Jul 9, 2014
This week's Snapshots feature younger and emerging writers in honour of our Poetry Lives Here! campaign. The following books are three examples of the new and emerging voices in Canadian poetry today. While these three books are incredibly different from one another, they do have one thing in common: they are all wonderful (summer) reads. For even more summer reading suggestions, check out our new free poetry samples.
House of Anansi Press
Anne-Marie Turza has an MFA from the University of Victoria and was a finalist for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers in 2011. The Quiet is her first poetry collection and, despite its name, it's the kind of debut that refuses to go unheard. Like John Cage's 4'33'', The Quiet reveals the music in 'the quiet' and reminds us how full of sound silence really is. In Turza's book, 'the quiet' is represented by the lengthy white spaces on each page. They remind us, like the silence, to reflect on what has been and, more importantly, what has not been said. Beyond her beautiful use of language and her tranquil cadence, Turza proves herself to be a great writer through her poetic illustration of what it means to read between the lines. "The rain's blether grows louder, a gallop of hard consonants Levin feels he could understand, were it slower—" In a time of overwhelming noise and urgency, Turza focuses on life's offbeats, on the beauty in 'the quiet.'
Prologue for the Age of Consequence
House of Anansi Press
Garth Martens won the 2011 Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. He serves on the editorial board for The Malahat Review and works on a construction site in Kelowna, BC. His experience with machinery features prominently in his debut poetry collection Prologue for the Age of Consequence. While Martens' writing has many merits, one of the most engaging aspects of his poetry is his characters. As the men in northern Alberta construct a tower, Martens constructs their lives, piecing together their personalities, their flaws, interests, dreams, and disappointments, into an incredible collage of humanity. Martens' poems are dense, prose-y but inherently poetic. Like The Quiet they require careful contemplation and a detachment from the overwhelming noise of the everyday. "The wave, at large, engulfed them each with silence." In Prologue for the Age of Consequence, addiction, desire, and mythology all come together to show us that the things we worship are also often the things that can destroy us. But we continue to build what we can out of the materials we have at hand, as Martens does so magnificently with his words.
Nikki Reimer is a Calgary-based freelance writer and editor, creative writer, designer, artist and creative problem solver. Her first poetry collection ([sic]) was published by Frontenac House in 2010. Downverse is her second poetry book. Reimer's writing is comedic, current, and critical. In Downverse she uses all kinds of writing, from erasure poetry to a list of monthly expenses, to defamiliarize the language of new/ social media. The book, with all its noise, hashtags and commotion, is the exact opposite of Turza's The Quiet, although they are both fighting towards a similar poetic declaration. "we're post-post avant-avant. we are the new/ moderns. we.gain.weight.in.the______" Downverse is the guide to modern absurdity, where everyone is talking and no one is heard, and where poetry seems to be inseparable from commercialization.