Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Entry 2: Michael Lista and Jacob McArthur Mooney

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Entry 2: Michael Lista and Jacob McArthur Mooney

Michael Lista

Book(s): Bloom (House of Anansi, 2010)

Cred: Widespread publication in literary journals. One of a handful of poets who placed a debut book with Anansi (Ken Babstock and Karen Houle being the others of the past while?). Bloom was snubbed from the longlist for Governor General contention, but I predict it to make an appearance on at least two other major lists this year (the Trillium and Lampert for sure).

Relevance: A lot has been written about Bloom thus far. It's the kind of poetry book that doesn't come around too often: a precocious talent trying his or her hand at an audaciously ambitious book-length concept. But for everything that has been written, and which a simple google search can drum up, the fact remains that Lista's first book is simply different than most first books. Framed by a deceptively simple biographical conceit (the life of doomed physicist Louis Slotin), Bloom is an incredibly assured example of form (a bold aesthetic practice that uses source poems as formal constraints to create new poems) jiving with content (Slotin's experimetnation with fission reactions). This unity makes the book feel whole but more importantly about something--it's rarer than it seems.

Currently working on: New work. Nothing public as of yet. Lista also writes reviews and essays for a number of publications (CNQ, Quill and Quire, National Post, The Mark).


A good interview of Lista by JMM

Jacob McArthur Mooney

Book(s): The New Layman’s Almanac (M & S 2008)
Folk (M & S, 2011)

Cred: Mooney is well known in Canadian letters for his eloquence and distinctive personality. He's matched his literary success with a tireless work ethic for contributing to poetic discussion with his blog Vox Populism. He recently won the Banff Centre Bliss Carmen Poetry Award as well as Harbourfront's Poetry Idol award in its inagural year.

Relevance: Another precocious upstart, Mooney (like Lista) has shown a keen understanding of the book as a totality—that is, as a collection of pieces with a clearly discernable through-line, be it thematic, conceptual, aesthetic, or historical/biographical. Mooney is unique for his combination of journalistic saavy, a wide and searching breadth of knowledge, and a kind of charming boyish wonder that never feels naive. It’s this almost paradoxical meshing that makes Mooney so exciting, as he is writing the kind of book that rewards serious reading but also feels highly approachable.

Working on: Releasing "Folk." On Monday, I’ll be publishing an interview with Mooney about his upcoming book. You won't want to miss it.


The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Jeff Latosik

Jeff Latosik’s first book, Tiny, Frantic, Stronger (Insomniac Press), was published in Spring 2010.

Go to Jeff Latosik’s Author Page