Poet, professor launches ‘risky and unique’ Live Coverage

York humanities Professor Priscila Uppal (left) doesn’t shy away from tackling new forms of poetry, as shown by her fourth book, Live Coverage. You’ll have a chance to learn more about her style on Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 8pm when she launches her new book at Blur, 549 Bloor St., Toronto. Uppal will be reading from her book at 8:45pm and says “everyone is welcome to attend.”

“This risky and unique collection presents psychologically stark and wrenching portraits of individual lives here and now, while managing to be both a modern document and prophetic utterance,” says promotional information for her book. “In Live Coverage, Uppal deftly negotiates between the contemporary and the mythic, in a burgeoning 21st century that bristles with biblical and classical justice.”

Live Coverage takes the form of a news report with a CNN-style news crawl running across the bottom of each page and mid-broadcast interruptions.

“Artists have a responsibility to respond to contemporary events and events of lasting effect on our culture,” said Uppal of her latest work. “Especially at a time when our news reports reek more of advertising and propoganda, we need forums for discussion and engagement with the news. We need spaces of guidance and wisdom and the humane.”

The publisher noted poet George Elliott Clarke’s opinion of Uppal’s 2001 poetry collection, Pretending to Die, which he described as “fresh gospels, proclaiming Truth in heart-startling English. Herein Love is damnation, Love is repentance, Love is redemption…. Uppal’s poetry x-rays the soul – in all of its (re-) incarnations.”

Writer Rosemary Sullivan felt that “just when it seemed poetry had become the orphan art of our day, along comes a young poet like Priscila Uppal to astonish.” And poet Austin Clarke predicted that Uppal is “assured a prominent place in the firmament of this country’s new exciting poets.”

Uppal (left), who read at York’s Canadian Writers in Person course and reading series in March, has also published the novel, The Divine Economy of Salvation (2002), and two other collections of poetry, How to Draw Blood From a Stone (1998) and Confessions of a Fertility Expert (1999).