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Suspension, evasion, and inversion: a conversation with Ken Babstock March 23, 2010: SQ: Ken, when you read in Montreal in the fall I found myself wanting to close my eyes and be carried away by the sound of the poems. This doesn't happen often enough in poetry readings—for me in any case. What I was responding to, I think, was the sense that if I could remove myself by half I might hear pure sound. How deliberate has this [...] by

More Lives of Poets March 20, 2010: So, the lives of the poets. Or, the non-academic poets. I have known so many variations over the years. The organic farmer poet, the poet who compiles on scraps of paper and carries their poems in plastic bags. The poet who doesn't work at all, the many versions of the mom poet that include the mom/crossing guard poet and the [...] by

All sides now: a correspondence with Lisa Robertson March 18, 2010: R's Boat arrived on my desk this week. Once I cracked the cover the book claimed the rest of the morning. It was time allotted for other tasks, but that is what poetry can do. It can arrest. All the other noise of the world shushes, as it should. Poetry cares little for accolades. Good poetry, I was taught, is in conversation. It creates more. On [...] by

On the matter of career March 16, 2010: Poetry as career is always a contentious subject. My rather light-hearted attempts to open up the discussion this week make it seem as though I have a light-hearted approach, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s an important question. As important as the poet-critic question. And as someone who comes into contact with young would-be [...] by

Who or what is a poet critic and why is the academy so up in Poetry’s face? March 13, 2010: What is a poet critic? Can a poet be "successful" outside of the academy? If not, why? Who, or what, is upholding the system that creates (or maintains) a hierarchy in the poetry community that sees the academic poet at the peak? Or is there really a peak? Is the latter simply an illusion that drives the MFA industry? Where did the idea that to [...] by

To Sonnet, to Son-net, Tuscon Net March 9, 2010: Recently Geist Magazine, one of the great Canadian magazines, announced a contest for the best "Jackpine Sonnet." The Jackpine sonnet was named by Canadian poet Milton Acorn. It's a fairly regular sonnet that aims for the traditional 14 lines, each line con­tain­ing 7 to 13 syl­la­bles, but, in Acorn’s words, “If your son­net cuts [...] by

Poetry podcasts, online resources, oh and introducing Canada a wee bit more March 6, 2010: There may not be much poetry to read on my iPod, but there is a lot of poetry to listen to. So, if you're a gym rat, you can take a variety of poetic journeys ranging from recorded readings, to discussions of poetry, to lectures. This is the upside to all of our technological upheaval. At least one of them. I'll offer a few of my favourite [...] by

Of Grief & Poetry March 2, 2010: There is a lot of grief in your poetry someone said after my reading in Victoria last week. I have been reflecting on this, more so since upon arrival in Vancouver the following day I was met with news that my brother passed away. This is the fourth death in my immediate family in the last eight years: I could double, probably triple that if I [...] by

Poetries, languages and selves, the being of Erin Moure February 23, 2010: Based in Montreal, Erin Mouré is one of Canada’s most eminent poets and translators. Of her work Laura Mullen says, “Erín Moure's new book is so brave, has so much truly lively wit, and is so completely fresh it makes a lot of contemporary....poetry look like dorm furniture from Target: instantly charming and easy to discard.” Moure’s [...] by

Anthologies and feminisms: are we having a moment or what? February 20, 2010: If you found Juliana Spahr and Claudia Rankine’s American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language exciting you’re going to appreciate Prismatic Publics: Innovative Canadian Women's Poetry, published in 2009 by Coach House Books. Edited superbly by Kate Eichhorn and Heath Milne, the collection includes fifteen of the "most [...] by