An Introduction

Welcome to Forget's latest issue. Let me tell you something about these five poets.

I first encountered Johanna Skibsrud's poetry at the 2009 Battle of the Bards at Harbourfront Centre. That night she read the title poem of her as-yet unreleased second collection of poetry I Do Not Think That I Could Love a Human Being. To say that poem made an impression on me would be an understatement -- I've been her loyal reader ever since. Skibsrud won the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize for her novel The Sentimentalists, and has since published another novel and a collection of short stories. Despite her success in fiction, Skibsrud still thinks of herself very much as a poet; she once said to me, "I never want to be someone who used to write poetry," and these new poems are the proof of her conviction. A new collection of her poetry is forthcoming next year.

I can't remember when I first encountered Dani Couture's poetry, as I've been reading it for years, even before her debut collection Good Meat was published in 2006. Two more poetry collections and novel have followed, cementing Couture's reputation as an exceptional poet worthy of our attention. Her second book of poetry Sweet was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award for poetry and won the ReLit Award in 2011, and she also received an Honour of Distinction from the Writers Trust of Canada Dayne Ogilvie Prize. Accolades are nice, but the real treasure is the work itself. As we can see in her third collection YAW, Couture's work continues to evolve and challenge, and I'm happy to be able to present one of her newer pieces here in Forget.  

Like Skibsrud, Kilby Smith-McGregor is a poet who has also been honoured for her fiction, having received the 2010 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers from the the Writers’ Trust of Canada. I first encountered her poetry when she was completing her MFA in creative writing at the University of Guelph five years ago. Her poetic voice was already developed, artful, and assured; I wanted to read more of it. Her poetry strikes a balance between baroque elegance and haunting understatement. You'll want to read more of it, too, and you'll get your chance when her debut collection Kids in Triage is published in the spring.

Canisia Lubrin is an emerging poet and another graduate of the MFA program at the University of Guelph, where, like Kilby Smith-McGregor, she completed her thesis in fiction. Originally from Saint Lucia, Lubrin's writing has appeared in journals across Canada. As you can see from the poem included here, her poetry is remarkable for its dexterity -- in subject and in voice. Her influences include contemporary pop culture and her fellow Saint Lucian, Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott. If this is your first time reading her work, you will soon have a chance to read more. Her poems are slated for appearance in more Canadian journals, and she is busily working on her first collection of poetry as well as her debut novel. 

And finally, we have Shazia Hafiz Ramji, who is extremely active in Vancouver's writing and publishing community, doing work for magazines like Megaphone, SubTerrain, and Zouch. I first read her poetry in online journals such as The Puritan and Lemon Hound. When I was asked to guest edit this issue of Forget, I knew I'd like to include her work, too. I admire her subtle, mordant humour, vivid imagery, and the tonal tension she recreates betwen comfort and restraint. I'm very glad to include her along with other "poets to watch" like Smith-McGregor and Lubrin, as well as more established writers like Skibsrud and Couture. I'm grateful for the opportunity to present their work to you, and do I hope you will look for their work in the future.

Paul Vermeersch
September 2015

Published On: September 25, 2015
Permanent Location:

Volume 8, Issue 3
September 25, 2015

Via Toronto

an Introduction
Paul Vermeersch

Penguin Suicide

Shazia Hafiz Ramji

beached poem

Shazia Hafiz Ramji

watched by the drone

Dani Couture

They Will Take My Island

Johanna Skibsrud

Maestro Bartolome Reconsiders his "Creation of Eve"

Johanna Skibsrud

Lacking the Wind's Higher Reasoning

Canisia Lubrin

Postcard from the volcano

Kilby Smith-McGregor

Taking off your glasses

Kilby Smith-McGregor

Feb 12, 2001 - Present

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