Celebration of Canadian Poetry

In 2015 Brick Books marks a big milestone – our 40th anniversary!! Over those 40 years we are proud to have published well-known poets Michael Ondaatje, Anne Carson, Dennis Lee, Robert Kroetsch and P.K. Page. As well, we published the first books of poets Karen Solie, Julie Bruck, Adam Dickinson, Sue Sinclair, Jan Zwicky, Phil Hall, Sue Goyette and Steven Price. What better way to highlight this achievement than through a broad conversation about Canadian poetry!!

Each week on our website, we will feature articles about a Canadian poet or a specific poem or a meeting with a Canadian poet. Our presenters are poets, novelists, teachers, publishers, booksellers, musicians, readers, doctors, media people, artists….

Thanks to my friend Jen Hale for the great idea.

Welcome aboard!!

OPEN INVITATION: This is an open project and we are always looking for more contributions. A sentence, a paragraph, a page… whatever is feasible for you to celebrate Canadian poetry. Contact Kitty Lewis at brick.books@sympatico.ca to ask for more details.


Week 74 – Arthur Nortje presented by Sara Cassidy

“The isolation of exile is a gutted/warehouse at the back of pleasure streets,” Arthur Nortje wrote in the poem, “Waiting.” It was 1967 and the South African poet was teaching high school in, of all places, Hope, B.C. I clung to Nortje’s poetry collection Dead Roots as a lonely, dislocated 18-year old living in Montreal, […]

Week 74 – Sharon H. Nelson presented by by Ellen S. Jaffe

Sharon H. Nelson:  Poetry of Flesh and Words “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” These closing words of E.B.White’s Charlotte’s Web apply to my relationship with Sharon H. Nelson: she is both a true friend and a good writer, and has […]

Week 74 – Margaret Avison presented by Madeleine Nattrass

Something I read attributed to Margaret Avison went something like – the “I” should not appear in a poem until you’ve been writing for at least ten years. Many times, I have revised a poem according to that wise advice.  Even though she does not include the “I” often in her poetry, she is so […]

Week 74 – Okanagan Poets – Harold Rhenisch, John Lent and Sharon Thesen presented by Nancy Holmes

The Okanagan has inspired a great deal of poetry. For example, Bliss Carman wrote about the Okanagan in the 1920s. Bliss Carman coined a term “vagabondia” in the 1900-1920 era, vagabonds were flaneurs of the rural hills, wandering about the countryside and writing poems and painting pictures. Sort of middle class gypsy lads on holiday. […]

Week 73 – Stephanie Bolster presented by Nancy Holmes

Many Have Written Poems About Blackberries by Stephanie Bolster But few have gotten at the multiplicity of them, how each berry composes itself of many dark notes, spherical, swollen, fragile as a world. A blackberry is the colour of a painful bruise on the upper arm, some internal organ as yet unnamed. It is shaped […]

Week 73 – Todd Swift presented by Mariela Griffor

I remember with a bit of nostalgia the days when I was going often to Toronto, Canada to read with Goran Simic, Fraser Sutherland, Karen Shenfeld, Alex Boyd, and so many other great poets from Canada. I always thought that the Canadians are more similar to Europeans in their lifestyle than their American neighbors. I […]

Week 73 – Archibald Lampman presented by David Staines

When I began to study Canadian literature, we had one early text, Malcolm Ross’s Poets of the Confederation, a small anthology which featured Charles G.D. Roberts, Bliss Carman, Archibald Lampman, and Duncan Campbell Scott. That list grew to include, among others, W.W. Campbell and Pauline Johnson if we were to continue with the circa-Confederation birthdates. […]

Week 73 – Governor General’s Award for Poetry and Brick Books

Brick Books is proud to have received recognition for their poetry collections through the years with the Governor General’s Award for Poetry. Here is a list of all the recipients in all categories of the literary awards.   Winner (2014): Lake of Two Mountains by Arleen Paré                 […]

Week 72 – Barry Dempster presented by Kate Marshall Flaherty

Over a decade ago, in a gathering space near Port Perry, about a dozen poets and writers gathered around a table to listen to Barry Dempster talk about editing poetry at a WCDR workshop. He had asked us each to bring a poem to look at and edit. I have always found the thrill of […]

Week 72 – Kevin Connolly presented by Jared Bland

On Kevin Connolly’s “Plenty” What do you find beautiful? I might say the summer morning sky, but you might hate the summer morning sky; you might prefer the dull ache of winter dusk. You might say canoeing on a large lake is beautiful, but you would do so without the knowledge of the summer camp […]

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