Steve McOrmond


Author of Reckon, The Good News about Armageddon, Primer on the Hereafter and Lean Days.

A collection that’s at once sardonic and “chronically wishful.”

Creeping dread, bemused wonder, and a species of headlong incredulity inform Steve McOrmond’s processing of the new century’s prodigious cultural jetsam, its ‘wilderness of signs’. Reckon apprehends the strangeness in the commonplace, and the anxiety humming in everyday chatter, fact and argument, whether it be live or digitized. ‘What do they open, the keys that come rotoring down from the maple trees?’ Turns out it’s complicated.
— Kevin Connolly
The isolation and confusion of the modern age come to life in Steve McOrmond’s new book Reckon in a way that is disquieting and strangely comforting at the same time.
— Ron Sexsmith

Steve McOrmond's Reckon hones in on those fugitive moments when the parts of ourselves that have not been entirely subsumed by consumer capitalism escape their cages and come out to play—a photographer’s lifelong desire to collect snowflakes, an adolescent’s game of show-me-yours, the small, defiant act of letting a cellphone call go to voicemail. “The whole world has gone straight to voicemail,” McOrmond writes a line later.

Responding to a poem from Reckon that appeared on Poetry Daily, comedian Patton Oswalt tweeted a perceptive one-liner review: “Steve McOrmond’s new poem, ‘Pure Outrage,’ is really funny and, if you read it right, kind of scary.” Concerned with the sweep of history and the rush of the now, McOrmond demonstrates a knack for bringing the vast and amorphous down to human size, making it personal: “How gone? / Real gone. All our gift cards unredeemed.” 

Shortlisted for the 2011 ReLit Award

One of the “Most Engaging Books of 2010” – Lemonhound

A “Top 10 Book of 2010” – Canadian Book Review

A  “Critics' Pick 2010” – The Coast

A “Top-notch Book of 2010” – Salty Ink

A metaphysical wit and a self-mocking humour leaven this often dark account of the calamity that is our contemporary way of living. In his own distinctive way, Steve McOrmond explores the territory mapped in Di Brandt’s Now You Care and Dionne Brand’s Inventory, weaving in these technically deft lyric pieces a kind of post-modernist jeremiad. He ranges across the detritus of mass culture with a blend of wryness and intensity that is highly engaging.
— Mary Dalton

Primer on the Hereafter

Winner of the Atlantic Poetry Prize

“Steve McOrmond’s Primer on the Hereafter is full of memorable lines and images, wonderfully crafted and moving....“Clear-cut, as seen from above” is as beautiful a poem on an environmental theme as anyone has written, and “Finch Station” is a fine meditation on urban life.”

Maurice Mierau, Winnipeg Free Press

“I like to think of it as a book of nature poetry that is not always (or even often) about nature.”

Jacob Arthur Mooney, Eyewear






Lean Days

“McOrmond’s first book…reveals a voice of patented East Coast, I-ain’t-lyin’ plainness... The lyrics exude a “common touch,” but one informed by much reflection, and, most importantly, by carefully and frankly observed experience…Lean Days is phat wondering.”

George Elliott Clarke, Halifax Chronicle-Herald 

“This is a book of longing. McOrmond may cover his longing in dark humour, but below there is a sensitivity that’s wrapped around the right metaphor, the perfect image.” 

Michael DeBeyer, Atlantic Books Today


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