Skip to main content



Canada has so many poets it is hard to keep track, due to an impressive arts council funding regime that, at one point saw a census reveal 12,000 living poets with books out from small and larger presses.

Much like in the UK or the US, but perhaps even more notably, every small town, every large city, every province, has a laureate poet. It is therefore impossible to anthologise them all - but when in 2010 Evan Jones and I put out an anthology of Modern Canadian Poets for Carcanet, the 40 or so poets we included were all out of print or unknown in the UK, except for about three. Today, in the UK, for instance, there are about five contemporary Canadian poets in print.

Back in 2010, a young Toronto-based poet, with a large press behind him, with the wonderful name Jacob McArthur Mooney, attacked (there is no other word) this anthology, as if it had been the baseball bat that had clubbed his parents to death. He stomped all over it, and suggested it was basically a fraudulent hoax - because a few poets were not included he might have expected; in point of fact there were about 11,960 poets missing, but hey....

I have not forgotten this, because a year or two before, I had written a very glowing review of his debut for Canada's leading paper, The Globe and Mail - which is Canada's New York Times.  I did not expect any favours from this young fellow, but I hadn't counted on a strange willingness to tear off the kid gloves and kick a friendly critic in the shins, then cut his head off. But Canada has a thing with young thug-critics making a name for themselves by arm-wrestling in bars. Figuratively. Sort of.

I only mention this now because our main thesis of selection for this book he reviled was an internationalism moving beyond parochial Canadian concerns (landscape, especially).

Anyway the other day Mr Mooney's new anthology arrived from Toronto, called BEST CANADIAN POETRY 2015 (IN ENGLISH) - caps mine but hey again - and I was in this two times in its brief life so am pleased but hey again (thrice).... and can you guess what Mr Mooney's main thesis is?

We must move to a "post-Canadian" kind of poetry.... which, yes, you guessed it... is exemplified by the sort of complex, smart international poetry written by A.F. Moritz (who we highlighted in our anthology).

So anyway, this goes to confirm what Evan and I felt then - Canadian poetry remains behind the times, parochial, backwards, and mired in local tribal squabbles of little global import. Want to wrestle with me Jacob?

Oh, his third book is out soon, and I assume will be quite good.

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…


According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…


Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:

HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!