If you're thinking about giving the gift of poetry to your family or friends over the holidays, you might be interested to hear a few recommendations by some of Ottawa's local poets. Like any other gift, poetry is a matter of personal taste, tis true, but if they're your friends, i wouldn't be surprised if they are interested in poetry, so here are a few possibilities; all these books can be purchased through your local independent bookstores, such as Books on Beechwood, Collected Works, Mother Tongue, Perfect Books, and Nicholas Hoare or directly through the publishers.
Some Days I Think I Know Things: The Cassandra Poems, Rhonda Douglas, Signature 2008
The Luskville Reductions, Monty Reid, Brick, 2008
Decalogue: ten Ottawa poets (Chaudiere Books, 2007)
includes poetry by Stephen Brockwell, Michelle Desbarats, Anita Dolman, Anne Le Dressay, Karen Massey, Una McDonnell, rob mclennan, Max Middle, Monty Reid and Shane Rhodes; this is a great overview to what's going on in contemporary poetry in the National Capital.
Best Canadian Poetry in English 2008 ed. by Stephanie Bolster (series ed Molly Peacock), (Tightrope Books, 2008)
This is the first book in a new series collecting the best poetry that appeared in Canadian journals in the previous twelve months. It's controversial & compelling - the intro is worth the price of the volume ($18.95) on its own. Bonus: the anthology includes work by current or former Ottawans like Shane Rhodes, Craig Poile and John Barton.
Ronnie R. Brown's "Night Echoes" (Black Moss, 2006) is a rich romp through a wise woman's dark, moving, and hilarious dreams, Nadine McInnis's "Two Hemispheres" (Brick Books, 2007) mixes science and madness in a personal and at the same time historical narrative that grips from the first page, and Colin Morton's "the Local Cluster"(Pecan Grove Press, 2008) -- full of sounds and images drawn from the streets of our town over several decaudes -- will rouse responses from any longtime Ottawan.
Karen Houle. During. Gaspereau Press: 2008. (not local but good)
Guess I'd feel ok recommending Robert Kroetsch's "Completed Field Notes" (University of Alberta Press, 2001).
Certainly experimental enough, but also accessible enough, fun enough & wide ranging. I know I'd have been very happy to get it as a gift too. (Um, in fact I did get it as a gift, & I was glad to get it.) I know it's not exactly what people would expect, but it's an excellent read & also Canadian too.
Troy Jollimore's Tom Thompson in Purgatory (Margie / IntuiT House, 2006) is a nice recent one. Failing that, tell everyone to buy the new edition of George Bowering’s Kerrisdale elegies, (Talon Books, 2008) [also pooka press in Vancouver published a beautiful limited edition run, but perhaps that's out of print?]