Laurier Poetry

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press

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Earthly Pages

The Poetry of Don Domanski

With The Cape Breton Book of the Dead, Don Domanski emerged as a remarkable new voice in Canadian poetry, combining formal conciseness with broad cosmic allusions, constant surprise with brooding atmospherics, and innovative syntax with delicate phrasings. In subsequent collections, Domanski’s poetry has deepened and expanded, with longer lines and more complex structures that journey into the far reaches of metaphor. Now, with Earthly Pages: The Poetry of Don Domanski, the long-awaited first selection from his books, readers have a chance to experience the full range of his work in one volume.

Editor Brian Bartlett, in his introduction, “The Trees are Full of Rings,”, discusses Domanski’s engagement with nature and the transformative power of his metaphors; his poetic bestiary amd mythical underpinnings; and his kinship to poets like Stevens, Whitman, and Rumi. Like these poets, Domanski is drawn to borderlands between the physical and the spiritual, the unconscious and the conscious. His poetry finds a home for demons and angels, spiders and wolves—and for kitchens and back alleys, forests and stars.

In language both fluent and hypnotic, Domanski maintains an awareness of both the magnitudes and the minutiae that live beyond language. In “Flying Over Language,” an essay written specifically for this volume, the poet explains that for him metaphor is one way to suggest the wealth of being that poetry can only point toward.

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The False Laws of Narrative

The Poetry of Fred Wah

The False Laws of Narrative is a selection of Fred Wah’s poems covering the poets entire poetic trajectory to date. A founding editor of Tish magazine, Wah was influenced by leading progressive and innovative poets of the 1960s and was at the forefront of the exploration of racial hybridity, multiculturalism, and transnational family roots in poetry. The selection emphasizes his innovative poetic range.

Wah is renowned as one of Canada’s finest and most complex lyric poets and has been lauded for the musicality of his verse. Louis Cabri’s introduction offers a paradigm for thinking about how sound is actually structured in Wah’s improvisatory poetry and offers fresh insights into Wah’s context and writing. In an afterword by the poet himself, Wah presents a dialogue between editor and poet on the key themes of the selected poems and reveals his abiding concerns as poet and thinker.

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Fierce Departures

The Poetry of Dionne Brand

The selections in Fierce Departures, drawn from Dionne Brand’s work since 1997, delineate with searing eloquence how history marks and dislocates peoples of the African diaspora, how nations, concretely and conceptually, fail to create safe haven, and how human desire persists nevertheless. Through a widening canvas, Brand unfolds the (im)possibilities of belonging for those whom history has dispossessed. Yet she also shows how Canada, and in particular Toronto, remade by those who alight on it, is a place of contingency. Known for her linguistic intensity and lyric brilliance, Brand consoles through the beauty of her work and disturbs with its uncompromising demand for ethical witness.

In her introduction, editor Leslie C. Sanders traces the evolution of Brand’s poetic concerns and changing vision. In particular, she observes Brand’s complex use of landscape and language to delineate the ethical and emotional issues around the desire for place. She argues that Brand reformulates Northrop Frye’s question “Where is here?,” disturbing and expanding the national imaginary.

As afterword, Brand has selected passages from her evocative collection of essays A Map to the Door of No Return. Read as an ars poetica, the passages summon the presences of those whose lives are circumscribed by the histories the poet narrates as her own.

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From Room to Room

The Poetry of Eli Mandel

The career of Eli Mandel (1922–1992) was one of the most prolific and distinguished in all of Canadian literature, yet in recent years his work has gone unsung compared with that of such peers as Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, Robert Kroetsch, Irving Layton, and P.K. Page. Though he was a critic, anthologist, and editor of national prominence, Mandel’s legacy resides most securely in his poetry, which earned many accolades.

From Room to Room: The Poetry of Eli Mandel presents thirty-five of Mandel’s best poems written over four decades, from the 1950s to the 1980s. The selection covers the most prominent themes in Mandel’s work, including his Russian-Jewish heritage, his Saskatchewan upbringing, his interest in classical and biblical archetypes, and his concern for the political and social issues of his time. The book also highlights the way in which Mandel’s work bridged the formal attributes of modernist poetry with contemporary, sometimes experimental, poetics.

Complete with a scholarly introduction by Peter Webb and a literary afterword by Andrew Stubbs, From Room to Room makes a worthy addition to the Laurier Poetry Series, which presents affordable editions of contemporary Canadian poetry for use in the classroom and the enjoyment of anyone wishing to read some of the finest poetry Canada has to offer.

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Guthrie Clothing

The Poetry of Phil Hall, a Selected Collage

Increasingly known as the “poet’s poet,” Governor General’s Award–winner Phil Hall has long been a constructor of intricate sequences, collecting and arranging lines and phrases, artifacts, and small revelations. He writes on influences, literary and local; he writes of rural Ontario, attempting to comprehend a deeply personal family violence; he stitches together lines and tall tales and fables from his life and the stories that float around the ethos of his variety of Ontario wilds. Hall’s isn’t a poetry carved into perfect diamond form but a poetry whittled from scores of found materials pulled apart and rearranged. This volume is not so much a “selected poems” as it is a reshuffle, a sampler from the span of Hall’s published work. Guthrie Clothing is a collage-selection by Hall. Lines, stanzas, and poem-fragments are reworked and patterned into a new sequence, a fresh structure.

The afterword consists of an important new essay-poem by Hall as well. It argues against irony from a rural perspective and amounts to Hall’s ars poetica. In an encompassing introduction, rob mclennan explores Hall’s four-plus decades of bricolage.

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Leaving the Shade of the Middle Ground

The Poetry of F.R. Scott

Leaving the Shade of the Middle Ground contains thirty-five of F.R. Scott’s poems from across the five decades of his career. Scott’s artistic responses to a litany of social problems, as well as his emphasis on nature and landscapes, remain remarkably relevant. Scott weighed in on many issues important to Canadians today, using different terms, perhaps, but with no less urgency than we feel now: biopolitics, neoliberalism, environmental concerns, genetic modification, freedom of speech, civil rights, human rights, and immigration. Scott is best remembered for “The Canadian Authors Meet,” “W.L.M.K,” and “Laurentian Shield,” but his poetic oeuvre includes significant occasional poems, elegies, found poems, and pointed satires. This selection of poems showcases the politics, the humour, and the beauty of this central modernist figure.

The introduction by Laura Moss and the afterword by George Elliott Clarke provide two distinct approaches to reading Scott’s work: in the contexts of Canadian modernism and of contemporary literary history, respectively.

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Mobility of Light

The Poetry of Nicole Brossard

“On strands of light I am hanging poetry like garlands.”

These first words of poetry from Nicole Brossard anticipate the vast body of work she has published in the last four decades. The poems in Mobility of Light were chosen by Louise H. Forsyth to elicit a sense of these whirling garlands and convey the intense energy—physical, creative, spiritual, erotic, imaginative, playful, ethical, and political—that has carried Brossard to a uniquely significant vision of the human spirit.

Poems are presented in French and English on facing pages, underscoring the density of meaning in each word and line and highlighting the unusual rhythms in Brossard’s originals and the extraordinary sonorities with which they beat. Some of the translations in this volume have been previously published, while others are new. In her afterword, Brossard talks about travelling back in time to discover how our most vivid sensations, emotions, and thoughts are nourished and transformed by our enigmatic relation to language.

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The Order in Which We Do Things

The Poetry of Tom Wayman

Tom Wayman’s poetry has been published around the world to great acclaim. Wayman is one of Canada’s most prolific and public poets, and his writing since the 1960s has been by turns angry, engaged, hopeful, tender, and hilarious. His voice and persona are his alone but simultaneously ours too. His recurring themes—work, mortality, love, lust, friendship, the natural world—make his work a poetry of human inevitabilities, a poetry that exults in the inevitability of seeing poetry in the everyday.

Wayman’s craft is poïesis (from the Ancient Greek “to make”)—making a change, making a difference, making a ruckus, making the most of our time. His working life has always been inextricable from his writing one; his poems offer an honest and candid consideration of the ideological underpinnings, practical realities, and subtle beauties of a life lived on job sites and picket lines, in union halls, classrooms, and book-stuffed offices, and on the page itself.

The Order in Which We Do Things is a collection of more than thirty of Wayman’s best poems, selected and introduced by Owen Percy. Percy’s introduction explores the genesis of Wayman’s print persona and contextualizes his politically engaged, conversational voice within the pantheon of its various publics. In his afterword, “Work and Silence,” Wayman reflects on his more than forty years in print as a work poet, and underlines poetry’s sustained power to engage readers, invite solidarity, and stoke the fires of critical resistance to the order in which we do things.

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Plans Deranged by Time

The Poetry of George Fetherling

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Please, No More Poetry

The Poetry of derek beaulieu

Since the beginning of his poetic career in the 1990s, derek beaulieu has created works that have challenged readers to understand in new ways the possibilities of poetry. With nine books currently to his credit, and many works appearing in chapbooks, broadsides, and magazines, beaulieu continues to push experimental poetry, both in Canada and internationally, in new directions. Please, No More Poetry is the first selected works of derek beaulieu.

As the publisher of first housepress and, more recently, No Press, beaulieu has continually highlighted the possibilities for experimental work in a variety of writing communities. His own work can be classified as visual poetry, as concrete poetry, as conceptual work, and beyond. His work is not to be read in any traditional sense, as it challenges the very idea of reading; rather, it may be understood as a practice that forces readers to reconsider what they think they know. As beaulieu continues to push himself in new directions, readers will appreciate the work that he has created to date, much of which has become unavailable in Canada.

With an introduction by Kit Dobson and an interview with derek beaulieu by Lori Emerson as an afterword, Please, No More Poetry offers readers an opportunity to gain access to a complex experimental poetic practice through thirty-five selected representative works.

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