Tammy Armstrong wastes no time in dispelling expectations of nature poetry in Year of the Metal Rabbit. In her the opening poem “We Spent the Summer on Islands,” she signals to readers that this collection will go beyond the call of nature: “We pushed off our boats and stayed awake counting stars / conjuring mythologies of black rabbits and hard chalk castles / weather patterns and qualities of light.” Here, Armstrong signals to her readers that Year of the Metal Rabbit will go beyond the call of nature. Her poems tirelessly traverse domestic and public spaces, and personal and historical narratives, in an endless, hungry search, not for anything specific, but out of a sheer desire to remain aware and present, to keep the first-person “I”—of the speaker and the reader—constantly in flux, because “something childish still / wants to stay in animal time” (“The Varying Hare”).
In The Grand River Watershed: A Folk Ecology, Karen Houle rubs together several epistemological registers in order to enact what she describes as “different qualities of truth.”
The next logical choice for George Elliott Clarke’s poetry collections associated with colour (there was Blue, Black, then Red), was Gold. The book brims with the musical and learned force we’ve come to expect while managing to feel like a sunset, casting a glow and shadow over his seminal works. The gold sleeve covering the cover, and covered with the chemical symbol, “Au,” is a physical manifestation of his belief, and opening quote, that, “Beauty…is the sole business of poetry.”
In her third collection, Albertan poet Monica Kidd does the rare work of travelling light. The Year of Our Beautiful Exile tracks the media and methods of displacement, and Kidd maps her terrain with an expert eye: here the slow, specific creep of evolution, there the quick gulp of the Albertan floodwaters. Revelling in the “sudden stops along the road / to pull focus,” the collection ultimately wends its way home, sounding out and condensing the world just enough for travel.
High on the slopes of the Yukon’s Ruby Range, beyond the Arctic Circle, “a kilometre above sea level,” little can grow in the talus and scree, and that which does manage to root itself attains no great height. “[W]e are the tallest objects,” writes Elena Johnson, “bent by wind.” The poems in Johnson’s debut collection were initially composed during a stint in the Kluane Alpine Ecosystem Project field camp in the summer of 2008, a residency she herself—an experienced park naturalist and field ecology researcher—proposed.
Given the immensity of Canada’s geography and the breadth of its poetic styles, it’s surprising that poetic correspondences, such as the one between Allan Cooper and Harry Thurston, don’t occur more frequently. The Deer Yard is a verse exchange that invokes the Wang River Sequence between 8th c. Chinese poets Wang Wei and his friend […]
Forge is a book of extraordinarily beautiful poems. The book appears suspended—even the print floating just off the page. Reading it or even thinking about it, I have a strong sense of being physically slowed down, of holding my breath. It is not only Zwicky’s subject matter and imagery, but her exact and meticulous poetics. […]
Congratulations to Paul Tyler, author of A Short History of Forgetting (Gaspereau Press) winner of the 2011 Archibald Lampman Award The Archibald Lampman Award is presented annually to an outstanding collection of English-language poetry by an author living in the National Capital Region. The award is named in honour of Archibald Lampman (1861—1899), one of […]
Arc Poetry Magazine is proud to present—drumroll—the 2011 Lampman shortlist! The Archibald Lampman Award is presented annually to an outstanding collection of English-language poetry by an author living in the National Capital Region. Nina Berkhout, Arrivals and Departures, BuschekBooks Terry Ann Carter, A Crazy Man Thinks He’s Ernest in Paris, Black Moss Press Paul […]