Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Entry 6: Robert Earl Stewart and Peter Norman

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Entry 6: Robert Earl Stewart and Peter Norman

Peter Norman

Books: At the Gates of the Theme Park (Mansfield, 2010)

Cred: Norman's work has appeared in Jailbreaks: 99 Canadian Sonnets and The Best Canadian Poetry for 2008 and 2009.

Relevance: 2010 was a good year for debuts. And surely one of the most promising in that year belongs to Peter Norman. Even for those who encountered ATGOTTP with a sense of the buzz around the book, there was surprise about just how good Norman was. It’s rare to find a debut writer who just can’t seem to botch a line. Inconsistency is the marker of the inexperienced, but in Norman's world there is nary an overcooked metaphor, a moment of emotional excessiveness, or a staid “first-book” convention. But if the reciprocal problem one encounters here is an overemphasis on craft (that danger of creative writing workshops), then somehow Norman manages to avoid this too. There is a singular voice at work in ATGOTTP, one that knows the difference between pretty and profound, “poetic” and just simply compelling.

Is currently working on: Releasing the novel Emberton with Douglas & McIntyre in 2011.

Sample: Nice little close reading of Norman's poem "PLayground Incident" by Jesse Patrick Ferguson

Robert Earl Stewart

Books: Something Burned Along the Southern Border (Mansfield, 2009)

Cred: Widespread publication. SBATSB was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award.

Relevance: Stewart’s debut SBATSB is one of those books that seems like there should be more of but somehow there aren’t. Personable and accessible, yet a highly accomplished example of the modern lyric, Stewart shows us the way in which that form (probably the most popular style of poetry since the 1950s) remains highly durable and adaptable. Stewart is a kind of Canadian Tony Hoaglund, a poet whose distinction comes from his disarming honesty and genuine sense of decency.

Is currently working on: Campfire Radio Rhapsody (Mansfield, fall 2011/spring 2012)


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