Your ultimate Canadian poetry list: 68 poetry collections recommended by you

We asked, you answered! Here is a round-up of YOUR favourite Canadian poetry collections.

We asked, you answered! Here is a round-up of YOUR favourite Canadian poetry collections. 

1. Eating Fire by Margaret Atwood

Eating Fire is a collection of poetry from internationally acclaimed author Margaret Atwood. (CP Images/Virago Press)

What it's about: Canadian icon Margaret Atwood is known for her works of fiction such as Alias Grace and The Handmaid's Tale, but she's also an accomplished poet. Her first major collection, The Circle Game, won the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry in 1966. Eating Fire collects two decades of Atwood's early poetry from 1965 to 1986.

Recommended by: @wayanandtheturtleking

2. Unsettled by Zachariah Wells

Zachariah Wells is the author of the poetry collection Unsettled. (, Mark Mushet/Insomniac Press)

What it's about: First published in 2004, Unsettled explores the Canadian north and how our national identity and mythology is shaped by it. His other collections include Career Limiting Moves and Sum.

Recommended by:  @IrishCanadian2

3. As if a Raven by Yvonne Blomer 

Yvonne Blomer is the author of As if a Raven. (Palimpsest Press/

What it's about: Yvonne Blomer, the current poet laureate for Victoria, B.C., explores the connection between birds and language in As if a Raven: how language controls them, how language documents them and how language mythologizes them. 

Recommended by: Kerry Gilbert

4. Alma by Georgette LeBlanc

Georgette LeBlanc is Canada's new parliamentary poet laureate. (Éditions Perce-Neige)

What it's about: Georgette LeBlanc is the current parliamentary poet laureate of Canada. Alma is a collection of poems that follows a single woman, and the people she comes across in her day-to-day life, living in a small Acadian village during the great Depression and the Second World War.

Recommended by: Pascale Salvatore

5. Hologram by P.K. Page

P.K. Page was a poet, novelist, script writer, playwright, essayist, journalist, teacher and artist. (Wikimedia Commons/Brick Books)

What it's about: P.K. Page was an influential Canadian poet and artist who published more than 30 books including poetry, essays and fiction before she died in 2010. Hologram, her 1994 collection, takes an early Renaissance form, the glosa, and reinvents it for the modern era. The critically acclaimed collection is comprised of 14 poems, each of which pays homage to a different poet. 

Recommended by: Barbara Pelman

6. For Your Safety Please Hold On by Kayla Czaga

Kayla Czaga is the author of the poetry collection For Your Safety Please Hold On. ( Editions)

What it's about: For Your Safety Please Hold On is B.C. poet Kayla Czaga's debut collection. It won the 2015 Gerald Lampert Award and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry. The playful yet fearless collection explores the transition from a girl into a young woman.

Recommended by: Kerry Gilbert

7. This Being by Ingrid Ruthig

Ingrid Ruthig is a Toronto-based poet, visual artist and former architect. (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)

What it's about: This Being, Ingrid Ruthig's 2016 debut collection, explores our connection to land, each other and questions how and why we strive to find meaning in our lives.

Recommended by: Andersen H & @CanadianPoets

8. Dark Harbor by Mark Strand

Dark Harbor is one of many poetry collections by Mark Strand. (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group/Wikimedia Commons)

What it's about: Mark Strand is a Canadian-American poet and essayist who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1999 for his collection Blizzard of One. Dark Harbor, which came out in 1993, is a long poem that explores the divide between imagination and reality, the known and the unknown, isolation and togetherness — the contradictions that combine to create a life. 

Recommended by: Bob Morouney

9. A Red Carpet for the Sun by Irving Layton

Irving Layton is one of Canada's best known and influential poets. (

What it's about: First published in 1958, A Red Carpet for the Sun won the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry or drama. Layton, who died in 2006, was one of Canada's most iconic and influential poets. He didn't start publishing until his 30s, but went on to release more than 30 collections. Layton was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1976.

Recommended by: Russell Thornton

10. ​Heaven's Thieves by Sue Sinclair

Sue Sinclair is the author of five collections of poetry. (Brick Books)

What it's about: Heaven's Thieves, Sue Sinclair's fifth collection of poetry, questions the purpose of our physical being and how our bodies connect us to the ecology around us. Heaven's Thieves won the League of Canadians Poets' Pat Lowther Award, which recognizes a collection written by a Canadian woman, in 2017.

Recommended by: @CanadianPoets

11. Ghost Works by Daphne Marlatt

Ghost Works is a poetry collection by acclaimed poet Daphne Marlatt. (Talon Books/NeWest Press)

What it's about: Daphne Marlatt is a B.C.-based poet and novelist who was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2006. Ghost Works, which was published in 1993, is a collection of poems, travel essays, journal writings and letters which combine to tell a single story about what home and place mean to one woman.

Recommended by: @mattroyparker

12. The Tzaddik and Other Poems by Per K. Brask

Per K. Brask is the author of the poetry collection The Tzaddik and Other Poems. (Griffin Poetry Prize)

What it's about: The Tzaddik and Other Poems is a collection of 32 poems that deals with Per K. Brask's experience of Judaism. Brask is a professor at the University of Winnipeg, where he teaches theatre and film. His co-translation of Ulrikka S. Gernes's collection Frayed Opus for Strings & Wind Instruments was a finalist for the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize. 

Recommended by: Morri Mostow

13. ​Burning in this Midnight Dream by Louise Bernice Halfe

Louise Bernice Halfe is the author of Burning in this Midnight Dream, a poetry collection. (Coteau Books)

What it's about: Louise Bernice Halfe is an award-winning Cree poet from Two Hills, Alta. In 2017, Halfe won the Latner Writers' Trust Poetry Prize, which is given to a mid-career poet with a remarkable body of work. Her collection Burning in this Midnight Dream is inspired by the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and explores the traumatic legacy of residential schools.

Recommended by: @CanadianPoets

14. Geographies of a Lover by Sarah de Leeuw

Sarah de Leeuw is a poet, writer and researcher. (NeWest Press)

What it's about: Sarah de Leeuw is a researcher who writes essays, poetry and creative nonfiction. Geographies of a Lover uses the Canadian landscape to explore love, sex and longing. In 2013, the collection won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, which recognizes the best book of poetry by a British Columbian author.

Recommended by: Kerry Gilbert

15. ​Wont by Carla Coles

Carla Coles is an artist and author. (

What it's about: Carla Coles is an Ontario-based artist and writer who has released three poetry collections: PoreZarf and Wont. Wont, which came out in 2017, is described to be an "oddly specific collection of poems for a tiny niche audience."

Recommended by: @alice_oconnor

16. The Golden Book of Bovinities by Robert Moore

Robert Moore is the author of the poetry collection The Golden Book of Bovinities. (Signal Editions)

What it's about: Robert Moore is a Canadian poet, actor and playwright who has written four collections of poetry. His latest is 2012's The Golden Book of Bovinities, which is a humorous exploration of all things bovine, but is also a surprising meditation on how we treat animals and each other.

Recommended by: @ricks_enablersmusic

17. ​Mogul Recollected by Richard Outram

Richard Outram is the author of the poetry collection Mogul Recollected. (Porcupine's Quill)

What it's about: Richard Outram was an Ontario-based poet who penned 11 collections. Mogul Recollected, which came out in 1993, is a collection of poems inspired by the drowning of an elephant off the coast of New Brunswick. Outram died in 2005.

Recommended by: Ariel Eden

18. What the Soul Doesn't Want by Lorna Crozier

Lorna Crozier is an officer of the Order of Canada. (Kevin Konnyu/

What it's about: Lorna Crozier is a Canadian poet who has written more than a dozen books and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2011. What the Soul Doesn't Want is her most recent collection. It came out in 2017 and was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry. 

Recommended by: @colleenbabie

19. Breathing at Dusk by Beth Goobie

Beth Goobie is the author of the poetry collection Breathing at Dusk. (Coteau Books)

What it's about: Breathing at Dusk is an autobiographical poetry collection inspired by Goobie's painful memories of childhood abuse and her process of healing. Breathing at Dusk won the 2018 Saskatchewan Arts Board Book Award. Goobie, who currently lives in Saskatoon, has written poetry, fiction and books for young adults.  

Recommended by:  @colleenbabie

20. ​A Really Good Brown Girl by Marilyn Dumont

Marilyn Dumont is the author of the poetry collection A Really Good Brown Girl. (Bricks Books)

What it's about: Marilyn Dumont is a poet of Cree/Métis descent who has written three poetry collections. A Really Good Brown Girl, her first, won the 1997 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, which recognizes a debut poetry collection by a Canadian writer. A Really Good Brown Girl is about Dumont coming to understand and embrace her Métis heritage.

Recommended by: Ariel Eden & @jonina_kirton 

21. Liar by Lynn Crosbie

Lynn Crosbie is a Canadian novelist and poet. (Ian Crysler/House Of Anansi Press)

What it's about: Lynn Crosbie is a writer who has written more than one dozen works, ranging from memoir to poetry to fiction. Liar is her 2006 book-length poem that explores a seven-year relationship and its difficult, untimely end.

Recommended by: @amberdawnpullin

22. Blood Orange by Heidi Garnett

Heidi Garnett is the author of the poetry collection Blood Orange. (Frontenac House/Natasha Garnett)

What it's about: Blood Orange explores human resilience and our need to have a "home." The 2016 collection explores the concept of home, homelessness and how memory and identity are connected to what we think of as home. Heidi Garnett is the author of two collections, her other one is titled Phosphorus.

Recommended by: Kerry Gilbert

23. The Cariboo Horses by Al Purdy

The Cariboo Horses is one of many poetry collections form legendary Canadian poet Al Purdy.

What it's about: The Cariboo Horses, which won the 1965 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry, is one of many poetry collections from legendary Canadian poet Al Purdy. Known as Canada's "unofficial poet laureate," Purdy wrote 39 books, including poetry, one novel, two memoirs and four collections of letters. Purdy, who died in 2000, was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1982.

Recommended by: @vtverma

24. ​Love Medicine and One Song by Gregory Scofield

Love Medicine and One Song is a collection of poetry from Gregory Scofield. (Janzen Photography/Kegedonce Press)

What it's about: Gregory Scofield is a Métis poet and author. He was the 2016 recipient of the Latner Writers' Trust Poetry Prize, a $25,000 award given to an accomplished mid-career poet. His 2009 collection, Love Medicine and One Song, blends the Cree language with the Canadian landscape and erotic imagery.

Recommended by: @jonina_kirton

25. Muybridge's Horse by Rob Winger

Rob Winger is the author of the poetry collection Muybridge's Horse. ( Editions)

What it's about: Muybridge's Horse is a semi-biographical book-length poem about 19th-century British-born photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Muybridge's research helped with the invention of moving pictures. Muybridge's Horse was shortlisted for the 2007 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry.

Recommended by:

26. Flint and Feather by E. Pauline Johnson

E. Pauline Johnson was a Canadian writer best known for poetry collections such as Flint and Feather. (National Archives of Canada)

What it's about: E. Pauline Johnson was a Mohawk poet and performer, famous during the 19th century. A prolific writer, her works include Canadian BornThe Moccasin Maker and Flint and Feather. Originally published in 1912, Flint and Feather collects Johnson's poems together. 

Recommended by: @ycginyeg & Dave Moyer

27. ​The Red Files by Lisa Bird-Wilson

Lisa Bird-Wilson is the author of The Red Flies, a poetry collection. (Harbour Publishing, Nightwood Editions)

What it's about: Drawing on archival records and family photographs, Lisa Bird-Wilson writes poignant, heart-rending poetry about the generations of abuse suffered by Indigenous children in the Canadian residential school system in The Red Files. The Red Files, Bird-Wilson's debut collection, is named after the federal government files on residential schools.

Recommended by: @jonina_kirton

28. ​questions I asked my mother by Di Brandt

Di Brandt is the first ever poet laureate of Winnipeg. (Winnipeg Arts Council/Turnstone Press)

What it's about: Di Brandt is the first ever poet laureate of Winnipeg. Her poetry collection questions I asked my mother explores Brandt's Mennonite heritage and was shortlisted for the 1987 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry.

Recommended by: Ariel Eden

29. Country Club by Andy McGuire

Country Club is the first collection of poetry from Andy McGuire. ( House Books)

What it's about: Country Club is Andy McGuire's debut poetry collection, and it explores the nature of wealth, leisure and power, and how the three interconnect and influence each other and the world at large. 

Recommended by: @the_village_bookshop

30. Bloodroot by Betsy Warland

Betsy Warland is the author of numerous books, including Bloodroot. ( Story Press)

What it's about: Betsy Warland is a feminist writer who writes poetry, creative nonfiction and fiction. Bloodroot, her 2010 collection, is about Warland's experience watching her mother age and eventually die while she reflects on their relationship.

Recommended by: @jonina_kirton

31. Cantilevered Songs by John Lent

Cantilevered Songs is a poetry collection by John Lent. (Thistledown Press)

What it's about: John Lent is the author of 10 books, including the 2009 poetry collection Cantilevered Songs. Lent is known for his energetic writing and innovative use of structure in his poetry.

Recommended by: Kerry Gilbert

32. I am a World of Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl by Nicole Lyons

I am a World of Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl is Nicole Lyons' second book of poetry. (

What it's about: Nicole Lyons is a B.C.-based author of two poetry collections, Hush and I am a World of Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl. The collection explores the relationship between love, creativity and mental health and questions what it means to have your heart broken.

Recommended by: @melissa.m.marie, @thewarandthebodys.l._heaton, @slwriting, @kristin_kory, @darrenlelond, @the_poetrybandit, @alfa.poet, @breath_words_, @n.r.hart, @thesarahdoughty, Christine Ray, Erich Michaels, Scott Atherton, Amanda Coleman, Dena Daigle, Gina Thomas, William BromsNausicaa Twila, Debbie Peters, Ghost Crush Poetry, Alfa Holden, @KittOMalley, @doriowen & @banishedcougar

33. The Selected Gwendolyn MacEwen edited by Meaghan Strimas

Gwedolyn MacEwen was a Canadian poet and novelist who died in 1987. (John Reeves/Library and Archives Canada/Exile Editions)

What it's about: Gwedolyn MacEwen was one of Canada's most influential writers. The poet, storyteller, translator and dramatist, who died in 1987, won the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry in 1969 for The Shadow Maker and won the same award posthumously in 1987 for Afterworlds. The Selected Gwendolyn MacEwen brings together McEwen's best and most interesting work.

Recommended by: @sosaysnancy

34. Sight at Zero by Allison Grayhurst

Sight at Zero is a poetry collection by Allison Grayhurst. (

What it's about: Sight at Zero collects 30 years' worth of poems from Toronto-based poet and artist Allison Grayhurst.

Recommended by: Diane Barbarash

35. Coke Machine Glow by Gord Downie

Tragically Hip front man Gord Downie released Coke Machine Glow to accompany his first solo album in 2001. (Chris Wattie/Reuters/Knopf Canada)

What it's about: Coke Machine Glow is the 2001 poetry collection from Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie. The collection was published as a companion to Downie's first solo album. The Tragically Hip sold more than eight million albums and won 16 Juno Awards over their storied career playing songs about Canada. Downie died in 2017.

Recommended by: @nicolelyonspoetry, @dpontefract & @LithChronicles 

36. ​Braided Skin by Chelene Knight

Chelene Knight's poetry collection Braided Skin examines race, poverty and dreams. (Greg Ehlers/ Tongue Publishing)

What it's about: Chelene Knight's 2015 poetry collection Braided Skin examines race, poverty and dreams. Knight, a Vancouver-based writer, is also the author of Dear Current Occupant, a mix of poetry and prose about growing up in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. 

Recommended by: @jonina_kirton

37. Pluck by Laisha Rosnau

Laisha Rosnau is the author of the poetry collection Pluck. (Nightwood Editions)

What it's about: Laisha Rosnau's Pluck collects poems addressing female sexuality in the 21st century. Rosnau is based in British Columbia and has written six collections of poetry. Pluck came out in 2014 and was nominated for the League of Canadian Poets' Raymond Souster Award.

Recommended by: Kerry Gilbert

38. Home by Nausicaa Twila

Nausicaa Twila is the author of the poetry collection Home.

What it's about: Nausicaa Twila is a popular Instagram poet, with more than 23,000 followers on her account @NausicaaTwila. Home explores the meaning of what makes a home, in both the physical and spiritual sense. 

Recommended by: @nicolelyonspoetry, @the_poetrybandit, @diyonce_life, @musingsofadistractedmind,, @rising.moon.rose, @n.r.hart,, Nicole Lyons, Dena Daigle, Gypsy Mercer, Renee Furlow, Pennie Williams, Lindsay May, Penny Fullerton, Dawn Holliday, Ken Brumfield, Giorgio Tanco & Bala Ramya Rohini

39. milk & honey by Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur is the author of the poetry collection milk & honey. ( & Schuster)

What it's about: milk & honey, Rupi Kaur's debut poetry collection, has sold almost two million copies worldwide. The collection, based on Kaur's popular Instagram account, explores growing up, coming of age, love, violence, longing, betrayal and forgiveness. 

Recommended by: Giorgio Tanco

40. Secular Love by Michael Ondaatje

Secular Love is a poetry collection from Governor General's Literary Award-winning author and poet Michael Ondaatje. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press/Coach House Press)

What it's about: Michael Ondaatje is the acclaimed Canadian author of novels such as The English Patient, In the Skin of a Lion and Anil's Ghost. Ondaatje is also the author of more than a dozen poetry books and won the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry in 1970 for The Collected Works of Billy the Kid. Secular Love, his 1985 collection, is a wide-ranging and diverse collection that highlights why Ondaatje is one of Canada's most beloved writers.

Recommended by: Ruth Seeley

41. ​Discovery Passages by Garry Thomas Morse

Garry Thomas Morse is the author of the poetry collection Discovery Passages. (Talon Books)

What it's about: Garry Thomas Morse is a Canadian poet and novelist who has been nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for English-language poetry, twice: in 2011 for Discovery Passages and in 2016 for Prairie Harbour. Discovery Passages is about reclaiming and reconnecting to Morse's ancestral lands by exploring both written and oral history. 

Recommended by: Karen Charleson & @karyn_wiss 

42. ​Feast by Broms the Poet

Broms the Poet is the author of the poetry collection Feast. (

What it's about: Broms the Poet is a Winnipeg-based TV host turned popular Instagram poet, with over 50,000 followers. Feast collects Brom's best work, which is inspired by his own life experiences.

Recommended by: @s.l._heaton, @catross, @mr.snicklebits, @richardkjross, @hellojessiejane, @peta.bread, @a.c.sparks, @the_muse_beautiful, @gnah_boreal, @stephanieross77, @alfa.poet, @emilio.valdez1, @hellokatycollins, @strickleykarla, @hulse27, @rachel.morris.9212, @the_poetrybandit, @julielwatt, @dr_bang_bang, @theladyeclectic, @n.r.hart, Jared Wheller, Maria Costantino, Reign sovergein, Nicole Lyons, Chinos Reyes, Cralla Romero, Sophie PullanCan Altıkardeş, Aidan Ross, Ray StrachanSéverine Garnier, Trina Belanger, Phoebe Man, Lisa Caronte, Jen Willits, Conny Kavela, Chris Miller, Kathy Miller, Tanya Puffault, Shawn Chamberlain, Anita Sharma Turner, Penny Schoonbaert, Jim Bromley, Stephen Crooks, Alfa HoldenJeff Bjarnarson & @kissykatt84 

43. My Sober Little Moon by Jon Lupin

Jon Lupin is also known as The Poetry Bandit. (Courtesy of Jon Lupin)

What it's about: Jon Lupin, also known as The Poetry Bandit, turned to poetry to help him get sober in 2015. My Sober Little Moon is his debut collection, and it compiles his work during his journey towards sobriety. 

Recommended by: @s.l._heaton, @alfa.poet, @nausicaatwila, @typewriterslinger, @anthonydesmondpoetry, @broms.the.poet, @afallenangel117, @n.r.hart, @thesarahdoughty, Nicole LyonsNausicaa Twila & Alfa Holden 

44. even this page is white by Vivek Shraya

Vivek Shraya is the author of the poetry collection even this page is white. (Alejandro Santiago/Arsenal Pulp Press)

What it's about: What does it mean to go through the world as a person of colour? Vivek Shraya's debut poetry collection, even this page is white, explores this question and tackles the racism Shraya and other people of colour experience every day. 

Recommended by: Ty Lyonne & Trisha Yeo

45. children of air india by Renée Sarojini Saklikar

children of air india is a poetry collection by Renée Sarojini Saklikar. (Harbour Publishing)

What it's about: children of air india is a 2013 poetry collection by Renée Sarojini Saklikar inspired by the the bombing of Air India Flight 182 in 1985. The collection won the Canadian Authors Association Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Prize. 

Recommended by: Kerry Gilbert

46. The Weight of Dreams by Jeevan Bhagwat

Jeevan Bhagwat is a poet from Scarborough, Ont. (Dan Pearce)

What it's about: Jeevan Bhagwat is a Scarborough, Ont.-based poet. His debut collection, 2012's The Weight of Dreams, explores dreams — why we dream, how we dream, what we dream and what it all means.

Recommended by: Devika Davoodi & Anna Nieminen

47. Voodoo Hypothesis by Canisia Lubrin

Canisia Lubrin is the author of Voodoo Hypothesis, a collection of poems. (Anna Keenan/Buckrider Books)

What it's about: In her debut poetry collection, Voodoo Hypothesis, Canisia Lubrin​ sets her focus on colonialism, racial oppression and subverting false perceptions of Black identity. The book is informed partly by her experience growing up in the Caribbean and living away from home.

Recommended by: @JulieMannell, @KikiFolle & @Cherie_Dimaline

48. ​In Hardy Country by Tom Dawe

Tom Dawe was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2012. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press/Breakwater Books)

What it's about: Tom Dawe is a Newfoundland-based author of poetry and children's literature. In Hardy Country is a selection of Dawe's poems from other books, journals and magazines that showcase his interest in writing about Newfoundland's unique geography and culture. Dawe was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2012.

Recommended by: @MaynardLaura

49. Love & Vodka by Christina Strigas

Christina Strigas is a Montreal-based poet who has self-published three collections of poetry. ( Strigas)

What it's about: Christina Strigas is a Montreal-based poet who has published three collections of poetry. Love & Vodka is a poetry collection centred on connections, love, rejection and loneliness and is about what it takes to rebuild yourself after you've been broken.

Recommended by: @alfa.poet, @typewriterslinger,, @poets.are.rockstars, @breath_words_, @jwprebich, @lexmeehan, @anitatensionpoetry, @nausicaatwila, @anitatensionpoetry, @n.r.hart, @_mnm67, @livelovedream25, @lauree, @mariaxpapad, @cajun_blues, @thesarahdoughty, @_souldiergirl_, @johnny.dims, @spitsikalis, @christinagounari, @nikimamz, @poetryflowsthrough, Alfa H, Voula Kaffet, Gabrielle Lacroix​, Jacquie Prebich, Alfa Holden, Giorgio Tanco, ​Gayla Varna, @sheplaysloud, @bbsilvermystic, @whykatwrites, @madeofpoems, @bevandeveire, @cattykoala, @mysteryofsoul, Jacqueline Prebich, @jackmalloy427, @natuspoetica, @lutziek, @PoetryIsPoetry, @VladaMars, @Iamb_IRATE, @martitagomezl, @EvaLeNoirAuthor, @doriowen, @A_TasteofSin, @Wilde_Verse, @peaceNflight, @MadQueenStorm, @DarkLinePoetry, @Loverdesart, @mnm67, @jessechambers, @PeterPe37464731, @poetryinsunsets, @dsartiststudio, @Destruction969, @shellandjeff, @shootingstar18f, @tamihania, @LexMeehan, @JwPrebich & @ashleyjanepoet

50. ​Deepwater Vee by Melanie Siebert

Melanie Siebert's debut collection of poetry is Deepwater Vee. (McClelland & Stewart/

What it's about: Deepwater Vee, Melanie Siebert's debut collection, explores Canada's remote northern rivers. Deepwater Vee was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry in 2010. 

Recommended by: @karyn_wiss

51. ​The Fire Extinguisher by Miranda Pearson

The Fire Extinguisher is one of four collections of poetry by Miranda Pearson. (Oolichan Books)

What it's about: The Fire Extinguisher is one of four collections of poetry by Miranda Pearson.  Using stunning imagery from the natural world to examine the human psyche, The Fire Extinguisher was nominated for the 2016 Dorothy Livesay Prize, which recognizes the best book of poetry from British Columbia. 

Recommended by: @jonina_kirton

52. ​Stranger Music by Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen died in 2016. (AFP/Getty Images/McClelland & Stewart)

What it's about: Leonard Cohen, a legendary Canadian singer-songwriter who died in 2016, published two novels, The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers, and 10 collections of poetry. Stranger Music, published in 1994, brings together a selection of Leonard Cohen's song lyrics and poetry, demonstrating the range and depth of Cohen's work. 

Recommended by: @covertrook & @SarahMacJourno 

53. Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee

Dennis Lee is a writer and poet. (House of Anansi Press)

What it's about: Dennis Lee is one of Canada's most beloved writers. His children's classic, the collection of verses Alligator Pie, won the 1972 Governor General's Literary Award. Lee was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1993. 

Recommended by: @pjohanneson & @super_crazy_kd

54. Against Paradise by Shawna Lemay

Shawna Lemay writes poetry, essays and experimental fiction. (McClelland & Stewart)

What it's about: Shawna Lemay is an Edmonton-based writer who has published poetry, essays and an experimental novel. After Paradise is her 2014 collection inspired by Venice and the quirky characters that make the city unforgettable.

Recommended by: @theotherlensman

55. The Good Bacteria by Sharon Thesen

Sharon Thesen is a poet, editor and writer. ( of Anansi Press)

What it's about: Sharon Thesen is a B.C.-based poet, editor and writer who has published 12 books. Her 2006 poetry collection, The Good Bacteria, explores energy and all its manifestations. It was a finalist for the 2006 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry.

Recommended by: Kerry Gilbert

56. ​Breath Tracks by Jeannette Armstrong

Jeannette Armstrong is a novelist, poet and educator. ( Books)

What it's about: Jeannette Armstrong is a novelist, poet, children's story writer and educator who lives in Penticton, B.C. Breath Tracks, Armstrong's 1991 poetry collection, highlights the lives, pain and resilience of Indigenous peoples and their long memoried past. In 2016, Armstrong received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award, which honours an outstanding literary career in British Columbia.

Recommended by: @allison_burt

57. ​The Small Words in My Body by Karen Connelly

Karen Connelly is the author of the poetry collection The Small Words in My Body. (

What it's about: Karen Connelly wrote The Small Words in My Body mostly in her teens and 20s. The collection, which explores a childhood and coming of age marked by violence combined with a stunning exploration of the beauty of Asia and Spain, won the Pat Lowther Award for poetry in 1991.

Recommended by: @covertrook

58. ​full-metal indigiqueer by Joshua Whitehead

Joshua Whitehead is the author of the poetry collection full-metal indigiqueer. (Courtesy of Joshua Whitehead/Talonbooks)

What it's about: Joshua Whitehead is an Oji-Cree, two-spirit writer, poet and Indigiqueer scholar from Peguis First Nation. His debut poetry collection, full-metal indigiqueer, is a collection of experimental poems that aim to provoke discussion and debate.

Recommended by: @jonina_kirton

59. ​Seal Up the Thunder by Erin Noteboom

Erin Noteboom is the maiden name and poetic pseudonym of award-winning YA author Erin Bow. (Jay Parson/Wolsak and Wynn)

What it's about: Erin Noteboom is the maiden name and poetic pseudonym of award-winning YA author Erin Bow. Seal Up the Thunder, which came out in 2005, inverts many classic Bible stories. Bow has also written many acclaimed YA books, including Plain Kate and The Scorpion Rules.

Recommended by: @mayachhabra

60. #IndianLovePoems by Tenille K. Campbell

Tenille K. Campbell is the author of #IndianLovePoems. ( Editions)

What it's about: Whether they're about long-term relationships or one night stands, Tenille K. Campbell's poems are full of intimacy, steamy romance and funny one-liners. #IndianLovePoems is inspired by the poet Tenille Campbell's experiences in dating as an Indigenous woman.

Recommended by: @jonina_kirton

61. ​White Stone by Stephanie Bolster

Stephanie Bolster is the author of the poetry collection White Stone. (Vehicule Press)

What it's about: Stephanie Bolster teaches in the creative writing program at Concordia University and is the author of seven poetry collections. Her 1998 poetry collection, White Stone, was inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and the real girl who inspired Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell.

Recommended by: @lalehaidan

62. Let It Bleed by Nicole I. Nesca

Let It Bleed is a collection of poetry by Nicole I. Nesca. (Screamin' Skull Press)

What it's about: Nicole I. Nesca is a poet and one-half of the creative team behind Screamin' Skull Press. Her collection Let It Bleed has been described as a "lyrical telling of a life in pursuit of truth, sex, love, youth-lost and experience."

Recommended by: @jaysawhile

63. ​How Do I Look? by Sennah Yee

Sennah Yee is the author of the poetry collection How Do I Look? (

What it's about: Sennah Yee is a Toronto-based writer who released her debut collection of poetry, How Do I Look?  in 2017. How Do I Look? combines poetry with nonfiction to paint a portrait of a woman and her complicated relationship with media and pop culture. 

Recommended by: @anxietyissue

64. Selected Poems by Tim Bowling

Tim Bowling is the author of several poetry collections. (Harbour Publishing/Nightwood Editions)

What it's about: Tim Bowling was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry in 2003 and 2004, and in 2008 was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Selected Poems, published in 2013, brings together some of Bowling's best work from the past 20 years. 

Recommended by: Russell Thornton

65. go-go dancing for Elvis by Leslie Greentree

go-go dancing for Elvis was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2004. ( House)

What it's about: go-go dancing for Elvis is about two sisters — one who travels as a dancer for an Elvis impersonator and one who stays at home — and the complex dynamic that arises when two people are so closely connected. go-go dancing for Elvis was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2004.

Recommended by: @metallicjohns

66. The Hundred Lives by Russell Thornton

The Hundred Lives is a poetry collection by Russell Thornton. (Quattro Books)

What it's about: Russell Thornton is a Canadian poet and the author of six collections of poetry. His most recent work is The Hundred Lives, which was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2015. The Hundred Lives takes readers from the Bible to Ancient Greece and around the world in a colourful exploration of what creates the human experience.

Recommended by: Svetlana Ischenko, Jenny Ischenko, Carolyn Gentleman, Larisa VM & Gertie Witte 

67. ​Night Work by Randall Maggs

Night Work is a poetry collection tribute to NHL goalie Terry Sawchuk by Randall Maggs. (Brick Books)

What it's about: First published in 2008, Night Work is a poetry collection tribute to NHL goalie Terry Sawchuk by Newfoundland-based Randall Maggs. Night Work won the 2008 Winterset Award, the 2009 E.J. Pratt Poetry Prize and the Kobzar Literary Award. 

Recommended by: @metallicsjohns

68. ​The Celery Forest by Catherine Graham

Catherine Graham is the author of the poetry collection The Celery Forest. (Wolsak and Wynn/Portrait Boutique)

What it's about: The Celery Forest is a fantastical world with strange creatures and disorienting sights. Within the poetry collection's magical imagery is the examination of Catherine Graham's recent bout with breast cancer. The novelist and poet uses sensual language and style that peers into the duality of beauty and horror.

Recommended by: Aileen Coates


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