Brick Books, London, ON. 2012
Mature poems with their finger on the pulse of the dark side of the present.
Reading Edge Effects, Jan Conn’s masterful eighth collection, is a little like looking at Edward Burtynsky’s photographs of real industrial wastelands; both visions are as gorgeous as they are terrifying, platforms for thought, even for activism, depending as they do on the energy of the viewer/reader for completion.
“Edge effect” is an ecological term that has to do with the effect on an ecosystem of the juxtaposition of contrasting environments. The poems of Edge Effects have their connection to ecological matters, but they also ride other sorts of edge throughout, entering an unstable reality in which both time and space are given to uncanny shifting, so it’s “easy to believe visible reality is merely one isolated phenomenon / among many.”
Jan Conn’s poems go deep. They are reinventions of often hyper-real environments—astonishingly rich and mobile, nightmarish, splintered, fragmentary and afflicted by flux. Readers of Edge Effects will be stirred by an involving, non-coercive, witnessing art of great power.
“Where are the sources of the self? I need to find mine and give them a good shaking.”
(from "Disturbance in the Key of B")
"Conn's mastery of line and stanza breaks shows in "Reality Beside Itself": "Here in the east, larkspurs stir and this lost traveller / finds her way through a hailstorm, having left windows open // in every previous town." In the first two lines, the word "lost" evokes risk, while "hailstorm" and the unclosed windows suggest vulnerability. But the final line, by pulling back to show a long history, kicks the emotional impact to another level, suggesting a lifetime trail of error and unfinished business." - Jean van Loon, Arc Magazine. See more at: arcpoetry.ca
Botero's Beautiful Horses
Brick Books, London, ON. 2009
The seventh book by Jan Conn, that includes many lyrical poems written in Latin America, and one set on Mars.
The magic theatre of Botero’s Beautiful Horses is chiefly Latin America, both literal and fantastic, seen through the eyes of a deeply intuitive poet who is also a scientist by trade. What is impossible to describe, and must be experienced, is the leap of these transformational poems: a flexible, down-to-earth voice naturalizes the wild, subterranean non-sense of fantasy and dream. “Every drawer in every chest overflows with illogic and passion.”
“Do we want love/each and every day of our lives?” Conn asks in one poem.
“Jan Conn is a Dalí with a scalpel of words, with colourwheels for eyes.”
– Marilyn Bowering
“[Amazonia] owes its flavour and some of its magic to an exotic vocabulary, but the poet's voice is a sensuous dream voice. It flows like the tropical river waters. Its effect, synaesthetic.” – P. K. Page
“In Botero's Beautiful Horses, her seventh volume, Jan Conn writes at the top of her powers, image after image materializing in the evanescent light of mental play. Here Conn proves with her sensuously scientific inner soliloquies that description itself is a form of imagining.” – Molly Peacock
Jaguar Rain: The Margaret Mee Poems
Brick Books, London, ON. 2006
Jaguar Rain was inspired by the journals, sketches and paintings of Amazonian flowers and their habitats by the remarkable illustrator, naturalist and explorer Margaret Mee (1909-1988).
"Conn's jungle-lush language recalls the Michael Ondaatje of Running in the Family but her deliberate diction also echoes Nova Scotia's own Elizabeth Bishop." - George Elliot Clarke, The Chronicle Herald, Halifax
"Here is the book ecocritics committed to interdisciplinary rigour have been waiting for, written by a poet who can "do" the science because she's also a scientist." - Travis Mason, the Goose 2.1, www.alecc.ca
"Jaguar Rain…is a sensual feast for the image-starved reader." - Jenna Butler, www.poetryreviews.ca
Beauties on Mad River: Selected and New Poems
Véhicule Press, Montréal, QU. 2000
Beauties on Mad River by Jan Conn collects together fifteen years of poetry that has appeared in three Signal Editions: The Fabulous Disguise of Ourselves , South of the Tudo Bem Café (1990), and What Dante Did With Loss (1994). This is poetry that, in the words of George Elliot Clarke, "maps not so much the world as the soul."
"South of the Tudo Bem Café radiates warmth and light." - George Elliot Clarke, BOOKS IN CANADA
"I am partial to Jan Conn's society and landscapes." - Joe Rosenblatt
Links to reviews of Beauties on Mad River:
Links to read recently published poems:
Volume 43, Number 3: Autumn 2002 and Volume 41, Number 4: Winter 2001
What Dante Did With Loss
Véhicule Press, Montréal, QU. 1994
This is Jan Conn's fourth book of poems. Central to this powerful new collection is a suite of poems charting the explosive emotions surrounding her mother's suicide. Other poems range from meditations on South American flora and fauna to postmodern encounters with immortality & co.
"What Dante Did With Loss is beautiful both for its simplicity of expression and emotional complexity." - Rob McLennan
To find out more about Jan Conn and her publications, visit
Details & Other Publications:
South of the Tudo Bem Café, Véhicule Press, Montréal, QU. 1990.
The Fabulous Disguise of Ourselves, Véhicule Press, Montréal, QU. 1986.
Red Shoes in the Rain, Fiddlehead Press, Fredericton, NB. 1984.
"Battered Civilization, " in The Best Canadian Poetry in English, ed. Sonnet L'Abbé, Tightrope Books, Toronto ON, 2014.
"In the Year Two Thousand," in The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (Imaginarium 2014), ed. S. Kasturi, ChiZine Publications, 2014.
"Riff on Massive Ocean Waves, " in poems from planet earth, ed. Yvonne Blomer and Cynthia Woodman Kerkham, Leaf Press, 2013.
"Sources of the Self," in The Best Canadian Poetry in English, ed. Priscila Uppal, Tightrope Books, Toronto ON, 2011.
"Background of Enchantments," "The Caharacter of the Accidental," Arrival of the Nightingale," Pith & Wry: Canadian Poetry, ed. S. McMaster, Your Scrivener Press, Sudbury, ON, 2010.
“Monsoon, Early June,” “Animated Plants,” Regreen: New Canadian Ecological Poetry, ed. M. Anand and A. Dickinson, Your Scrivener Press, Sudbury, ON, 2009.
"Space is a Temporal Concept," in The Best Canadian Poetry in English, ed. A.F. Moritz, Tightrope Books, Toronto ON, 2009.
“The Tigers of Paramaribo,” Penned - Zoos Poems, ed. S. Bolster, K. Grubisic, and S. Reader, Signal/Vehicule Press, Montreal, 2009.
“In Bolivia Once,” “The Clipped Language of Mathematics,” “Fragrance of the Moon,” “Spanish Insane Asylum, 1941,” “The Hydraulics of Rabbit, “ “Tower Song (A Poem in Celebration of Charles Darwin’s Birthday),” “Eros,” “Cametá, “ “Rumour of Silk”, in How the Light Gets In, An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry from Canada, ed. J. Innis, Waterford, Ireland: Waterford Institute of Technology, 2009
“Iconographic,” Common Magic: The Book of the New, ed. E. Greene and D. Gugler, Artful Codger Press, Ontario, 2008.
"A Happy End Dulls the Reader," This Magazine, January/February 2015, p. 36.
"Ethics, Witness, Surrender, Dilemma, Distraction, Sleep Deprivation," The Fiddlehead, No. 260, Summer 2014, pp. 76-77.
"Every Figure in a Balthus Looks Traumatized," "Holiday at the Airport Terminal," Pinyon Review, Number 5, June 2014, pp. 36-37.
"Glittering Vertical Line," A Guide to Selected Water Fowl of Corner Brook," "If it Tumbles Down," "Urbanity," CV2, Fall/Automne 2014, pp. 45-48.
"Don't Interrupt the Cosmos," "In the year Two Thousand Eleven, " Arc Poetry Magazine, Vol. 70, Winter Issue, pp. 10-11.
"In the Dream Room of the Past," "Ankles Dipped in a Rising Tide," "Melodrama is Foreign to my Nature," "Lost Marsupials (The Marvels of Santa Rosa)," The Fiddlehead, No. 254, Winter 2013, pp. 31-37.
"Jung's Green Waves of Consciousness," "No Dog Waiting at the Door," "A River Named Inambari," The Antigonish Review, 172, Winter 2013, pp. 113-116.
"Battered Civilization," The Malahat Review, 184, Autumn 2013, pp. 27-28.
“Between Any Two,” “Ma petite chambre,” “Smoky Violets, ” Contemporary Verse 2, Vol. 34, Issue 3, pp. 36-38.
“Cherry Ice Cream, February, Saskatchewan,” Event 41.1, p. 41.
"Drift Zone," "Between Desire and Action is a Blank Space," "Architecture Boycott Manifesto," "Red-Lipped, Sugar-Coated," The Antigonish Review, Vol. 164, pp. 13-16.
“Vertiginous Sky, Don’t Embrace,” Riddle Fence, No. 9, Summer.
“Into a White Space I am Driven and Let Go,” “Ourselves Lit Up,” PRISM international, Vol. 50, No. 1, pp. 45-46.
"Unquantifiable," The Literary Review of Canada, Vol. 19, No. 2, p. 17.
"Close to Ghosts," the Society, Vol. 8, p. 45, St. Peter’s College.
"Animism," "The Present is Elusive," "Cloud of Unknowing," "Midnight is Never Designated," "Josephine," filling Station, Vol. 49, pp. 6-9.
"DRUNK MONK," "Small Cut Surfaces," CV2: the Keystone of Canadian Poetry Turns 35, Vol. 33, issue 2, pp. 115-116.
"Give Me Your Waterweeds," "Night Deeper than Water," "Flare," Arc Poetry Annual 2011, pp. 41-43.
[read more... from previous years]
Progressive Poetics Project, In Quire, H.L. Hix, 2015, see http://031454a.netsolhost.com/inquire/page/12/ for Jan Conn contribution, 21 January, 2015.
Canadian Poetries, four new poems, posted June 20, 2013. http://www.canadianpoetries.com/poetries/2013/6/20/jan-conn
Galaxies, Parliamentary Poets Website (www.parl.gc.ca/Information/about/people/poet/index.asp?lang=e), 2007-2009.
"Wasps," "Under the River," The Tigers of Paramaribo" in NILAS Annual, Vol. 5, No. 1, Predators, 2009/2010
“The Fifth Inhabitant of Mexico” (from What Dante Did With Loss, Vehicule Press, 1994), in the Introduction to Extinction in Our Times: Global Amphibian Decline, by J. P. Collins, M. L. Crump, T. E. Lovejoy III, Oxford University Press, p. ix, 2009.
Radio & TV Broadcasts of Poetry, Interviews:
Deep Places and Spaces: Phoebe Wang in Conversation with Jan Conn
"Poetical Encounters: An Interview with Jan Conn," M. Sperling Beck, Canadian Literature, No. 218, Autumn 2013, pp. 86-97.
Poets in Profile: Jan Conn, Open Book Ontario, 2012.
Women of Note, host Jerrice Jean Baptiste, WKZE 98.1 FM, Hudson, NY. www.wkze.com, Nov. 15, 2009.
Speaking of Poets, interview and poetry, host John Herbert Cunningham, CKUW Radio, 95.9 FM, University of Winnipeg, Manitoba, November 2009.
Ten Questions with Jan Conn, Open Book Toronto, 2009. http://www.openbooktoronto.com/news/ten_questions_with_jan_conn
Poetry Radio, WGLT, Illinois State University, Normal, October 16, 2008.
The Toronto Star, Poet Bitten by Insect’s Intrigue, Lives of the poets, a continuing series, by Joe Fiorito, July 18, 2008. http://www.thestar.com/printArticle/462606
Rob McLennan’s blog spot 12 or 20 questions, Interview, May 13, 2008. http://robmclennan.blogspot.com/2008/05/12-or-20-questions-with-jan-conn-jan.html
CV2, Winter Issue, Interview, 2008. http://www.contemporaryverse2.ca/vol30_iss3excerpts.html#int_conn