Robert Kroetsch Series

Canadian creative writing, short stories, and poetry

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    March 2022

    Arborophobia, the latest collection by award-winning poet Nancy Holmes, is a poetic spiritual reckoning. Its elegies, litanies, and indictments concern wonder, guilt, and grief about the journey of human life and the state of the natural world. When a child attempts suicide and western North America burns and the creep of mortality closes in, is spiritual and emotional solace possible or even desirable? Answers abound in measured, texturally intimate, and often surprising ... [READ MORE]

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    March 2022

    This poignant debut by Gavin Bradley explores the emotional toll of different kinds of separation: from a partner, a previously held sense of self, or a home and the people left behind. The main narrative follows the deterioration of a long-term relationship, interweaving poems dealing with the loneliness of immigration and the anxiety of separation from Northern Ireland, the poet’s homeland. These personal poems enter their stories through a variety of characters an... [READ MORE]

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    March 2022

    You Might Be Sorry You Read This is a stunning debut, revealing how breaking silences and reconciling identity can refine anger into something both useful and beautiful. A poetic memoir that looks unflinchingly at childhood trauma (both incestuous rape and surviving exposure in extreme cold), it also tells the story of coming to terms with a hidden Indigenous identity when the poet discovered her Métis heritage at age 38. This collection is a journey of pain, belongin... [READ MORE]

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    June 2021

    “I returned to the same respiratory therapist for my annual checkup. I told her that her words to me, ‘You look good for your age,’ had inspired a book. ‘Wow!’ she said. ‘You wrote a whole book about that?’ ‘Twenty-nine kick-ass writers wrote it,’ I said. She gave me a thumbs up.” From the Preface

    This is a book about women and ageism. There are twenty-nine contributing writers, ranging in age from th... [READ MORE]

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    Micheline Maylor’s The Bad Wife is an intimate, first-hand account of how to ruin a marriage. This is a story of divorce, love, and what should have been, told in a brave and unflinching voice. Pulling the reader into a startling web of sensuality, guilt, resentment, and pleasure, this collection asks: what if you set off a bomb in your own house? What if you lose love and destroy everything you ever knew? These poems have a disarming immediacy, full of surprising im... [READ MORE]

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    Gospel Drunk follows a speaker’s journey to find clarity and identity as he contemplates his Catholic upbringing and struggles with loneliness and alcohol addiction. Sharp, intoxicating imagery and a minimalist aesthetic combine in these poems to explore some of our darkest and strongest belief systems, dismantling them with wit and wisdom. Poignant boyhood memories of hockey coaches as “dragons in suits” collide with critiques of “the broken bicycl... [READ MORE]

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    Deriving is a feminist exploration of the creation of life, of family, and of words themselves. Delisle asks: How does past infertility colour the experience of new motherhood? How do historical voices echo in the present? How does language impact our ways of being in the world? These poems embrace the rich material of mothering with unapologetic honesty, confronting the experiences that some would keep hidden. Fear, anger, envy mix with joy and ultimately hope, as Delisle... [READ MORE]

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    You lie awake,

    needlessly fingering

    this patchwork guilt.

    Remorse, a code

    you live by; distress calls

    for someone to blame.

    —from “Threads”

    Following the deaths of her Mennonite grandparents, Angeline Schellenberg began exploring their influence on her life. Her elegiac love letter to them articulates her grief against the backdrop of their involuntary emigration. She artfully captures the immigrant ... [READ MORE]

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    In this collection, E. Alex Pierce enters the territory of memory embedded in landscape where “language tied to the land” evokes the cadence of tidal rivers and creates a fluid world. She traces the fragmented childhood beginnings that lead to the formation of a young artist who moves from music, through theatre, to poetry. The passionate relationships and complex juxtapositions of art and performance that form an artist’s life find voice here in the symp... [READ MORE]

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    In the arena, she shot cigarettes and coins

    from her trusting husband’s hand. Some women

    wished she would miss.

    —from “Little Sure Shot”

    Kat Cameron’s poetry illuminates the unsung perspectives of the women of the West, creating a compelling narrative that reflects the poet’s own struggles with sorrow. She conjures ghosts and weaves together insights on loss, memory, and the impacts of boom and bust.

    ... [READ MORE]

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    Social Justice Poetry

    Spoken-word poet Valerie Mason-John unsettles readers with potent images of ongoing trauma from slavery and colonization. Her narratives range from the beginnings of the African Diaspora to the story of a stowaway on the Windrush, from racism and sexism in Trump’s America to the wide impact of the Me Too movement. Stories of entrapment, sexual assault, addictive behaviours, and rave culture are told and contrasted to the strengthening and ... [READ MORE]

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    There is beauty

    in the teacup

    like dresses

    requiring crinoline

    or beaded purses

    too small to carry

    anything but anger.

    — from “Inheritance”

    Marita Dachsel’s third poetry collection explores parenthood, love, and the grief of losing those both close and distant. In the tradition of Karen Solie and Suzanne Buffam, and with a touch of Canadian Gothic, Dachsel’s poetic skills unfold in a varie... [READ MORE]

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    The late sun falls slowly into the afternoon of your eyes, and there

    it pauses as one might pause to take a breath —from “Lost”

    Nothing Is But You and I, the breathtaking final volume in the Apostrophes series, reveals poet E.D. Blodgett at his most accomplished. Lyrical grace meets exquisite technique as Blodgett fathoms intimacy, knowledge, and being. The poems allow us to listen to one side of an intimate conversation; yet despite th... [READ MORE]

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    The verb esperar means to wait. It also means to hope.—“The Past Was a Small Notebook, Much Scribbled-Upon”, Cora Siré

    Waiting, that most human of experiences, saturates all of our lives. We spend part of each day waiting—for birth, death, appointments, acceptance, forgiveness, redemption. This collection of thirty-two personal essays is as much about hope as it is about waiting. Featuring literary voices from the renowned to the e... [READ MORE]

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    Rain Shadow is a collection of poetry that explores the fraught relationship between the natural world and humans yearning to connect with something greater than themselves. The poems range through destabilized lives and landscapes, fathoming presence and absence, transformation and oblivion. They outline the major questions of our time as the poet crisscrosses western Canada and the Pacific Northwest. Witty, playful, serious, and heartsore, Rain Shadow seeks to understand... [READ MORE]

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    In a series of poems inspired by Gustav Mahler's Kindertotenlieder, E.D. Blodgett searches for meaning amidst grief. In the contemplative gentleness of his words, he finds the special light children possess in their state of unknowing as they encounter the world. These sparse poems move through acceptance and resignation to the solace that exists in the word. Blodgett's poetry will speak to readers who have experienced loss, are exploring grief, or want to find a way to co... [READ MORE]

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    Alice Major observes the comedy and the tragedy of this human-dominated moment on Earth. Major’s most persistent question—“Where do we fit in the universe?”—is made more urgent by the ecological calamity of human-driven climate change. Her poetry leads us to question human hierarchies, loyalties, and consciousness, and challenges us to find some humility in our overblown sense of our cosmic significance.

    Now, welcome to the Anthro... [READ MORE]

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    Secrets aren’t good for families. — from “Big Luck Island”

    In The Left-Handed Dinner Party and Other Stories—a collection of new, delightful, distinctive short stories—everyone is missing something or someone; every family is riven by secrets and absences. From “The Remedy,” a tale of revenge and justice, to “The Smart Sisters,” a story of tricky family dynamics, Coulter’s narratives portray rel... [READ MORE]

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    I woke up with Moses Henry’s boot holding open my jaw and my right eye was looking into his gun barrel. I heard the slow words, “Take. It. Back.” I know one thing about Moses Henry; he means business when he means business. I took it back and for the last eight months I have not uttered Annie Mukluk’s name.

    In strolls Annie Mukluk in all her mukiness glory. Tonight she has gone traditional. Her long black hair is wrapped in intu’d... [READ MORE]

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    first snow falling slow

    hangs in the air

    a curtain drifting there

    thickening sight

    —“Winter”

    In this new collection, Douglas Barbour experiments with what he calls “rhythmically intense open form.” Listen. If presents technically innovative poetry that invites the reader to join in some serious play. Barbour’s vivid, ekphrastic poems engage an ongoing conversation among artworks—not only classi... [READ MORE]