Triple book launch marks Poetry Month

Three books of poetry will be launched at Oxygen Art Centre on April 25. - book covers
Three books of poetry will be launched at Oxygen Art Centre on April 25.
— image credit: book covers

Regina poet Bruce Rice and Winlaw poet Tom Wayman will launch three books between them as Oxygen Art Centre marks National Poetry Month on Friday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m.

Rice will be launching The Trouble With Beauty, just out from Coteau Books, which responds to the landscapes of western Saskatchewan. The book features photos of the province’s prairies and hills by Dennis Evans, an art instructor at the former David Thompson University Centre in Nelson.

Wayman will be launching two volumes of selected poems released last month: The Order in Which We Do Things from Wilfrid Laurier University Press, and Built to Take It: Selected Poems 1996-2013 from Spokane’s Lynx House Press.

The poets’ appearance, part of Oxygen’s Presentation Series, is free ($5 donation appreciated) and open to the public. The Oxygen Art Centre is at 320 Vernon Street (alley entrance).

Rice said the main question behind his new collection of poems is “how do we write honestly about beauty and landscape when we have left our boot prints all over it?” Rice last month was named the winner of the $1,000 P.K. Page Founders’ Award for Poetry given by Victoria’s Malahat Review. Nationally, Rice initiated the Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge, which after three years now has the mayors of 30 Canadian cities, including Nelson, invite a local poet to read a poem at the start of their March or April city council meetings as a way to recognize National Poetry Month.

Wayman said his two new volumes were issued to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his first collection of poems, Waiting for Wayman, which appeared in 1973. “The Order in Which We Do Things is edited by a young scholar, Owen Percy, who picked 31 poems to represent my entire career,” Wayman said. “It’s a bit like reading your own epitaph, except that Owen does say in the book that to date I have ‘failed spectacularly at being retired.’”

Built to Take It is a more comprehensive collection, Wayman said, with poems from his five most recent collections, including his 2012 volume, Dirty Snow, which was awarded the 2013 national Acorn-Plantos Award for People’s Poetry, and his 2013 collection, Winter’s Skin, which features photos of the snowbound Slocan Valley by area photographers Jeremy Addington and Rod Currie.

The Oxygen Art Centre’s 2013-14 Presentation Series is supported by the Columbia Basin Trust and the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance.

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