Longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize

Shortlisted for Arc Magazine’s Poem of the Year

Shortlisted for Raven Chapbooks Poetry Contest
(click here to read the judges’ citation)

de mens
(fathoming my father’s dementia)

click here to read

“doom eager” published by Raven Chapbooks “… a dazzling collection…”
(Buy it here)

“An incantation, the dictionary tells us, are words intended to produce a desired, often magical, effect. Has Karl Meade written powerful incantations . . . or a book of poems? Allow us to have both, please. Read these poems to enter a cascade of language like spring water, like a landslide, like light. Read the poems aloud and fall in love, drink the healing balm of beauty, raise the dead, or allow them to rest, finally, in peace. I’m not exaggerating. This is a dazzling collection.”
— Karen Connelly, author of The Lizard Cage, and Come Cold River

Listen to a podcast from the literary journal Painted Bride Quarterly discussing three poems from doom eager” :

paintings by Celia Meade
poetry by Karl Meade


Celia and Karl Meade Unearthed Front Cover

download a copy of the unearthed chapbook

read a summary of the unearthed project in progress

what’s a ghazal? By John Thompson, from Stilt Jack

A selection of Karl Meade ghazals published in literary magazines in Canada and the US:

Listen to Karl read Fall Dessert

Tree Fall

The steps you once made, I once loved:
renaissance arch, two-tiered cupola, your neck’s delft

perfection. My heart is full of acts
I cannot speak the name of. Confession,

fretwork, your drawer of broken watches. I study those hands,
dream silversmith guilds, clay-layered fossil: is this what love is?

We prayed for the sea, you gave us
the water’s weight, here

behind half-shut doors I watch half-sunk
ships sail goods up streets alive with

one scale, two swords, crossed: is that you cradling wisdom in your lap?
Death is no accident, you said: time, water, the walls,

trees I have missed:
this is where we’ll meet.

(published in Event magazine)

Down Fall

What is left of me: stubble, pain, and this staged
indifference. The game is up, you said. Up.

Humiliation, humility, all this
and the hills. Show me where to dig, where began my swift

descent. What I dared dream? What I am:
pyrhite imposter.

I want your heart, your hand. I never learned
who created who here. Why give me such

rage? Such love and four girls
suffering, I dig up

your nature, your half-healed carcass, your glorious shit, all this
you left to me

(published in Event magazine)

Celia and Karl Meade Unearthed Back Cover

Stone Winter

Now it is just you and me: blood on a midnight table.
My cup, your hands. I can’t escape your

even listening: yes, the morning cries, but then what?
I ask you: are there hills ahead

or just more strummed lines of guitar,
psalms of night wilderness, flashing past?

This is winter: stone, pockets, my breath on your hands.
You can’t take it with you, you said. Time is just

silence, flashing past. I wake old and emptied
of the stones you took, with you, the weight

is what I want: your damn near
impossible memory.

(published in the Literary Review of Canada)

Spring Bone

Evens and odds: chance laughter in the street.
I watch you growing, hopscotch and bone, such hope

my mouth circles the song you can’t stop: oh
the sudden, breakable you. Who said we were all

odds and ends? This is where it starts. Four,
always this damned four: season, limb, wall.

I remember, even at five
that first tear in my misaligned

cartilage. Let’s circle, you say. I can deal
with wagons, the past, rising, tensely: chance it

even with your laughter
the oh I dare not fathom.

(published in Chronogram magazine)

Spring Tide

Your young volcanic mouth: river, milk, honey.
This heat wave, consumed and consuming

your first knot: a heart unraveling, bravely
into the ocean. You spawn stones of geodetic lust, bright and brief,

your great adventures: swing, teeter, slide.
They said it was no small hole

in your heart stopped mightily that day
the dim voice entered.

Spitback of ash.
The high bar you fell from, back up again:

you are the love wave, breaking
through seaweed and bivalves, the golden seismic

tremors we devour.
Sleep, my love, sleep.

(published in CV2 magazine)

Ottawa River by Celia Meade
King Wave by Celia Meade