25th Trillium Award

Open Book Recommends: Spring Poetry for National Poetry Month

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By Maeve O'Regan

April is National Poetry Month! To celebrate, pick up a copy of one (or all) of the exciting collections of poetry that are listed below and being released this spring.

Every day this month, Open Book: Ontario will be posting a Poetry Post. You can read the first one here. And be sure to check out the Toronto and Ontario events pages for opportunities to hear some of Canada's finest poets read at venues across the province.

You can also enter our April draw for a chance to win three books by this month's Writer in Residence, Adam Dickinson: The Polymers (House of Anansi, 2013), Kingdom, Phylum (Brick Books, 2006) and Cartography and Walking (Brick Books, 2002). To enter your name in the draw, send an email to [email protected] with the title of one of the reading recommendations that Adam lists on his WIR page. The contest closes on April 30, 2023 and is subject to the following rules.

Metaphysical Dog (House of Anansi) by Frank Bidart
In these fascinating poems of sex, art, desire and beauty, renowned poet Frank Bidart delves into human feeling and our ?hunger for the Absolute.?

The Griffin Poetry Prize 2013 Anthology (House of Anansi) edited by Suzanne Buffam, Mark Doty and Wang Ping
This annual anthology showcases the best Canadian and international poetry published in English: poetry by poets shortlisted for the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize. For over ten years, the prize has helped to focus attention on these talented poets and encouraged worldwide interest in poetry.

Placeholder (Brick Books) by Charmaine Cadeau
In this stream-of-consciousness collection, Charmaine Cadeau examines disintegration and gaps in historical record. Her poems traverse terrain that is flexible and constantly shifting, and readily showcase the extraordinary in the everyday.

Under the Keel (House of Anansi) by Michael Crummey
In his first collection in a decade, bestselling author Michael Crummey examines childhood, middle age, love and marriage in these poems of both magic and ruin.

Things That Fall (Guernica Editions) by Denise Desautels, translated by Alisa Belanger
In Things That Fall, Denise Desautels writes about the death of a childhood friend by cancer and her subsequent desire to deal with the pain that arose from that death. Her poems seek to give meaning to the meaningless and to relate her personal suffering to the history of the world?s suffering.

The Polymers (House of Anansi) by Adam Dickinson
The experimental poems in The Polymers take the shape of a science project. Exploring the intersection of poetry and chemicals (specifically plastics) and their role in culture, they demonstrate the repetitive structure in cultural and linguistic behaviours that resemble those in plastic molecules.

Adam Dickinson is Open Book's April Writer in Residence. Visit his WIR page to read his blog and his On Writing interview, and to check out his reading and website suggestions.

Human Presences & Possible Futures: Selected Poems (Guernica Editions) by Robert Dickson, translated by Jo-Anne Elder
This bilingual collection of poetry presents a selection of award-winning Franco-Ontarian poet Robert Dickson?s poetry, including pieces from Humains paysages en temps de paix relative (Human Landscapes in Times of Relative Peace), which won the Governor General?s Award.

Need Machine (Coach House Books) by Andrew Faulkner
The poems of Need Machine are both derisive and reflective. Andrew Faulkner offers a portrait of modern life that is candid and cheeky and will leave the reader absolutely in awe.

Read Open Book's Dirty Dozen interview with Andrew Faulkner.

Moon On Wild Grasses (Guernica Editions) by Keith Garebian
Keith Garebian?s poems in Moon on Wild Grasses incorporate a variety of themes into the elegant and concise form of haiku. Nature, the self, love, death and grief are portrayed with great insight and compassion.

Read The Toronto Quarterly's interview with Keith Garebian.

A Bee Garden (Cormorant Books) by Marilyn Gear Pilling
The poems of A Bee Garden are of memory, family, friendship and travel. Marilyn Gear Pilling?s fifth collection offers an affirmation of life, love, beauty and dignity, and introduces us to characters who feel instantly real.

Imagine Mercy (Bookland Press) by David Groulx
In his new poetry collection, Imagine Mercy, David Groulx writes an honest and powerful account of modern-day Aboriginal life in Canada. Highlighting the spirit and courage of the Aboriginal people, he speaks out against the prejudices and injustices that affect them.

Read Open Book's Proust Questionnaire interview with David Groulx.

A rhythm to stand beside (Cormorant Books) by Jack Hannan
The poems in Jack Hannan?s new, diverse collection are meant to accompany contemporary dance. In his signature style of semi-abstraction and free association, he sorts through the secret thoughts, fears and longings of human beings.

Read Open Book's Poets in Profile interview with Jack Hannan.

All the Daylight Hours (Cormorant Books) by Amanda Jernigan
Amanda Jernigan?s second poetry collection depicts the human journey, observing nature and artifice, love and loss and the power and limitations of language. In her meticulously crafted poems, myth, philosophy, literature and the personal are woven together in dialogue.

Hungry (Cormorant Books) by Daniel Karasik
In Hungry, Daniel Karasik?s first collection of poetry, readers are introduced to a bright literary light. His poems thoughtfully reflect on dignified life and love in a voice that is philosophical and yet still accessible.

Read Open Book's On Writing interview with Daniel Karasik.

Cottonopolis (Pedlar Press) by Rachel Lebowitz
In engaging prose and found poems, Rachel Lebowitz tells the story of the Industrial Revolution — of the cotton industry, slavery and colonization. She gives attention to the forgotten and to the savage beauty of the world.

The Woman Who Drank Her Own Reflection (Guernica Editions) by Louise McKinney
The Woman Who Drank Her Own Reflection gathers the best of Louise McKinney?s poetry from the early 1980s to now — poetry that is frequently about the natural world and her great respect for it. In her work, there is always the journey towards real joy and love of self.

Gathered Light: The Poetry of Joni Mitchell's Songs (Three O?Clock Press) edited by Lisa and John Sornberger, lyrics edited for publication by Joni Mitchell
This is the collection that Joni Mitchell fans have been waiting for. With more than 50 original contributions by writers like Wally Lamb and Fred Wah, this is a celebration of Mitchell?s poetic craft and the incredible impact that her lyrics have had on listeners for over 40 years.

a book of variations: love ? zygal ? art facts (Coach House Books) by bpNichol, edited by Stephen Voyce
This collection, which could prove to be bpNichol's most significant contribution to poetry, contains three very rare texts — ones that brilliantly illustrate the Canadian poet?s range and eclecticism.

1996 (House of Anansi) by Sara Peters
Sara Peters' debut collection is about obsession, desire, violence, sex, beauty and cruelty. Her poems introduce readers to extraordinary characters who are experiencing horrifying things and demonstrate the complexity of life itself.

Afloat (Brick Books) by John Reibetanz
In his eighth collection of poetry, John Reibetanz focuses on the many manifestations of water. A highly skilled poet, Reibetanz has created poetry that contemplates, inquires, elegizes, conceptualizes, commemorates and feels.

Read Open Book's On Writing interview with John Reibetanz.

Love's Not The Way To (Bookland Press) by Stan Rogal
Dedicated to the life and work of minimalist writer Richard Brautigan, Stan Rogal?s collection consists entirely of haiku poems, which is in keeping with Brautigan?s penchant for short, imagistic poetry. Love?s Not The Way To celebrates the life of this American novelist, poet and short story writer, and also looks to introduce his poetic sensibility to a new audience.

Read Open Book's Poets in Profile interview with Stan Rogal.

The April Poems (The Porcupine?s Quill) by Leon Rooke
In his newest collection, Leon Rooke introduces readers to his heroine, the vivacious and incomparable April, revealing her character through the distinctive perspectives of those who pass through her life. With April, Rooke explores what it means to be human.

Exile At Last: Selected Poems (Guernica Editions) by Chava Rosenfarb, edited by Goldie Morgentaler
Jewish-Canadian author and Holocaust survivor Chava Rosenfarb wrote Yiddish poetry and novels. This collection, edited by her daughter as a tribute to Rosenfarb, presents a selection of her work arranged to follow the chronology of her life: from the poems she wrote as a young girl in the Lodz ghetto to the poems of her adult life in Canada.

For Display Purposes Only (Coach House Books) by David Seymour
Cloning, super-slo-mo photography and narcotic cab rides — David Seymour?s poems in this collection observe the spectacle, the bizarre. He makes fun of consciousness and plays on our ability to be duplicitous and our tendency to self-deceive.

Read George Murray's Questionless Books interview with David Seymour.

The Family China (Brick Books) by Ann Shin
Ann Shin explores migration, loss and the desire to rebuild in these poems about belonging and the bonds of family. She confronts the complicated nature of our human relationships and portrays conflicts and plights that we can all relate to.

Buy these books at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Maeve O'Regan is an avid reader, occasional writer and enthusiastic publishing newbie. She is currently interning for Open Book: Toronto and enrolled in the Publishing Certificate Program at Ryerson University. She worked previously as an editorial intern at Knopf Canada.

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