Saturday 7 January 2012

Chris Banks talks about his book Winter Cranes

Chris Banks is well on his way to being Canada's premier meditative poet, and his Winter Cranes was one of my favourite books of poetry published in Canada in 2011. In a "One Question Interview" with Alex Boyd, Banks discusses the ideas and motivations behind his quiet, well-crafted poems. Here is a sample:
... a problem arises when we pay too much attention to the inner chatter of the mind, it can lead to self-seeking and isolation from other people. Thankfully poetry has taught me to mind the gap. My imagination looks for resemblances and correspondences and suddenly a connection between what is happening in my mind and what is on the outside is satisfied for a moment, and there is a feeling of transcendence.

Read the whole piece here.

Thursday 5 January 2012

Some of My Favourite Canadian Poetry Books of 2011

A top ten of sorts. In alphabetical order by title:

Campfire Radio Rhapsody by Robert Earl Stewart (Mansfield Press).

Earworm by Nick Thran (Nightwood Editions).

Folk by Jacob McArthur Mooney (McClelland & Stewart).

Gift Horse by Mark Calanan (Signal Poetry/Vehicule). 

L'il Bastard by David McGimpsey (Coach House Books).

Methodist Hatchet by Ken Babstock (House of Anansi Press).

Post-Apothecary by Sandra Ridley (Pedlar Press).

Rebuild by Sachiko Murakami (Talonbooks). 

The Shining Material by Aisha Sasha John (BookThug).

Winter Cranes by Chris Banks (ECW Press).

Of course, to avoid any conflict, this list excludes any books for which I was the editor, all of which have my total recommendation. These books are: Grunt of the Minotaur by Robin Richardson, Love Figures by Sam Cheuk, and Dance, Monster! by Stan Rogal. 

Now, these lists are always somewhat arbitrary, and if pressed on another day, in another mood, I might have made an argument for other books; Gabe Foreman, Linda Besner, Helen Guri, Phil Hall, Leigh Nash, Matt Rader, Leigh Kotsilidis and many other people published books in the last 12 months that I absolutely loved. 2011 was one of the strongest years for Canadian Poetry in a long time, with so many wonderful books it is impossible for short lists to do them all justice.

I'm looking forward to 2012, with more great Canadian poetry books on the way!