As Shane Neilson writes in Margin of Interest, `Maritime poetry is the sum of what's come before, a unique history, and yes, a unique place.'
In Margin of Interest Neilson examines representation, identity, power, and the politics of literary history, from the creative traditions of the Mi'kmaq to the work of young poets today. He pays due homage to iconic Maritime writers (Milton Acorn, Alden Nowlan, George Elliott Clarke), shines a critical spotlight on lesser-known masters from the region (Travis Lane, Wayne Clifford) and provides a glimpse inside the `diverse ecosystem' of poets under 40 writing in or about the Maritimes (Rebecca Thomas, Lucas Crawford, El Jones). He also combats the prejudices so often applied to writers from Atlantic Canada-stigma associated with mental illness, rigid gendering, vernacular language and even poetic form-and advocates for a long-overdue reappropriation of the regionalist stance, as well as a proper recognition of the region's writers and their contribution to the Canadian literary landscape.
For as Neilson wisely asks, `What's the matter with taking pride in any kind of regional identity that we articulate?'
The essays in Margin of Interest showcase the rich history of poetry in the Canadian Maritimes, recognizing the drawbacks of regional frameworks while finding power and beauty in the literary traditions of writers who exist on the margins of Canadian poetry and culture.