Michael Lithgow and Donald McGrath will read from their collections, Waking in the Tree House and The Port Inventory, respectively. Robyn Sarah will read from the collections of out-of-town poets M. Travis Lane and E. Blagrave.
Waking in the Tree House is writer Michael Lithgow's first collection. Lithgow was born in Ottawa, settled in Vancouver in the 1980s, and now lives in Chelsea, Quebec and teaches at Carlton University. In poems that range in setting from a rooming house, to a junk shop, to a Montreal bus in rush hour, to the old Jewish quarter in Krakow, he mixes humour, irony and a darker sensibility to immerse us in "a stream of sensory impressions towards some heightened awareness" (Cormorant Books).
The Port Inventory is Donald McGrath's second collection (his first, At First Light, was published in 1995). McGrath grew up in a fishing village in Newfoundland, studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and now lives in Montreal. These poems carry us down the St Lawrence River, to the depths of a darkened courtyard in a hotel in Biarritz, into the bedroom of a fevered child in an east coast fishing village, to name a few. McGrath "drops a ladder into memory's root cellar and finds it luminescent" (Cormorant Books).
Ash Steps is the fourteenth poetry title of M. Travis Lane, onetime army brat, American transplant to New Brunswick, award-winning poet of Atlantic Canada. The collection meditates on loss and reorientation, widowhood and mortality, avoiding fear and self-pity in favour of a tone of "clear-eyed coming-to-terms". Lane's "acute powers of observation" bring us unusual yet natural images - a beggar sitting at the midpoint of a footbridge, trees in a night plaza, with a historical and cultural awareness, and "a music that holds it all together" (Cormorant Books).
Tilt the first collection of Canadian poet E. Blagrave, whose first magazine poetry submission was published in 1973. Blagrave then took an extended hiatus from published writing for thirty years, before beginning to write again much later in life. This collection assembles the poet's early and later work, showcasing both her "old soul and child-spirit"(Cormorant Books), with poems in turn lyrical and terse, strange and familiar.