Anyone who listens to CBC Radio knows about the Canada Reads competition. But did you notice that the books are always prose? Now here’s something new and fitting for this Poetry Month: Why not have a Battle of the Books that highlights five books of poetry?
The question was no sooner asked than organized by Angela Leuck and the Lennoxville Library. Lennoxville Reads…Poetry is planned for Wednesday, April 28, at 7 p.m. via Zoom (find the link at bibliolennoxvillelibrary.ca/activities/). The evening will be emceed by the journalist Helga Loverseed, and five articulate local readers will champion five gutsy books by Quebec English-speaking poets.
Here’s what they are plotting for us.
A COMMON NAME FOR EVERYTHING. This is an 80-page book of poems by Sarah Wolfson. Originally from Vermont, she teaches English at McGill University.
Her poems are earthy and quirky, about life that inhabits rural places. One observes ewes and music; another an ant colony; still another serves “soup and small theories of holiness.”
“An entirely uncommon talent for precise and defamiliarizing observation,” observed poet Phillip Crymble. Wolfson’s book won the Quebec Writers’ Federation’s A.M. Klein prize last year.
Her champion, Steve Luxton, lives in Hatley, Quebec. He has published six volumes of verse, with a new one, The White Weasel, to be published this summer by Shoreline. He is currently Writer-in-Residence at the Lennoxville Library.
GHOST FACE is the fourth book by Greg Santos, who has Cambodian, Spanish and Portuguese roots. “A uniquely playful and self-reflective series of poems that pay moving homage to his adoptive parents, and explore the fantasies of a lost family and life in Cambodia,” says Goodreads. Santos lives in Montreal where he teaches creative writing. He is editor-in-chief of the Quebec Writers’ Federation’s online literary journal, Carte blanche.
Ghost Face is to be defended by Charity Kerrigan, an Early Childhood Education Specialist at Champlain College.
GONE MISS NG. Yes, the “I” is missing! Antony Di Nardo’s poignant exploration of dying was triggered by the death of his friend, Susan Briscoe. She died three years ago from cancer at the age of 52, but not before creating a widely read blog, The Death Project.
This is Di Nardo’s fifth collection of poetry, and it explores rituals of loss with wit and humour, “in language that surprises as well as juxtaposes the mundane with the ecstatic,” says Amazon.
Gone Miss ng will be championed by Jerome Krause, retired Concordia University art professor. Living in Way’s Mills, he possesses an uncommon measure of wit and humour, too.
MEMORIAL SUITE. Author Jocelyne Dubois has bipolar disorder, and in these courageous poems of “at times searing clarity” she “takes us on a harrowing journey through breakdown, hospitalization and recovery,” says Goodreads. The book “is lucid and compelling,” in the words of writer Maxianne Berger.
Dubois is an exhibiting artist, and her novella, World of Glass, was shortlisted for the 2011 Ken Klonsky Novella Contest. Defending Memorial Suite will be Lizanne Ryan, retired adult educator who is presently writing a book about her journey as a caregiver.
THE ELEVENTH HOUR is Carolyn Marie Souaid’s eighth book of poetry. What matters in the end is not the “finish line” but the human spirit “orbiting the nucleus of time,” and “bridges connecting life and death,” in the words of Arleen Paré. “This collection is a harbinger; it is the eleventh hour, the language so accurate and clear. And yet it is also a solace, balm for our uneasy twenty-first century hearts.”
Souaid has received a bunch of awards, including a top prize in the 2012 Zebra Poetry Film Festival for Blood is Blood, a videopoem written with Endre Farkas. She lives in Montreal.
The Eleventh Hour will be championed by Louise Baldwin, a woods-bather, poetry reader, and lifelong Townshipper.
Which book will prevail? The debate promises to be lively. It will be up to the audience!
The mission is to support African grandmothers who struggle to raise millions of children orphaned by HIV and AIDS. You are invited to participate by attending, online, a Canada-wide concert with top Canadian performers. Together in Concert is streamed by Canadian grandmothers affiliated with the Stephen Lewis Foundation. It’s Thursday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m. For details and to register, visit www.cdngrandmothers.com.
The Sawyerville Community Garden is meeting on April 17 at 10:30 a.m. in the basement (back entrance) of the Notre-Dame du Saint-Rosaire Church, 4 Randboro Road, for its annual general meeting, and at the garden itself on May 22, at 10:30 a.m. for a working session.
Online workshops for job seekers by Job Links: On April 27-28, the topic is “Self-knowledge, the key to your dream job.” Info: joblinks.etsb.qc.ca or Facebook.com/Job Links Eastern Townships; 819-566-2422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baptist. In-person Sunday services have begun again for 25 or fewer persons with Covid-19 protocols in place (wash hands at the entrance, stay 2 metres apart, use assigned seating, wear masks, do not sing, do not shake hands, and leave via the exit door). The service in French is at 9 a.m., and in English at 11 a.m. Persons with flu symptoms are asked not to attend services. The pastor’s message is also available on YouTube: For the link, contact Pastor Michel Houle: 819-239-8818.
Anglican. Bishop Bruce Myers continues to offer Home Prayers at 10:30 a.m. Sundays on Facebook, and at quebec.anglican.ca (Worship Videos). Info: 819-887-6802, or quebec.anglican.ca.
United. Home worship services are available for pickup Fridays after 2 p.m. at Sawyerville United Church (box on top of freezer in porch), at Trinity United Church (in plastic bag at basement door). To receive services by mail or email, or for pastoral care, contact Rev Tami Spires at 819-452-3685 or email@example.com. Facebook info: United Eaton Valley Pastoral Charge.
Do you have news to share? Call 819-300-2374 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by April 19 for publication April 28, and by May 3 for May 12.