Laurier Poetry

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press

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Rivering

The Poetry of Daphne Marlatt

Opening doors, dreaming awake, tracing networks of music and meaning, Marlatt’s poetry stands out as an essential engagement with what matters to anyone writing with a social-environmental conscience. Rivering includes poems inspired by the village of Steveston where, before the war, a Japanese-Canadian community lived within the rhythms of salmon on the Fraser River delta. Also gathered into Rivering: lesbian love poetry from Touch to my Tongue; a transformance of Nicole Brossard’s Mauve; passages from The Given, winner of the 2009 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize; a traditional “Kuri” song from the Noh drama, The Gull; and an unpublished excerpt from the chamber opera “Shadow Catch.”

Difficult, beautiful, heart-breaking realities of the twenty-first century are urgently immediate in selections from Liquidities: Vancouver Poems Then and Now. All of the poems speak to Marlatt’s poetics of place and of language as passage between distant or disparate human beings, and between human beings and the more-than-human world. The selections are framed by Susan Knutson’s deeply attentive critical introduction and by Marlatt’s “immediacies of writing,” a new lyrical essay investigating the act of writing. Closing with a walking meditation situated by her Buddhist practice, Rivering is both a “pocket Marlatt” and an introduction to one of the best poets of our time.

The painting on the cover is by River Lewis and is entitled “Kickwillie Loop Kal Lake”. See more of his work under Related Links.

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Sonosyntactics

Selected and New Poetry of Paul Dutton

Sonosyntactics introduces the reader to over forty-five years of Paul Dutton’s diverse and inventive poetry, ranging from lyrics, prose poems, and visual work to performance texts and scores. Perhaps best known for his acclaimed solo sound performances and his contributions to the iconic sound poetry group The Four Horsemen, Dutton is a surprising, witty, sensitive, and innovative explorer of language and of the human. This volume gathers a representative selection of his most significant and characteristic poetry together with a generous selection of uncollected new work.

Sonosyntactics demonstrates Dutton’s willingness to (re)invent and stretch language and to listen for new possibilities while at the same time engaging with his perennial concerns—love, sex, music, time, thought, humour, the materiality of language, and poetry itself.

Gary Barwin’s introduction outlines the major subjects and techniques of Dutton’s poetry: an intricate weaving of thought and language, sound and emotion, sound and sense, and the unfolding of a text through the logic of language play such as puns, paradoxes, ambiguity, and sound relations. In an afterword by Dutton himself, the poet insightfully lays out the terms of his engagement with the materiality—both visual and aural—of language, often beyond the purely recountable, representational, or depictive.

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Space Between Her Lips

The Poetry of Margaret Christakos

Margaret Christakos

Space Between Her Lips presents the first selected works of one of Canada's most important poets of the last few decades. Margaret Christakos writes vibrant, exciting, and intellectually challenging poetry. She plays language games that bring a probing and disturbing humour to serious themes that range from childhood and children to women in contemporary techno-capitalist society to feminist literary theory, and so much more.

Gregory Betts’ introduction to the collection highlights her formal diversity and her unique combination of feminist and avant-garde affinities. He connects the geographies of her life — including Northern Ontario where she was raised, downtown Toronto where she studied with cutting-edge authors and artists like bpNichol and Michael Snow, and Montreal where she integrated with the country’s leading feminist authors and thinkers — with her polyphonic experimentation. While traversing the problem of bifurcated identities, Christakos is funny at a deeply semiotic level, wickedly wry, exposing something about the way we think by examining the way we speak of it.

In her afterword, Christakos maps out a philosophy of writing that highlights her self-consciousness of the foibles of language but also deep concern for the themes she writes about, including her career-length exploration of self-discovery, hetero-, queer and bi-sexual sexualities, motherhood, self-care, and linguistic alienation. Indeed, Margaret Christakos is a whole-body poet, writing with the materiality of language about the movement of interior thought to embodied experience in the world.

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Speaking of Power

The Poetry of Di Brandt

Speaking of Power: The Poetry of Di Brandt introduces the reader to the lyric power and political urgency of the poetry of Di Brandt, providing an overview of her poetry written during a prolific and revolutionary twenty-year period.

Beginning with her early poetic inquiries into the dynamics of gender, religion, and the politics of language, Brandt examines the use and abuse of power as a cultural issue, emphasizing cross-cultural and domestic relationships. Particularly engaged with questions of motherhood, the land, violence and reparation, feminism, and spirituality, Brandt explores ecopoetics, an ecology of poetry, as a possible antidote to the cultural despair of the twenty-first century.

Editor Tanis MacDonald’s introduction outlines the major movements of Brandt’s work, emphasizing the relationship of language to power and the value of a dissenting voice in a forceful cultural poetics. An afterword by Brandt completes the volume.

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Verse and Worse

Selected and New Poems of Steve McCaffery 1989-2009

Verse and Worse: Selected and New Poems of Steve McCaffery 1989–2009 presents texts from the last two decades of work by Steve McCaffery, one of the most influential and innovative of contemporary poets. The volume focuses on selections from McCaffery’s major texts, including The Black Debt, Theory of Sediment, The Cheat of Words, and Slightly Left of Thinking, but also features a substantial number of previously ungathered poems. As playful as they are cerebral, McCaffery’s poems stage an incessant departure from conventional lyrical and narrative methods of making meaning. For those encountering McCaffery’s work for the first time as well as for those who have followed the twists and turns of his astonishingly heterogeneous poetic trajectory over the past four decades—this volume is essential reading.

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