Graduate Publications

The Place of Scraps
Jordan Abel

The Place of Scraps revolves around Marius Barbeau, an early-twentieth-century ethnographer, who studied many of the First Nations cultures in the Pacific Northwest, including Jordan Abel's ancestral Nisga'a Nation. Barbeau, in keeping with the popular thinking of the time, believed First Nations cultures were about to disappear completely, and that it was up to him to preserve what was left of these dying cultures while he could. Unfortunately, his methods of preserving First Nations cultures included purchasing totem poles and potlatch items from struggling communities in order to sell them to museums. While Barbeau strove to protect First Nations cultures from vanishing, he ended up playing an active role in dismantling the very same cultures he tried to save. Drawing inspiration from Barbeau's canonical book Totem Poles, Jordan Abel explores the complicated relationship between First Nations cultures and ethnography. His poems simultaneously illuminate Barbeau's intentions and navigate the repercussions of the anthropologist's actions. Through the use of erasure techniques, Abel carves out new understandings of Barbeau's writing - each layer reveals a fresh perspective, each word takes on a different connotation, each letter plays a different role, and each punctuation mark rises to the surface in an unexpected way. As Abel writes his way ever deeper into Barbeau's words, he begins to understand that he is much more connected to Barbeau than he originally suspected.

Jordan Abel

Award-winning Nisga’a poet Jordan Abel’s second collection of poetry, Un/inhabited, maps the terrain of the public domain to create a layered investigation of the interconnections between language and land. Abel constructed the book’s source text by compiling 91 complete western novels found on the website Project Gutenberg, an online archive of public domain works. Using his word processor’s Ctrl-F function, he then searched the document in its totality for words that relate to the political and social aspects of land, territory and ownership. Each search query represents a study in context (How was this word deployed? What surrounded it? What is left over once that word is removed?) that accumulates toward a representation of the public domain as a discoverable and inhabitable body of land. Featuring a text by independent curator Kathleen Ritter—the first piece of scholarship on Abel’s work—Un/inhabited reminds us of the power of language as material and invites us to reflect on what is present when we see nothing.

Erec & Enide
Amy De'Ath

Erec & Enide is a bold and unashamedly intimate work that delights in the theatrical, communicative powers of language, and by turns gives way to a quiet sadness. Writing out of contemporary feminist revisions of lyric and epic forms, the poems set up an overtly feminised display which the reader then re-enacts to find meanings which do not ally and a feminism which does not conform to conventional modes of uplift.

“It is the world’s wild glare that provides the complex heart of Erec & Enide. With wisdom, uncommon wit, and precision, Amy De’Ath’s spirited first book unsettles all things to reveal that neither a language nor a body is a closed system. De’Ath’s is an inclusive imagination that meets the world with lyric intensity and irony—her poems invite us to feel: “stranger, it’s a hunger I’m looking for.” ” — PETER GIZZI

Lower Parallel
Amy De'Ath

Lower Parallel takes pleasure in anger at what's not changed, got worse, hurt everyone, some more than others, waged and unwaged; is sincere with rage against what is intolerable, like nobility, like men, colonial and not; wants to cancel its own resistance to being reduced to intellect -- reduce me, it says, here's a feminist anyway, so fuck you!

"Amy De'Ath's Lower Parallel is the lyric encrusted with glitter. By that I mean it's celebratory and tender too; and so beautifully done that all that it is washes over you. Here's "a population of rage at you", and a commitment to feminism that's angry and witchy, surprising and spitting." — JULIANA SPAHR

Toward. Some. Air.: Remarks on Poetics of Mad Affect, Militancy, Feminism, Demotic Rhythms, Emptying, Intervention, Reluctance, Indigeneity, Immediacy, Lyric Conceptualism, Commons, Pastoral Margins, Ambivalence, Desire, Disability, The Digital, and Other Practices
Edited by Fred Wah & Amy De'Ath

Toward. Some. Air. is an unprecedented collection of contemporary poetics from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Here, poet and scholar Amy De'Ath and former Parliamentary Poet Laureate Fred Wah collect a wide range of conversations, statements, essays, profiles, and poems and place these often radical and interdisciplinary approaches in proximal relation to each other. The result is an open invitation to consider the contours and meaning of Anglophone poetic practice, as a mode of interpreting the world, as a potential for transforming subjectivity, or something else entirely.

"Much of this formidable volume will set hackles rising, some of it will smooth hackles and render them fur again - post-anthropocene, animal, and freely passioned. All of it will, hopefully, foment revolution. As the title suggests, the revolution will unfold incrementally - directions must be chosen, footsteps must be taken and then hasten, and the prospect for now only hovers on the horizon. But here are the voices of invitation. These may be last poets, but they are also first. Read this book freely and frequently and stay alert." --Lyn Hejinian.

Fortified Castles
ryan fitzpatrick

Starting with the lyric statement as a point of interrogation, Fortified Castles asks what might cause a retreat into the comforting walls of the self. North American culture is saturated with discourses of self-improvement and self-awareness at the same time it is full of anxiety over the things that separate us. Moving from a stock-ticker tableau of economic and environmental crisis to the difficulty of finding one another in the streets, the poems in Fortified Castles stage impasse after impasse, locating the Western subject between the ramparts it walks and the barricades it throws up.

ryan fitzpatrick is a poet and critic living in Vancouver currently doing doctoral work at Simon Fraser University. In addition to Fortified Castles, he is the author of one previous book of poetry - Fake Math (Snare, 2007) - as well as a dozen chapbooks. With Jonathan Ball, he is co-editor of the critical anthology Why Poetry Sucks: An Anthology of Humorous Experimental Canadian Poetry (Insomniac, 2014).

Why Poetry Sucks: An Anthology of Humorous Experimental Canadian Poetry
Edited by Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jonathan Ball

Despite a reputation for dead seriousness, poetry has a long relationship with humour, from Catullus’ complaints to Chaucer’s ribald tales to Kenneth Goldsmith’s appearance on The Colbert Report. Focusing on our contemporary moment, Why Poetry Sucks scrutinizes Canada’s poetic avant-gardes for signs of humorous life. Moving deftly between entertainment, attack, and critique, this poetry makes us laugh while making us wonder why we’re laughing at all. The authors in Why Poetry Sucks draw from deep traditions in both poetry and comedy, often challenging the rigid literary and political impasses they encounter. In our current social and cultural game of Blockado (the game of barricades), humour can act as an important sledge, taking a swing at the institutions and ideologies we might wish changed — all the while acknowledging, with bitter laughter and tongue in cheek, our apparent inability to change them. 

Ryan Fitzpatrick is a poet and critic living in Vancouver currently doing doctoral work at Simon Fraser University. He is the author of two books of poetry - Fake Math (Snare, 2007) and Fortified Castles (Talon, 2014) - as well as a dozen chapbooks. Jonathan Ball is a poet and critic living in Winnipeg. He is the author of three books of poetry - Ex Machina (Book Thug, 2009), Clockfire (Coach House, 2010), and The Politics of Knives (Coach House, 2012) - as well as a critical study John Paizs's Crime Wave (University of Toronto Press, 2014)