Monday 31 May 2010

My round-up of the seven books shortlisted for this year's Griffin Poetry Prize appeared in the weekend edition of the Globe and Mail. Here's what I had to say:
Judging a literary prize isn't easy. Reading so many books in such a short time is a herculean task, and then there's the heartbreaking chore of selecting a winner. All this must be doubly hard for judges of the Griffin Poetry Prize; not only do they select one book of poetry as the best in English Canada each year, they must choose another winner for the entire English-speaking world. According to the Griffin Trust, this year's crop amounted to nearly 400 books from a dozen countries. 

First on the Canadian short list is Kate Hall's debut collection, The Certainty Dream. This book is concerned with those cornerstones of surrealism, ambiguity and the unconscious mind. It's fertile ground, but difficult to plow....

To read the entire article, click here.

Tuesday 18 May 2010

"lyrical elegance and an extravagant horror that lingers"

Professor Dee Horne of UNBC has written a review my new book in the online newspaper The Mark that includes the phrase "extravagant horror that lingers"!  I'm tickled!

Here's the context:
In a style that evokes paintings by Hieronymous Bosch, Vermeersch’s writing has a lyrical elegance and an extravagant horror that lingers and invites us to re-think how we are living. For instance, “A Scorpion in Alcohol” is kept in the kitchen as a reminder that it is not the actual scorpion sting but the fear that once petrified and still haunts that is the true poison.

You can read the entire review here

Sunday 2 May 2010

Marnie Woodrow has written a terrific article about the need to preserve the Al Purdy A-frame

Here's a sample:
The campaign to save the house seeks to create a well-maintained retreat for writers for eight months of the year. The property must be purchased and the buildings restored to meet code and contemporary needs, after which heritage status can be appointed by local and provincial agencies. According to the organizers, if every Canadian donated just three cents, the dream could become a reality. “Small donations from a number of people do make a difference,” says Eurithe. That said, a handful of major donors would enable the residency to open that much sooner. If 18,000 avid Canadian readers donated $50 each (the minimum for a tax receipt), success could also be achieved. Whether or not apathy defines our culture yet again remains to be seen.

To increase awareness and raise additional funds, Harbour Publishing has produced The Al Purdy A-Frame Anthology. Proceeds from sales of this informative and beautifully produced book, edited by poet Paul Vermeersch, go directly to the campaign. It includes passionate essays by Michael Ondaatje, Dennis Lee and Steven Heighton, among many others, interspersed with Al Purdy’s own recollections of and poems about life in Ameliasburgh.
To read the entire article, click here.