George Murray describes his latest book of poetry, Diversion, as writing from within the information-saturated world, rather than away from it (Quill & Quire, December 2015). Texting instead of birdwatching; digital billboards instead of boat-access only. Is he taking the opportunity to poke fun at stereotypical CanLit themes? Sure. Are our poets hiking out to remote places with notebooks? Some are, absolutely. But many are not.
Wilfred Laurier University Press has created the Laurier Poetry Series to build access to the diverse works of Canadian poets. As an alternative to anthologies, each book explores a single author: a critic selects 35 poems and writes an introduction; the book then closes with an afterword by the poet. As a reader of poetry, I’m familiar with many of the writers chosen for this series. But not all of them. And sometimes the knowing is only by name. I appreciate the structure of these books for the way they offer a thorough sense of the poet’s style and focus (and how those may have shifted over the years), without being overwhelming. They’re like an introductory class, tucked into a slim volume.
So which poets are we talking about? There are 25 books in the series so far, and we have 11 of them:
For those who like birds and humour, try Don McKay. If you want to visit BC, Lesbos and Japan, read Daphne Marlatt. Tom Wayman offers narrative poems about factories and love. And both derek beaulieu and Paul Dutton attend to the page with visual poetry.