11 Canadian poetry collections to check out during National Poetry Month
April is National Poetry Month! CBC Books has been celebrating all month with reading lists dedicated to emerging Canadian writers and children's poetry. To cap off this month, here's a roundup of 11 new books of poetry from seasoned Canadian poets.
The Suicide's Son by James Arthur
James Arthur's second poetry collection is described as a "confessional book of masks and personae," exploring how personal trauma, shame and regret is passed down from parent to child. The Toronto-raised poet now lives in Baltimore and uses the U.S.'s tumultuous political landscape as a backdrop for his writing. His first book was Charms Against Lightning published in 2012.
breth by bill bissett
bill bissett returns with breth, a collection of new and selected works for poetry by the innovative and accomplished Toronto-based sound, visual and performance poet. breth continues bisset's unorthodox methods and approach to language and narrative.
What We Carry by Susan Glickman
What We Carry explores the human condition and its impact on identity, culture and our physical environs. Glickman's lyric poems traverse the Earth — commemorating disappearing species and exploring the ruins of Mycenae — and gracefully poses keen questions on time and mortality. Glickman is a poet, novelist, nonfiction writer and teacher based in Toronto.
Magnetic Equator by Kaie Kellough
Montreal-based artist and poet Kaie Kellough plays with geography and self-determination in Magnetic Equator, his third poetry collection. Drifting between South and North America, Kellough digs into the ancestral belonging, exploring the Canadian Prairie, Georgetown, the Amazon rainforest and in the Atlantic Ocean. It looks at the nature of language and dialect in the works of Caribbean and Canadian writers, seeking origin, identity and understanding.
Tonguebreaker by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Lambda Literary Award-winning poet and writer Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha's latest poetry collection continues her poetic throughline of presenting perspectives and observations of working-class queer brown femme survivorhood and desire. Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha's latest poetry collection continues her poetic throughline of presenting perspectives and observations of working-class queer brown femme survivorhood and desire. Through Tonguebreaker, the Canadian-raised and U.S.-based poet reflects on the stakes surrounding survival in the context of the nature of love, the spectre of hate crimes, the suicides of queer kin and the rise of fascism. The collection sets forth narratives of disabled femme-of-colour moments, while dreaming of fearless femme futures to come.
Hope Matters by Lee Maracle, Columpa Bobb & Tania Carter
This collection of poetry from award-winning author Lee Maracle and her daughters Columpa Bobb and Tania Carter is a look at the journey of Indigenous people from colonial beginnings to reconciliation. The collaborative effort documents the personal mother-daughter connection and also the shared song of hope and reconciliation from all Indigenous communities and perspectives.
The Elements by Erín Moure
Erín Moure is a poet and translator. The poems in The Elements is a personal examination on family built on her experience with her late father's dementia. It looks at the nature of self in an ambivalent world, drawing parallels between the struggle of Galician peasants against the invasion of the armies of Napoleon with her father's struggle with an invasive mental illness.
Twitch Force by Michael Redhill
Michael Redhill — who won the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his novel Bellevue Square — returns to his roots as a poet. Twitch Force marks his first collection of poetry in 18 years and brings together poems grounded in the satirical and profound. Redhill looks at topics such as the family construct, the nature of beauty, love, loss and despair.
TREATY# by Armand Garnet Ruffo
Armand Garnet Ruffo's TREATY# is an examination of the nature and meaning of a treaty. Ruffo documents his observations of life from an Indigenous perspective, looking at belief systems and the complex, evolving connections and obligations between nation-to-nation, human-to-human and human-to-nature.
The Caiplie Caves by Karen Solie
The Caiplie Caves is the fifth book of poetry from award-winning poet Karen Solie. It is a portrait of sorts of an Irish missionary named Ethernan, who, in the seventh century, withdrew to a cave in Scotland to ponder whether to establish a priory on May Island or pursue a hermit's solitude. Solie adopts an intersectional look at the realities of war, religious colonization and ideas of progress, power and corruption via a personal and emotional lens of faith, grief and confusion under duress.
Cluster by Souvankham Thammavongsa
Souvankham Thammavongsa is an award-winning poet whose collections include the Trillium Book Award winner Light and ReLit Award winner Small Arguments. Cluster is her fourth book. It collects a wide-ranging group of ruminations on nature, family and politics written in Thammavongsa's celebrated minimalist style.
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