What We Carry
What We Carry is a profound exploration of the weight of human history at three levels: the individual, the cultural, and environmental. From her brilliant “Extinction Sonnets”—odes to various disappearing species—to a spirited examination of everyday salutations, Susan Glickman’s range astonishes: ice storms, sugar maples, early love on the Orient Express, an archaeological dig at Mycenae. Serious but not solemn, full of linguistic and imagistic playfulness, the collection is anchored by poetic translations of Chopin’s 24 Preludes, opus 28—his most experimental and characteristic compositions. The intimacy of Chopin’s project has inspired sound-rich poems that, once again, prove Glickman’s gift for capturing the frailty of human connections in a damaged world. “First light and the last, / first love and the last.”
The Suicide's Son
“I believe in the power of original sin,” writes James Arthur, “in the wound/ that keeps on wounding.” Set against a backdrop of political turmoil in the United States, The Suicide’s Son is about the complicated personal histories that parents inherit, add to, and pass on to their children. This is a confessional book of masks and personae, of depopulated landscapes haunted by history’s violence, of speakers whose conflicted truth-telling is marked by sense of complicity in the falsehoods they glimpse around them. “I’m aging very slowly, because every part of me / is already dead," says Frankenstein’s monster. With his formidable powers of observation and inimitable ear for the cadences of speech, Arthur shows himself to be, in only his second book, one of the best English-language poets writing today.
The belief in translation as an act of self-portraiture drives Afterwords, Geoffrey Cook's ambitious reimagining of German poems by Goethe, Heine, Rilke and Brecht. Cook's versions not only transform these foreign texts into English poems in their own right, but enrich and expand his uniquely prismatic voice. Cook brings a contemporary and Canadian tone to his adaptations, which also showcase the exacting craftsmanship for which his first collection, Postscript, was praised. Afterwords is a book that daringly celebrates authorship as a shared project. "Do you not feel," writes Goethe, "that, in my songs, I am one and the other, too?"
The Hardness of Matter and Water
The Hardness of Matter and Water fulfills a poetic odyssey Québécois poet Pierre Nepveu began over four decades ago. Through a sequence of four prose poems, his anonymous protagonist walks from the heart of present-day Montreal into its southwestern margins, where the metropolis began centuries ago and which now “lays out its memories on the young grass.” Questioning his sense of belonging, social unease and mortality as he walks, and following “a shadowy voice that neither sings nor speaks,” Nepveu transports readers across wide spans of history, geography, metaphysics and speculation.
A 2016 finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry in French, rendered in English by award-winning translator Donald Winkler, The Hardness of Matter and Water is poetry at its meditative, insightful best.
Sit How You Want
"Robin Richardson’s poems take no prisoners, have a strange and authentic music all their own, and mark her … as one of the best young poets of her generation."– Thomas Lux
"Richardson uses the poetic image like a tourniquet on the eyes while a self-aware wound is inflicted elsewhere in the imagination."–Margaret Christakos