Ottawa’s own Stephen Brockwell hosts an evening of stellar poetry.
Rachel Zolf ’s fifth book, Janey’s Arcadia, assembles a pirate score of error-ridden historical and current documents—missionary narratives, immigration pamphlets, settler writings—to decry the ongoing violence of Canadian colonialism. It stars Janey Settler-Invader, a foul-mouthed mutant slouching toward the Red River Colony, along with a host of cacophonous, carnivalesque appropriations.
Orient is the third collection from ReLit winner Gillian Wigmore, one of Western Canada’s most accomplished poets. Composed mainly of three long poems—an extended meditation on the connection between man and fish, the lament of a big-souled cowboy poet looking up from rock bottom, and a historical envisioning of an intimate relationship between a pioneer and a powerful crone—Orient leaps, sings, burrows down, and orients the reader within its rich ecosystem.
Honest and self-aware, Governor General's Award winner Patrick Lane evokes some of the most inexpressible experiences a human being can undergo in his new collection Washita: the loss of a parent, the breakdown of a body, the perversion of nature, the acquiring of wisdom. In Hard-Rock, a boy begins to understand that his father will die: “His lungs created elaborate cathedrals from quartz dust, / a crystal symphony playing Mahler under water.” In Submission, a speaker struggles with losing his sight, capable only of expressing himself through metaphor. But amid this darkness sparks an awareness of the artistry of the world: “Vete a la mierda, hijo de puta! / Hate is beautiful in Spanish.”