5/08/2018

BC Poetry 2018: An Introduction

Aidan Chafe's
"Right Hand Hymns"
(Frog Hollow Press)
Welcome to year three of the "BC Poetry" series, a project devoted to profiling BC poetry books and presses throughout April. (You can view the 2016 version here, and the 2017 version here.) The series has thus far profiled 60+ books by BC poets and presses. We'll be pushing that number close to 100 by the time we're done BC Poetry 2018!

Each of the last two years, I've opened the series with a note on a BC book or institution that has brought our poets together. This year, I want to take a moment to recognize BC's chapbook publishers. Chapbooks (books of less than 48 pages) have long played an essential role in the BC poetry community - the "calling cards" that are often a poet's first introduction to the writing world. Many of the country's finest chapbook publishers have been - and are - based here in BC, from Nanaimo's Leaf Press, to Vernon's Greenboathouse Press, to Victoria's Frog Hollow Press and Vancouver's Nomados Press and Pooka Press, among others.

Alfred Gustav Press
Chapbook Series #3 (2009)
One of BC's most vibrant and prolific chapbook presses, North Vancouver's Alfred Gustav Press, is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. Run by Governor General's Award-winning poet David Zieroth, this subscription-based series has published 3 or 4 chapbooks every spring and fall since 2008, and by the end of this year will have released almost 70 chapbooks in total. Each chapbook is hand-decorated and signed by the author, and costs next-to-nothing (the current subscription rate for four chapbooks + shipping is $18, and it used to be even cheaper). Well-loved by its subscribers, it's the kind of publication that can be easily overlooked in the larger writing world - but to miss out on it is a great loss. Alongside debuts (including at least one whose first full-length collection will be profiled this month!), AG chapbooks have provided readers with previously unread work by celebrated poets such as Russell Thornton, Marilyn Gear Pilling, Marguerite Pigeon, Catherine Owen, Kevin Spenst, Shane Neilson, Barry Dempster, Matt Rader, and Zieroth himself.

Rahila's Ghost Press
Last year I made space in the series, generally devoted to full-length trade collections, to promote Ontario-based chapbook publisher Anstruther Press, which had just published new books by BC's own Shazia Hafiz Ramji and Curtis Leblanc. This year I'm pleased to be able to similarly promote BC's newest chapbook Press, Vancouver's Rahila's Ghost Press.

Much like how chapbooks and their publishers are often invisible to even devoted poetry fans, far too many trade-length BC poetry books pass by unnoticed each year. Over the next 30 days I will share with you 30 new books (and sample poems) from our authors and publishers. I hope they inspire you - to read, to write, to pick up a book or subscribe to a series, or to put out that first chapbook of your own!


Details on the Project

A new book will be profiled each day throughout the month. To be eligible, the book must have been written by a BC poet or published by a BC poetry publisher (ideally both), and must have been released in either Fall 2017 or Spring 2018. Weekends will include "wild card" coverage of chapbooks, anthologies, etc.

You can follow along with the series as new posts come via this link or on Twitter at the hashtag #BCPoetry2018.

Participating Publishers

Anvil Press
Book*Hug
Brick Books
Caitlin Press
Harbour Publishing
Leaf Press
McGill-Queens University Press
Mother Tongue Publishing
Nightwood Editions
Rahila's Ghost Press
Talonbooks
Thistledown Press
University of Alberta Press
Vehicule Press

Some publishers were contacted and did not reply.

The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.


5/07/2018

BC Poetry 2018: "After the Hatching Oven" by David Alexander (Nightwood Editions)



Counting Chickens

At crosswalks they stand on shoulders, 
three-to-a-trench-coat. One does cartoon voices. 
One preens from a billboard above the library.

Six small chicks and their ma can’t recall 
the moral of this short time together. Curled up 
on the couch, their snores sound like daisies.

They ride bikes and rent converted garages, 
yet still we drive past them on trucks. Yet still 
when they hatch, cuts of meat explode out.

Watch what they do when an egg won’t stop 
rolling. When they really go at each other, 
cha-ching! Advertising.

Before hatching, amateur fortune tellers 
often find themselves in personal banking. 
Baking? You wish. Sharp suits dignify death.

Whispering wings in a backyard run.


Who?

David Alexander's poems have appeared in Prairie Fire, The Malahat Review, The Puritan, subTerrain, The Humber Literary Review, the Literary Review of Canada and many other fine journals and magazines. David volunteers as a reader for The Puritan and works in Toronto's nonprofit sector.


What?

After the Hatching Oven scrutinizes the world of a most unlikely hero: the common chicken. We are launched into their evolution as a domesticated species; their place in history, pop culture and industrial agriculture; their exploitation and their liberation. These poems relish in the mastery of language and intensity by which Alexander has thought his way into the very cells of his subjects through riffs on ad campaigns, news stores, public health advisories, poems, movies and self-translations.


When?

Published earlier this month!


Where?


Purchase from the Harbour Publishing website or at your local bookstore. $18.95.


How?

Scrutinizing the most unlikely hero.



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

5/06/2018

BC Poetry 2018: "Unfolding a Lost World" and "Chaos, Great and Wide" by Joy Barratt (Expressions Press)


"Fodder to the Guns" from Chaos, Great and Wide




Who?

Joy Barratt is a graduate of the University of Toronto and OISE. Her writing has focused on the early settler days, from a feminist angle, and the confusion of World War I front line troops. She has found laughter, tragedy, refuge and escape in literature, and has used that perspective to open doors to new realities for students.


What?

Unfolding a Lost World

In Unfolding a Lost World, Joy Barratt chose fragments from the pioneer letters of a trio of early Canadian women, reconstituting them into found poems echoing the dire nature of the writers’ survival experiences. The three knew desolation of spirit, severe winters, devastating fires, near starvation from crop failure and menacing illnesses. In antique spelling and phrasing, they flung these stories across the Atlantic, shedding light on the repressive and restrictive world of women homesteaders. Unfolding a Lost World unearths the deprivations both suffered and surmounted by women of their ilk.


Chaos, Great and Wide

Using the fragments in letters sent home by the troops, from military histories, from memoirs, from novels scripted post-war and from film documentaries, the author has glued together, in a series of found poems, a representation of the chaos and confusion lived by soldiers, sailors and field hospital inmates. Chaos, Great and Wide is part exposé of past atrocities and part hymn to the concept of a prevailing peace, a scream of alarm, a gathering of tears and a sincere gasp of appreciation that the sorts of tragedies enclosed within its pages are lived no longer.

A sample of how the found poems in Barratt's Unfolding a Lost World "unfold" as you read the book.

When?

Unfolding a Lost World arrived in July 2017.

Chaos, Great and Wide arrives later this month!


Where?

Purchase from Amazon. $17.75.


How?

Reconstituting fragments.



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

5/05/2018

BC Poetry 2018: "Wayside Sang" by Cecily Nicholson (Talonbooks)





Excerpt from Wayside Sang

fossil fuel psyche

pressed for    time

means for 
transformation
                          means

will travel or    drift




Who?

Cecily Nicholson, from small-town Ontario via Toronto and South Bend, relocated to the Pacific coast almost two decades ago. On Musqueam-, Squamish-, and Tsleil-Waututh-occupied lands known as Vancouver, she has worked, since 2000, in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, most recently as administrator for the artist-run centre and mental health resource, Gallery Gachet. A part of the Joint Effort prison abolitionist group and a member of the Research Ethics Board for Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Cecily was also the 2017 Ellen Warren Tallman Writer in Residence at Simon Fraser University. She is the author of Triage and From the Poplars, winner of the 2015 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.


What?

Wayside Sang concerns entwined migrations of Black-other diaspora coming to terms with fossil-fuel psyches in times of trauma and movement. This is a poetic account of economy travel on North American roadways, across the Peace and Ambassador bridges and through the Fleetway tunnel, above and beneath rivers, between nation states. Nicholson reimagines the trajectories of her birth father and his labour as it criss-crossed these borders, in a study that engages the automobile object, its industry, roadways and hospitality, through and beyond the Great Lakes region.

Engaging a range of discursive fields, the book is informed by various artistic practices. As the author feels for texture and collaborates on infrastructure, new poems are formed in concert. Consider Charles Campbell’s Transporter Project, begun initially as a visual investigation of the phenomena of forced migration; or Camille Turner’s various “sonic walks” which present narratives that explore the complexities of black life in Canada amid a “landscape of forgetting” black history; or Khari McClelland’s embrace of music as a “transportation device” uncovering the experiences of fugitive blacks crossing into Canada. All are concerned with transportation. Even as we dig, build, plant, and root, even as we shelter and grow, we have been, and continue to be, on the move.

This study is, in part, a matter of strengthening relations and becoming situated despite displacement. It is an effort to be relevant at a time of rebellion as Black networks, community, and aesthetics gain new qualities. The routes Wayside Sang follows cannot be Canadian as the interlay of territories – Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Attawandaron, Ojibway-Chippewa, Huron-Wendat … – the presence and histories – Indigenous memory as a constant to land, and constitutive to travel and practice – carry the day.

This book was once in the fields and frequented bars. It rolls out of factories onto roads travelling north across the border and returning again to some understanding of home. In it are passengers and possessions – travelling musicians – memories of places never been – brothers determined by border crossings – daughters reassembled.


When?

Arrived June 2017.


Where?

Purchase from the Talon Books website or at your local bookstore. $16.95.


How?

Digging, building, planting, rooting, moving.



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

5/04/2018

BC Poetry 2018: "Short Histories of Light" by Aidan Chafe (McGill-Queen’s University Press)


Thetis

My father, greatest swimmer, 
swam in the ocean of grandma’s
womb for nine months before opening
his eyes to the sun. Nurses ran water
over him, a baptism, so he could teach
grandpa to search for more than a bottle.
Grandpa held my father, confirmed
his genes inside his heavy hands
while grandma hushed the animal inside
him to sleep. Before the sky fell she held
my father’s chest below water, bathed his body
until the thought of Achilles drowned.




Who?

Aidan Chafe is the author of the poetry collection Short Histories of Light and two chapbooks: Right Hand Hymns (Frog Hollow Press, 2017) and Sharpest Tooth (Anstruther Press, 2016). His work has appeared in journals such as The Capilano Review, Cordite Poetry Review, Contemporary Verse 2, Eastlit, Event Magazine, The Paragon Journal, Scrivener Creative Review and Sulphur.

He works as a high school teacher in New Westminster and during the summer he runs a reading series through the Royal City Literary Arts Society called Poetry in the Park. Originally from BC’s Fraser Valley, he now calls Burnaby home.


What?

In his debut collection, Short Histories of Light, Aidan Chafe recounts his Catholic upbringing in a household dealing with the common but too often taboo subject of mental illness.

In unflinching fashion, Chafe reveals the unintended disasters that follow those who struggle with depression and the frustration of loved ones left to pick up the pieces. Other sections of the book shine a light on the wounds inflicted by systems of patriarchy, particularly organized religion, and the caustic nature of humanity. Imagery and metaphor illuminate Chafe’s writing in a range of poetic forms, both modern and traditional. A boy stares helplessly through the walls of the family home, watches “filaments in glass skulls buzzing.” A father’s birthmark is described as a “scarlet letter.” Grandma is portrayed as a “forgotten girl on a Ferris wheel of feelings.”

Vivid and haunting, at once tender and terse, Short Histories of Light captures what it feels like to be a short circuit in a world of darkness.


When?

Arrived February 2018.


Where?

Purchase from the McGill-Queen's University Press website. $16.95.


How?

Revealing the unintended disasters.



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

4/29/2018

BC Poetry 2018: "Love Me True: Writers Reflect on the Ins, Out, Ups and Downs of Marriage" eds. Fiona Tinwei Lam and Jane Silcott (Caitlin Press)



"By the time you listen to this, I’ll be gone" by Chelene Knight

Side A. 1999

I never wanted to get married. Two friends gave it a shot. I admired them. I missed them. I watched them do things like tuck their shirts in, iron jeans, put the kettle on, set the table, burn bridges, build new ones. I watched them leave their lives behind. Sit down in prayer, hands clasped together, Lord grant me the strength. We are only young once. But when you’ve barely left high school and your old seat at the back of the class is still warm and even your mother had her doubts, do not worry about your fear of the sexless existence between two people whose loose lips spew pleasantries over a mashed-potato dinner, keep secrets in their tailored pockets, permanent-marker foreheads with the usual: how was your day, the kids are asleep, what time are you coming home, shopping lists, soccer games—falling into a dark pit of societal expectations, noose around the neck, ball and chain games, you’d never play—

Side B. 2017

by the rules. Pull the sheets up around my chin. Another wedding. I didn’t want to be like them. Open bar. I’ll sit at the back tweeting about how amazing her dress is. Long lace sleeveless sheer back, empire waist—she’s slamming champagne and smiling. I post a photo for proof. Thirty-four likes and sixteen retweets later, the first dance slaps me in the face when I realize they were playing my song—I did want to be like them, absorbing speeches, future blessings. I want them to be happy but this isn’t how I pictured myself at thirty-five. The bus ride home forces a handwritten story to slowly tattoo itself somewhere on my body that I cannot see. Eyes shut. Three shots of whisky before sleep comes. Morning coffee blacks my tongue. Jeans too tight—a reminder that my old tricks no longer work. Dim the lights. My eyes brighten. Watch me part my hair in the other direction while three grey hairs shake their heads. Tick tock. Maybe I just wanted someone to ask me. Tick tock. And mean it. Maybe I just wanted someone to not leave. Stay. I’m OK now. I’m OK with my choices. I’ll sit under the sun bare-legged and smiling. So go ahead and pour me two shots of gin to erase my thighs, stomach—a folded and used road map for the places I’ve been. I’m free here and content with never staying long enough to learn their names.


Who?

Chelene Knight is a Vancouver born-and-raised graduate of The Writer’s Studio at SFU. In addition to being a workshop facilitator for teens, she is also a literary event organizer, host, and seasoned panelist. She has been published in various Canadian and American literary magazines, and her work is widely anthologized. Chelene is currently the Managing Editor at Room magazine, and the 2018 Programming Director for the Growing Room Festival. Braided Skin, her first book (Mother Tongue Publishing, March 2015), has given birth to numerous writing projects including her second book, memoir, Dear Current Occupant (BookThug, 2018).


Fiona Tinwei Lam is a Scottish-born, Vancouver-based writer whose work has appeared in literary magazines across the country, as well as in the Globe & Mail, and anthologies in Canada, the US and Hong Kong. Her work has also been featured as part of B.C.’s Poetry in Transit program. Her book of poetry Intimate Distances (Nightwood 2002) was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award. Twice short-listed for the Event literary non-fiction contest, she is a co-editor of and contributor to the anthology of personal essays, Double Lives: Writing and Motherhood (McGill-Queens University Press, 2008). Her work also appeared in the anthology Best Canadian Poetry 2010 (Tightrope Books, 2010), edited by Lorna Crozier. Her new collection of poetry, Enter the Chrysanthemum (Caitlin, 2009), depicts the journey into single parenthood, exploring themes of family, love and loss. She is a former lawyer.


Jane Silcott’s first collection of essays, Everything Rustles, was published in 2013 with Anvil Press and shortlisted for the 2014 Hubert Evans Nonfiction award in the BC Book Prizes. Her writing has appeared in several Canadian literary magazines and anthologies and been recognized by the CBC Literary Awards (in 2005 she won second place for an essay about motherhood and writing); the National and Western Magazine Awards, Room Magazine, and the Creative Nonfiction Collective of Canada. Jane is a mentor in the MFA Program in Creative Nonfiction at the University of King’s College in Halifax and Vancouver Manuscript Intensive. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and a BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Victoria.


What?

What keeps us together? What breaks us apart? In Love Me True, 27 creative nonfiction writers and 20 poets explore how marriage and committed relationships have challenged, shaped, supported and changed them. The stories and poems in this collection delve deep into the mysteries of long-term bonds. The authors cover a gamut of issues and ideas–everything from everyday conflicts to deep philosophical divides, as well as jealousy, adultery, physical or mental illness, and loss. There’s happiness here too, along with love and companionship, whether the long-term partnering is monogamous, polyamorous, same-sex or otherwise. From surprise proposals, stolen quickies, and snoring to arranged marriage, affairs, suicide, and much more, the wide-ranging personal stories and poems in Love Me True are sometimes funny, sometimes harrowing, and always engaging as they offer their intimate and varied insights into the complex state that is marriage.


When?

Arrived February 2018.


Where?

Purchase from the Caitlin Press website or at your local bookstore. $24.95.


How?

Delving deep into the mysteries of long-term bonds.

The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

BC Poetry 2018: "Refugium: Poems for the Pacific" ed. Yvonne Blomer (Caitlin Press)



"Sinking" by Luther Allen

there are those of us
at the bow of the boat
breathing deeply
eyes front
teeth bared
for anything

and those
at the stern watching
what was
disappear with the wake

and the dwindling orcas
who would say 
if they could

there are too many boats
heedless

no matter the gaze


Who?

Luther Allen writes and designs buildings from Sumas Mountain, Washington. He facilitates SpeakEasy, a community poetry reading series in Bellingham and is co-editor of Noisy Water, an anthology of local poets. His collection of poems, The View from Lummi Island, can be found at http://othermindpress.wordpress.com.
Yvonne Blomer is Victoria’s poet laureate, 2015-2018. Her most recent collection is As If a Raven (Palimpsest Press, 2014). Her travel memoir Sugar Ride: Cycling from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur was published with Palimpsest Press in 2017. Yvonne holds an MA with distinction from the University of East Anglia, UK.






What?

While in the world of politics there are still climate change deniers, the poets watch the warming seas, the dying birds slicked in oil, the whales, the jellies, the sea otters and the octopus. They stand, as close to the shore as possible, watch the slow turning tide. In this collection of poems from the coast of B.C., California, Washington State, to Alaska and as far away as Auckland, New Zealand and as far back as early 19th century Japan these poems explore our connection to the Pacific, what we know and don’t know, how we’ve already changed the shore and the sea and what we fear losing. Poets in this anthology include John Barton, Brian Brett, Bruce Cockburn, Lorna Crozier, Brenda Hillman, Gary Geddes, Steven Heighton, Patrick Lane, Arleen Paré, Melanie Siebert, Anne Simpson, Rob Taylor, Patricia Young, Jan Zwicky and many more. In Refugium, editor Yvonne Blomer explores her deep concern with our sixth extinction and how stoic humans are continuing to wreak damage on the planet and her oceans.


When?

Arrived September 2017.


Where?

Purchase from the Caitlin Press website or at your local bookstore. $22.95.


How?

Standing as close to the shore as possible.



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

4/28/2018

BC Poetry 2018: "Some End / West Broadway" by George Bowering and George Stanley (New Star Books)


"Letter to George Stanley" by George Bowering
Was I the girl running across Broadway,
        or the boy she kissed? And what am I doing
in one of your poems, anyway? All these question marks, 
you’d think I’m writing a Phyllis Webb poem, you’d 
think I am sexually wiser than I am, than I
ever was. I’m stuck in a short novel about sexual 
ownership and a small mountain with nobody 
jumping from it. I don’t feel like a Greek hero,
I look through the windows on 11th Avenue and no one is 
    there,
no dogs on this street, no pizza for breakfast, the book
is hard to live through, the small mountain blocks no view, 
the Okanagan people have been there all this aeon,
the planet will be devoid of readers in short order, 
I’m too old to run across Broadway, I’ve just learned 
how to use a treadmill, the latest mouse in the lab. 
I’ll be in your poem if you’ll be in mine. Every time 
I put pen to paper my spring-loaded Jesus
wobbles on my desk, from which I see nothing
but disdainful trees, younger than the Okanagan people, 
even older than you, old friend, old connection
to the real. If I were going to start an ism, it 
wouldn’t be that one. I’m just standing here
on a sidewalk in Kitsilano, waiting for a kiss, ex- 
pecting a muse in a tiny skirt dodging traffic.
I wonder whether she too has an adverb for a last 
name. “Gross Fatigue,” it says on that marquee.


"Letter to George Bowering" by George Stanley
I am the boy no one thinks is cute
standing in the shade of Granville Clock Tower
when this big girl comes running, legs pounding,
across Broadway and — what? — she’s coming
straight at me, throws her arms around me & plops
a big kiss on me. What was I to do but
change the subject. I saw a white butterfly
fluttter by my porch door, I think it was the first one
this century. We got married of course. Like so many
others, I became president of UBC. ‘The imagination
of man (writes Hume) is naturally sublime,
delighted with whatever is remote and extraordinary,
and running, without control, into the most distant
parts of space and time in order to avoid the objects
which custom has rendered too familiar to it.’ Let’s run
across streets in Shanghai and Dubai.

We go way back. You’re a better poet
than Seamus Heaney. I’m in the middle
of an Akhmatova translation (imitation)
that I can’t get to stay put in 1944.
My Paterson pastiche (the second one)
piles up its own delta as it trickles
haphazardly toward the precipice. These objects
are not too familiar, trees I always call lindens,
from the porch a glimpse of Grouse. Yet out my window
the building across Balaclava Kidsbooks used to occupy
will come down soon. The city changes
faster than the heart. We’re reading
our next books.


Who?

George Bowering taught English at Simon Fraser University from 1972 until his retirement in 2001. Canada's first Poet Laureate, he is an Officer of both the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia. He was one of the founders of the poetry publication Tish, served as and has received two Governor General's awards: the first, for poetry, in 1969 for The Gangs of Kosmos and Rocky Mountain Foot and the second, in 1980, for Burning Water, reissued by New Star in 2007. Bowering is well–known for his love of baseball, about which he has also written. He is the author of nine novels, five books of short stories, and numerous volumes of poetry, including Autobiology (New Star, 1972).

Born in San Francisco, poet George Stanley has been living in BC since the early 1970s, first in Vancouver, then in Terrace and back in Vancouver. A former instructor in the English department at Capilano College, he has published six books, including Gentle Northern Summer, Opening Day, The Stick, and You. He is the recipient of the 2006 Shelley Memorial Award for Poetry.


What?

A masterpiece of late style and friendship, Some End / West Broadway combines back to back two powerful new works by old masters, George Bowering and George Stanley.

Stanley's West Broadway is a long poem, composed over the past decade, following on Stanley's other long city poems, "San Francisco's Gone", "Terrace Landscapes", and Vancouver: A Poem. Like those poems, West Broadway has embedded in it shorter verse poems that stand on their own.

Bowering's Some End is a suite of thirty–two poems tracking his recovery from a near fatal cardiac arrest in 2015. Throughout, Bowering's wit, his command of the idiom, and his ironic self–awareness shine through as powerfully as ever.


When?

Arrived February 2018.


Where?


Purchase from the New Star Books website or at your local bookstore. $18.


How?

Late style and friendship.



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

4/27/2018

BC Poetry 2018: "The Dance Floor Tilts" by Susan Alexander (Thistledown Press)



At Home

So much is left undone.
Burdock grows rank around the steps.
Hops climb in the windows
like corkscrew assassins,
clothed in innocent green.
The transparent apple tree scrapes the roof
and the lilacs’ suckers rub the siding,
bridges for carpenter ants.
A poet shouldn’t live in a house.
The weight of what is neglected,
those hefty timbers, unpeopled stories, 
might crush her hummingbird words.



Who?

Susan Alexander is the winner of the 2016 Short Grain poetry prize and the 2015 Vancouver Writers’ Festival Contest. Her poems have appeared in SubTerrain, Arc, CV2, Grain, Room, The Antigonish Review, and PRISM international. For inspiration, Alexander writes from eclectic experiences — as a chambermaid, CBC Radio journalist, stay-at-home mother, waitress, lay preacher, and associate at a boutique investment firm, as well as from her family history and passions. She is a member of the League of Canadian Poets and lives on Bowen Island, BC.


What?

As the dance floor of life tilts beneath our feet, do we keep dancing? In The Dance Floor Tilts we sway to the rhythms of passion and death, of family, myth and benediction. In worlds where cow-eyed goddesses steal nymph’s tongues and steering wheels are taken over by octopi, there are no established signposts. The individual moments making up the tune of this poet’s life offer the possibility of finding the beauty within the everyday resonance of our own existence.


When?

Arrived October 2017.


Where?


Purchase from the Thistledown Press website or at your local bookstore. $17.95


How?

Establishing no signposts



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.


4/26/2018

BC Poetry 2018: "Songs for Dead Children" by E.D. Blodgett (University of Alberta Press)


from Songs for Dead Children

and water
remembered as
a fountain in the mind

splashing over him
as if he had been
a mountain behind clouds

his being
falling water all
the being that is


Who?

E.D. Blodgett is a literary historian, translator, and poet. He has published 28 books of poetry, of which 2 were awarded the Governor General’s Award. Translations of his poetry have appeared in French, Serbian, and Hebrew, among other languages. He was Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Alberta, a former Writer-in-Residence at Grant MacEwan University (2004), and past poet laureate of Edmonton (2007-09). He is currently involved in writing a bilingual renga with a Francophone poet from Winnipeg.


What?

In a series of poems inspired by Gustav Mahler's Kindertotenlieder, E.D. Blodgett searches for meaning amidst grief. In the contemplative gentleness of his words, he finds the special light children possess in their state of unknowing as they encounter the world. These sparse poems move through acceptance and resignation to the solace that exists in the word. Songs for Dead Children will speak to readers who have experienced loss, are exploring grief, or want to find a way to connect with stillness.

"Blodgett’s profound poetic meditation explores primordial innocence, the brutalities and betrayals of the current world of experience, and the possibility of an integrated, timeless state of innocence. These poems leap, skip, lament, and sing, offering hope that creativity, playfulness and empathy lie at the base of all being. They will break your heart, take your breath away, and give it back again in “verdant hallelujahs.”"
- Susan McCaslin


When?

Arrived in March 2018.


Where?

Purchase from the University of Alberta Press website or at your local bookstore. $19.95.


How?

Leaping, skipping, lamenting, singing.



The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.