Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Hello and Welcome: What I’ll Be Doing Here in March

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Hello everyone and welcome.

I’m very happy to be the writer in residence for March here on Openbook, and in this post I’d like to give you some indication of a larger project I’d like to complete during my time here. As an aficionado of aggregate websites such as metacritic and allmusic/allmovie, I’ve always felt that a similar sort of categorical tool was missing from literature (GoodReads is the closest thing I can think of, though different). So I’d like to do something like that – as an archival tool, a general interest time-killer, or a send-off point for curious beginners.

Full discloser: the genre I’ve paid most attention to over the past few years has been poetry. I don’t know how it happened; I started in music, wrote fiction for a while, didn’t read that much poetry, and then suddenly I had a bunch of poems on my computer and a pile of poetry-slim titles on my night-table. Perhaps Christian Bok is right when he says (and I paraphrase) one comes to poetry after failing at other things. Well, that is probably how one comes to many things.....

Hence, expect to hear a lot about poetry from me (with occasional swervings). People shouldn’t talk about what they don’t know anything about. And yet, I will still talk about poetry.

I find there’s a sort of intellectual cache in denigrating the merits of a list. Yet, surely the impetus behind listing is one of passionate interest. Not every action needs to be measured by its grasp on correctness. The idea behind listing, that for a moment we can pull a discussion of art from the abyss of relativism, that we can identify (despite obvious blanket objections regarding taste) what is not only meritorious but also rare—that we can, finally, get beyond an anything-goes mindset that always seems so self-serving than actually engaged—this is what listing has to offer us.

And if any genre tends to gain from this impulse, it’s poetry. However, I won’t attempt a ranked list, and going against everything I have just said I will make this list irresponsibly long: 12 - 14 poets probably with six interviews. I'll be focusing on early career poets, most who have one book and are in the midst of releasing another. There is a lot of exciting new work being done, and I'd like to showcase that. I'll let readers draw their own conclusions about bias.

There’ll be two poets per entry, with a sort of rough (but in no way revelatory) pairing of styles. Hey, I’ve got a whole month here; to be honest, keeping the narrow cross-section of early career poets in Canada to 12-14 is hard enough.

Until tomorrow – the first entry,


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