Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday Poetry Round-Up

Since the weather has started to cool down in the past couple days, and the leaves are beginning to turn colour and loosen from their branches, and there's an undercurrent of wood smoke in the breeze, I'd be lying if I said it didn't all put me in a contemplative mood. So, with the spirit of contemplation in mind, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to bring a few recent poetry notices to your attention. 

A couple weeks ago, Catherine Owen's The Marrow Review did a nice roundup of two of our poetry books chosen completely at random: Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway by Alexandra Oliver and Meniscus by Shane Neilson. Oliver's 2013 Pat Lowther Award-Winning Canadian debut gets a favourable nod for its "sing-songy, Philip Larkinesque, rhyming, mannered, smart, continental and often quite droll" lyrics while Shane Neilson's "sophisticate and slant" musicality  in Meniscus is praised for its "bleeps & grinds & mellifluous witnessings to loss." Owen is especially fond of Meniscus for its controlled yet intense exploration of "elegy, insanity, injury and adoration."

Susan Gillis has been doing some great work on her newish blog Concrete & River of late, and this past week saw the posting of a short but fascinating exchange between her and Amanda Jernigan. Jernigan describes the various ways in which localized speech, a magical house of books in Virginia, and the life-altering experience of motherhood have informed her work and vision over the years. You can read the full exchange here. Jernigan's Groundwork was a 2011 Best Poetry Book, and her 2013 Cormorant follow-up, All the Daylight Hours, was a National Post Canadian Poetry Book of the Year for 2013.

Catherine Chandler's sonnet "Coming to Terms" received a Laureate's Choice Award earlier this month in the Great River Shakespeare Festival, Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest (Winona, Minnesota). It was singled-out among over 400 submissions by poets from thirty-six U.S. states and seven countries. The poem, which also won the 2010 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, appears in Chandler's Glad and Sorry Seasons. See why Eric Ormsby says there is "no form of which Catherine Chandler is not a master, from quatrains and Sapphics to ballads and pantoums. She is an especially brilliant sonneteer." 

And finally, Kerry-Lee Powell's Inheritance, which is our lead fall poetry title and which is making its way through the printers at Coach House as we speak, is a 49th Shelf Most Anticipated Fall Poetry Book. Kerry-Lee's fiction has won her a two book deal with Harper Collins as well as accolades from the likes of Nathan Englander and Junot Diaz, and her poetic debut is a fierce and moving one. It should definitely be on the radar of all lovers of Canadian Poetry.

And now back to my coffee and weltschmerz.

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