What I’ve always found interesting about Ottawa poet Roland Prevost’s poetry is in the lengthy, detailed process that brought him to where he is now. For an hour or three a day, he composes in what he refers to as his “logbook”: composing journal entries, drafts of fiction, poetry and essays, and notes on recent reading. It has only been over the past decade or so, upon emerging to engage with Ottawa’s community of writers, reading series, publishers and performers, that Prevost has begun to shift in his composition, becoming more deliberate about writing poems-as-poems, all of which has culminated in his first book of poetry, Singular Plurals (Chaudiere Books, 2014).
Pearl Pirie has been one of the most active and engaged poets in Ottawa for at least a decade, from her enormous productivity as a writer, performer, reviewer, blogger, editor, radio host, workshop facilitator, food columnist and small press publisher, to irregularly hosting salon workshops and readings in the house she shares with her partner of twenty-three years, the designer Brian Pirie. Through her growing handful of books and chapbooks, what appeals about Pirie’s work is the way in which sound, mashed words and an unhindered sequence of meanings manage to propel across the page.
I recently received a copy of o w n (CUE, 2014), a book of three new works constructed through a variety of text and visuals connected through the suggestion of shared affinities: a sense of collage, disjuncture and ecopoetic.
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.
Over a career stretching more than four decades, Canadian poet Phil Hall has become known as the “poet’s poet,” more widely known and appreciated only during the past half-decade or so. Somehow, in the course of a conversation with poet and Wilfrid Laurier University Press Director, Brian Henderson, it followed that I would be editing a selection of thirty-eight of Hall’s poems for a “selected poems” as part of their Laurier Poetry Series. This press has produced two dozen titles of selected poems by Canadian poets, each guest-edited, and has established itself with an impressive series, predominantly aimed toward university and college courses, and the possibility of a new readership for established Canadian poets. Authors in the series include Fred Wah (ed. Louis Cabri), Nicole Brossard (ed. Louise H. Forsyth), derek beaulieu (ed. Kit Dobson), Christopher Dewdney (ed. Karl Jirgens), Dennis Cooley (ed. Nicole Markotić), Di Brandt (ed. Tanis MacDonald), Daphne Marlatt (ed. Susan Knutson) and Steve McCaffery (ed. Darren Wershler).