As you know, this blog has been on hiatus while I’ve been putting together the How a Poem Moves book that ECW Press will be publishing next year. I’m busy editing the 25 essays that are here already, writing 11 new essays and an introduction, and completing the other paperwork that goes into turning a blog into a book.
Meanwhile, in my classes I’ve been occasionally assigning “How a Poem Moves” essays to my students. Whenever I’ve done so, I promised them that if any of their submissions were strong enough, I would publish it as a “Guest Post” on this blog. I hoped that would be a motivator. For some students, I think it was.
So I’m very pleased to let you know that later this week – probably Thursday – there will be a Guest Post on the blog from Sana Mohtadi, a student who just finished her first year at the University of Toronto. She’s written an insightful essay on a terrific poem by Kaveh Akbar, one of the more dynamic new poets to appear in the American literary scene in recent years. A new voice on a new voice.
I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, so stay tuned.
No new post this week, but I’m happy to spread the word that Lemon Hound, that lively online literary space, brainchild of the intrepid Sina Queyras, is back online after a long hiatus. Lemon Hound was one of the places where I first started writing How a Poem Moves articles (like this one on Karen Solie), and the site has always hosted new poems, new debates, and new articles that are worth your attention. Sounds like they’re getting a bit of help from Concordia this time, which will hopefully make the workload more sustainable for those (esp Sina) who run it, and they’re also open for donations so that we can contribute to the discussions it generates for a good long while. Check them out.
No new essay this week, but something I wrote just got posted online, so I thought I’d link to it here. Brick Magazine asked a bunch of writers to re-write the endings of famous books, to “fix” them. I wrote on Huck Finn. You can read it here.
Thanks for your continued interest, everyone. More to come!
Once upon a time, The Globe and Mail ran a column called “How Poems Work” that I always admired, though I never got to write for it myself. It was eventually cut, in a general reduction of that newspaper’s books coverage.
Later, the Lemonhound website published a number of these essays, including a couple I wrote. You can see them all here:
Meanwhile, as one of the jurors of the 2016 Griffin Prize, I read a lot of poetry recently. I’ve been trying to think about how to be productive with that reading. So much good work crossed my lap this year, and I want to find ways to honour it, especially books that did not make the shortlist.
The idea is to write short (~1000 word) essays that introduce a single poem and explain some of what I think makes the poem interesting. Part of my motivation is an extension of my teaching: so many people are afraid of contemporary poetry, and I hope these short introductions might help ease that discomfort. Part of my motivation is also to spread love to some poems and poets I’ve admired in my reading but who haven’t gotten a lot of attention paid to them. And part of my motivation is to start a project that engages my critical faculties in small bites, because that’s what I seem to be best at.
If you’ve happened upon this site at this stage, it’s still in beta testing. More to come as I finish a few more essays to post.