The Optimisms Project: The Master List

The Optimisms Project was a co-production ran during National Poetry Month (that’d be, April, for those not in the know) in 2010 between this blog and The Torontoist’s Book Page. It consisted of responses from a variety of Canadian poets and readers under the age of thirty to the question: What makes you feel optimistic about the future of poetry in Canada? With the aid of a handful of (how do I put this?) less-young poets, responses came in the form of prose, poetry, irony, earnestness, and more.

Responding to public requests (demands? threats? harrumphing?) for a central index for all of The Optimisms Project’s 20-something episodes, I’ve gone and done just that. Thanks again to The Torontoist for hosting, to our diverse and much-appreciated contributors, and to the various online media folk who threw in links and pitches (thx to Peter @ CanCult, George @ Bookninja, Sina @ LemonHound, Paul @ OpenBookToronto, D. @ Shameless, all @ PoetryisDead, and our various facebookers, bloggers, and twits…y’all are a fine army).

Here are your optimisms, in order of appearance on books.torontoist.com:

April 1st, 2010: An Introduction, by Jacob McArthur Mooney
“To clarify, I’m fairly content. I stare at my feet when I walk.”

April 5th, 2010: Johanna Skibsrud
“rather a sustaining of the practice of thought”

April 6th, 2010: James Lindsay
“speaking our discreet/twin talk”

April 7th, 2010: Melissa Major
“the first prediction of your search is “Is poetry dead?”

April 8th, 2010: Stephen Rowe
“poetry’s desire to antagonize, relentlessly;”

April 9th, 2010: Jenna Butler
“A continued appreciation and awareness of mentors”

April 10th, 2010: Special Guest Optimist Erin Moure
“I also grin at the sheer range of aesthetics”

April 12th, 2010: David Brock
“This high attendance will not be born of national passion”

April 13th, 2010: Rob Taylor
“and technology proves to be less of a villain than previously thought.”

April 14th, 2010: Elizabeth Ross
“perhaps it’s time to reconsider traditional publishing avenues”

April 15th, 2010: Matt Laporte
“That shit’ll take an eye out.”

April 16th, 2010: Ben Gallagher
“I couldn’t describe my country to him,”

April 17th, 2010: Special Guest Optimist George Murray
“I have my own inner universe for poetry in which it’s totally safe”

April 19th, 2010: D. Cole Ossandon
“I bite ears that don’t listen.”

April 20th, 2010: Sheniz Janmohamed
“They will become the translators of their cultures and communities”

April 21st, 2010: kevin mcpherson eckhoff
“yet the baby/remains translucent”

April 22nd, 2010: Christine McNair
“The problem of optimism is the problem of hope;”

April 23rd, 2010: Jeff Latosik
“Whenever I read a good poem, I’m shocked by the fact that it’s there.”

April 24th, 2010: Special Guest Optimist Sina Queyras
“what we are witnessing is a massive upheaval, a change.”

April 26th, 2010: Mathew Henderson
“poetry is like skin on skin contact,”

April 27th, 2010: Sandy Pool
“it allows me to shed a kind of fuzzy problematic light”

April 28th, 2010: Aisha Sasha John
“i do it because i started.”

April 29th, 2010: Cory Lavender and Sharon Harris
“it has built a strong case against its indifferent treatment”
“Joy is often overlooked, and sadly mistaken for irony.”

April 30th, 2010: Last Optimism, a cento.

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One Comment on “The Optimisms Project: The Master List”


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Christine McNair, McClelland & Stewart. McClelland & Stewart said: On the last day of National Poetry Month, why not di-"verse"-ify your life! Check out The Optimisms Project: http://bit.ly/b4hvqZ -AC […]


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