This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.
Today we're launching Sweet Water: Poems for the Watersheds, an anthology edited by Yvonne Blomer, a book on which Maude Barlow advises, "Stop. Slow down. Suspend time. Let your soul come to rest in this haunting book as you take a quiet journey to a watershed that someone cherishes."
The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.
Sweet Water: Poems for the Watersheds is the second of a trilogy of water-based poetry anthologies, a gathering of voices emerging and established in a beautiful anthology full of movement, sweetness, creatures and grief, focused on watersheds.
Describe your ideal reader:
Is a lover of language and the planet and an ice cold glass of H2O. They are curious about water and how poets might dip into it.
What authors/books is your work in conversation with:
Rita Wong, Christine Leclerc, David Suzuki, Autumn Peltier and Greta Thunberg, Seamus Heaney, swimmers, water lovers, water drinkers. Learning to Die: Wisdom in the Age of Climate Crisis, by Robert Bringhurst and Jan Zwicky, and the first anthology, Refugium: Poems for the Pacific.
What is something interesting you learned about your book/yourself/your subject during the process of creating and publishing your book?
There is always more to know about a subject even as you research it, and read on it, and think about it. Water seems such a simple thing, and yet how we use it and how it is part of every aspect of life astounds me.
Many poets have written ecologies to go with their poems. Can you explain the idea behind these?
The ecologies allow the reader to set the poems firmly in a specific watershed and depend their understanding of where the poem comes from, its footing and foundation, and how poets come to their poems, through reading and through deep immersion in place or subject.
An important part of any book launch are the thank you’s. Go ahead, and acknowledge someone whose support has been integral to this project.
Thanks to all the watery creatures, and my son who before he was anything else, was one of them. Thanks to the poets, the publisher, and the wisdom of water keepers.
What are you reading right now or next?
I am always reading In Fine Form, edited by Kate Braid and Sandy Shreve as well as friends new books—Arleen Pare’s Earl Street, and a lot of fiction, actually. My Canadian recent was Lampedusa, by Stephen Price, but I love his poetry, and Steven Heighton’s The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep.
Sweet Water: Poems for the Watersheds gathers the voices of poets from across Canada, the US and the UK who write of water. Bottled, clouded, held in rain, in river, estuary and lake, sweet water is the planet's life force and the poets here examine it from every angle—the pitcher plant, the beaver and the American Bull Frog, rain, clouds, smog, the many ducks and the salmon and the last lake sturgeon. Poets take us to the rivers they live along—and grieve daily—the Peace River Canyon, Chilcotin, Taylor River, the Humber River, Millstone River, the Fraser River, and more.
In Canada, the watershed runs into the Pacific, Arctic, Hudson Bay and the Atlantic. This water houses the aquatic ecosystems that feed and nurture not only the people, industries and animals on land but also drains into the world's oceans. It is part of the hydrologic cycle that begins with water evaporation to become groundwater that seeps into rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. It is the water we bathe in, drink, and with which we grow our food. As it becomes more and more poisoned from industrial corporations, mining and the many, too many humans on our planet, it also becomes more and more endangered. We are paying attention. We are aware of the watershed moment that we inhabit in the twenty-first century. We know that change must come. Contributors include Kate Braid, Gary Barwin, Katherina Vermette, Arlene Pare, John Pass, Ariel Gordon, Brian Brett, Trevor Carolan, John Terpstra, Russell Thornton, Zoe Landale, Christine Lowther, Elena Johnson, Elee Kraljii Gardiner, Daniela Leza, Rhonda Ganz, Geoffrey Nilson, Pamela Porter, Barbara Pelman, Kelly Shepherd, Rob Taylor, Zachariah Wells, Bren Simmers, and more.
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