What I’m Reading

Now that the weather is cooling off and autumn is setting in, I look forward to more cozy reading days with wool socks and steaming cups of tea. The more I cozy-fy my apartment, the happier I am to just relax on the couch with my twinkly lights, toasty blankets, and a good book.

The only problem is, getting a good book in my hands. I’ve always loved libraries, but never truly realized how important they are to me until I no longer had access to one. Of course, there are plenty of libraries here in Korea, but naturally there isn’t much of an English selection beyond a few picture books.

Purchasing foreign language books is unfortunately not financially sustainable in Korea, with the cheapest of paper backs coming in at about $15 CAD each. I typically whip through novels within a day or two, so buying enough books to keep me busy isn’t quite doable. Aside from swapping books with other teachers, my reading material is fairly limited.

The one thing that has kept me busy is a book I had sent from home, The New Canon: An Anthology of Canadian Poetry. The collection focuses on Canadian poets born between 1955-1975. Despite having studied Canadian literature throughout university, most of the writers in this anthology were new to me.


Not a fan at all of the cover, but I suppose it’s more about what’s inside. But really, why that type face? I actually enhanced the photo to make the title more visible.

The best part about the anthology is I can read it over and over without getting bored. I suppose it’s the beauty of poetry. There’s always something new to be gleaned with each read.

With the only criteria for poets being Canadian and born within that twenty-year period, the anthology carefully balances themes, styles, geography, gender, and more. There are definitely poets featured that I’m not particularly drawn to, but

What I particularly enjoy about this anthology is that most of the poets are still producing work, which means I can cultivate a stronger taste for Canadian poetry and have more to look forward to in the future.

It is by no means a comprehensive collection of all worthy poetry being written in Canada. Of course, many young poets, and slightly older poets who didn’t quite make the 1955 cut-off are excluded. When I first looked through the table of contents I was disappointed to find they didn’t include Susan Glickman, one of my favourite Canadian writers. I later found out she was born in 1953, and therefore didn’t make the cut.

I haven’t gotten through reading the entire anthology yet, as I keep returning to some of my favourites. So far, a few of the poets have really stood out to me.

Noah Leznoff  writes the mundane and banal into something beautiful, yet real. “Pushing in the Grocery Line,” a poem about sterilization and organization of modern supermarkets that seems to give way to even more chaos, is one of my favourites.

Tim Bowling also stands out to me for his meditations on the relationships between people and nature.

Michael Crummey‘s poems in the anthology explore themes such as identity and embodiment, and often reflect the landscapes and experiences of his home, St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Karen Solie writes about a number of things, including female identity, landscapes, and nature, themes which are central to many modern Canadian woman poets. Yet, she carves out a distinct style that is both blunt and beautiful out once.

Now the only problem is my growing book list as I discover new poets to love and read. I’d like to buy an e-reader to cut down costs and space, but I’m still deciding which brand and model to go with. Any reccomendations?


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