McClelland & Stewart announced today that poets Ken Babstock, Dionne Brand, and Kevin Connolly will form the press’s inaugural poetry board. The first list published under the board’s direction will appear next spring.
Babstock, a former poetry editor at House of Anansi Press, won the 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize for his latest collection, Methodist Hatchet (Anansi). Brand, Toronto’s former poet laureate, won the Griffin for her 2010 book, Ossuaries (M&S). (Her latest novel, Love Enough, will appear this fall from Knopf Canada.) Connolly was a longtime editor at Coach House Books, and has served as an editor at ECW Press and Anansi. His 2005 collection, Drift (Anansi), won the Trillium Book Award.
M&S publisher Ellen Seligman says the board will be involved in editing or recommending editors for the books acquired by the imprint (a division of Random House of Canada). The program will continue to publish two to four titles per year. M&S senior editor Anita Chong will support the program in-house, with Doubleday Canada publishing director Lynn Henry taking on a consulting role.
“[These board members] have standing in the literary community, editorial savvy, broad and diverse tastes and curatorial expertise, as well as a deep knowledge and interest in the poetry community across Canada,” Seligman said in a press release. “M&S has a rich and valued list, and we look forward to building upon it, into the future, with this exciting new structure in place.”
Dennis Lee developed M&S’s poetry program in the early 1980s. Among its stable of authors are Earle Birney, Ralph Gustafson, Al Purdy, and Gwendolyn MacEwen, with Anne Carson, Leonard Cohen, Anne Michaels, and Paul Vermeersch representing the contemporary set. This month, Trillium winner Adam Sol released Complicity, his fourth collection and first book with M&S.