CBCBooks on  Twitter CBCBooks on Facebook

Introducing Canada Reads Poetry

CBC Books and the National Post are pleased to announce Canada Reads Poetry, a three-week online event coinciding with National Poetry Month.

Inspired by the original Canada Reads format -- and mimicked last year by the Post's Canada Also Reads -- Canada Reads Poetry features five panelists defending five collections of poetry. That's where the similarities end; while Canada Reads plays out on-air, Canada Reads Poetry plays out online, with a winner chosen by a public vote. Over the next two weeks, the National Post's books blog, The Afterword, will publish an essay by each of the panelists, explaining why they have chosen their book and why the rest of Canada should read it, while CBC's Canada Reads website will host the poets and their work.

The debate will culminate with a live online chat (exact time and date TBD) hosted by both the CBC and the National Post. The public will then crown the champion in an online vote, which will close on Tuesday, April 26, at midnight ET.

Are you ready? Here are the panelists and their selected works:


Sonnet L'Abbé is the author of two collections of poetry, A Strange Relief and Killarnoe. Her work has been included in Best Canadian Poetry 2009 and 2010, and was shortlisted for the 2011 CBC Literary Award for poetry.

 Sonnet is defending Forage by Rita Wong.


Sonnet L'Abbe defends Forage by Rita WongRita Wong explores the intersection between international politics and environmental issues in Forage, offering readers the wide range of emotions that arise with such complex issues. Accompanied by Chinese characters in the margins of each poem, Wong's thoughtful work, which highlights the crises the contemporary world faces, is threaded with beauty, humour and heartbreak.


Anne Simpson writes poetry, novels, and essays on poetics and art; her most recent book, Is, came out this spring. In 2004, she won the Griffin Poetry Prize for Loop.

Anne is defending Nox by Anne Carson.

Anne Simpson defends Nox by Anne Carson 

After the death of her brother, Anne Carson put together Nox, a meditation on loss, which comes through the translation of Poem 1010 by the Roman poet Catullus. Beautifully handmade, Nox is more than a collection of poetic works, it is a work of art, bringing together family photos, personal letters and original sketches, challenging the twin notions of poetry and books.


George Murray's five books of poetry include Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms, The Rush to Here and The Hunter. He is a former poetry editor for the Literary Review of Canada and is a contributing editor for several journals, including Canadian Notes & Queries and Maisonneuve. He lives in St. John's, Newfoundland, and is the editor of the popular literary website Bookninja.com.


George Murray defends Inventory by Dionne BrandGeorge is defending Inventory by Dionne Brand.

Inventory is a single, book-length poem, which takes the measure of the new millennium's political unrest, endless wars and rise of fundamentalism. Our postmodern era of uncertainty and fear is captured, dissected and questioned in this riveting and challenging work.


Susan Musgrave's new poetry collection, Origami Dove, published by McClelland & Stewart, was released on March 29, 2011. She has been nominated, and has received awards, in five different categories of writing: poetry, fiction, non-fiction, personal essay, children's writing and for her work as an editor. She teaches in the Optional Residency MFA in the creative writing program at the University of British Columbia. She lives on Haida Gwaii where she owns and manages Copper Beech Guest House.


Susan Musgrave defends Selected Poems by Alden NowlanSusan is defending Selected Poems by Alden Nowlan.

This definitive collection, thoughtfully curated by Lorna Crozier and Patrick Lane, breathes new life into the work of one of Canada's most renowned poets. It showcases Nowlan's accessible, witty and poignant poems for new and old readers alike.


Jacob McArthur Mooney's second collection, Folk, was published by McClelland & Stewart last month. He maintains the poetry blog "Vox Populism" and was a Canada Also Reads panelist.

Jacob is defending Sheep's Vigil by a Fervent Person by Eirin Mouré.


Jacob McAruthr Mooney defends Sheep's Vigil by Eirin MoureThis playful and loose translation of Alberto Caeiro/Fernando Pessoa's O Guardador de Rebanhos shows Erin Mouré at her finest: colourful, jubilant, witty and hopeful. By changing tones and vocabularies, Mouré brings a classic poem into the modern era, introducing readers to a world and a woman filled with life.

Stay tuned for Canada Reads Poetry contests and get the discussion rolling at the Canada Reads Poetry discussion group on CBC Books.

Comments are closed.