The American poet Carl Sandburg said that 'poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.' He meant that poetry has the freedom to bring together disparate elements in the world and align them into something surprisingly new.
A new crop of poetry books from Montreal and beyond illustrate the persistent power of poetry to engage in the search for coherence and clarity amid incongruities.
Among the boldest and most original volumes within the group is Expressway, by Montreal poet Sina Queyras.
Sina Queyras' new poetry collection battles the numbing speed of modern life, a hallmark of which the web-savvy poet excels at in her blog about life and the arts, Lemon Hound (also the title of her 2007 Pat Lowther and Lambda Literary award-winning poetry book). Chipping away at the expressway's faux-finish tarmac in favour of a more natural past, these poems offer contemplation as an antidote to a too-fast-and-furious fate.
In her first book of poems since her collection Lemon Hound, Montreal-based Sina Queyras employs the Romantic tradition of pastoral poetry to create passionate indictments of our consumerist, car-obsessed culture and our fast-lane mentality. In 'Solitary,' a woman stands near the I-95, where 'a patch / of emerald turf' is besieged by doggy bags,' the nearby expressway '[s]moothing each nuisance of wild, each terrifying / Quirk of land.'
Read the National Post's 'NaPoMo' (National Poetry Month) questionnaire with Sina Queyras to discover a few of the Expressway author's favourite things poetic.
Q: If you could get everyone in the world to read one poem, what would it be?
A: One poem? Just one? It's impossible to prescribe one poem to all people of all ages and stages of their lives...but at the moment, and perhaps for the next few, it would be 'lullbabye,' from Dennis Lee's UN.
Brian Joseph Davis asks Sina Queyras (Expressway) 'several questions only a well-traveled poet could know the answers to' on the Globe and Mail's book blog, In Other Words. Find out what to do when you're lost in rural New Jersey, the best 1 a.m.
This morning at Coach House we're all giving Brecken Hancock a great big group hug and want you all to join us in congratulating her on her big win last night. Her first poetry collection, Broom Broom, won the 2015 Language Trillium Book Award for Poetry (English Language), which comes with a $10,000 cash prize.
The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts has awarded Coach House's own Jordan Tannahill the 36th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Award, a prize that celebrates excellence in Toronto theatre, dance and opera. The ceremony was held Monday evening (June 22nd) at the Harbourfront Centre, where 50 prizes in total were awarded to members of Toronto's vibrant performing arts scene.
Since our founding in 1965, Coach House has been committed to printing and publishing innovative poetry of the highest quality. With that mandate in mind, we want to make sure we're doing all that we can to share our poets' work with you!
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council of the Arts, the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, the Ontario Arts Council and the Ontario Media Development Corporation for our publishing activities.