More Goings-on for HPM

Happy weekend, everyone! Spring is springing up all over the place. This is usually a very productive time for me writing-wise, but I’ve been spending an exorbitant amount of time cheering on the Toronto Raptors, so I’m getting less done than usual. However, How a Poem Moves seems to be getting some nice attention:

  • I did a “riff” for CBC Radio’s program The Next Chapter. It’s just a couple of minutes long, and if you’ve been reading the essays on this site it won’t have much new information, but if you’re curious, you can find it here.
  • I also wrote a short piece about the book (in which I compare reading poetry to eating ice cream!)  for All Lit Up, a website that promotes independent Canadian publishers.
  • Rob Mclennan, a ubiquitous figure in the Canadian Poetry scene, wrote a thoughtful review of HPM on his blog.
  • There was also a write-up about the book at Open Book, a website which “celebrates and profiles Ontario’s non-stop literary scene.” They reprinted my essay on Ali Blythe’s “Shattered.” By the way, Ali has a new book out called Hymnswitch, which is just terrific.
  • The Toronto Star did something similar, reprinting my essay on Elise Partridge’s “Domestic Interior: Child Watching Mother” and saying some nice things about the book.
  • I’m told there will be some sort of write-up about the book in the Globe and Mail next week. Updates to come.

In other news, this coming week is the celebration of the Griffin Poetry Prize. There are still a few tickets left to see the shortlist readings on Wednesday, June 5, if you are interested. It’s one of my favourite poetry nights of the year, so I’ll be there! Click here for tickets. The winners will be announced at a gala on June 6.

Also, the Trillium Book Awards shortlist readings are the following week (yes, it’s prize season!), on June 12. Find out all about the finalists, and the events surrounding it here.

I’m thinking I’ll start writing essays again for this blog in the fall. Lots of great books and poems to celebrate! In the meantime, happy reading!

Getting Closer…

An ARC and a cookie.

Things are getting exciting over here. How a Poem Moves is in the proofreading stage of the book-making process. Blurbs are being gathered, final touches are being made, plans for a launch in March are happening. More details to come, but in the meantime, ain’t that cover fabulous?!

What you see in the picture is an Advanced Reading Copy, or ARC. That’s the thing the publisher sends to book reviewers, festival hosts, and those sorts of people. It’s understood that the book isn’t final, that there may be some errors and omissions and such. But it feels pretty nice in my hands, I have to say.

Oh, but you can’t have the cookie. I’m sorry not sorry to report that that particular cookie is no longer with us.

Guest Post Coming…

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.

Lemon Hound 3.0

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.


A Short Introduction, With Likely More to Follow

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.