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Poetry Canadian

Space Between Her Lips

The Poetry of Margaret Christakos

by (author) Margaret Christakos

edited by Gregory Betts

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2017
Canadian, Women Authors, Canadian
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    Apr 2017
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Space Between Her Lips presents the first selected works of one of Canada's most important poets of the last few decades. Margaret Christakos writes vibrant, exciting, and intellectually challenging poetry. She plays language games that bring a probing and disturbing humour to serious themes that range from childhood and children to women in contemporary techno-capitalist society to feminist literary theory, and so much more.

Gregory Betts’ introduction to the collection highlights her formal diversity and her unique combination of feminist and avant-garde affinities. He connects the geographies of her life — including Northern Ontario where she was raised, downtown Toronto where she studied with cutting-edge authors and artists like bpNichol and Michael Snow, and Montreal where she integrated with the country’s leading feminist authors and thinkers — with her polyphonic experimentation. While traversing the problem of bifurcated identities, Christakos is funny at a deeply semiotic level, wickedly wry, exposing something about the way we think by examining the way we speak of it.

In her afterword, Christakos maps out a philosophy of writing that highlights her self-consciousness of the foibles of language but also deep concern for the themes she writes about, including her career-length exploration of self-discovery, hetero-, queer and bi-sexual sexualities, motherhood, self-care, and linguistic alienation. Indeed, Margaret Christakos is a whole-body poet, writing with the materiality of language about the movement of interior thought to embodied experience in the world.

About the authors

Margaret Christakos has published three previous collections of poetry: Not Egypt (Coach House Press, 1989), Other Words for Grace (The Mercury Press, 1994), and The Moment Coming (ECW Press, 1998). She has worked for many years as an editor and production coordinator in the feminist and art communities in Toronto, contributing to Fuse Magazine, Fireweed: A Feminist Quarterly of Writing, Politics, Art & Culture, ParallŽlogramme, and Mix: the Magazine of Artist-Run Culture. She taught creative writing for six years at the Ontario College of Art & Design. Born in Sudbury in 1962, she obtained her B.F.A. in Visual Arts & Creative Writing from York University in 1985. In 1995, she completed an M.A. in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Christakos currently lives in Toronto with her partner and their three young children just off the Little Italy strip.

Margaret Christakos' profile page

GREGORY BETTS is a poet, editor, essayist and teacher, originally from Vancouver and Toronto. Since his first published poem, an anagrammatical translation of a short poem by bpNichol, Betts's work has consistently troubled individual authorship through such mechanisms as anagrams, collaboration, found-texts and response-text writing. If Language presents paragraph-length anagrams that explore the formation of meaning within a recombinant linguistic system. Haikube was part of a collaborative art project with sculptors Matt Donovan and Hallie Siegel in which six of Betts's poems were carved into an ebony movable (a la Rubiks) cube. The text was carved in negative relief, which allowed the cube to function as a press block to print new poems as they were 'discovered' by moving the sides of the cube. Betts currently lives in St. Catharines, where he edits PRECIPICe magazine, curates the Grey Borders Reading Series and teaches Avant-Garde and Canadian Literature at Brock University.

Gregory Betts' profile page

Other titles by Margaret Christakos

Other titles by Gregory Betts