April is National Poetry Month! What better way to celebrate than with the works of our fellow Canadians? With something for everyone, these collections will get you hooked. You’ll find some familiar names, and maybe some that are new to you. Each book explores a meaningful and complex slice of life in a beautiful and compelling way. More specifically, these collections do so in an undeniably Canadian way. If poetry is not usually your thing, don’t worry! Poets like Rupi Kaur have stunning bite-sized poems that will ease you in to the poetic world.
Rupi Kaur is a well-known best-selling Canadian poet that got her start on Instagram! She is now world renowned. Home Body is her latest collection about trauma, mental health, self-love, and healing. She has also written the popular Milk & Honey and The Sun & Her Flowers.
Katherena Vermette is a bestselling and award winning Métis poet and novelist. River Woman is her second collection of poetry.
In it, she uses the symbol of the river to structure the flow of the book; streams flowing from the same sources; a breaking apart and coming together again. River Woman is an exploration of Vermette’s loving connection to nature through an Indigenous postcolonial lens.
Named after his first solo album, Gord Downie’s Coke Machine Glow is his first collection of poetry as well. Not only does it have the lyrics from the album, it also ultimately contains meditations on the things that unite us and divide us. Here, Downie brings us along and shows us part of his world. If you’re looking for a “rich, haunting collection” (from the publisher), this just might be it.
Vivek Shraya has shown herself to be tour de force in the art world. Her work includes albums, short films, three books, and now a collection of poetry. The publisher describes even this page is white as “a bold, timely, and personal interrogation of skin—its origins, functions, and limitations...Shraya paints the face of everyday racism with words, rendering it visible, tangible, and undeniable.”
In Voodoo Hypothesis, Lubrin examines and rejects the imperial, now stereotypical, social construct of what it means to be Black. In this collection, Lubrin looks at contemporary issues of race through older belief systems to form her central question: "What happens if the systems of belief that give science, religion and culture their importance were actually applied to the contemporary ‘black experience’?”; furthermore “…Lubrin has created a book that holds up a torch to the narratives of the ruling class, and shows us the restorative possibilities that exist in language itself” (from the publisher).
Looking for more? Find some more recommendations in this National Poetry Month list!