The Civilizing Discourse: Interviews with Canadian Poets

Evan Jones

“If I can impart one final message, beyond the usual declarative to read poetry and buy poetry books,” writes Evan Jones in his introduction to The Civilizing Discourse, “it is to listen to poets. The real ones offer wisdom and a perspective at odds with prevalent visions.”

In a series of passionate, enlightening, frank, engaging, and sometimes astonishing conversations, thirteen poets—many acknowledged masters—open up about their writing processes, their childhoods and marriages, their regrets, as well as their hopes for and frustration with poetry. From Norm Sibum describing his affinity with a waitresses and cabbies to Nyla Matuk’s wrenching investigations into the Palestinian side of her family; from Don Coles’s obsession with alternative universes to Robyn Sarah’s praise for discarded things; from Elise Partridge describing her shift in priorities after a cancer diagnosis to Steven Heighton’s interest in remaining childlike, The Civilizing Discourse is not only a highly readable record of the literary scene today, but, in its celebration of language, will appeal to poetry readers and poets alike.

Poets included: Daryl Hine, Norm Sibum, Marius Kociejowski, Don Coles, Elise Partridge, Steven Heighton, Robyn Sarah, A.F. Moritz, Robert Bringhurst, Anne Compton, Nyla Matuk, Iman Mersal

Véhicule Press
Poetry 2024

Evan Jones’s first collection, Nothing Fell Today But Rain (2003), was a finalist for the Governor-General's Literary Award for Poetry. He co-edited Modern Canadian Poets (2010) and has since published Paralogues (2012), Later Emperors (2020), and The Barbarians Arrive Today, Poems & Prose by C.P. Cavafy (2020). Originally from Toronto, he currently lives in Manchester, UK, and is Lecturer in English at The University of Bolton.
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