WINNER OF THE 75th GOVERNOR GENERAL'S LITERARY AWARD FOR POETRY
WINNER OF THE 25th TRILLIUM BOOK PRIZE
WINNER OF AN ALCUIN AWARD FOR DESIGN
SHORTLISTED FOR THE GRIFFIN POETRY PRIZE
These are poems of critical thought that have been influenced by old fiddle tunes. These are essays that are not out to persuade so much as ruminate, invite, accrue.
Hall is a surruralist (rural & surreal), and a terroir-ist (township-specific regionalist). He offers memories of, and homages to -- Margaret Laurence, Bronwen Wallace, Libby Scheier, and Daniel Jones, among others. He writes of the embarrassing process of becoming a poet, and of his push-pull relationship with the whole concept of home. His notorious 2004 chapbook essay The Bad Sequence is also included here, for a wider readership, at last. It has been revised. (It's teeth have been sharpened.)
In this book, the line is the unit of composition; the reading is wide; the perspective personal: each take a give, and logic a drawback.
Language is not a smart-aleck; it's a sacred tinkerer.
Readers are invited to watch awe become a we.
In Fred Wah's phrase, what is offered here is "the music at the heart of thinking."
A meditation on the poetic process that stimulates both the intellect and the imagination.
- Barbara Carey, The Toronto Star
Hall manages to rescue the lyrical essay from its recondite excesses and turn it into something that’s as adventurous as it is readable. Hall has called himself a "surruralist,” and this book charts his development as a writer, but it also demonstrates and furthers that development.
- Paul Vermeersh, The Globe and Mail.
Hall is aware that he’s aligned with an aesthetic of past decades that may not be fashionable, but he seems determined to keep its spirit alive by understanding what it tells us about our aesthetic today. To him I would give an award for unabashedly keeping an authentic Canadian poetic voice alive.
- The Montreal Gazette
I don’t know Hall’s work other than this book, which I glanced at and was immediately forced to sit down & read cover to cover. He gets my vote for Canadian book of 2012 and I was glad to see Killdeer receive Canada’s Governor General’s prize for poetry. It’s a wonderful read, even if Hall is a bit of a curmudgeon.
- Ron Silliman
...a wonderfully provocative experience...
- Jeff Weingarten via The Bullcalf Review
Killdeer is a testament to the creative life as an act of faith and transformation.
- The Griffin Prize Judges' Citation
...encompassing the best of what folk art is meant to be, self-taught and working-class, as [Hall] carves poems from a collage of phrases, lines and stanzas, while still managing to produce a highly-crafted 'high' art.
- Rob McLennan
These pieces are written with such honesty and empathy that it is impossible to read them and not tremble.
&ndash Stevie Howell via Arc
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2013 GERALD LAMPAND MEMORIAL AWARD
repeater is a poetic investigation into the coding, function, language, and structure of computer programming. Using the ASCII 8-bit binary code as an acrostic, each lower-case letter of the alphabet is arranged alongside the lines of the title poem. As a result, this poem "programs" an investigation of layered and digitalized language that is coded into the heart of the code itself. Appendixes to this code form supplementary studies, and deviate into additional problems and concepts at the convergence of poetry and computer programming. Ultimately, repeater reveals what happens when the creative variability of poetry is "inputted" into the rigid binaric structure of computer language.
Praise for repeater:
Louis Zukofsky famously located poetry as upper level music, lower level speech. Andrew McEwan’s repeater moves between just those poles. The difference is that McEwan is tracking through the coded moments of a world of language where the lower level operates within the patterns of "information interchange” that increasingly dominate what’s left of the human and "authenticity marks obsolescent outline / to transform the set.” Remarkably, McEwan still makes it sing amidst the "unbound bits [that] float in gravity’s delay.” repeater is a terrific debut book that promises much more to come.
— Michael Boughn
Lovers wrote letters. Letters crossed absence, longing, joy, passion, loss and heartbreak. Sometimes letters were answered. Sometimes not. And sometimes not for years, but then -
In 1948, in the exhausted aftermath of WWII, the poets Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann met in Vienna. They began a difficult and intense but intermittent relationship which lasted until the early 1960s, broken off only when Bachmann could no longer deal with Celan's increasing mental instability. And yet, despite the break, the relationship continued to haunt both of them.
In Afterletters, R. Kolewe weaves together fragments of letters and other works of these two poets, to give us a stunning sequence of poems that explore the traces of loss and love, in language that breaks, recombines and scintillates, "star-crossed, star-covered, star-thrown."
Iconic political speeches are some of the best remembered and most repeated passages in contemporary English language. Especially in the United States of America, what child doesn’t know Abraham Lincoln's "Fourscore and seven years ago..." or Roosevelt's "The only thing we have to fear..."?
Taking as its source text Barack Obama's campaign speech from March 18, 2008, A More Perfect [ by Jimmy McInnes acts as a poetic translation of the rhetorical devices often used in political speeches. Like poetry, the campaign speech depends heavily upon the manipulation of language—the ways in which words are able to strategically twist intention and distract the eye. McInnes's poetry exposes the inner workings of the political speech, as a genre of text as premeditated as any work of poetry or fiction.
A More Perfect [ blends both political and formal linguistic concerns, garnering comparisons to Jena Osman's Corporate Relations and Alice Oswald's Memorial in their negotiation of source texts. Readers with an interest in language, linguistics, and rhetoric, and those with a particular interest in political themes and formal innovation, will relish this entertaining and culturally poignant read.
Praise for A More Perfect [
Barack Obama’s eloquent and iconic 2008 speech on race, "A More Perfect Union,” is the master text underlying Jimmy McInnes’s ingenious poem. In the course of laying bare the devices of political rhetoric, McInnes presents an intricate lattice of tropes, formulas, gestures, and contexts. A More Perfect [ reads like a performance theory handbook, a poet’s theater script, and a grammar manual, all rolled into one concatenating barrel of tricks.&mdash Charles Berstein
Secession / Insecession is a homage to the acts of reading, writing and translating poetry. In it, Chus Pato’s Galician biopoetics of poet and nation, Secession - translated by Erín Moure - joins Moure’s Canadian translational biopoetics, Insecession. To Pato, the poem is an insurrection against normalized language; to Moure, translation itself disrupts and reforms poetics and the possibility of the poem. In solidarity with Pato, Moure echoes Barthes: "A readerly text is something I cannot re-produce (today I cannot write like Atwood); a writerly text is one I can read only if I utterly transform my reading regime. I now recognize a third text alongside the readerly and the writerly: let's call it the untranslatable.”
In Secession / Insecession, a major European poet and a known Canadian poet, born on opposite sides of the Atlantic in the mid twentieth century and with vastly different experiences of political life, forge a 21st century relationship of thinking and creation. The result is a major work of memoir, poetics, trans-ethics and history.
Chus Pato’s Secession was chosen 2009 Book of the Year by the Revista das Letras, literary supplement of Galicia Hoxe (Galicia Today).
In THOU, Aisha Sasha John knows the day - biblically. What if time itself was an object of desire? And the book was a theatre for that? Aisha Sasha John has a crush on time. Which is why she discipled in it. For three years. Also for three months. Also for three months at 33. Ya. Aisha Sasha John has a crush on time and discipled in time, moving it across her body, watching it, um, course the day. She slowed it down and thought along it, she cut it up. She slowed it down and thunk along it and sped it up. She cut it up and spaced it out and rhythmed it down and laid it flat and looked at it hard. Aisha Sasha John has a crush on time. She did it. She did time. It was gross and funny and it was hard and it was good. The result is/was - THOU.
Aisha Sasha John’s THOU re-plays that archaic pronoun as a constantly present movement and rhythm of attention: the suddenness of the interpolative "moment.” These lines of poetry "shake...a little” as the "I” narrates and choreographs a monologue of the self in motion; each page is the dance floor and John’s words break through the "I-as-you” with both the foreignicity of anticipation and the reflection of grace.
- Fred Wah
THOU is physical, fearless in its vulnerabilities, a sensing amid thought’s most succulent folds. THOU is a choreography of irresolute bodies, the insistent shifting of their positions. Aisha Sasha John is a poet of centrifugal energy, of reverberant intimacy.
- Michael Nardone
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2013 OTTAWA BOOK AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2013 ARCHIBALD LAMPMAN AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2013 RELIT AWARD
Conflict interweaves ghosts, bad communication, the uncanny and the archival, to create a collection of poems that break down remembrance into abandoned historic markers, jet fuel, keening, or teeth. What you are given (this is a gift) is an insistent refusal to silence or shift. In exchange, the reader must face the impossibility of erasure, a gritty resistance to mourn a fight. Conflict is a collection of red balloons that intersplices and interweaves through various forms of conflict that occur in language, motion, architecture, emotions; between individuals, systems, and mechanical silences.
Praise for Christine McNair:
"McNair is a one-woman fireworks spectacle."
— Grady Harp via literaryaficionado.com
"McNair takes us through poetry that forms together, while simultaneously breaking free from itself and forcing us to focus on our own loves and limitations."
— Cassie Leigh via greyborders.blogspot.ca
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2014 GOVERNOR GENERAL'S AWARD FOR POETRY
Shortlisted for the 2014 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award
Finalist for the 2014 Goldie Awards: Poetry Category
Moving from the Enlightenment science of natural history to the contemporary science of global warming, Light Light is a provocative engagement with the technologies and languages that shape discourses of knowing. It bridges the histories of botany, empire, and mind to take up the claim of "objectivity" as the dissolution of a discrete self and thus explores the mind's movement toward and with the world. The poems in Light Light range from the epigrammatic to the experimental, from the narrative to the lyric, consistently exploring the way language captures the undulation of a mind’s working, how that rhythm becomes the embodiment of thought, and how that embodiment forms a politics engaged with the environment and its increasing alterations.
Praise for Light Light:
The 19th-century Romantic poets, who are cited in Light Light, rhapsodized about nature as separate from humankind; in this era of climate change, Joosten reminds us there is no separation. - The Toronto Star
Light Light puts the hive back in the archive, the source in the resource. Through Joosten's miraculous mode of attending, through this mind that "grounds sound to seed," we are elemented - "The mind is a mood of electricity, warmth, water, and wind." We are given a mode of attending that is precarious, is an enactment of the precariousness we are and, with consequence, institute. Each thing this attention falls upon "is a source of thought, not its object." So everything is light once we learn to see by it. To honor the field we should "leave the field,” but this book we should never leave.
- Jane Gregory
A concordance that emerges as material, thought, and material thought, Julie Joosten's Light Light is a most beautiful and rare breed: as if H.D.'s Sea Garden mated with Erasmus Darwin's The Loves of the Plants. "I was to guard the valley, name it, speak to it by name," Joosten writes. Hers is a haunting lament. It is what love is. What could be more necessary at this time on this planet?
- Cara Benson
To get to the heart of Light Light is to ask whether these poems work, do they entertain, do they excite, do they teach, do they illuminate? Yes, yes, yes and yes again.
- Michael Dennis
Light Light is not light, but light-filled. Philosophical, lyrical, inventive, and erudite, precise and startlingly perceptive, it invites the reader to attend to wonder.
- Judges citation from The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award jury
In what can be described as a verse-novel for its lyricism and rhythmic structure, Wanda Praamsma crafts a story that transcends geographic boundaries and time periods, by weaving together lives from her own family's past, including her poet-grandfather and sculptor-uncle. Subtle in its life lessons, a thin line between works at 'peeling away the I's' to explore concepts of self and family in flux. What emerges is a poignant, and at times humorous, portrait of a Dutch-Canadian family and a close look into a young woman's exploration of her own being and creative life.
Praamsma's writing draws comparisons to popular Canadian writers like Elizabeth Bachinsky, Phil Hall, and Daphne Marlatt, and will appeal to readers in their 20s and 30s who are coming to terms with issues of parenting and family, as they negotiate the spaces for their own individual lives and their creative selves.
Praise for a thin line between:
Few books are so gracefully themselves: a thin line between accomplishes an atmosphere that seems enigmatically familiar, complex and unassuming. It is, in part, an intimate and oblique portrait of a major Dutch poet, but even more so, it's an exploration of how we should live. The doors in this poem lie between inner and outer worlds, family members, places, life and art - and the speaker's curiosity and candour leave them wide open.
- Sadiqa de Meijer
Mixing shapes, genre and line break into a multi-layered poem (long poem and dozens of little poems), a thin line between is within and without, it opens like a door, and moves through family, love, "the mysterious he," language, and all those other lives we have lived. It conveys the beauty of crafting our own selves, edits and all, and asks the questions: "What is this place i come from?" "Where is it i am going?" and most importantly, "How am i going to write about it?"
- Katherena Vermette
Conversational, associative on many levels, Wanda Praamsma's long poem pulls a reader in to what is both said and unspoken. a thin line between probes the dualities of resemblance and difference, here and there, leaving the door of her heart ajar in its testing of interconnections within this highly creative Dutch family.
- daphne marlatt
a thin line between balances the intimacy of personal narrative and memory with a sweeping meditation on experience and language. By reflecting on the relationship and inherent tensions between "without" and "within," it locates the hidden pause within even the most fleeting, seemingly ordinary, moments.
- Johanna Skibsrud
A thin line between lives up to [its] promise &ndash it has plenty of fizz. &ndash Toronto Star
In this post-lyrical era, poems can be stories, or they can just as easily be exuberant laughter set to words, an experiment in language, or an incidental collation of plays on a Scrabble board.
the pet radish, shrunken, the third full collection of poetry from the inimitable Pearl Pirie, deals in the poetics of sound, language, and play. In true Pirie style, this fresh, quirky, and clear-seeing collection speaks in a range of styles and voices: From a military convoy of turtles, to a Kafkaesque conversation with a houseful, to the dissection of a fruit machine, Pirie offers oulipo found speech as it integrates and disintegrates, plays with and tumbles through language.
Earning comparisons to Jenny Sampirisi's Croak and Leigh Kostilidis's Hypotheticals for their shared sense of linguistic playfulness and curiosity, the pet radish, shrunken will appeal to exploring minds who are ready to question language, society, and self while not minding a taint of grief and comedy that necessarily creeps in around the edges.
Praise for the pet radish, shrunken
Quirky and fresh, playful yet serious, Pirie’s collection, the pet radish, shrunken, demands and activates new pathways of reason. These line-by-line lyrical segments both tantalize and take the reader down the rabbit hole (pulling rabbits out of hats along the way) with their semantic surprises and jumpy music. Pirie sees the world askew and brings the reader along for the ride. An invigorating collection. - CATHERINE GRAHAM
The poems collected in the pet radish, shrunken invite us equally into routine and catastrophic events. Pirie submits "we are always settling into a new now" and leads us through a life revised by the external and internal encounters of a day. With humour, play, and brass, Pirie revels in the daily ruckus of domesticity, verbatim conversations, and the language that must somehow hold a whole existence. - JENNY SAMPIRISI
In Pearl Pirie's poems, language ferments, foments a "vinegar vigour." Flipping the labels off contemporary mores, cooking with sound, she offers quick food for thought. Keep up with her if you can. - DAPHNE MARLATT
Precise riots of vowels and consonants rattle these poems. Pearl Pirie's lines burn with sonic-rich images: "kalimba of algae" and "tight loops of oops." Her verbal verve is rooted in an ecstatic attentiveness to language, both found and formal. Charged with innovative and lyrical energies, the pet radish, shrunken is a gorgeous rebellion. - EDUARDO CORRAL