Frontenac House’s Quartet series releases four books of poetry
Every autumn, Calgary-based publishers Frontenac House release their annual Quartet, a series of four poetry books written by local poets – the latest of which was released Sept. 9. This year, Micheline Maylor, creative writing instructor at Mount Royal, served as guest-editor for the project.
“It was very much an honor,” said Maylor. “It’s an honor to be let into someone’s creative process and their creative writing in a way that they trust you so deeply and fully.”
The 2013 Quartet consists of Music Garden by Jim Nason, Reckless Towards Blossoming by Deborah Lawson, A Bitter Mood of Clouds by Vivian Hansen and Mount Royal instructor Juleta Severson-Baker’s Incarnate.
“The idea of Quartet is to have different voices that are harmonious and that complement one another,” Maylor said.
Jim Nason, a Calgary writer with three books of poetry already under his belt, chose art as the theme for Music Garden. He draws inspiration from Toronto’s Music Garden, the works of Salvador Dali, and other works of art.
“It’s about reacting to and conversing with art in his world,” noted Maylor.
Reckless Towards Blossoming, Deborah Lawson’s first book of poetry, is described on the Frontenac House website as “a journey through solitude, landscape and awakening.”
Maylor describes her work as packed with “complicated emotions,” like depression and “things falling apart and then things getting better and opening back up.”
“Her book very much ends in hope,” she concluded.
In A Bitter Mood of Clouds, Vivian Hansen explores her ancestry, specifically a hermaphroditic predecessor, and as Maylor described, “the voices that come out of her ancestry.”
Hansen is a poet and a freelance writer. She has won the Calgary Writers’ Association’s Arrol Award for Non-fiction, as well as the Orion Poetry Prize and numerous other awards.
Finally, Juleta Severson-Baker, a professor in the Speech Arts department at Mount Royal, incorporates the theme of eroticism in her book, Incarnate. It explores the idea of being “an earthly human being” and “experiencing things through the body.”
Severson-Baker’s work has been published in Freefall Magazine, a local literary magazine of which Maylor is editor, and she took home the top prize in the magazine’s 20th Anniversary Contest.
Maylor believes that students should take notice of these books — and poetry in general.
“Poetry is expressing the most profound emotions with the most precise and concise word choice. It is the artistry of word choice coupled with profound emotion, and that’s why poetry is still relevant,” she said. “It’s why poetry still matters, because it’s one of the ways that we can express ourselves as human beings to other human beings and to have them relate.”
The books in Frontenac House’s Quartet are available for purchase at Pages Books in Kensington and Shelf Life Books on 4th Street SW, and amazon.ca.