Susans in MacLean's - A quirky anthology of Canadian poetry by a gang of sues exploits a new trend

Wanted: Submissions for a Canadian poetry anthology. Poets must be Susans. Sue, Susie, Suzanne—all are welcome.

With tongue in cheek, B.C.-based Oolichan Books is editing this ode to our most poetic Susans, offering $15 per published submission and a great story to dine out on. “It’s impossible to ignore this bizarre coincidence of having so many great Canadian poets named Susan,” said anthology editor Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang, a poet who studied under Susan Musgrave. “I’m just glad someone else noticed,” laughed Fredericton-based poet Sue Sinclair. “It’s a postwar, generational thing. We’re all of a certain age.”

The anthology, Desperately Seeking Susans, is part of a new trend where publishers rely on quirky anthology themes to lure readers. “But I have never seen one quite so quirky as this in Canada,” notes poet Susan Goyette, who was one of four Susans who first noticed the “literary Susan” phenomena while at the Banff Centre in 1997. After a few bottles of wine, they were declaring other people honorary Susans. “It’ll help us break down the tired old reputation of poetry being inaccessible. The spine of what’s connecting us—our name—isn’t heavy, but the work is serious. Who would’ve figured being named Sue would get me in an anthology with such great company?”

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