“Who do you think you are?” asks Stephanie Bolster at the beginning of her introduction to The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2008. It is a phrase, she explains, that refers to a “reluctance to pronounce a viewpoint,” making an apt launching point for a discussion on the responsibilities of the role of editor in a ‘best of’ series. “Who do you think you are?” echoing the Alice Munro story of that title, is also a political statement, for Bolster and in this context conveying a sense of what it is to be Canadian, to be a woman, to be a poet.
As an American, a United States citizen writing a review on The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2008, I, also, begin by asking myself, “Who do you think you are?” Most of what I think I know about Canada, its literature, music and art, feels somehow mythic and iconic. Northrop Frye, the Group of Seven, Gordon Lightfoot, Stan Rogers, Leonard Cohen, several successful writers of fiction, and Anne Carson come to mind. And of the country itself, though I’ve taken three road trips through Canada, twice west and once east, with stops in many of its major cities, I’ve found that what I know best about Canada is that it is diverse, and not at all easy to define.
Read the rest of the review here: http://toddswift.blogspot.com/2009/08/guest-review-harlow-on-best-canadian.html