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Seminal - The Anthology of Canada's Gay Male Poets


The Anthology of Canada's Gay Male Poets

Edited by John Barton & Billeh Nickerson
Categories: Anthologies, Poetry, Canada, LGBTQ+, Gay Literature
Paperback : 9781551522173, 368 pages, 2007
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A groundbreaking, comprehensive anthology of Canadian gay male poetry, the first of its kind, that reveals a national queer poetic that is equal parts eloquent, subversive, and moving. The material, from the 1890s to present-day, includes work by fifty-seven poets from every region of the country, including some from Quebec who have been translated into English for the first time. For many, the queer experience is central to their aesthetic, offering works of startling beauty and originality, some of which speak to our national identity while others transcend it.

The fifty-plus contributors include Patrick Anderson, bill bissett, Robin Blaser, Sky Gilbert, John Glassco, Brion Gysin, Daryl Hine, Douglas LePan, Daniel David Moses, Stan Persky, Andy Quan, Ian Iqbal Rashid, Shane Rhodes, Bill Richardson, André Roy, Gregory Scofield, Michael V. Smith, George Stanley, RM Vaughan, and Ian Young.


Considering the virtual invisiblity of gay Canadian poetry, its hefty 368 pages come as a surprise. The range of voices and styles is impressive too, from the in-your-face iconoclasm of bill bissett and Sky Gilbert to the bittersweet humour of RM Vaughan and George Stanley.
-Xtra! West & Xtra

- Xtra! & Xtra! West

This volume provides solid proof that [Canada] has a substantial queer poetic canon all its own.
-Richard Labonte, Books to Watch Out For

- Books to Watch Out For

This is a book for all lovers of poetry, regardless of social, sexual or political status. Perhaps most striking about Seminal is its universality and its fidelity to the music and sheer sense of poetry at its core; poetry that, as all good poetry must, transcends time and place with universal insight and compassion.
-Multicultural Review

- Multicultural Review

Both John Barton and Billeh Nickerson deserve accolades for fathering this historic, vital and truly seminal text.
- George Elliott Clarke, Halifax Chronicle Herald

- Halifax Chronicle Herald

Barton's introduction is, simply, brilliant. ... The brief history of early poets, such as Emile Nelligan, John Glassco, Douglas LePan, Patrick Anderson, E. A. Lacey, and Daryl Hine, is a note-perfect initiation into an often disregarded coterie.
-Canadian Literature

- Canadian Literature

The editors cast a wide net. ... The volume succeeds, in the words of the introduction, in providing a "point of departure to revisit, revise or even repudiate" the constructed tradition. Recommended for Canadian libraries and for libraries in the United States which have LGBT Studies or Canadian Studies programs.
-GLBT Round Table Newsletter (American Library Association)

- GLBT Round Table Newsletter

Seminal ranges from Frank Oiver Call's turn-of-the-20th-century odes on Grecian boys to, well, Shane Rhodes' turn-of-the-21st-century odes on Grecian condoms (i. e. Trojans).

- Genre

John Barton and Billeh Nickerson have done an incredible job bringing together the works of 57 writers. ... Seminal encompasses life in all its ugly beautiful glory, but what makes this book live up to its name even more is that the works do not only appeal to gay men--like all effective poetry, there are universal themes that all should read and hopefully be moved by.
-Monday Magazine (Victoria, BC)

- Monday Magazine

This collection of new and recent poetry by Gay Male Canadians is something of a revelation. ... The editors, John Barton and Billeh Nickerson, have taken great care to expose the breadth of the work that has accumulated throughout the 20th century into the 21st century. Their goal, it is apparent, is to show the world that the language of the gay soul is alive and well, and frankly kicking, in the freer world of Canadian authors.
-EDGE Boston

- EDGE Boston

Readers might have some favorite Canadian writers, and we all havesome idea how gay liberation north of the border reflects and complements our own. But to get a real feeling for Canadian gay male voices-from the 1890s to today-it would be hard to top Seminal: The Anthology of Canada's Gay Male Poets. Editors John Barton and Billeh Nickerson have put together a groundbreaking collection. ... This collection is really important and something to celebrate. ArsenalPulp Press in Vancouver continues to impress with a catalog of titlesthat are entertaining, original and sometimes historic.

- Mandate

This anthology (with its double-entrendre title) collects an impressive range of gay male poets, both English and French, from familiar names such as bill bissett, Sky Gilbert, and R. M. Vaughan, to more surprising inclusions such as Emile Nelligan, Bill Richardson, and Joel Gibb of the indie-rock group The Hidden Cameras.
-Quill & Quire

- Quill & Quire

The first of its kind, it is a major addition to the rather thin shelf of Canadian gay lit. ... Not only does the collection rescue several key writers from neglect or oblivion (like two-time Governor-General Award winner Robert Finch, or the groundbreaking Edward Lacey, one of Canada's first out gay poets. It also reaches outside the usual Canadian canon to establish new geneologies of connection. ... I wish this collection had been around when I was a teenager. It deserves a place in every high school library.
-Toronto Star

- Toronto Star