Robin Blaser's "Suddenly," from his 2008 Griffin Poetry Prize winning collection The Holy Forest, fascinates in myriad ways and on many levels. Deceptively simple and arresting is who he wields word and line spacing to guide the reader and create haunting, subliminal effects.
This section of Anne Michael's book-length poem Correspondences - a unique collaboration with artist Bernice Eisenstein melded with imaginative physical book design - echoes the book's singular construction, which allows and invites you to read it quite literally in different directions. Let's revisit and consider it again.
While Sue Goyette's delightfully surreal Ocean challenges us, so does it also comfort us, as we've observed. We've been reminded again what a great source of solace poetry can be, so let's consider another selection from Ocean with that in mind.
The landscape is fixed. It is that powdery yoke / which bogs down in its whiteness." - Francois Jacqmin, untitled poem - 2011 International Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist (translated by Philip Mosley)
When humour enters the conversation in a poem, it can produce some fascinating effects, as we've examined in several past Poems of the Week. Of course, the wit that emerges - overtly or covertly and between the lines - and its influence on a poem's impact is heavily predicated on that humour appealing to the reader. How does that work in the sly "Homage to Pessoa", from Frederick Seidel's 2007 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlisted collection Ooga-Booga?
The whole world is thinking a lot about Americans right now, isn't it? Although the Poem of the Week choices are scheduled well in advance of their online publication dates, the timing of this excerpt from David Kirby's poem "Americans in Italy", from his collection The Ha-Ha, is uncannily appropriate.
Considering the mundane subject matter and tone which this poem commences, it becomes revelatory at the end of its crisp 19 lines. How does it manage to startle and refresh us? Let's take a look at "K was supposed to come with the key, I was", which is the first line of a poem originally composed in Danish by Ulrikka S. Gernes, translated into English by Canadian poet/translators Per Brask and Patrick Friesen in a unique collaboration.
While carefully and beautifully assembled, Derek Mahon's poem "Insomnia" - from his 2009 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlisted collection Life on Earth - is almost painful to read because it so precisely captures aspects of that affliction.
The narrator of Jennifer Maiden's "My heart has an Embassy" is seeking psychic and possibly physical refuge or escape, from troubles characterized as everything from "earthquakes and aftershocks" to "giant granites of despair." The echoes of news ripped from the headlines that resonated when this poem was originally published still sound, it seems, as we revisit it at the end of 2016.