Top Poetry Picks

The Porcupine’s Quill is proud to have published a wide range of poetry collections by some of Canada’s most illustrious poets. The following books have been specially selected by Publisher Tim Inkster as being among the very best published by The Porcupine’s Quill in over forty years of publishing.

 

Slack Action
Slack Action
Jeffery Donaldson
ISBN 978-0-88984-367-7

‘Poetry is often characterized as thoughtful or humorous or entertaining, but it's much less common for it to be marked by all of these descriptions at once. Jeffery Donaldson's collection Slack Action manages all of these—and more.’

—Peter Dabbene, Foreword Reviews

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The April Poems
The April Poems
Leon Rooke
ISBN 978-0-88984-359-2

‘Rooke takes the everyday happenings of a domestic relationship and makes them wonderful, not by elevating or magnifying them, but by insisting on them just as they are—squalid and splendid, banal and profound, playful and earnest’

—Jeremy Luke Hill, From Word to Word

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Words for Elephant Man
Words for Elephant Man
Kenneth Sherman
ISBN 978-0-88984-350-9

‘Grammar, language, articulation and reference to machines and engines combine with the language of freaks, misfits and outcasts ... Words for Elephant Man is both graceful and a gift ... a stunning synthesis of art and craft.’

Poetry Canada Review

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Dancing, with Mirrors
Dancing, with Mirrors
George Amabile
ISBN 978-0-88984-343-1

‘In choosing to share his life, George Amabile has crafted beautifully detailed settings in which characters and conflicts are brought to life through rich imagery. He has woven the moments of everyday life into a rich tapestry of observation and deep emotion, highlighting both the fallibility and purity of memory.’

—Tom Schmidt, Prairie Fire Review of Books

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Complete Physical
Complete Physical
Shane Neilson
ISBN 978-0-88984-325-7

‘[Shane Neilson's] verse is clinical and carefully executed, like surgery. It's a pulse beating in step with the cold, old anatomy diagrams dissecting the body. But what Neilson cuts into here isn't diagramed flesh and bone, but his own heart yearning for love in a life surrounded by death and sickness.... His only prescription? Love.’

Telegraph-Journal

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A Suit of Nettles
A Suit of Nettles
Jeffery Donaldson
ISBN 978-0-88984-330-1

‘James Reaney's A Suit of Nettles is a rare plant to find flourishing on any foundation these days.... It is rare because its satire isn't urbane, wry, sly or implied.... He mocks fools rather than villains; he ridicules the results of excess. His pitch shifts agreeably; he is brash, merry, mythic, verbal, hilarious, by turns.’

—Marie Ponsot, Poetry

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Coal and Roses
Coal and Roses
P. K. Page
ISBN 978-0-88984-314-1

‘A witty, musical writer, Page is equally at ease musing playfully on the power of imagination, writing of love and loss, or reflecting gravely on the environmental crisis. Though she never shied from darker subjects, Page was at her best when celebrating the sensuous beauty of the world....’

—Barb Carey, Toronto Star

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South of North
South of North
Richard Outram and Thoreau MacDonald
ISBN 978-0-88984-298-4

‘Outram's elegant poetics are complemented by MacDonald's evocative graphics, tastefully selected by Anne Corkett and Rosemary Kilbourn, who also provide an informative introduction plus notes on both author and artist. Poems such as Outram's “Arctic Myth” evoke complexities of being, creation, and psychic movement over a wind-drift landscape. Travelling from Vancouver to Tantramar, across mountain, foothill, lake country, farmland and wetland, Outram provides a travelogue of sharply focused poetic snapshots charged with immediacy and the breath of a moment....’

—Karl Jirgens, Canadian Literature

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The Book of Were
The Book of Were
Wayne Clifford
ISBN 978-0-88984-281-6

‘The superbly crafted and enthusiastically recommended poems comprising Wayne Clifford’s The Book of Were are based on old engravings representing were-animals and were-folk, changelings at the edges of our known worlds and ordinary lives. One very nice touch is the inclusion of animal images accompanying the poems.’

—Michael Dunford, The Midwest Book Review

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Hot Poppies
Hot Poppies
Leon Rooke
ISBN 978-0-88984-263-2

‘If you are a fan of Rooke's fiction, you’ll likely enjoy his poetry. Much as Don Coles seemed to spring fully formed into the late genius of a life-long novelist, Rooke has arrived with a “first” book of uncommon skill and voice.... Hot Poppies is a very impressive debut.’

—George Murray, The Globe and Mail

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On Abducting the ’Cello
On Abducting the ’Cello
Wayne Clifford
ISBN 978-0-88984-237-3

‘Balance between taut rhyme and meter and occasional variance, between language of musical theory and popular crudity, marks Clifford’s collection. He uses traditional form and narrative framework to raise questions about ideas of Wagner’s impact on German nationalism, the doubling and splitting of an ego, and Elmer Fudd's sentimental mirroring of everyday romance. The delight and the challenge in On Abducting the ’Cello crystallize in the peripheral scope of the well-crafted, tightly tuned lines.’

—Brook Houglum, Canadian Literature

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Mogul Recollected
Mogul Recollected
Richard Outram
ISBN 978-0-88984-174-1

‘At the most lyrical of moments, fractured time, objects, and idiosyncratic details are telescoped and set awhirl in Outram's swirling style.’

Quill & Quire

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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.