Every year the Ottawa Citizen, like other newspapers, puts out a list of fall books coming out. This year they did so this Sunday and called it: "Hit List of Required Reading." And every year, we see in all of these papers, a lack of content for poetry. The Globe and the National Post also put out their lists this weekend. Two out of three papers mentioned Margaret Atwood’s new poetry collection but nothing else. Considering that a new selected of bpNichol’s poems comes out this fall from Coach House Books, George Elliott Clarke has a new long poem about Pierre Elliott Trudeau through Gasperau Press and there are countless other books of poetry being launched this fall, I find this lack of coverage to be unacceptable.
Here’s a small list of poetry to be launched or just recently launched by current or former Ottawans:
Stephen Brockwell, the real made up (ECW Press);
George Elliott Clarke: Trudeau, Long March, Shining Path (Gasperau Press);
Nadine McInnis, Two Hemispheres (Brick Books);
Colin Morton, the Cabbage of Paradise (Seraphim Editions);
John Newlove, A Long Continual Argument: The Selected Poems of John Newlove (Chaudiere Books).
Canadian poetry publishers work tirelessly to publish, promote and get poetry books sold. This task is Herculean, faced with the neglect of the Canadian media toward poetry.
A newspaper’s job is to publish what is of interest to its readers. If you are disappointed by the lack of coverage of poetry in the Ottawa Citizen, it’s up to you to let them know. Send a letter to the editor: email@example.com.
If you live in Toronto or another city where the papers don't give a rat’s ass about poetry and have chosen not to cover the new titles coming out from your area's writers, voice your opinion. Write a letter, write something in your blog and speak out.