Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Alexandra Oliver Shortlisted for Pat Lowther Award

Dear Friends:

We're delighted to kick off National Poetry Month with happy news: this morning the League of Canadian Poets announced that Alexandra Oliver's Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. The Lowther is given annually to a book of poetry by a Canadian woman, and carries a $1,000 prize. It is presented each year at the League’s Annual General Meeting in May or June. Previous winners include Karen Solie and Dionne Brand.

For those of you new to Alexandra's work, you're in for a treat. Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway was a Canadian Poetry Book of the Year (National Post, 2013) and from first page to last stands as a testament to the sheer performative power of form. It's acerbic, witty, dramatic, moving, and sharp. Below is a sample of what the critics had to say. And if you've never had the pleasure of hearing Alexandra read, we highly recommend you check out some of her recent performances online: this is from our fall 2013 Toronto launch, and this is Alexandra's reading at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in 2011.

We hope you'll join us in offering your hearty congratulations to Alexandra, and to all the other nominees (Elizabeth Bachinsky, Anne Compton, Sadiqa de Meijer, Micheline Maylor, and Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang). The recognition is much-deserved. For ordering information, more about Tormentors, or a sample poem or two, please read on.

Peace and love,

Praise for Alexandra Oliver

“An incredible feat of vision and voice … technically, nothing is out of Oliver’s grasp. Her go-to iambic pentameter can swallow anything in its path. Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway should go a long way toward establishing Oliver as one of the country’s best stanza makers, with a fluidity and ambition aspiring to Dylan Thomas or Yeats  … When she succeeds, she succeeds entirely.”—Michael Lista, The National Post

"Alexandra Oliver has many arrows in her quiver—all of them sharpened to a fine point … This is an excellent and entertaining collection."—Timothy Steele

"It is sometimes argued that our disjunctive times need to be mirrored by disjunctive forms: only aesthetic disorder can respond to our experience. Such a simplicity is disproven by Alexandra Oliver’s Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway, in which disjunctions of many kinds (such as the one in her title) are brought to order by the poet’s refining passion and corrosive wit. Here are brilliantly contemporary poems in traditional forms, the work of a stunning new voice."—Charles Martin

"Alexandra Oliver is in full command of a saber wit and impeccable ear. With these she tackles nothing less than the unsettling hazards, absurd encounters, and oddball ironies of our modern predicament to make poems that bite and entertain … Oliver’s considerable formal skills are always employed to prod and direct poetry’s energies to keep pace with the contemporary world. Lucky the reader along for the ride."—Jeanne Marie Beaumont

For more about the Pat Lowther Award visit the LCP website.

About Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway
Visit Alexandra's page at Biblioasis.Trade Paper
Sept. 2013
14.95 USD/17.95 CAD
64 pp

In Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway
, Alexandra Oliver zooms in on the inertias, anxieties, comedies, cruelties, and epiphanies of domestic life:

They all had names like Jennifer or Lynne
or Katherine; they all had bone-blonde hair,
that wet, flat cut with bangs. They pulled your chair
from underneath you, shoved their small fists in
your face. Too soon, you knew it would begin,
those minkish teeth like shrapnel in the air,
the Bacchic taunts, the Herculean dare,
their soccer cleats against your porcine shin,
that laugh, which sounded like a hundred birds
escaping from a gunshot through the reeds—
and now you have to face it all again:
the joyful freckled faces lost for words
in supermarkets, as those red hands squeeze
your own. It’s been so long! They say. Amen.

Oliver’s poems, which she describes as “text-based home movies,” unveil a cinematic vision of suburbia at once comical and poignant: framed to renew our curiosity in the mundane and pressing rhyme and metre to their utmost, Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway is a five-star performance from Canada’s new formalist sensation.

Visit Alexandra's website
Visit Biblioasis's website
Purchase a copy online

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