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.
Happy April, Coach House friends! Some guy may have thought it cruel, but we're pretty sure that if he had known about National Poetry Month he'd have been into it — we sure are! In fact, to celebrate National Poetry Month, for the month of April we're discounting all of our backlist poetry titles by 30% (so everything but our three recently launched Spring 2014 poetry titles).
Poet Sina Queyras, whose new collection MxT launched this spring, discusses form, critical discourse, and the state of Canadian poetry with fellow poet Adam Sol in the April 2014 issue of Quill & Quire.
Coach House Books is putting the 'CH' in 'Kaffeeklatsch' this year. Starting in February, our coffee room will host a monthly Coach House Kaffeeklatsch! Not so much writers' workshops (there are already plenty of excellent writing workshops in Toronto) but talks and conversations with publishers and authors about the more practical aspects of being a writer and working in book publishing.
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.