Asking Questions Indoors and Out Anne Compton's first two collections marked the arrival of a major voice in Canadian literature. In this, her third book of poetry, she brings her crafted, narrative lines into focus on the mysterious metaphysical nature of everyday life. Spirit-haunted yet critical, and meticulous in her observations, Compton opens the immediate world by asking it questions, searching for answer to the way in which we live.
Some good news I got a little while ago was made public today. Track & Trace has been shortlisted for the Atlantic Poetry Prize, along with Anne Compton's Asking Questions Indoors and Out and Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaasen's Lean-To. Congratulations to both Anne and Tonja.
My wee book is definitely the dark horse in this race. Not only has Anne won a GG, but both of her previous collections won the Atlantic Prize. And a suite of Tonja's poems, included in this volume, won the CBC Literary Award. As readers of this blog know, I'm a man of many character flaws, but modesty isn't one of them. So believe me when I say I'm a bit surprised to have made this shortlist, given the strong field this year. Besides my fellow nominees, I can think of a slew of collections off the top of my head that deserve the nod at least as much as mine does:
Atlantic Poetry Prize
Fitzhenry and Whiteside
A native of Prince Edward Island, Anne Compton is Writer-in-Residence at UNB Saint John, where she also teaches English literature and creative writing courses and is the director of the Lorenzo Reading Series and the Backtalk Series. She has contributed to critical discussions on 19th-century and early 20th-century aesthetics; 17th-century metaphysical poetry; Canadian literature and Maritime literature. Her poetry is published nationally and internationally, and her reviews appear in Canadian Literature, Fiddlehead, and other journals. She won the Atlantic Poetry Prize in 2003 for Opening the Island and in 2006 forProcessional, which also received the 2005 Governor General's Award for poetry. In 2008 she was honoured by the Alden Nowlan Award for Excellence in the Literary Arts.
Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaassen
In her third book of poetry, Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaassen writes of places made home, navigating between fixed points of origin and the flotsam that encloses, between the longevity of marriage and parenthood, and the temporary of camping trips, renovations and hospital stays. Across the collection, the poet's lyricism finds a lilt and repetition that firmly pegs while leaving one side open to the unlikely and unexpected.
Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaassen grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, and now lives on a hill in Halifax with her husband James and their three boys. Her first collection, Clay Birds, won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Poetry in 1996. Her second collection, Ör, was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award in 2004. Her series "August: An Anniversary Suite" won a CBC Literary Award for poetry in 2005 and was published as a chapbook by Gaspereau Press. She's read in collaboration with Norman Adams on cello and has exhibited her work in the Anna Leonowens Gallery, Halifax.
Track & Trace
The poems in Zachariah Wells's second collection range from childhood to dimly foreseen events in the future; they idle on all three of Canada's coasts, travel the open road, take walks in the city and pause on the banks of country streams and ponds. Both elegiac and celebratory, Track & Trace considers how we love, how we shape our lives and how we are eroded and drifted by time and circumstance.
Zachariah Wells is also the author of Unsettled, a poetry collection about his experiences in the Canadian Arctic. He is co-author of the children's book Anything But Hank! and editor of Jailbreaks: 99 Canadian Sonnets. Originally from PEI, Wells has travelled and lived all over Canada, working a variety of jobs in the transportation sector. He presently lives in Halifax, where he works as a freelance writer and editor and serves the travelling public aboard Via Rail's Ocean Ltd.
Asking Questions Indoors and Out
Anne Compton's first two collections marked the arrival of a major voice in Canadian literature. In this, her third book of poetry, she brings her crafted, narrative lines into focus on the mysterious metaphysical nature of everyday life. Spirit-haunted yet critical, and meticulous in her observations, Compton opens the immediate world by asking it questions, searching for answer to the way in which we live.