Capelin, Caramel Logs and Coming Home: Melanie Power’s Debut Poems

The Word Bookstore Hosts Launch for Concordia Poet’s First Collection

Within a packed The Word Bookstore, Melanie Power reads from her collection. Photo Sophie Dufresne

On Oct. 19, The Word Bookstore held a book launch for Darren Bifford and Melanie Power.

Power, a Montreal-based poet originally from Newfoundland, published her first book, Full Moon of Afraid and Craving in April 2022 with McGill-Queen’s University Press. It is a part of The Hugh MacLennan Poetry Series.

Adrian King-Edwards, owner of The Word Bookstore, has been hosting book launches about once a month for 47 years. Most of the poets he platforms are local artists and many are customers he has known for years.

Power was an exception. King-Edwards recounted how she dropped off copies of her book on his desk while he wasn’t there. He added that he was quickly impressed by her poetry and reached out to her to see if she would be interested in having her book launch at The Word. 

When introducing Power to the audience, he joked about this being an untimely launch since “people usually have book launches when they release new books.” Power laughed and admitted she did not want to have one at first, but she was happy to be surrounded by her friends and family. Her mother, Cindy Power, had travelled from St.-John’s specifically to attend the reading.

Power told The Link that much of what she wrote for Full Moon of Afraid and Craving stemmed from things she was obsessed with while writing the poems. “It’s a book of obsessions and cravings and it’s a lot about desire,” she explained.

Power recently completed her MA in English Literature and Creative Writing at Concordia University and is currently working towards her PhD in Humanities there. 

“What the professors provided most were inspiration and support,” she said, adding that she met encouraging instructors who helped promote her interests in poetry. 

“They gave inspiring lectures that I felt were intellectually stimulating,” Power said, citing as examples Jonathan Sachs as well as Andre Furlani and Stephanie Bolster.

It’s a book of obsessions and cravings and it’s a lot about desire, — Melanie Power

Power explained how themes of belonging, the meaning of home, and family as a guiding force permeate her writings, including a new book of essays she is currently working on. 

“It’s trial and error for me. There’s no set plan and I’m hopeful for the future,” Power said.

Doors opened at 7:00 p.m., and the rows of chairs filled up in less than 30 minutes—late arrivals stood by the entrance. At 7:30 p.m., Bifford, who is a professor at Champlain College in Saint-Lambert, read from his poetry collection Some Trivial Reason, which was released several months ago. 

Dim lighting allowed the audience to be transported into each poem, and once everyone was settled in at 8:00 p.m., Power started reading from her book.

After the readings, many audience members stuck around to mingle and have their copies signed by the poets. A platter of crackers, cheese and grapes sat amidst piles of books and bottles of wine.

Cindy Power told The Link that her daughter knew she was talented from an early age and that her family is very excited for her.

Power said she started writing poetry in 2014, but her mother specified that she wrote plenty in her youth as well.

“She did a lot of writing, she was a very deep child,” Cindy Power explained.

Cindy Power mentioned that “the stone” –the last poem included in Full Moon of Afraid and Craving–was her favourite, but she enjoyed all of them.

The next poetry launch The Word Bookstore will host will be on Dec. 3 and will feature The Eleventh Hour by Carolyn Marie Souaid.