Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Nathaniel G. Moore Talks to Molly Peacock about the Best Canadian Poetry Series

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Nathaniel G. Moore Talks to Molly Peacock about the Best Canadian Poetry Series

By Nathaniel G. Moore

It was freezing cold this morning as a bunch of literati gofers and Molly Peacock stood around Union Station contemplating the sanity of our outing. Not the sanity of Tightrope Books’s decision to give away copies of the new Best Canadian Poetry In English anthology to unsuspecting TTC and Go Train patrons, but the fact that it was all happening at 7:00 a.m. and we were not in our respective beds warm and decaffeinated.

For the most part, Torontonians were happy to take something away from their morning besides a bus transfer or the daily news and its associate press charged, minutia-driven celebrity profiling.

Earlier this month I had a chance to pick the brain of the series editor Molly Peacock, the author of five books of poetry.

NGM:

How did this anthology come about?

MP:

We thought it was time to take the pulse of Canadian poetry in English every year. Canadian English-language poetry has burst into a varied and exciting period, and I think it's time for general readers to have access to these great poems.

NGM:

How did the list come about?

MP:

Our judge this year, Stephanie Bolster, scoured every literary journal we could find for her.

NGM:

How important are literary journals to the poetry industry? And how important is it to have work published in them? Do you think that a good track record in these journals is essential to getting a poetry manuscript published?

MP:

I think journals are the backbone of contemporary Canadian letters. Of course it's important to publish in journals. It means you are participating in the making of literary culture. In my opinion, it's essential to show a potential editor of a book of poems that you have gotten out there in magazines and have begun to get an audience for your work.

NGM:

How long did it take to come up with your list and were there any discrepancies or arguing? Any drama?

MP:

It took a year of hard work -- and genuine delight at the poems being published. We're low on drama! Just a dedicated judge, a brilliant press and a persistent Series Editor.

NGM:

I see. How do you anticipate this collection being perceived by those who are not included in it?

MP:

I hope they'll want to publish in more journals and want to be included in the next one. We've got our eyes out for as much good poetry as we can find.

NGM:

With so much poetry being published each year in Canada, how do you see this collection fitting into the genre’s occasional embouteillage?

MP:

The Best Canadian Poetry in English will be a de-mystifying agent for the general reader, providing access to the marvelously diverse but bewildering number of poems published each year.


The Best Canadian Poetry launches Tuesday, November 11, 7:00 p.m. at Revival, 783 College Street West (at Shaw) Toronto, ON. Click here for details.

The evening's celebration will include readings by some of Canada's best poets, including Jim Nason, Dani Couture, Sadiqa de Meier, Michael Lista, Al Moritz, David Seymour and more. Premier Canadian Jazz Musician, Fern Lindzon, will be performing.


Nathaniel G. Moore is the author of Let's Pretend We Never Met (Pedlar Press, 2007) an obsessive novel-in-poems about the poet Catullus. He is the co-editor of Toronto Noir (Akashic, 2008) and the assistant editor at Broken Pencil Magazine.
Molly Peacock is the author of five volumes of poetry, including Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems. She is the Poetry Editor of the Literary Review of Canada. Before she emigrated to Canada in 1992, she was one of the creators of Poetry in Motion in New York City, and she served as an early advisor to Poetry On The Way. Her reviews and essays have appeared in the Globe and Mail, and her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review and the TLS. She currently lives in Toronto.

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