Argo Featured Reading #5: Darren Bifford & Walid Bitar

Monday, April 30th, 2013

ArgoFeaturedReading#5 – Darren Bifford & Walid Bitar (w/ 'Men' by Anita Lahey c/o Carmine Starnino) by Argo Bookshop on Mixcloud

Hosted by Carmine Starnino, this reading features the work of Darren Bifford, Walid Bitar and the poem Men by Anita Lahey, who couldn’t make it to the reading.


Carmine Starnino is a poet, essayist, critic, and editor of Signal Editions. He is the author of A Lover’s Quarrel, a book of criticism on Canadian poetry, and three critically acclaimed poetry collections, the most recent being With English Subtitles. His poetry has won the Canadian Authors Association Prize, the David McKeen Award, and the A.M. Klein Prize.


Darren Bifford is originally from Summerland, BC. His work has been published in a variety of journals across Canada. He’s also the author of Wolf Hunter, a chapbook published by Cactus Press (2010). Wedding in Fire Country (Harbour Publishing 2012) is his first collection of poetry. Darren currently lives in Montreal, Quebec.

“An otherworldly uncanniness haunts the margins of Darren Bifford’s debut collection, Wedding in Fire Country. Bifford is exceptionally adept at capturing the beauty of the mundane, and his poetry offers an insightful meditation on the meaning of the individual journey within larger political and geographical spheres. However, these familiar scenes are shot through with darker moments of raw violence and fear, as wolves wander the landscape of young adulthood and disaster taps at the windows of domestic spaces.” (Harbour Publishing)

Walid Bitar was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1961. He immigrated to Canada in 1969. His previous poetry collections are Maps with Moving Parts, 2 Guys on Holy Land, Bastardi Puri and The Empire’s Missing Links. He lives in Toronto.

“In Divide and Rule, Walid Bitar delivers a sequence of dramatic monologues, variations on the theme of power, each in rhymed quatrains. Though the pieces grow out of Bitar’s personal experiences over the last decade, both in North America and the Middle East, he is not primarily a confessional writer. His work might be called cubist, the perspectives constantly shifting, point followed by counterpoint, subtle phrase by savage outburst. Bitar’s enigmatic speakers are partially rational creatures, have some need to explain, and may succeed in partially explaining, but, in the end, communication and subterfuge are inseparable – must, so to speak, co-exist.” (Coach House Books)


The poem read for Anita Lahey is from her book Spinning Side Kick (Vehicule Press 2011). Her first book, Out to Dry in Cape Breton (Signal Editions 2006) was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and the Ottawa Book Award. Editor of Arc Poetry Magazine from 2004 to 2011, she lives in Fredericton, NB.

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