Is­land poets launch­ing new works

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FEATURES / COMMUNITY -

Two Is­land writ­ers will launch their new books of po­etry at a read­ing along the Char­lot­te­town wa­ter­front.

On Mon­day, Sept. 17, Steve McOr­mond and Chris Bai­ley will take to Car­riage House at Bea­cons­field His­toric House to present their new works.

McOromond’s po­etry has cap­ti­vated read­ers across Canada since his first book “Lean Days” in 2004, while Bai­ley from a North Lake fish­ing fam­ily is a new­comer to the lit­er­ary scene.

Bai­ley, a re­cent UPEI psy­chol­ogy grad­u­ate, has been liv­ing in Toronto and Hamil­ton, Ont., earn­ing a mas­ter’s de­gree in cre­ative writ­ing.

He comes home dur­ing the sum­mers, work­ing on the fam­ily boat. Many of the po­ems in “What Your Hands Have Done” fo­cus on the lives, work, and re­la­tion­ships of fish­ing fam­i­lies. This is the first ma­jor po­etry book by an Is­lan­der to hon­our, at length, the re­al­i­ties and lore of P.E.I.’s fish­ing com­mu­nity.

McOr­mond’s imag­i­na­tive takes on ex­pe­ri­ence and his satir­i­cal wit are ev­i­dent in his other book ti­tles: “Primer for the Hereafter” and “The Good News About Ar­maged­don.”

With ironic per­cep­tions in “Come Play on the Is­land,” he con­trasts touris­tic sum­mers with Is­land win­ters, and in “The Lob­ster” he re­veals the sar­donic “sec­ond thoughts” of a P.E.I. restau­rant cook. In a bit­ter­sweet voice, he evokes Maritime out­mi­gra­tion in “So This Is Good­bye,” which fea­tures the line “The story of the Is­land is the story of par­adise / we have al­ways had to leave.”

McOr­mond, a 1995 UPEI grad­u­ate, has lived in Toronto for two decades, re­turn­ing to the Is­land an­nu­ally.

His metropoli­tan ex­pe­ri­ences and com­puter soft­ware business ca­reer in­ge­niously per­me­ate his new book, “Reckon.”

His new po­ems re­flect and cri­tique the grow­ing dom­i­na­tion of our lives and con­scious­ness by dig­i­tal plat­forms and realms.

A spe­cial guest poet, An­nick MacAskill from Hal­i­fax, will give a short read­ing, fol­lowed by McOr­mond’s and Bai­ley’s fea­tured read­ings, a book sign­ing and a re­cep­tion.

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