, family and love. 

From Governor General’s Award winner Roy Miki, Flow (September) presents all of this critically acclaimed writer’s poetry—from his collections Saving FaceRandom Access FileSurrenderThere, and Mannequin Rising—as well as a substantial chapter of new, previously unpublished works. Gerald Arthur Moore’s debut collection is Shatter the Glass, Shards of Flame (October), which includes a wide array of narrative and confession-lyric poems. The Ritualites (October) is Michael Nardone’s book-length poem on the sonic topography of North America. And Donald Winkler translates Pierre Nepveu’s The Hardness of Matter and Water (September), a 2016 finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry in French. 

Peter Norman’s fourth collection is Some of Us and Most of You Are Dead (October), with poems that combine formal sophistication with sublime imagery. In A Skeletal Wand (September), Ruth Roach Pierson marshals her expository powers to explore personhood, paranormal phenomenon, and mortality. Marion Quednau’s latest is Paradise, Later Years (September), bearing witness to family, relationships and sex transformed by the tension—and surprise—of setting one thing against another, whether of river or lover. Shazia Hafiz Ramji was a finalist for the 2018 Alberta Magazine Awards, received the 2017 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, and was a finalist for the 2016 National Magazine Awards; her debut is Port of Being (October). And Al Rempel’s Undiscovered Country (September) journeys through the grieving process, exploring death and loss, and the “dark night of the soul,” through the filters of the geographies and seasons of northern BC. 

For the Changing Moon: Poems and Songs (October), by Anna Marie Sewell, records the ebb and flow of what it is to live here and now in Canada, as a woman, an indigenous woman, a culturally mixed woman, a daughter, a mother, a peace-seeker and a warrior. It Begins With the Body (October), by Hana Shafi, explores the milestones and hurdles of a brown girl coming into her own. How might poetic practices undermine racist ideologies and colonialism, engendering ecological attentiveness, and anomalous and compassionate communities? Christine Stewart’s Treaty 6 Deixis (October) takes up these timely and pressing questions as it investigates what it means to be a non-Indigenous inhabitant of Canada’s Treaty 6 territory.

The poems in Insomnia Bird (October), by Kelly Shepherd, are a cartography and a geography of Edmonton. Neil Surkan’s debut, On High (September), is a collection of poems on the hunt for something to believe in. Russell Thornton’s new collection is The Broken Face (September), with poems that explore a sacramental, imaginative vision within contexts of crime, perception, memory and love. Matthew Tierney, whose Probably Inevitable won the 2013 Trillium Book Award, releases Midday at the Super-Kamiokande (October), described as “part existentialist cry, part close encounters of the other kind.” And the capacity of the rediscovered world to signal and illuminate, restore and repair, fuels the poems in Leslie Timmins’ Every Shameless Ray

Ledi (October), the second book by Vancouver poet Kim Trainor, describes the excavation of an Iron Age Pazyryk woman from her ice-bound grave in the steppes of Siberia. Branches (October), Mark Truscott’s third collection of poetry, gathers a series of lyric contemplations that revel in poetry’s great task: to present thinking in language. A stanch advocate of how beautiful life is in the midst of fear and doubt, Priscila Uppal’s poetry brims with hope and humour and the lust of embracing the world in its many misunderstood and even unwelcome forms of knowledge in her new collection On Second Thought (October). Uppal also releases Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology, co-edited with Meaghan Strimas, featuring work that offers us new ways of seeing, understanding, and representing this ordinary and extraordinary experience. 

Paul Vermeersch’s new collection is Self-Defence for the Brave and Happy (September), a survival guide for the dark age ahead. Katherena Vermette’s third collection is River Woman (September), following up her award-winning novel The Break and her debut collection, North End Love Songs. Comprised of two lines of poetic text flowing along a 114-foot-long map of the Columbia River, beholden (October), by acclaimed poets Fred Wah and Rita Wong, presents language yearning to understand the consequences of our hydroelectric manipulation of one of North America’s largest river systems. Acclaimed poet Deanna Young’s Reunion (October) is a time machine in which poems commune with ghosts in an attempt both to reckon with and subvert their legacy. And love is a boxcar going off the rails, according to Patricia Young’s latest collection, Amateurs at Love (September), a book for anyone who has experienced the highs and lows of love and wants to know they are not alone.

August 6, 2018
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