Spring Cheer

Lately been feeling a lot of excitement and pride in some of my friends and acquaintances who are making some waves in the poetry world here in Canada. Garth Martens and Anne-Marie Turza, my co-finalists at the Bronwen Wallace Awards in 2010, both have books out Prologue for the Age of Consequence And The Quiet respectively. Looking pretty good, you guys. My mentor and good friend Jen Currin has got a book out called School. Jen’s been such a great help with my own manuscript and giving me advice about publishers and etc. usually over tasty Mexican brunches. Kayla Czaga (read two of her poems in the latest Maynard issue) has been on fire lately, with a haunting poem in the Walrus and winning the Fiddlehead’s Ralph Gustafson Prize for Best Poem (links to interview). Kayla will have a book out in the fall through Nightwood called For Your Safety Please Hold On. She has been a delightful friend and fellow poet and I’m really looking forward to her collection. The unstoppable Kevin Spenst is touring his chapbook across Canada. I think there’s a plan for me to read with him outside some taco place?

In the world of poets-that-I’ve-only-met-once-or-twice-but-feel-like-I-know-them-closely-because-of-the-generous-nature-of-their writing, I’m really excited about reading Sommer Browning’s new collection Backup Singers, Matthew Zapruder’s Sun Bear, Adam Sol‘s Complicity (Thanks Adam for making the time to have coffee with me when you were in town!) and Bob Hicok‘s Elegy Owed that I just found out about today.

Phew. There’s more that I want to cheer, but that’s a lot for now. I’m just really honored  to know these terrific poets who also happen to be lovely, genuine individuals. I’m now gonna put a bunch of book covers below here to remind myself (and suggest to you) to get these books over time.

Garth Martens | Prologue for the Age of Consequence
Anne-Marie Turza | The Quiet

 

 

 

 

 

Jen Currin | School
Sommer Browning | Backup Singers
Matthew Zapruder | Sun Bear
Adam Sol | Complicity
Bob Hicok | Elegy Owed

 

 

They Will Take My Island

Came across this cool blog by Paul Vermeersch, where he has invited a number of poets to respond to a work of art by Armenian-born painter Arshile Gorky called “They Will Take My Island.”  Each poem on the blog shares that same title and takes off from there in a kind of group ekphrasis (a dramatic or poetic description of a visual artwork.) I like that he chose a piece which is fairly abstract, offering a wide possibility of interpretation, but the evocative title has enough charge to bring out some great poems.

Here is the original poem by Vermeersch and below is another by Adam Sol. I met Adam in Toronto and just got his Jeremiah, Ohio in the mail and am super excited about it.

They Will Take My Island

by Adam Sol

You taught me language, and my profit on’t
            Is I know how to curse.

They will take my island
if I don’t scorch it to the bones, though
to speak truly,

I did not know it was an island
until they said so.
I thought it was the world.

The river-fish would drift
into my clasp and I would gnaw
on their flesh while the gills still

gasped.  It had edges and pleasures
and dangers.
What more is a world?

(Read the full poem here)

Bronwen Wallace Awards Ceremony

I’m not feeling too wordy, so ‘ll let some pictures do the talking. I want to emphasize again how generous and welcoming the Writers’ Trust was to us finalists, and how much fun and great conversation I had with Garth Martens and Anne-Marie-Turza. As surreal as the whole experience was, I felt grounded by the genuineness and support of everyone around me.

Anne-Marie, me, and Garth
Anne-Marie, me, and Garth, with flowers on our clothes
megan, me, lindsay, and nick
Megan and I, and our friends Lindsay and Nick. I know them from Vancouver, and Lindsay particularly from the Writer's Studio where she was in my poetry group. It was so great to have them there and to kindly offer their place to us for a couple nights.
Lindsay and Nick again because they just look so damn good here (photo by Megan)
Peter Kahnert, raoul, adam sol
Me with Peter Kahnert, a board member of the Writer's Trust and wonderful poet, Adam Sol
Amanda Hopkins, Peter Kahnert, Kilby Smith-McGregor. I would like to especially thank Amanda, my main point of contact with the Writers' Trust, who helped make the experience so smooth and welcoming.
Garth Marten reads (photo by Megan)
Anne-Marie reads
Anne-Marie reads
I read
I read (photo by Megan)
My award to myself: Justifying wearing a hat like that. (photo by Megan)

See more pictures at the facebook page for the Writers’ Trust.