Monday, June 23, 2008

Jailbreaks Review

A couple of days after the Winnipeg launch, Jailbreaks gets reviewed in the Winnipeg Free Press, by Maurice Mierau, who thinks the anthology should be in every school library. I couldn't agree more!

There's one remark that needs some qualification, however. Mierau says, "Winnipeg poet George Amabile is represented, but few other westerners are." I just did a run thru the table of contents, and by my count there are 28 contributors (out of 100) who are either from western Canada, live there now, or have spent a considerable amount of time living there. Manitoba has a population of 1.2 million; Saskatchewan, just under a million; Alberta, 3.3 million; and BC 5.3 million: in total about a third of Canada's population, so the demographics of the anthology, at least in terms of Western representation, aren't terribly out of sync with those of the country. Also, I think it's a significant factor that there's less of a connection to England and its traditions in the prairie provinces than there is in the east and in BC. The sonnet in English comes to us via our one-time mother-country, so I wasn't surprised to find fewer writers of the form between the Rockies and the Canadian Shield. It could well be that I missed some prairie sonneteers I wasn't aware of, whose work deserved inclusion; if so, I'd be curious to hear who those poets might be.

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