McMaster Poetry Panel: THE AFFIRMATIONS, THE DAY-BREAKERS, and HAIL, THE INVISIBLE WATCHMAN
POETRY SPOTLIGHT WITH BIBLIOASIS AUTHORS AND MCMASTER ALUMNI
You’re invited to Poetry Spotlight, readings and discussions with Biblioasis authors and McMaster Alumni! Join Jeffery Donaldson, professor of English & Cultural Studies as he interviews Michael Fraser (The Day-Breakers), Luke Hathaway ’18 (The Affirmations), and Alexandra Oliver (Hail, the Invisible Watchman), current PhD candidate, on their latest poetry collections with Biblioasis. This virtual event will take place on Thursday, April 14 at 7PM ET.
By registering for the event, you will be entered into a draw to win one of three book bundles, featuring each of the newest collections from our poets!
Register to join here!
Order The Affirmations here!
Order The Day-Breakers here!
Order Hail, the Invisible Watchman here!
“…a trans-mystical work of love and change…”—Ali Blythe, author of Hymnswitch
The mystics who coined the phrase ‘the way of affirmation’ understood the apocalyptic nature of the word yes, the way it can lead out of one life and into another. Moving among the languages of Christian conversion, Classical metamorphosis, seasonal transformation, and gender transition, Luke Hathaway tells the story of the love that rewired his being, asking each of us to experience the transfiguration that can follow upon saying yes—with all one’s heart, with all one’s soul, with all one’s mind, with all one’s strength … and with all one’s body, too.
Luke Hathaway is a trans poet who teaches English and Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s University in Kjipuktuk/Halifax. He has been before now at some time boy and girl, bush, bird, and a mute fish in the sea. His book Years, Months, and Days was named a best book of 2018 in The New York Times. He mentors new librettists as a faculty member in the Amadeus Choir’s Choral Composition Lab, and makes music with Daniel Cabena as part of the metamorphosing ensemble ANIMA.
Saturated with locutions lifted from the late 19th century, The Day-Breakers deeply conceives of what African Canadian soldiers experienced before, during, and in the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War.
“It is not wise to waste the life / Against a stubborn will. / Yet would we die as some have done. / Beating a way for the rising sun wrote Arna Bontemps. In The Day-Breakers, poet Michael Fraser imagines the selflessness of Black soldiers who fought for the Union during the American Civil War, of whom hundreds were African-Canadian, fighting for the freedom of their brethren and the dawning of a new day. Brilliantly capturing the rhythms of their voices and the era in which they lived and fought, Fraser’s The Day-Breakers is an homage to their sacrifice and an unforgettable act of reclamation: the restoration of a language, and a powerful new perspective on Black history and experience.
Michael Fraser is published in various national and international journals and anthologies. He is published in Best Canadian Poetry in English 2013 and 2018. He has won numerous awards, including Freefall Magazine’s 2014 and 2015 poetry contests, the 2016 CBC Poetry Prize, and the 2018 Gwendolyn Macewen Poetry Competition.
ABOUT HAIL, THE INVISIBLE WATCHMAN
Hail, The Invisible Watchman is haunted poetry—Oliver’s formal schemes are as tidy as a picket-fence and as suggestive; behind the charm of rhyme is a vibrant, dark exploration of domestic and social alienation.
The poems in Hail, the Invisible Watchman are as tidy as a picket-fence—and as suggestive. Behind the charms of iambs lurks a dark exploration of domestic and social alienation. Metered rhyme sets the tone like a chilling piano score as insidiousness creeps into the neighbourhood. A spectral narrator surveils social gatherings in the town of Sherbet Lake; community members chime in, each revealing their various troubles and hypocrisies; an eerie reimagining of an Ethel Wilson novel follows a young woman into a taboo friendship with an enigmatic divorcée. In taut poetic structures across three succinct sections, Alexandra Oliver’s conflation of the mundane and the phantasmagoric produces a scintillating portrait of the suburban uncanny.
Alexandra Oliver was born in Vancouver, BC. Her 2013 collection Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway was the recipient of the 2014 Pat Lowther Memorial Award; Let the Empire Down (Biblioasis 2016), was shortlisted for the same in 2017. Her libretto for From the Diaries of William Lyon Mackenzie King, conceived in conjunction with composer Scott Wilson at the University of Birmingham, was performed by Continuum Music in Toronto in December, 2017. Oliver is a past co-editor of Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters (Everyman’s Library/Random House, 2015) as well (with Pino Coluccio) of the formalist journal The Rotary Dial. She is currently completing a PhD in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University, where she teaches poetry and prosody.