Crazy for CanLit 2014: My Book Cover Poem


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

I’m Canadian. And while I’m not necessarily crazy, I am absolutely mad for Canadian Literature—and the annual Scotiabank Giller Prize festivities that honour the best in Canadian fiction.

Which brings me to this book cover list. While I’m keen on making lists in of themselves for almost everything I do (Post-It notes are my go-to organizational tool), the CanLit book covers eligible for this year’s Giller Prize have inspired me to create a poem made entirely of its book titles. While I didn’t use every book on the list, I was pretty close.

Let me know what you think of my “book cover” poem that reads from left to right:

can lit poem verse 1For today I am a boy

shallow enough to walk through


can lit poem verse 2The world before us

just beneath my skin

between clay and dust:

can lit poem verse 3frog music, wonder—

all the broken things.

 can lit poem verse 4The road narrows as you go,

the breaking words,

the filthy few,

moving forward sideways like a crab.

can lit poem verse 5The eye of the day,

the opening sky,

the freedom in American songs…

can lit poem verse 6all my puny sorrows


the hole in the middle,

I’m not scared of you or anything.

van lit poem verse 7The river burns

sweet life,


wild justice.

can lit poem verse 8I don’t know how to behave


where the air is sweet:

can lit poem verse 9sweet affliction,

the age,

a sudden sun.

can lit poem verse 10When is a man,


The cuckoo’s child

can lit poem verse 11up in smoke,

the fledglings’

fire in the unnameable country,

can lit poem verse 12little bastards in springtime


can lit poem verse 13The answer to everything:

American innovations,


can lit poem verse 14prairie ostrich,

the tiny wife,

some extremely boring drives,

can lit poem verse 15all my sins

(Vienna nocturne),

proud flesh,

polyamorous love song.

can lit poem verse 16My October,

mating for life

the girl who was Saturday night

can lit poem verse 17will

a second chance—

my suicide.

can lit poem verse 18

Whatever Lola wants:

the afterlife of stars,

the location of unknown possibilities,

blood on a saint,

can lit poem verse 19I’m not scared of you or anything

Planet Lolita.

can lit poem verse 20Tell the broken hours,

the ghosts of Smyrna:

can lit poem verse 21the wind is not a river

based on a true story;

the wind is not a river

up in smoke.

can lit poem verse 22Watch how we walk

the incomparables—

how does a single blade of grass thank the sunHow does a single blade of grass

thank the sun?


What kind of thematic list can you create from the list of Can Lit books eligible for the prestigious Giller Prize?


zara cat stamp


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