amongst books

amongst books

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

falling all over fall poetry

here are a few of the poetry books on my wish list. thank you to the publishers for bravely continuing to publish the good stuff in the face of woes economic and otherwise…

also, these publishers have even more books in their fall catalogs. these are the ones that i’m particularly interested in, but i have an open mind, so please do add to my wish list.

Book Thug
bpNichol, the Captain Poetry Poems
this is a reissue, originally published in 1970 by blew ointment and to quote bpNichol: “[Little presses] are the only true friend of poetry.” a couple of the poems are in An H in the Heart-bpNichol, A Reader, McLelland and Stewart, 1994, selected by George Bowering and Michael Ondaatje (alas, out of print). I didn’t spot any of these poems in the ensuing reader, the Alphabet Game, (Coach House Books, 2007) edited by Darren Wershler-Henry and Lori Emerson. so now i want to read the whole thing.
also there's an intro by bill bissett. yay!

Meredith Quartermain, Recipes from the Red Planeti was hooked on the idea of poems coming from Martians ever since i read about that idea in Jack Spicer’s talk in The House That Jack Built. i wrote my own version of such, Welcome to Earth, (Book Thug, 2008). so yeah, i’m fascinated by what MQ will do with this. the description sounds whimsical, and i am all about the whimsy. i have MQ’s Matter (Book Thug, 2008) and it inspired numerous ideas about classification that i’ve yet to turn into any poems, but it’s brewing. and now to add Mars to the mix. better than the candy bar i bet.(strictly speaking this is fiction, being published as part of Book Thug's Department of Narrative Studies, but i'm going to surmise that it is a poetic fiction, so i'm putting it here. i never much cared for genre categorization anyway)...

Chaudiere Books
Pearl Pirie, bean shed bore
Pearl and i have been in poetry workshops together and i have published Pearl a few times too via AngelHouse Press, most recently her chapbook "over my dead corpus"
i enjoy Pearl's word play, sense of whimsy and philosophical musings. i shall be interested to see what she does with more space, more pages.

Coach House Books
Gary Barwin, the Porcupinity of the Stars
i’ve read a wee bit here and there from Mr. Barwin, i follow his blog, especially love his visual poetry, have a few of his chapbooks and heard him perform but for perfect bound books, i own only his collaborative work with derek beaulieu, fragments from the frog pool (Mercury Press), which i enjoyed even though my knowledge of Haiku and Basho is slim. here’s another example of a playful writer a bit of a shape shifter, i might say, in that he adapts to myriad forms from sound to visual to stanza.

Jon Paul Fiorentino, Indexial Elegies
i have most of this Montrealer, former Manitoban’s poetry plus some of his fiction and i’m not going to stop now. why should i? he mixes anxiety with humour so well and i’m always a fan of the self-deprecator.

Jonathon Ball, Clockfire
i have JB’s Ex Machina (Book Thug, 2009) and lately i’ve been watching Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. this seems to be related. i also like to harvest from other sources. some of these poems have been remixed by other writers and there's talk of a Book Thug remix anthology; JB is looking for remixes. see his blog. since i enjoyed the quirky lines of Ex Machina, my mind is open for more from JB. the first thing that grabs me about Clockfire is the title. it evokes all kinds of images for me. a clock with its works burnt up. burning the candle at both ends, burning time. life is short and who knows what else. and then the scenarios proposed: a series of imaginary plays that are impossible to produce. this sounds like fun, something that would feed my voracious imagination.

this is a wee excerpt from the Capilano Review (and i apologize on behalf of blogger and html for the lack of correct spacing…

The actors take the stage, bow to the audience, then slit their own throats.
The audience is horrified. They shriek, call ambulances, flee. But they come back the next night. They come back.

hey, didn’t Jake Kennedy do something similar? i remember reading some of his poems in "Pissing Ice-An Anthology of New Canadian Poets" edited by Jon Paul Fiorentino and Jay MillAr, (Book Thug, 2004). see “Lowry: Introduction”

similar premise but not the same style and content. but i liked that and was hunting around for more of same. Clockfire by a completely different writer (i’m assuming, i’ve never met either one…) seems like it shall fit the bill.

Cormorant Books
George Bowering, Pinboy (memoir)-not a book of poems, but a memoir by Canada’s first poet laureate, an irreverent and interesting writer. i picked up “A Magpie Life: Growing A Writer” (Key Porter Books, 2001) for $4.99 at Perfect Books last year and now i’m actually going to read it in anticipation for Pinboy. i have numerous volumes of GB's work, including one of my favourite little chapbooks, U.S. Sonnets (pooka press, 2007). i don’t have much patience for baseball, and i understand this is of great interest to GB and in this memoir too, but also in the description it talks about his sexual awakening, so my ears prick up there. and his life in the 50s in the Okanagan. that sounds neat. i liked Patrick Lane’s memoir, There is a season, with references to BC of that era. not that this is the same. i’ve seen both of these men and can tell you that they are not the same person at all.

Palimsest Press
Elisabeth Harvor, An Open Door in the Landscape
i do a terrible thing. i confuse Elisabeth Harvor with Elizabeth Hay. both are writers, both live in Ottawa. they are both Eliz/s/abeths and their last names begin with an H. both write fiction, but Harvor also writes poetry. i thought i would be reading the poetry of the writer who wrote one of my favourite Canadian contemporary novels, Late Nights on Air, but this is not the case. i feel bad for confusing these two writers and would like to read Harvor’s latest poetry collection and hopefully i will not make such an ignorant mistake again. i seem to have a running theme on the literary doppelganger…

Artie Gold, The Collected Books of Artie Gold
apparently Artie Gold is a made up character from the series, Entourage, but that is not the author of this collection. the poet, Artie Gold, died in 2007 on Valentine’s Day and alas it wasn’t until then that i knew anything about him.
since then i have acquired “cityflowers” Delta, 1974. the front cover is a close up portrait of the poet when he had a full head of hair and he reminds me of Stuart Ross in this photo. the work inside is reminiscent of Leonard Cohen to me. the Spice-Box of Earth Cohen rather than the Book of Longing Cohen; some of the lines have similar structure and length, the images meander too. i like a good meander and i’m curious to read more Gold and see how his writing progressed after the 70s.

Charles Olson, Muthologos-Lectures and Interviews (essays)
i have read bits of Olson’s selected letters, read snippets of his theories on projective verse and proprioception and read his Maximus Poems. other poets such as Daphne Marlatt refer to him and i would like to have a better grounding in his thoughts on poetry. i am interested in the connection between poetry and the body. another book i should have put on my favourite Canadian contemporary poetry list is Fred Wah’s Music at the Heart of Thinking, (Red Deer College Press, 1987) for just that reason. poetry as a kind of drunken tai chi, i paraphrase from faulty memory… yes, i agree with that.

Wolsak & WynnCatherine Owen, Seeing Lessons
i have Cusp: Detritus (Anvil Press, 2006), a collaborative poetry/photo project with Karen Moe. and i should have included it on my list of favourite contemporary Canadian poetry. i also have Frenzy (Anvil Press, 2009), which i adored. "Cusp: Detritus," i love for its melancholy. "Frenzy" i love for the way it made me want to write. i wanted to write poems below CO’s poems, her lines build up almost like melodies. an accumulation of images and stories. there’s an edginess to both of these books, there are taboos and an underground feel. Catherine was kind enough to send this book along as a gift when i was in hospital, so perhaps that makes me biased, but she had me at Cusp: Detritus. i’d like to read all of her work. Seeing Lessons is based on a real person, Mattie Gunterman, who walked from Seattle to Beaton, BC. i am fascinated by the eccentric individual and i am a walker. as someone pointed out to me recently i write a lot about wandering or homeless women (Eleanor (above/ground press, 2008), Urusula (AngelHousePress, 2009) and my work in progress Kiki). makes sense i would be interested in Seeing Things. all the ingredients are there to make this book a must have for me.

which poetry books are you looking forward to this fall?

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