In the foreword What the Poets Are Doing: Canadian Poets in Conversation, editor Rob Taylor gives his inspiration for the collection: 2002’s Where the Words Come From: Canadian Poets in Conversation (Nightwood Editions) edited by Tim Bowling. Where Bowling’s editorial vision encompassed an homage to Al Purdy (who died in 2000), Taylor’s honours the work of deceased poet and Tragically Hip singer Gord Downey. The title, What the Poets Are Doing, echoes a lyric from the Tragically Hip song “Poets.”
Sue Goyette’s The Brief Reincarnation of a Girl offers a poetic account of the real-life story of Rebecca Riley, a four-year-old girl from Massachusetts who died of an overdose of neuropharmaceuticals (including Depakote, Seroquel, and Clonidine) that had been prescribed for ADHD and bipolar disorder. Her parents were later convicted of her murder; the prescribing doctor, although no longer practicing, was not tried.