Each issue of Arc Poetry Magazine includes “How Poems Work,” which offers readers a “case-study appreciation” of a single poem. The poem is reprinted in the issue along with the analysis, focusing on style, subject matter, influences, context, and the use of poetic elements. The spring 2023 issue featured Bardia Sinaee’s appreciation for “Epiphany” by Sara Venart. The poem opens with a series of visualized situations from everyday life, starting with the prompt “Here I am…” and coursing over a selection of events and feelings and questioning ‘what ifs.’ The closing line was a dagger to my heart in the most loving way and left me sobbing. “That’s a good poem,” I could have been satisfied to say, but then I read Sinaee’s commentary, which helped make connections I would not have, and offered a more authoritative assessment in ways I might not have felt confident making, but which made complete sense, such as, “This poem addresses us urgently and intimately.” While I felt that in reading the poem, seeing it said helped ground my feeling in shared reason. It helped me make sense, not of the poem, but of the effect the words had on me. It offered me a conversation partner in an otherwise solitary experience. It’s a wonderful feature for those of us who enjoy education but lack access to teachers—something to look forward to in each issue.
Reviewer bio: Denise Hill is Editor of NewPages.com and reviews books she chooses based on her own personal interests.
Congratulations to Arc Poetry on their 100th issue of publishing emerging and established poets from across Canada and beyond! Editor Emily Stewart says, “I hope you consider the unrecorded, unquantifiable creative efforts that have gone into this issue and the ninety-nine before it. I hope you recognize the talent and labour that make this magazine happen. And I hope you realize, without any uncertainty, that one hundred issues of Arc Poetry would not have been possible without you, without the literary community that has grown alongside Arc.”
This issue features the 2022 Diana Brebner Prize winner and honorable mention; new work from Arc’s 2021-22 Poet in Residence Annick MacAskill, and a selection of work by her mentees; new poems from Billy-Ray Belcourt, Lorna Crozier, Selina Boan, and more; work from Parliamentary Poet Laureate Louise Bernice Halfe; a translation feature curated by Katia Grubisic, including new translations of Nicole Brossard by Erin Moure; new essays, including by Lakshmi Gill, one of the first women members of the League of Canadian Poets; feature reviews that bring books previously reviewed in Arc into new conversations; and two “How Poems Work” columns by Bardia Sinaee on Sarah Venart and Eric Folsom on John Barton.
The newest issue of Arc Poetry Magazine celebrates 20 years of the Diana Brebner Prize with poems and retrospectives by twenty past winners, giving readers a look back on winning poems and the impact Brebner left. As Arc’s prose editor Nancy Jo Cullen says, Brebner’s work demonstrates “Community and legacy in action.” This issue also focuses the “How Poems Work” section and new essays on Brebner and her work. Contributors include John Barton, Stephanie Bolster, S. Lesley Buxton, Blaine Marchand, Una McDonnell, and Anita Lahey. Poetry from Arc’s 2020-2021 Poet-in-Residence Jim Johnstone and his mentees Michael Prior, Amanda Merpaw, Taylor Zantingh, Lucy Yang, Janetter Platana, Sarain Keeshig-Soonias, and Joseph Kidney are included as well.