Contact: Dr. Richard Lemm – 566-0389, firstname.lastname@example.org
PEI’s newest published poet, Mathew Henderson, will launch his first book, The Lease,
on Wednesday, June 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the UPEI Faculty Lounge, Main Building. His reading is sponsored by the UPEI English Department with support from The Canada Council for the Arts. .
Mathew grew up on the Island and graduated from UPEI in 2008 with a B.A. Honours in English. He won first prize in the Milton Acorn Poetry Category of the Island Literary Awards. He then earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Mathew now teaches English at Humber College in Toronto.
During his undergraduate and graduate school summers, Mathew worked in the oil patches of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The poems in The Lease (the title refers to oil leases) are written in the sweat, blood, and grease of those who labour in the oilfields. His poetry drills into the Prairie landscape to find human technology and physical labour realigning our habitat. Like the gas flares burning in the oilfields, Henderson’s writing illuminates the rigorous and often unflattering realities of industrial culture and is cast of hard-living humans.
In a New York Times feature review, Dwight Garner writes that “distinctive blue collar voices remain a rarity, especially in our [American] poetry. Among Mr. Henderson’s gifts is his ability to populate his poems vividly….He’s a close observer of this work, but he’s an even closer observer of the social landscape that surrounds it.” Garner then says, “It’s an absurd bonus that Mr. Henderson also happens to be a complicated nature poet.” Concluding, he states that “I’ve read more adept books of poetry than The Lease in the past six months, with more self-conscious chaos and precision wordplay. But I’ve read none that I was more eager to run through again in my mind.”
The Lease was published last year by Coach House Books in Toronto, one of Canada’s distinguished literary presses, which published early works by such major authors as Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, and Ann-Marie MacDonald, and has launched the careers of many celebrated writers for almost fifty years.
A reception and book signing will follow Mathew’s reading. Admission is free.