Sunday, January 08, 2023

A ‘best of’ list of 2022 Canadian poetry books

Once more, I offer my annual list of the seemingly-arbitrary “worth repeating” (given ‘best’ is such an inconclusive, imprecise designation), constructed from the list of Canadian poetry titles I’ve managed to review throughout the past year. This is my twelfth annual list [see also: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011] since dusie-maven Susana Gardner originally suggested various dusie-esque poets write up their own versions of same, and I thank her both for the ongoing opportunity, and her original prompt.

I can’t get to everything (and the fact that I keep trying is seeming to be increasingly ridiculous), which means there are multiple titles this year I haven’t managed to properly respond to, including Lisa Robertson’s Boat (Coach House Books, 2022), Dale Tracy’s Derelict Bicycles (Anvil Press, 2022) or Manahil Bandukwala’s MONUMENT (Brick Books, 2022) (among others, I’m sure). And didn’t Kasia Van Schaik’s short story collection We Have Never Lived On Earth (University of Alberta Press, 2022) just land on my doorstep as I was compiling this very list? And Stuart Ross’ I Am Claude François and You Are A Bathtub (Anvil Press, 2022)! There’s been some remarkable non-fiction by Canadian writers that I’ve managed to get to this year: Stuart Ross’ The Book of Grief and Hamburgers (ECW Press, 2022)[see my review of such here], Sina Queyras’ Rooms: Women, Writing, Woolf (Coach House Books, 2022) [see my review of such here], Emma Healey’s Best Young Woman Job Book: A Memoir (Random House Canada, 2022) [see my review of such here] and Tree Abraham’s Cyclettes (Book*hug, 2022) [see my review of such here]. Otherwise, between my own blog and what I’ve managed via periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics, I’ve posted more than one hundred and fifty book reviews this past year, and managed more than one hundred and fifty posted interviews as well, between my ’12 or 20 (second series) questions’ series, the bibliography series and via Touch the Donkey. And did you see I’ve started a substack for the sake of prompting a book-length essay I’ve had in my head recently? Or that my chapbook press, above/ground press, turns THIRTY YEARS OLD THIS YEAR? Oh, and that I’ve published two books this past year: the book of smaller (University of Calgary Press) and essays in the face of uncertainties (Mansfield Press)? So many things!

This year’s list includes full-length poetry titles by R. Kolewe, Kate Siklosi, Gary Barwin and Tom Prime, Sylvia Legris, Michael Trussler, Chantal Gibson, Ellie Sawatzky, Zane Koss, Sarah de Leeuw, Daniel Sarah Karasik, Mikko Harvey, Laurie D. Graham, Phoebe Wang, Jim Johnstone, Matthew James Weigel, Madhur Anand, Andrew Faulkner, Gillian Sze, Nancy Holmes, Ayaz Pirani, Catriona Strang, Nicole Markotić, Arleen Paré, Prathna Lor, Annharte, Nanci Lee, kevin mcpherson eckhoff, Gary Barwin and Gregory Betts, Ivan Drury, Alisha Kaplan, Stephen Brockwell, Tasnuva Hayden, Michael Goodfellow, Michael Crummey, Luke Hathaway, Victoria Mbabazi, Annick MacAskill, Conyer Clayton, Rhiannon Ng Cheng Hin, Derek Beaulieu, Nicole Brossard, Kristjana Gunnars, Gary Barwin, Natalie Wee, Sarah Ens, Kate Hargreaves, Sophie Crocker, River Halen, Daniel Scott Tysdal, Cameron Anstee, Cecily Nicholson, Otoniya J. Okot Bitek, Phil Hall, Edward Byrne and Amy Dennis. I mean, that’s a lot, right?

Make sure to catch this year's entire list here!

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