The Next Chapter·Dog-eared Reads

Ian Williams believes this 1971 poetry collection by Margaret Atwood is the Jagged Little Pill of its time

The 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning poet and novelist loves re-reading Margaret Atwood's Power Politics.
Ian Williams is a poet and novelist who won the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize. (House of Anansi Press, Justin Morris)

Ian Williams is a Vancouver-based poet, fiction writer and academic from Brampton, Ont. In 2019, he won the Scotiabank Giller Prize for his debut novel Reproduction.

Williams's previous books include the 2012 poetry collection Personalswhich was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award, and the 2011 short story collection Not Anyone's Anything

Williams is a huge fan of Margaret Atwood's work and the book that he re-reads from time to time is her 1971 poetry collection titled Power Politics.

"The book that I go back to, the book that I absolutely love —  it's my favourite collection of poetry — is Margaret Atwood's Power Politics. It's from early in her career. It's these love poems that are really like anti-love poems. 

It's kind of like that 'Alanis Morissette in the 1990s' moment... and this book is like the Jagged Little Pill of poetry.

"When I wrote Personals, it was the book that was largely looming in my head. This is young Margaret Atwood in love — and sharp and incisive — and writing these poems that are really cutting.

"It's kind of like that 'Alanis Morissette in the 1990s' moment — Jagged Little Pill — and this book, I feel, is the Jagged Little Pill."

Ian Williams' comments have been edited for length and clarity.

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