Contemplation on the cusp


Break out the champagne: Brilliant Coroners has been released!

Brilliant Coroners is an anthology of poems newly-published by the Montréal-based Phoenicia Publishing

Here's how Brilliant Coroners is described on the Phoenicia website:

Writers and artists have always formed groups for mutual support, commentary, and encouragement, sometimes collaborating on public projects from group shows to hand-printed literary magazines. But while one tends to think of local writers hanging out in Paris cafés in the 1930s, or on the lower East side of New York in the 1950s, how does that desire for communication and creative inspiration translate into today's online world?  The poets and visual artists of this anthology met online through their blogs, and have corresponded for a number of years, across continents and oceans. All are serious writers and artists, many with published poems or books.  Brilliant Coroners arose from their desire to create a collective work and share it with a wider public, and also their wish to draw attention to the high quality of literary writing on the web, and to the exciting possibilities for creative collaboration it affords. The title of this collection refers not to the poets, but to the poems themselves, which sharply dissect meaning from a post-modern world.

As that blurb (hopefully) makes plain, everyone whose work appears in Brilliant Coroners is a blogger. These are some of my favorite online writers, poets of place and chroniclers of human experience. Many have been contributors to qarrtsiluni, a literary e-zine which is a kind of cousin to both Laupe House and Phoenicia. Over the course of the years we've spent sharing our words and our work, we've become not only colleagues and trusted readers but also friends.

Everyone whose work appears in the anthology submitted multiple poems. The co-editors (two Rachels -- Rachel Rawlins and I) were tasked with choosing which of each poet's poems to print. It didn't take long for us to hone in on the tone we wanted for the anthology. Despite our divergent poetic tastes, we found ourselves almost always in agreement about which poems should be a part of the collection. Though the poets behind this work have a broad range of backgrounds and styles, the poems work beautifully together. I think there's real conversation between them. (If you click on the "look inside" link at Phoenicia's site, you'll get a .pdf that includes the table of contents, two of my poems, and two poems each by five of my fellow co-contributors. Hopefully those will whet your appetite for the whole collection.)

The book contains 68 poems by seventeen poets: Beth Adams of The Cassandra Pages, Ivy Alvarez (website here), yours truly, Maria Benet of Small Change Blog, Dave Bonta of Via Negativa, Teju Cole (who in the spirit of impermanence deletes his blogs every so often, though you can find his print work here); Natalie d'Arbeloff of Blaugustine, Dale Favier of Mole, Dick Jones of Patteran Pages, Alison Kent of Feathers of Hope, Leslee Masten, Tom Montag of The Middlewesterner, Jean Morris of Tasting Rhubarb, Rachel Rawlins of Frizzy Logic, Peter Stephens of Slow Reads, Anne-Mieke Swart of Eye in a bell, and the mysterious B.E. Wing.

Some of these poems were originally published on our blogs; others have appeared in journals or chapbooks of various kinds; still others are finding their first audience in these pages. Copies of the collection cost just under $12 apiece, and I hope you'll consider buying a few. These are really good poems, worth reading and rereading. And the whole enterprise of the anthology -- our coming together in a spirit of play and collaboration, celebrating the work that connects us -- makes me happy. I hope it will do the same for you.

Buy Brilliant Coroners here.


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