Retail 2012: Brick Books
Reviewed by Jacob McArthur Mooney (Vox Populism, February 3, 2012)
Retail 2012: Brick Books
We begin our annual round-up with those good Londoners over at Brick Books. Brick is presided over by Kitty Lewis, the bon-bon giving, cheek-pinching, favourite aunty of Canadian poetry. It’s editorial input comes from a committee that has been active, in different incarnations, for many years now. The idea of an editorial committee making the decisions, instead of the singular voice of a poetry editor, has gone from eccentric to totally mainstream over the last year or so, as numerous other presses (Goose Lane, Coach House…) have done the same thing.
Four books in the poetry catalogue for Brick this spring. Here they are.
Title: Omens in the Year of the Ox
Author: Steven Price
Release Date: February...
Title: Monkey Ranch
Author: Julie Bruck
Release Date: March...
Title: Between Dusk and Night
Author: Emily McGiffin
Release Date: May...
Title: I see my love more clearly from a distance
Author: Nora Gould
Release Date: April
Collection Number: First
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “In Nora Gould’s one-of-a-kind debut, the Prairie itself is a central character: muse, mythic persona, the place of deepest solace and of deepest questioning. The poems focus with great firmness and technical command on the facts of daily life on the farm: impregnating cows, the neighbour kid picking off a coyote, cutting hay, getting water to the herd in a drought, dehorning. But Prairie anecdotalism this ain’t. What is breathtaking about this book is the relation between its exactness of observation and the grief, horror, and beauty that it documents. What the voice achieves, in its very gestures, is a kind of transcendence: not with the purpose of avoiding pain, but in order to make all of it—all of it—seeable and feelable by a human being. “
Google Says: Nora Gould is a veterinarian living on a family ranch in rural Alberta. Take that, monkish Toronto-centric poetry nerds! That idea of “the prairie as a character” is going to be a recurring concern this year. Look for it to be treated politically in the new Tim Lilburn, and geologically in Mathew Henderson’s debut this fall from Coach House. She won the Bliss Carman Award in 2010, thus presenting her with the opportunity to get her fingers photographed by Ariel Gordon. Worth the trip, by itself, I can vouch. It’s neat to think of Brick’s two debuting female poets as coming from different ends of a certain poetry-preparation spectrum. McGiffin younger, Gould older. McGiffin an insider with the big award and the credits, Gould the outsider with her separate interests, independent career, and a whole life spent only indirectly in the service of poems. I’m not making a judgment call, either way. But I know people do. I’m struggling to find a Nora Gould poem to link to here. If anyone sees one online, do let me know….Update: Thanks, Carolyn Smart. Here’s one right here.
That was fun. Let’s do another press very soon.