Guest edited by Jacob McArthur Mooney, this eighth edition of Canada’s vibrant yearly anthology features the fifty finest Canadian poems published during 2014. The Best Canadian Poetry series, which thrives under the stewardship of acclaimed series editor Molly Peacock and assistant editor Anita Lahey, ushers readers into the heart of the diverse Canadian poetry scene. A must-read for anyone with a stake or interest in contemporary Canadian literature.
“No matter what your tastes, there are some poems here you’ll really like… The wide range of writers, forms and themes represented here make it a great jumping-off point for readers who might be interested in Canadian poetry but are unsure about where to start.”—Emma Healey, Globe and Mail
“The Best Canadian Poetry series offers an annual glimpse of poetry published across Canada, complete with a diverse sampling of voices and experiences that may be appreciated beyond borders.”—Lori A. May, examiner.com
“Readers will find this edition replete with new and memorable verses that will welcome them into the wilds of poetry.”—Publishers Weekly
Jacob McArthur Mooney’s second collection, Folk (McClelland & Stewart, 2011), was nominated for the Trillium Book Award in Poetry and the Dylan Thomas Prize. Work from his forthcoming third collection (M&S, 2016) has been shortlisted for a National Magazine Award, won the Arc Magazine Poem of the Year and Prairie Fire Bliss Carman Awards, and been included in the 2012 and 2013 editions of Best Canadian Poetry in English. He lives with his wife and son in Toronto where he hosts and co-directs the Pivot Reading Series.
Anita Lahey is a poet, journalist, reviewer and essayist. She is the author of The Mystery Shopping Cart: Essays on Poetry and Culture (Palimpsest Press, 2013) and of two Véhicule Press poetry collections: Out to Dry in Cape Breton (2006) and Spinning Side Kick (2011). The former was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and the Ottawa Book Award. Anita is a former editor of Arc Poetry Magazine, and posts occasionally on her blog, Henrietta & Me: People and other wonders found in books.
Molly Peacock is a widely anthologized poet who writes biography, memoir, and fiction. Her newest work is Alphabetique: 26 Characteristic Fictions, with illustrations by Kara Kosaka. She is also the author of The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72. Her latest book of poetry is The Second Blush (all from McClelland and Stewart). Her poetry is the subject of Jason Guriel’s monograph, Molly Peacock: A Critical Introduction (Story Line Press, 2014).
Chocolates and love poems! Join Tightrope Books and the Best Canadian Poetry series for a special Valentine’s Day reading hosted by Molly Peacock and Jim Nason. The afternoon features a selection of poets from various years of the annual Best Canadian Poetry anthology. Readers include Michael Fraser, Maureen Hynes, Jim Johnstone, Aaron Kreuter, Anita Lahey, Kateri Lanthier, Sonnet L’Abbe, Laura Lush, Ruth Roach Pierson, Moez Surani.
Saturday, February 14, 2:00pm, Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay St, Toronto.
PRICE: $17.95 – special sale price!
Continuing in a long-established tradition of poetry excellence, the fifty poems in this seventh annual collection are culled from Canadian literary magazines and journals. Sonnet L’Abbe’s handpicked selections include the best, and most current, representations of the vibrant Canadian poetry scene. This distinguished volume includes poets John Barton, Marilyn Bowering, Nicole Brossard, Jan Conn, George Elliott Clarke, Jason Guriel, Sue Goyette, Don McKay, Susan Musgrave, Michael Ondaatje, Carmine Starnino, Karen Solie and many more.
“…no matter what your tastes, there are some poems here you’ll really like”—The Globe and Mail
Guest editor Sonnet L’Abbé, Ph.D. is the author of two collections of poetry, A Strange Relief and Killarnoe, both published by McClelland and Stewart. She was the 2017StartsNow! Artist-in-Motion in 2013. She is now at work on Sentient Mental Flower Book and Sonnet’s Shakespeare, her third and fourth collections of poems, and on a book about the plant-mind metaphors in the work of American poet Ronald Johnson. L’Abbé has reviewed fiction and poetry for the Globe and Mail, and has taught writing at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies and at the University of British Columbia. She will be the 2015 Edna Staebler Writer-In-Residence at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Assistant series editor Anita Lahey is a poet, journalist, reviewer and essayist. She is the author of The Mystery Shopping Cart: Essays on Poetry and Culture (Palimpsest Press, 2013) and of two Véhicule Press poetry collections: Out to Dry in Cape Breton (2006) and Spinning Side Kick (2011). The former was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and the Ottawa Book Award. Anita is a former editor of Arc Poetry Magazine.
Series editor Molly Peacock is a widely anthologized poet who writes biography, memoir and fiction. Her newest work is Alphabetique: 26 Characteristic Fictions, with illustrations by Kara Kosaka. She is also the author of The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72. Her latest book of poetry is The Second Blush (all from McClelland and Stewart). Her poetry is the subject of Jason Guriel’s recent monograph Molly Peacock: A Critical Introduction (Story Line, 2014).
Join Tightrope books and series editors Molly Peacock & Anita Lahey and 2014 guest editor Sonnet L’Abbe in celebrating the Toronto launch of The Best Canadian Poetry in English, 2014 – the 7th edition of this distinguished annual anthology. The event features readings by several of the 2014 edition’s contributors, including George Elliott Clarke, Jan Conn, Stevie Howell, Aaron Kreuter, Kateri Lanthier, Pearl Pirie, Moez Surani, Nick Thran, Zoe Whittall, plus Ruth Marshall reading for Isabel Huggan.
Monday, November 24, 7pm, Joy Bistro, 884 Queen St East, Toronto.
PRICE: $14.95 – special sale price!
Continuing in a long-established tradition of poetry excellence, the fifty poems in this sixth annual collection are culled from Canadian literary magazines and journals. Sue Goyette’s handpicked selections include the best, and most current, representations of the vibrant Canadian poetry scene. This distinguished volume includes contemporary poets Anne Carson, Anne Compton, Lorna Crozier, Mary Dalton, Michael Frazier, M. Travis Lane, Patrick Lane, Jacob McArthur Mooney, Jane Munro, Ruth Roach Pierson, Elizabeth Ross, Karen Solie, Sue Sinclair, John Steffler, Matthew Tierney, Fred Wah, and many more.
ABOUT THE GUEST EDITOR
Sue Goyette is the author of the poetry collections Ocean, Outskirts, The True Names of Birds, and Undone as well as the novel Lures. She won the 2008 CBC Literary Prize for Poetry, the 2010 Earle Birney Prize, the 2011 Bliss Carman Award, the 2012 Pat Lowther Award, and the 2012 Atlantic Poetry Prize. She teaches in the creative writing program at Dalhousie University and lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
ABOUT THE SERIES EDITOR
Molly Peacock is a widely anthologized poet and creative nonfiction writer. Her latest work of nonfiction is The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72, and her most recent collection of poetry is The Second Blush. A contributing editor of the Literary Review of Canada, she inaugurated The Best Canadian Poetry in English in 2008 and continues to serve as the series editor. She lives in Toronto.
Join Tightrope Books and The Best of Canadian Poetry in English in celebrating the Sixth Anniversary of our Canadian Poetry series with the Best Friends Tea Party Fundraiser on Sunday December 1st, 2-4pm, at the Intercontinental Hotel, 220 Bloor Street West, Proof Restaurant.
First published first in 2008, and edited by series editor Molly Peacock, The Best of Canadian Poetry in English has tapped into the remarkable Canadian poetry scene, checking out the currents—and cross-currents—of poetry with distinguished editors including: Stephanie Bolster, A.F. Moritz, Lorna Crozier, Priscila Uppal, Carmine Starnino and Sue Goyette.
Best of Canadian Poetry in English invites the public to become a Best Friend by joining us in a party to toast poets, poetry, teachers, readers and lovers of poets and poetry. Your contribution will not only ensure the long and happy life of this cherished Canadian poetry annual, but delight you with poetry readings, delicious food and drink, and your own copy of The Best of Canadian Poetry in English 2013.
The Best of Canadian Poetry In English Best Friends 6th Birthday Party on December 2st at Proof at the Intercontinental Hotel, 220 Bloor Street West. Tickets in advance are $50.00 per person for a Best Friend, $100.00 for a Brilliant Best Friend.
December 1 2-4 p.m. at Proof on the ground floor of the Intercontinental Hotel, 220 Bloor Street West, Toronto.
If you would like to come to the party and support BCP, please click below to purchase tickets.
Continuing in a long-established tradition of poetry excellence, this collection of 50 poems is culled from Canadian literary magazines and journals. The handpicked selection includes the best, and most current, representations of the vibrant Canadian poetry scene. This distinguished volume offers both a convenient introduction to contemporary poets in Canada and a collectible yearbook for seasoned poetry readers, distilled by the esteemed editorial tastes of a new guest editor and an accomplished poetry editor.
“Bravo: a Canadian first. Tightrope Books releases its first annual roundup of poetry from Canadian journals, revealing what poets are up to in their proverbial basements, garrets and broom closets from coast to coast to coast. Buy it, or borrow it, but do read it.” – Paul Tyler, Arc Poetry Annual
“The collection is a unique glimpse at a diversity of poets, from Ottawa’s David O’Meara to Margaret Atwood to the revered P.K. Page.”—Cormac Rae, Ottawa Xpress
Molly Peacock, a poet and a creative nonfiction writer, is the author of The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72 (2010) and six books of poetry, including The Second Blush (2008) and Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems (2002). Among her other works are a memoir called Paradise, Piece By Piece (1998). She is the editor of a collection of creative non-fiction, The Private I: Privacy in a Public World (2001) and the co-editor of Poetry in Motion: One Hundred Poems from the Subways and Buses (1996).
Carmine Starnino has published four critically acclaimed volumes of poetry, including This Way Out (2009), which was nominated for the Governor General’s Award. His other books include A Lover’s Quarrel (2004), a collection of reviews and essays, and The New Canon: An Anthology of Canadian Poetry (2005), which he edited. His most recent book is Lazy Bastardism: Essays and Reviews on Contemporary Poetry (2012). Starnino lives in Montreal, where he is poetry editor for Vehicule Press.
The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2011 proudly continues a series that kicked off with a bang in 2008 and thrives under the stewardship of esteemed editor Molly Peacock and a different acclaimed poet guest editor each year. For 2011, Priscila Uppal chose the fifty best Canadian poems published in Canadian online and print literary journals in 2010. With this annual anthology, readers are able to tap into the remarkable and vibrant Canadian poetry scene.
“Tightrope is doing a great service to Canadian poetry by launching this series, and Uppal does a commendable job with this go-around. I will definitely keep my eyes open for subsequent editions in the coming years.” Mark Sampson, Free Range Reading
About the Guest Editor
Priscila Uppal is a poet, novelist, and York University professor. Her publications include Ontological Necessities (shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize), Traumatology, Successful Tragedies (Bloodaxe books, UK), Winter Sport: Poems (written as Canadian Athletes Now poet-in-residence for the Olympic and Paralympic Games) the novels The Divine Economy of Salvation and To Whom It May Concern, and the study We Are What We Mourn: The Contemporary English-Canadian Elegy. Time Out London recently dubbed her “Canada’s coolest poet.” Visit priscilauppal.ca
About the Series Editor
Molly Peacock is the author of six volumes of poetry, including The Second Blush; a memoir, Paradise, Piece by Piece; and a one-woman show in poems, “The Shimmering Verge.” She is a contributing editor of the Literary Review of Canada and a faculty mentor at the Spalding MFA Program. Her latest work of nonfiction is The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delaney Begins Her Life’s Work at 72, which was nominated for BC’s National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.
As I read 2007’s possible contenders – each on several occasions, to increase a poem’s chances of striking me in a receptive moment – what was I looking for? First: good writing. Awkward or rote syntax; familiar expressions, images and locutions; or random lineation, ruled a poem out. A meaningfully rebellions and distinctive syntax or deliberately dissonant music often riled it in. Second: depth and challenge, be that emotional or intellectual. If additional readings failed to yield new insights and appreciations, but rather, dulled the flash I’d sensed the first time around, the poem lost its Post-it note. Finally, and inseparable from the first two criteria: an interesting, even strange, sensibility or imagination. (As an undergrad, I fumed when one of my instructors remarked that my poems failed to startle. I didn’t want to startle; surely the startle factor was overrated. Only later dud I realize that what I did want to do – to please – doomed my poems to mediocrity.) “Startling” need not imply clatter and flash. I sought poems that excited and surprised me, that felt (boldly or quietly) necessary, often urgent. I sought poems serious and poems frivolous (though seriously frivolous). Those poems that played it safe, that failed to follow through on the risks they initiated, or that took risks apparently for their own sake, without integrity to form content, did not make it into the anthology, though some distinguished themselves enough to appear on the long list. I was without doubt a tougher critic than if I’d been reading fewer poems, but asking myself whether I could confidently put my name behind a particular choice forced me to be discerning.
Introduction: Canadian Poetry Today
The Feeling for Being: Canadian Poetry in a Landscape
Today’s Canadian poetry is an adventure undertaken with brio. Its clarity and surge are evident equally whether its mood is dark or light, its pace meditative or militant. Great human hopes and debates are engaged with an openness that bespeaks humility, but with the confidence that leads an artist to firm outline, to vivid colour and movement. These qualities are evident on every page of The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2009. Let me choose these lines from Dave Margoshes’ poem “Becoming a Writer”:
What could be easier than learning to write?
Novels, poems, fables with and without morals,
they’re all within you, in the heart, the head,
the bowel, the tip of the pen a diviner’s rod.
Reach inside and there they are…
INTRODUCTION: HOLDING FEATHERS IN YOUR TEETH
Naming takes place almost immediately after creation in the Book of Genesis. God, who perhaps understood the difficulty of the task, washed his hands of it and gave the responsibility to the man he’d just moulded from clay and spittle. There are two different kinds of Adams, according to Don McKay in one of his talks about poetry. The one who is the scientist, Don says, observes the animals, names them, and goes home happy to a warm supper and a good sleep, his job complete. The Adam who is the poet observes them, names them, goes home, and can’t eat or sleep. He knows he didn’t get it right and has to try again. And again.
St. Paul’s Chapel of Trinity Wall Street and The American Poets’ Corner at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine will collaborate in a new poetry series, Verse Visits: World Poets in New York, on Thursday, March 3 with the inaugural reading, “Best Canadian Poetry, The Soul in the Leaf,” at St. Paul’s Chapel at 1 p.m. and again at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine at 7 p.m. Continue reading
The event features guest editor Lorna Crozier and contributors to The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2010 (Tightrope Books).
Hosted by series editor and poet Molly Peacock, the evening is co-sponsored by Tightrope Books.
Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House
58 W. 10th Street
New York, NY
The outstanding success of The Best Canadian Poetry in English series continues in 2010 with guest editor Lorna Crozier.
The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2010 proudly continues a series that kicked off with a bang in 2008 under the stewardship of esteemed series editor, Molly Peacock, and inaugural guest editor, award-winning poet Stephanie Bolster. The 2009 edition was expertly curated by A.F. Moritz, winner of the 2009 Griffin Poetry Prize. And this year, Lorna Crozier has chosen the fifty best Canadian poems published in Canadian literary journals and magazines in the preceding year. With this anthology, readers—often baffled by proliferating poems and poets—will be able to tap into the remarkable and vibrant Canadian poetry scene, checking out the currents—and cross currents—of poetry in a volume distilled by a round robin of distinguished editorial taste.
Praise for The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2009:
“This would be an excellent book for the academic and the casual poetry fan who wants to dust off the rust in their CanLit poetry ligaments.”
—Michael Peckham, Broken Pencil
“If poems outside Moritz’s personal aesthetic are understandably absent, the chosen fifty, presented alphabetically from Atwood to Zwicky, are in no way devoid of delights, and my notes record many remarkable moments.”
—Maxianne Berger, Rover Arts
“The collection is a unique glimpse at a diversity of poets, from Ottawa’s David O’Meara to Margaret Atwood to the revered P.K. Page.”
—Cormac Rae, Ottawa Xpress
About the Guest Editor
Lorna Crozier has received numerous awards for her fourteen books of poetry, including the Governor-General’s Award-winning Inventing the Hawk. She has also edited anthologies, among them Desire in Seven Voices and, with Patrick Lane, Addicted: Notes from the Belly of the Beast and two anthologies of new Canadian poets, Breathing Fire 1 and 2. Her most recent book is Small Beneath the Sky: A Prairie Memoir. She has read her work in every continent except Antartica and last year a collection of her poems translated into Spanish was published in Mexico City. She lives in Saanich, BC, and teaches and serves as Chair in the Writing Department at the University of Victoria.
About the Series Editor
Molly Peacock is the author of six volumes of poetry, including The Second Blush (McClelland & Stewart, 2009), Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems (W.W. Norton) a memoir Paradise, Piece by Piece, and a one-woman show in poems, “The Shimmering Verge” produced by Louise Fagan Productions (London, Ontario). She has been series editor of The Best Canadian Poetry in English since 2007, as well as a contributing editor of the Literary Review of Canada and a faculty mentor at the Spalding MFA Program. Her poetry, published in leading literary journals in North America and the UK, is widely anthologized. Her latest work of nonfiction is The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72 (McClelland & Stewart, 2010).
Poems that reflect the individual’s experience in the urban jungle, combining observation and insight that every city dweller will recognize. The city, at once benevolent and indifferent to its residents, is the inspiration for this debut collection of poetry by Suzanne Bowness. In the first poem, a young woman arrives in the big city, where “in the beginning, anonymity is everywhere,” and wonders what her life there will bring. Using this new arrival as her starting point, Bowness moves on to develop urban themes of anonymity and collectivity alongside individualist themes of freedom, loneliness, and growing self identity. Part private reflection, part love letter to the metropolis, The Days You’ve Spent pulls back the curtain on city life, finding beauty in neon signs and profundity in laundromats. In these poems, the individual and the city interweave, and urban immersion becomes an essential element in personal growth.
“She [Sue Bowness] is a bard of whimsical domesticity, very much like Molly Peacock, whose endorsement graces the back cover.”—George Elliot Clarke, author of Whylah Falls
Suzanne (Sue) Bowness is a writer and editor whose poems have appeared in the Literary Review of Canada and Pagitica. Her play The Reading Circle won first place in the 2006 Ottawa Little-Theatre One-Act Playwriting Competition. She has a PhD in English from the University of Ottawa.
From a long list drawn from Canadian literary journals and magazines, award-winning poet A.F. Moritz, the volume’s guest editor, has chosen 50 of the best Canadian poems published in 2008.
With this anthology, readers, often baffled by proliferating poems and poets, will be able to tap into the remarkable and vibrant Canadian poetry scene, checking out the currents – and cross currents – of poetry in a volume distilled by a round robin of distinguished editorial taste.
Featuring work from Margaret Atwood, Margaret Avison, Ken Babstock, Shirley Bear, Tim Bowling, Asa Boxer, Anne Compton, Jan Conn, Lorna Crozier, Barry Dempster, Don Domanski, John Donlan, Tyler Enfield, Jesse Ferguson, Connie Fife, Adam Getty, Steven Heighton, Michael Johnson, Sonnet L’Abbe, Anita Lahey, M Travis Lane, Evelyn Lau, Richard Lemm, Dave Margoshes, Don McKay, Eric Miller, Shane Neilson, Peter Norman, David O’Meara, PK Page, Elise Partridge, Elizabeth Philips, Meredith Quartermain, Matt Rader, John Reibetanz, Robyn Sarah, Peter Dale Scott, Cora Sire, Karen Solie, Carmine Starnino, John Steffler, Ricardo Sternberg, John Terpstra, Sharon Thesen, Matthew Tierney, Patrick Warner, Tom Wayman, Patricia Young, Changming Yuan, and Jan Zwicky.
About the guest editor:
A native of Niles, Ohio, A.F. Moritz has lived in Toronto since graduating from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1974. He teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Toronto. His poetry has received the Award in Literature of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, as well as Canada Council, Guggenheim Foundation and Ingram Merrill Foundation fellowships. He has translated books by Ludwig Zeller including In the Country of the Antipodes: Selected Poems 1964 – 1979 and The Ghost’s Tattoos.
About the series editor:
Molly Peacock is the author of five volumes of poetry, including Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems, published by Penguin Canada, and by W.W. Norton in the US and UK. She is the Poetry Editor of the Literary Review of Canada. Before she emigrated to Canada in1992, she was one of the creators of Poetry in Motion on the Buses and Subways in New York City, and she served as an early advisor to Poetry On The Way. Peacock is also the author of a memoir, Paradise, Piece by Piece, published by McClelland and Stewart, and of a book about poetry, How To Read A Poem & Start A Poetry Circle, also published by M & S. Her reviews and essays have appeared in the Globe and Mail. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and the TLS. Recently she toured with her one-woman show in poems, The Shimmering Verge produced by the London, Ontario based company, Femme Fatale Productions. She lives in Toronto with her husband, Michael Groden, an English Professor at the University of Western Ontario. Her website is: mollypeacock.org.
From a long list of one hundred poems drawn from Canadian literary journals magazines, this year’s guest editor, award winning poet Stephanie Bolster, has chosen fifty of the best Canadian poems published in 2007.
With this anthology readers, baffled by proliferating poems and poets, can for the first time tap into the remarkable and vibrant Canadian poetry scene. Readers are invited to explore the currents and cross-currents of poetry in a distinguished volume distilled by a round robin of esteemed editorial taste.
Featuring work from Maleea Acker, James Arthur, Leanne Averbach, Margaret Avison, Ken Babstock, John Wall Barger, Brian Bartlett, John Barton, Yvonne Blomer, Tim Bowling, Heather Cadsby, Anne Compton, Kevin Connolly, Meira Cook, Dani Couture, Sadiqa de Meijer, Barry Dempster, Jeramy Dodds, Jeffery Donaldson, Susan Elmslie, Jason Guriel, Aurian Haller, Jason Heroux, Iain Higgins, Bill Howell, Helen Humphreys, Amanda Lamarche, Tim Lilburn, Michael Lista, Keith Maillard, Don McKay, AF Moritz, Jim Nason, Peter Norman, Alison Pick, E Alex Pierce, Craig Poile, Matt Rader, Michael Eden Reynolds, Shane Rhodes, Joy Russell, Heather Sellers, David Seymour, J Mark Smith, Adam Sol, Carmine Starnino, Anna Swanson, Todd Swift, JR Toriseva, and Leif E Vaage.
About the editors:
Molly Peacock is the author of five volumes of poetry, including Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems. She is the Poetry Editor of the Literary Review of Canada. Before she emigrated to Canada in1992, she was one of the creators of Poetry in Motion in New York City, and she served as an early advisor to Poetry On The Way. Her reviews and essays have appeared in the Globe and Mail, and her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and the TLS. She lives in Toronto.
Stephanie Bolster’s first book, White Stone: The Alice Poems, won the Governor General’s Award and the Gerald Lampert Award in 1998. She has also published Two Bowls of Milk, which won the Archibald Lampman Award and was shortlisted for the Trillium Award. Her work has appeared in literary journals internationally and has also garnered her the Bronwen Wallace Award, the Norma Epstein Award, and The Malahat Review’s Long Poem Prize. Her several chapbooks include, most recently, Biodme and Past the Roman Arena. Raised in Burnaby, B.C., she now lives in Montreal, where she teaches in the creative writing programme at Concordia University.