June 22, 2012

Over at Xtra, Billeh Nickerson reviews The Hard Return. Here’s a bit of what he has to say:

Perhaps I’m going out on a limb, but I’ll speculate that no other book of poetry published in Canada this year will include meditations on dunk tanks (that’s dunk without an r, you party animals), pissing in public, saxophones, orgasms and puffy coats. This is a good thing. Poetry is too often predictable. This book is not.

Marcus McCann will be the 2012 recipient of the EJ Pratt medal for poetry (not to be confused with the EJ Pratt Poetry Award in Newfoundland.) Read the letter below:

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…and in other news, check out the blog of Cameron Anstee, who grapples with having his words filched for a McCann cento in The Hard Return:

It is somewhat horrifying to be reminded of this older work, and even more horrifying to think that Marcus had looked at it relatively recently. I remember writing and laying out this chapbook during my final summer working for the City of Ottawa in School Zone Traffic Safety in the Traffic and Parking Department (it was more exciting than it sounds!). I think the layout has held up more strongly than the poems, but I still have a soft spot for the poem Marcus plundered….

Elsewhere in the blogosphere, rob mclennan turned his attention to The Hard Return in May. Here’s what he had to say:

Over the months since his first trade collection, Soft Where (Ottawa ON: Chaudiere Books, 2009), former Ottawa poet Marcus McCann’s gymnastic poems have become nearly bulletproof, composing lines one can bounce both quarter or a round off. His second collection, The Hard Return (Toronto ON: Insomniac Press, 2012), one of the final season of Paul Vermeersch’s tenure as poetry editor (before heading off to Wolsak & Wynn) writes of dislocation and location, writing the tension between a series of opposite positions. The density of McCann’s lines are incredibly packed, and move at lightspeed, nearly light-headedly so.

Thanks, rob!

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