Stephen Rowe’s Knotting-Off Tie-In
Two hyphens in the same title. Copyeditors, descend on me!
My good friend Stephen Rowe is a teacher and poet who lives in Gander, NL. Stephen and I once shared a long hard winter working at the Coles Books outlet in the Avalon Mall, St. John’s. As I recall, the only notable diversion from the tyranny of the bookstore was our many conversations about poetry and poets.
Continuing that tradition, Stephen has started to track his own favourite Canadian poetry collections from this fatally-wounded-and-dragging-itself-into-the-forest-to-die decade. Because he is roughly half the man I am, he is limiting his list to a Top 5. Should be a good list, though. That half-man has some fine taste.
Stephen’s first book just came out from the folks at Nightwood. It’s called Never More There and I was gifted with the sight of it in a couple stages of draft-dom. I’m yet to secure a copy of the finished product, despite several Homeric adventures through the Toronto bookselling community. I don’t know, living in Toronto, is it too much to ask that I don’t have to order books off the internet??
Never More There is a highly recommended collection, for the record. Boisterous, pensive, and well-constructed. Michael Crummey blurbs it up as both “eloquent and passionate”, which sounds about right. Stylistically speaking, it fits nicely in between the two Newfoundland gentlemen who popped up on The House of Anansi’s recent poetry list, namely James Langer and Pat Warner. Must be something in the water, as they say. I’d go so far as to say, with a nod to recent Vox Pop comment section spammer Mr. Zach Wells, that these three poets share both a stringent formalism, and a euphoric lyricism.
N.B.: I’m well on the look out for other gutsy listmakers. I only ask that your lists be 1. Of Canadian poetry collections written this decade and 2. More than just Number-TItle-Author repeated for five or ten lines. I’m interested in interaction, in consideration. I’m not interested in a menu. If anyone else finds such lists out there among the interwebs, let me know through any of the means mentioned in the Contact page.