The debut collection from small press editor and publisher Cameron Anstee, Book of Annotations deploys a number of minimalist strategies-including erasure, found, lyric, haiku, one-line, one-word, concrete/visual, cento, restricted vocabularies, and lists-to question how small a poem can be made, and how can a small poem be made expansive? Engaging with contemporary and historical modes of minimalism, Book of Annotations is a dialogue in shorthand with work by H. D., Nelson Ball, Lorine Niedecker, Aram Saroyan, Phyllis Webb, Robert Lax, and dozens of others.
Cameron Anstee lives and writes in Ottawa, where he runs Apt. 9 Press and holds a Ph.D. in Canadian Literature from the University of Ottawa. He is the editor of The Collected Poems of William Hawkins (Chaudiere Books, 2015).
“Wise and playful, the epigrammatic poems in Book of Annotations push past the limits of each word and into a space tense with imagination and truth. Not a word is wasted as Cameron Anstee demonstrates supreme control of space and minimalism. The pithiness of the poems reminds one of coordinates of a constellation, or the tips of icebergs. To borrow Anstee’s words, ‘the smallest unit of feeling’ … ‘out of these a world.’ As delightful as it is challenging, Book of Annotations has a unique pulse of its own.”—Archibald Lampman Award jury citation
"[Book of Annotations] is a slight collection that goes easy on his publisher’s inkjets (several poems have a word count in the single digits). It has been enjoyable consuming the glassine craftsmanship of these kindred texts at such different rates. I devour Anstee’s book whole every time I pry it open."—Ben Ladouceur
"There is fearlessness to explore the common while simultaneously considering the sublime... The true enjoyment, however, comes from appreciation of how the diversity of the structure ties into the diversity of the subject matter; the structure reflects the theme in each different narrative that Anstee takes the reader on—a trip well worth taking."—CV2
"There’s a palpable compression, and concretism, lurking within Anstee’s minimalist exercises."—Canadian Literature
“Short but never slight, the poems in Book of Annotations are deeply engaged with poetic history.”—Quill & Quire
"In Book of Annotations, Cameron Anstee brings us the ephemeral, the existential, the entropic, and the elemental. Akin to koanlike maxims, this work presents an exquisite perception of and reverence for the here-and-now, the before and after, the timeless and the fleeting. Anstee disassembles and reassembles the fundamental phenomenon of being. Sensuous, natural, familiar, unexpected, elusive, vertiginous—this work brings us closer to understanding ourselves."—Sandra Ridley
“Cameron Anstee’s Book of Annotations collects haiku-like short poems that manage to be painterly despite (or perhaps because of) their minimalism: “now here light leafs small small lines.”—Winnipeg Free Press
"Anstee’s debut collection of poetry is definitely worthy of all acknowledgements and eligible accolades."—Arc Poetry Magazine
"Anstee’s small poems, by virtue of their brevity, expose the elisions and accidents of language as symbolically rich and complicated."—Prairie Fire
“Incredibly short and playful poems packed with enormous density.”—rob mclennan
"Book of Annotations is a wonderful accrual of Cameron Anstee's minimalist gems. They are rich and varied. Cameron's poems are short but not brief. Most are subtle, some are perplexing, some humorous, and many are astonishingly expansive. This book is a large treat!"—Nelson Ball