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Topic: Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Poetry as a Method of Divination: Tolu Oloruntoba’s The Junta of Happenstance

In the Junta of Happenstance, Tolu Oloruntoba uses a “safecracker ear” (“Child at Sleep”) to perceive both the subtle and overt mechanics of human interactions and to explore the interlocking parts of past and present, individual and community, and the here and there.

Life in Letters in the Garden: M.A.C. Farrant’s one good thing: a living memoir

Born in 1947, M.A.C. Farrant is an icon of realistic and often humourist writing who lives in North Saanich, British Columbia. She is a versatile author who writes fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, book reviews and essays, and has won numerous awards. Now, taking a classic art form—letter writing—Farrant has compiled a poetry collection of sixty-four letters that she has intentionally addressed to Victoria Times Colonist’s garden columnist Helen Chestnut. Each letter addresses a specific column, a gardening topic, and then morphs into a discussion of Zen-like simplicity of life issues that include current events and personal memories long past. The theme, quite cleverly portrayed, is that life is a garden of pests, blight, beauty, tragedy and so much more.

Canadian Ghazals: Gold in the Shadow: Twenty-Two Ghazals and a Cento for Phyllis Webb by Diana Hayes

Diana Hayes, Toronto born, has lived on both Canadian coasts, but currently resides on the blissfully peaceful Salt Spring Island. A poet and an artist (photographer), Hayes was inspired, encouraged, and befriended by another Salt Spring Island artist, Phyllis Webb (1927-2021). Hayes wrote this collection of poems to pay tribute to a mentor, leading the viewer/reader on a journey of its own making, one that encompasses the world but has its roots on that small, compact community on an island in British Columbia’s gulf islands in the Salish Sea. The compilation of poems, Gold in the Shadow: Twenty-Two Ghazals and a Cento for Phyllis Webb, is a journey through friendship, time, place, and the overall mosaic of what it means to be Canadian.

Domesticity and Time: The Knowing Animals by Emily Skov-Nielsen

Emily Skov-Nielsen, New Brunswick mother and poet, has published her poetry in literary journals across the country. The Knowing Animals is her first published collection of poems. There is a powerful, yet subtle, suggestion of music in this collection as each sensation of knowing animals vibrantly sings her thoughts and emotions. Here, there is indeed a feminine expression of life and all that life means.