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Award-winning and otherwise notable poetry collections.
Showing 1–16 of 40 results
Covering Indigenous adventures from Ontario?s Walpole Island to Northern Saskatchewan to the BC coast, #IndianLovePoems is a poetry collection that delves into the humour and truths of love and lust within Indigenous communities. Sharing stories in search of The One, or even better, the One-Night-Stand, or the opening of boundaries this collection fearlessly sheds light on the sharing and honesty that comes with discussions of men, women, sex, and relationships, using humour to explore the complexities of race, culture and intent within relationships.
Whether speaking of erotic love, domestic life, spiritual wilderness, or family entanglements, the poems of Auguries, the much-anticipated second collection from Yukon poet Clea Roberts, are saturated with their northern landscape. Roberts is well versed in the distances and dynamics between tedium and ecstasy, light and dark, isolation and solitude, freeze and thaw, flow and stillness. Her poems are spare and clean, each like a single larch in an immense white plain; their exactness startling and arresting. As the Gerald Lampert Award jury citation for her celebrated first book noted, “Her images . . . are not only crisp and precise, but manage to speak about the physical conditions of this place and its emotional landscape in one and the same lyrical breath . . .”
Written during a period in which Roberts both became a parent and lost a parent, the poems in Auguries lend themselves to prayer, surrender, celebration, reconciliation, meditation, and auspice.
how to breathe
and the beautiful,
slow with cold. (from “Cold Snap”)
“Clea Roberts writes poems of clear, quiet beauty. They contain the silence of perception: alive to the world with open eye and open heart.” — Anne Michaels
Blood follows a Two-Spirit Indigenous person as they navigate urbanity, queerness, and a kaleidoscope of dreams, memory, and kinship.
Conceived in the same world as their acclaimed debut, Bones, Tyler Pennock’s Blood centres around a protagonist who at first has difficulty knowing the difference between connection and pain, and we move with them as they explore what it means to want. Pennock weaves longing, intimacy, and Anishinaabe relationalities to recentre and rethink their speaker’s relationship to the living–never forgetting non-human kin.
This book is a look at how deep history is represented in the everyday; it also tries to answer how one person can challenge the impacts of that history. It is a reminder that Indigenous people carry the impacts of colonial history and wrestle with them constantly. Blood explores the relationships between spring and winter, ice and water, static things and things beginning to move, and what emerges in the thaw.
“A music as sensitive as it is revelatory.”–Canisia Lubrin, author of The Dyzgraphxst
brat is an anthology of forest creatures, lost girls and tiny precious moments. In this collection of poetry, smallness begets uprising, rats signify life rather than death and bunnies are slutty woodland sprites. brat makes smallness into power, resilience and survival. In these poems, to be a brat is to be a scamp, an upstart, an agent of mischief: to cause trouble; to riot; to right wrongs; to enact change because it is right, regardless of a corrupt legal system. If brathood is the irreverent claiming of ownership over all good things, then this collection is the quintessential brat.
Canadian poet Shirley Camia presents a harrowing but exhilarating examination of life before adolescence. In a series of razor-sharp sketches, Camia’s piercing observations are offered as a perfectly balanced counter-weight to the sing-song melody of innocence. Camia and Vancouver illustrator Cindy Mochizuki offer an individual reckoning that unpacks for the reader the universal truth that fear and danger respect no age and ignore all boundaries.
Moving beyond the themes of race, identity, and personhood navigated in Mythical Man, David Lys second book of poetry, Dream of Me as Water, explores ways of being that are not beholden to the expectations of others. Using water as his central metaphor, Ly meditates on how identity is never a stagnant concept, but instead something that is intangible, fluid, and ever-evolving. Dream of Me as Water revels in the nuances of the self, flouting outside perceptions for deeper, more personal realities. .
This Meditation on the impact of human and ecological trauma explores the cost of survival for three generations of women living between empires. Writing from within the disappearing tallgrass prairie, Sarah Ens follows connections between the Russian Mennonite diaspora and the disrupted migratory patterns of grassland birds. Drawing on family history, eco-poetics, and the rich tradition of the Canadian long poem, Flyway migrates along pathways of geography and the heart to grapple with complexities of home.
Swinging from post-explosion Beirut to a Parc-Extension balcony in summer, the verse and prose poems in The Good Arabs ground the reader in place, language, and the body. Peeling and rinsing radishes. Dancing as a pre-teen to Nancy Ajram. Being drenched in stares on the city bus. The collection is an interlocking and rich offering of the speaker’s communities, geographical surroundings both expansive and precise, and family both biological and chosen.
The Good Arabs gifts the reader with insight into cycles and repetition in ourselves and our broken nations. This genre-defying collection maps Arab and trans identity through the immensity of experience felt in one body, the sorrow of citizens let down by their countries, and the garbage crisis in Lebanon. Ultimately, it shows how we might love amid dismay, adore the pungent and the ugly, and exist in our multiplicity across spaces.
Finalist for the 2019 A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry
Edited, with an introduction by multiple award-winning writer, elder, and activist Lee Maracle.
If poetry is a place to question, I Am a Body of Land by Shannon Webb-Campbell is an attempt to explore a relationship to poetic responsibility and accountability, and frame poetry as a form of re-visioning.
Here Webb-Campbell revisits the text of her earlier work Who Took My Sister? to examine her self, her place and her own poetic strategies. These poems are efforts to decolonize, unlearn, and undo harm.
Reconsidering individual poems and letters, Webb-Campbell’s confessional writing circles back, and challenges what it means to ask questions of her own settler-Indigenous identity, belonging, and attempts to cry out for community, and call in with love.
Award-winning Nisga’a poet Jordan Abel’s third collection, Injun, is a long poem about racism and the representation of indigenous peoples. Composed of text found in western novels published between 1840 and 1950 – the heyday of pulp publishing and a period of unfettered colonialism in North America – Injun then uses erasure, pastiche, and a focused poetics to create a visually striking response to the western genre.
After compiling the online text of 91 of these now public-domain novels into one gargantuan document, Abel used his word processor’s “Find” function to search for the word “injun.” The 509 results were used as a study in context: How was this word deployed? What surrounded it? What was left over once that word was removed? Abel then cut up the sentences into clusters of three to five words and rearranged them into the long poem that is Injun. The book contains the poem as well as peripheral material that will help the reader to replicate, intuitively, some of the conceptual processes that went into composing the poem.
Though it has been phased out of use in our “post-racial” society, the word “injun” is peppered throughout pulp western novels. Injun retraces, defaces, and effaces the use of this word as a colonial and racial marker. While the subject matter of the source text is clearly problematic, the textual explorations in Injun help to destabilize the colonial image of the “Indian” in the source novels, the western genre as a whole, and the Western canon.
The poems in Kelly Shepherd’s Insomniac Bird are a cartography and a geography of Edmonton. The poems which shift between short, individual lyric pieces and found text emulate a black-billed magpie’s nest with the subject-matter and also physically, with the words and lines. The poems generate the theme of home (the bird’s nest, the city), and not feeling at home; sleeping, and the inability to sleep. The magpie (the insomnia bird) is the protagonist and the muse, the thread that connects everything to everything else in this work.
As such, Shepherd’s poems move across the surface at speed, like Edmonton’s NAIT train, and dive like magpies after the occasional tasty image or crumb of detail. The city as it spreads out across the Prairies, can do nothing to prevent urban sprawl, and grows taller with each new highrise building and office tower and sinks deeper into the ground, which is memory!
The city with purple fingers and black feathers
is bending branches outside the window.
In the photosensitivity of morning,
The city is an open window that can’t hear itself think.
While Shepherd’s poems are at times critical of Edmonton’s automobile culture and urban sprawl, his tone remains ironic rather than moralizing and he is consistent in his use of dark humour to avoid being didactic. With such guidance the poems effectively disclose what is not seen, what is repressed, what lies behind the scenes in the city he shares with magpies.
Set in the 90s, alternating between the storied quads of Oxford University and the dank recesses of London pubs given over to public displays of queer BDSM, Learned chronicles poet and Rhodes Scholar Carellin Brooks’ extreme explorations of mind and body. In these poems, the speaker trembles on the verge of discovery, pushing her physical limits through practices of pain, permission, and pleasure. But her inability to negotiate the unspoken elite codes of Oxford begs the question: how to unlearn a legacy of family dissolution and abuse? Bold, nuanced, and ultimately triumphant Learned chronicles an intimate education in flesh, desire, and bodily memory.