Finalist for the Archibald Lampman Award
The debut collection from small press editor and publisher Cameron Anstee, Book of Annotations deploys a number of strategies—including erasure, found, haiku, one line, one word, concrete, and lists—to question how small a poem can be, and how a small poem can be expansive. Engaging with contemporary and historical minimalists, Book of Annotations is a dialogue in shorthand with H.D., Nelson Ball, Lorine Niedecker, Aram Saroyan, Phyllis Webb, Robert Lax, and others.
Cameron Anstee lives and writes in Ottawa, where he runs Apt. 9 Press and holds a Ph.D. in Canadian Literature from the University of Ottawa. He is the editor of The Collected Poems of William Hawkins (Chaudiere Books, 2015).
“Wise and playful, the epigrammatic poems in Book of Annotations push past the limits of each word and into a space tense with imagination and truth. Not a word is wasted as Cameron Anstee demonstrates supreme control of space and minimalism. The pithiness of the poems reminds one of coordinates of a constellation, or the tips of icebergs. To borrow Anstee’s words, ‘the smallest unit of feeling’ … ‘out of these a world.’ As delightful as it is challenging, Book of Annotations has a unique pulse of its own.”—Archibald Lampman Award jury citation
“Anstee’s small poems, by virtue of their brevity, expose the elisions and accidents of language as symbolically rich and complicated.”—Prairie Fire
“There’s a palpable compression, and concretism, lurking within Anstee’s minimalist exercises.”—Canadian Literature
“There is fearlessness to explore the common while simultaneously considering the sublime… The true enjoyment, however, comes from appreciation of how the diversity of the structure ties into the diversity of the subject matter; the structure reflects the theme in each different narrative that Anstee takes the reader on—a trip well worth taking.”—CV2
“Cameron Anstee’s Book of Annotations collects haiku-like short poems that manage to be painterly despite (or perhaps because of) their minimalism: “now here light leafs small small lines.”—Winnipeg Free Press
“Short but never slight, the poems in Book of Annotations are deeply engaged with poetic history.” – Quill & Quire
“Incredibly short and playful poems packed with enormous density.” – rob mclennan
“In Book of Annotations, Cameron Anstee brings us the ephemeral, the existential, the entropic, and the elemental. Akin to koanlike maxims, this work presents an exquisite perception of and reverence for the here-and-now, the before and after, the timeless and the fleeting. Anstee disassembles and reassembles the fundamental phenomenon of being. Sensuous, natural, familiar, unexpected, elusive, vertiginous—this work brings us closer to understanding ourselves.” – Sandra Ridley
“Book of Annotations is a wonderful accrual of Cameron Anstee’s minimalist gems. They are rich and varied. Cameron’s poems are short but not brief. Most are subtle, some are perplexing, some humorous, and many are astonishingly expansive. This book is a large treat!” – Nelson Ball