Versions of two essays – ‘Best Isn’t a Beauty Contest: How Canadian Poets Demand More of Verse’ by Sonnet L’Abbé and ‘Investigative Poetry: Are Poets the New Reporters?’ by Anita Lahey – preface the newest volume of The Best Canadian Poetry in English, 2014 (Tightrope Books). Since the series was launched in 2008, it has annually taken the pulse of Canadian poetry. As series editor Molly Peacock wrote in her introduction to the inaugural edition, BCP aims to gather ‘the freshest, the brightest, the most exciting, compelling and vigorous poems published in Canada’s literary journals from the previous year.’
Each anthology is comprised of 50 poems, as well as a long list of 50 notable others, and features a different guest editor whose particular sensibilities inform the selection. The series – read by poets, scholars, students, critics and newcomers to the genre – has become a reliable touchstone, a window on and record of the shifting gaze of the Canadian poet. This latest volume was curated by Peacock, assistant series editor Lahey, and guest editor L’Abbé.