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Island poets launching new works

Chris Bailey and Steve McOrmond.
Chris Bailey and Steve McOrmond. - Contributed

A reading of their new books of poetry will be held later this month

CHARLOTTETOWN – 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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