Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Entry 5: Leigh Nash and Angela Rawlings

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Entry 5: Leigh Nash and Angela Rawlings

Leigh Nash

Books: Goodbye, Ukulele (Mansfield Press, 2010)

Cred: Nash is unique for being so thoroughly immersed in all aspects of publishing culture. She has published in print and online journals for a number of years but is also the co-founder of the chapbook press The Emergency Response Unit with Andrew Faulkner. She is also an executive member of the Scream Festival and works as publishing assistant at Couch House books.

Relevance: Nash's sublimely titled Goodbye, Ukele speaks to a further crystalization of a style of poetry in Canada I would inadequately (as all labels must be) refer to as "metaphor poetry." This is a style roughly interested in, as Don McKay once wrote of the work of Karen Solie, (and I paraphrase)finding an immoral joy at the heart of metaphor. Nash's work, reminiscent of both those writers but also a widening of that "immoral joy," is playful and evasive yet also emotionally charged in a way that can be surprising. There's an embrace of the surreal quest for new associations but also an embrace of "stretching long arms for the light"--of reaching for the sublime in the quotidian.

Is currently working on: Hopefully new poems.

Sample: http://theemergencyresponseuni...

Angela Rawlings

Books: Wide Slumber for Lepidopterists (Couch House books 2006)

Rawlings has edited or contributed to a number of anthologies that can be found at her wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...

Cred: WSFL created quite a stir upon its release in 2006. Nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award and noted as a top 100 book of the year by the Globe and Mail (only two or three poetry titles get chosen for this). Rawlings has collaborated with musicians and actors to reimagine WSFL in other genres such as music, dance, and theatre.

Relevance: Rawlings' unique first book has had a lasting impact in Canadian poetry. Roughly half a decade old, it's still widely discussed for its success as an experimental work but also just as an intriguing book, regardless of aesthetic affiliation. Gorgeously designed and typeset (the book won an Alcuin Award for design) WSFL has a touch of John Fowles "The Collector" in its fascination with lepidoptery, but, ultimately, its impulses stretch further back to an encounter between the natural world, taxonomy, and human desire that typified Captain Ahab's doomed quest in Moby Dick. Complicating this is Rawlings' fascination with the study of dreams. Curious for their incompatibility (lepidoptery and dream studies), Rawlings also speaks to a modern desire to bridge gaps between seemingly disparate fields.

Is currently working on: Lots. I'll discuss this in more detail in Monday's interview....

Sample: A good clip of Rawlings reading her work at the Nyhil poetry festival.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

I'll be posting an interview with Rawlings on Monday or Tuesday.

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