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Friday, 26 November 2010

Read The Book First

Modern Canadian Poets: An Anthology has caused a bit of a national stir in Canada's media, with major columns in both national papers, The Globe and Mail, and now The National Post, dealing with it.  Both columns say the anthology is, ultimately great, but take it to task for a variety of faults, that, frankly, don't quite compute.  The reason - the commentators in Canada haven't read the book yet - it was launched a week ago in Britain, and is not yet available for sale in Canada (it will be in the new year), though review copies are now winging their way over.  Questions about its ethos, its evaluative methods, its remit, etc, are all explained in the Introduction - explaining why, for example, we include poems by French-Canadian poets for the first time in a Canadian anthology of English poetry in more than 20 years; or why we stop at the birth year 1962.  We discuss the younger generation, and encourage readers to pursue their work.  We also introduce a number of other new perspectives on Canada anthologies, and Canadian poetry, but in the context of all the previous anthologies, which we read, along with 100s of major and minor poets of the last 110 years or so.  I am glad to see this coverage, but it would be even more interesting a discussion if they'd bother to read the book first. Then maybe they can explain why, if Canadian Poetry is so respected, popular, read and admired in Britain, which some are claiming in Canada, ours (Evan Jones is the co-editor) is the first anthology published in the UK in over 52 years to survey Canadian poetry.
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