Selected by editor John Barton, the 2023 edition of Best Canadian Poetry showcases the best Canadian poetry writing published in 2021.
“My goal,” writes guest editor John Barton of his long career as a literary magazine editor, “was always to be jostled awake, and I soon realized that I was being jostled awake for two—myself and the reader … I came to understand that my job description included an obligation to expose readers to wide varieties of poetry, to challenge their assumptions while expanding their taste.” In selecting this year’s edition of Best Canadian Poetry, Barton brings the same catholic spirit to his survey of Canadian poems published by magazines and journals in 2021. From new work by Canadian favourites to exciting new talents, this year’s anthology offers fifty poems to challenge and enlarge your sense of the power and possibility of Canadian poetry.
Leslie Joy Ahenda • Billy-Ray Belcourt • Bertrand Bickersteth • Tawahum Bige • Stephanie Bolster • Susan Braley • Moni Brar • Jake Byrne • Helen Cho • Conyer Clayton • Lucas Crawford • Sophie Crocker • Michael Dunwoody • Evelyna Ekoko-Kay • Tyler Engström • Triny Finlay • Elee Kraljii Gardiner • Lise Gaston • Susan Gillis • Beth Goobie • Patrick Grace • Laurie D. Graham • River Halen • Eva H.D. • Louise Bernice Halfe—Skydancer • Sarah Hilton • Karl Jirgens • Mobólúwajídìde D. Joseph • Penn Kemp • Jeremy Loveday • Randy Lundy • Helen Han Wei Luo • Colin Morton • Jordan Mounteer • Samantha Nock • Kathryn Nogue • Michelle Porter • Rebekah Rempel • Armand Garnet Ruffo • Richard Sanger • Nedda Sarshar • K.R. Segriff • Christina Shah • Sandy Shreve • Adrian Southin • J.J. Steinfeld • Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang • Eric Wang • Tom Wayman • Jan Zwicky
Praise for Best Canadian Poetry
“[These] books are must-haves for libraries, schools, and intellectually well-intentioned bedside nightstands across the country.”
—Quill & Quire
“The wide range of writers, forms and themes represented here make it a great jumping-off point for readers who might be interested in Canadian poetry but are unsure about where to start.”
—Globe and Mail
“Buy it, or borrow it, but do read it.”
—Arc Poetry Magazine
“A magnet, I think, for the many people who would like to know contemporary poetry.”
—A.F. Moritz, Griffin Poetry Prize winner
“An eclectic and diverse collection of Canadian poetry … a wonderful addition to anyone’s bookshelf.”