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The Scottish-American Poetry Magazine
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The Scottish-American Poetry Magazine HorseLogoGif
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Thursday, 24 March 2011

Horse 26 at last!


This issue has been a bit delayed owing to a printer's error slap on the front cover, which meant almost the entire run had to be reprinted. The UK issues have been out for a couple of weeks; the US issues are being mailed out on Friday. The 'NB' column on the back page of the TLS ran a little feature about the issue, complete with a cover scan, which has lead to a modest spike in subscriptions and sales. Sean Haldane's extensive overview of contemporary Canadian poetry via two recent anthologies has also attracted some attention. Here's a letter from Todd Swift, the co-editor of one of the anthologies that Haldane examines:

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the lengthy review in The Dark Horse Winter/Spring 2011 issue of Modern Canadian Poets by Sean Haldane. I am glad he reviews the anthology, which I co-edited with Evan Jones, in the context of the Carmine Starnino anthology. Though Haldane ultimately views the anthology as mainly a "curiosity" he does quote from it enough to give the reader a sense of what it might contain. Haldane makes several serious errors of fact which should be cleared up, though. Firstly, he claims we leave two French poets out we mention in the Introduction. Anne Carson translates the Nelligan. Ormsby translates the Melancon. Nothing missing. Secondly, Haldane claims we include "Susan Musgrove"; the name is "Musgrave" and alas, we do not include her work. Haldane seems upset by ouromissions, which he claims are incomprehensible. They are comprehensible once the realities of publishing an anthology are taken into account. Perhaps he might have mentioned to readers that ours is the first British anthology of Canadian poetry published in over fifty years. We did not claim to be offering a comprehensive canon, but an introduction - and in ours, we state that we hope our book opens up a debate about who else British readers might enjoy from Canadian poetry. The classic cry "too many good poets, too few pages" is a true one. Evan and I considered including Ford, Bruce, and Prewett - and a few dozen other poets of worth - but ultimately felt it was right to begin with Canada's great, forgotten imagist, Ross, and then move to particularly significant figures, many out of print or neglected, at home and abroad. Haldane's dismissal of Klein - our leading modernist poet of the 20th century, was surprising. I hope your readers see beyond Haldane's opinionated expertise; he is too close to the trees to see the woods. The anthology still offers 35 poets hard to find elsewhere in these isles,

sincerely,

Todd Swift


Sean Haldane replies:

Opinions are opinions, and if I 'dismiss' Klein I do state that he may interest other readers than myself. On the other side of the balance sheet, if Swift and Jones 'considered including Ford', they are omitting, in my opinion, one of the outstanding 20th century poets in English—as I hope readers can see from the poems I quote. As for errors, I admit to spelling Susan Musgrave wrong and mentioning her as included. I was incensed at the anthology's confusion about French Canadian poets, and it is not an error to state that Garneau, Nelligan and Melancon are not included: although the introduction claims they are included they merely turn up in translations by others (as I mention in the case of Garneau), whereas Hebert is included under her own name.




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