Colborne, Ontario poet, writer and curator Gil McElroy’s four trade poetry collections, each published by Vancouver publisher Talonbooks, are Ordinary Time (2011), Last Scattering Surfaces (2007), NonZero Definitions (2004) and Dream Pool Essays (2001). Given his three prior decades of journal, anthology and chapbook publication before Karl Siegler at Talonbooks first took on his work, McElroy’s trade books present the work of a fully mature and engaged artist, one who has been dedicated to his craft for some time. Anyone with any passing knowledge of McElroy’s poetry would certainly begin to notice a series of patterns, from the extended sequences, the abstract punctuations of time and geography, to poems on comets, constellations and other cosmic bodies.
Cecily Nicholson is the administrator of Gallery Gachet and has worked with women of the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver, BC since 2000. Her work, both creative and social, engages conditions of displacement, class, and gender violence. Nicholson is the author of Triage and From the Poplars, and is a contributor to Anamnesia: Unforgetting. In a Jacket2 interview with Jules Boykoff, Nicholson spoke about her first book Triage:
Natalie Simpson lives in Calgary, Alberta and is the author of accrete or crumble and Thrum. Her poetry has appeared in several anthologies, including Shy, The Best Canadian Poetry in English, Ground Rules, Shift & Switch, and Post-Prairie. Simpson curates filling Station magazine’s flywheel reading series and is highly active in the Calgary poetry scene.
Weyman Chan was born in Calgary, Alberta, in 1963, to immigrant parents from China. Chan has published poems and short stories in a wide variety of literary journals and anthologies. He won the 2003 Alberta Book Award for his first book of poetry, Before a Blue Sky Moon and his second book, Noise From the Laundry, was a finalist for the 2008 Governor General’s Award for Poetry and the 2009 Acorn-Plantos Award for People’s Poetry. Chan’s most recent collection Chinese Blue draws on more than two thousand years of ancient Chinese tradition that present diverse philosophical modes of being in contemporary times.
Wanda John-Kehewin defines herself as a mixed-blood Cree writer originally from Kehewin, Alberta. Raised on a reservation with only pencils and paper as her creative outlet, she attributes that hard, simple life with opening her imagination to using words to paint pictures of social justice, realism, and love. John-Kehewin uses writing as a therapeutic medium for understanding and responding to the near decimation of Native culture, language, and tradition.
Lola Lemire Tostevin was born into a French-speaking family in Timmins, Ontario although she writes mainly in English, and wonderfully so. That being the case, her poetry, novels, and essays communicate her interest in “contamination” (over ideologue-ish notions of purity or concepts that limit expressions of the individual), promulgating creative work that combines aspects of one language or culture with another, or for that matter, one genre with another.
The second edition of The New Long Poem Anthology (edited by acclaimed poet Sharon Thesen), a collection of longer works; sequential poems; extended poems; and serial, lengthy or longish poems, is an important resource and geomantic touchstone for aspiring writers and fans of #CanLit alike, and includes work by Anne Carson, Christopher Dewdney, Lisa Robertson, Jeff Derksen, Don McKay, Erin Mouré, Patrick Friesen, Steve McCaffery, George Bowering, Dionne Brand, Louis Dudek, Diana Hartog, Robert Kroetsch, Daphne Marlatt, David McFadden, Barry McKinnon, bpNichol, Michael Ondaatje, Lola Lemire Tostevin, Fred Wah, Phyllis Webb, Robin Blaser, and Yolande Villemaire.