September 9, 1999

A Musing Opening

by Deborah Clark

A new light is illuminating Winnipeg's poetry scene. Melanie Cameron has launched her first book of poetry Holding the Dark. The Cameron premiere is the first title that the Muses' Company is releasing in its fall book campaign.

Holding the Dark is edited by Catherine Hunter, the poetry editor of the Muses' Company. Hunter learned of Cameron through a conversation she had with George Amabile last winter. Amabile, who mentored Cameron through her Master thesis in English, convinced Hunter that his student showed immense promise as a poet. Publisher Gordon Shillingford agrees. Cameron's works, while created as part of her English thesis project, were compelling fare.

"She has an excellent command of the English that is far beyond her years," states Shillingford, who has launched the new imprint through J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing. Hunter was impressed enough to recommend Cameron to Shillingford. Shillingford was impressed enough to invest eight months in developing the project.

"Cathy worked with Melanie to bring [the book] up to standard," says Shillingford. Since last winter the pair have created a wonderful, evocative observation on the mechanisations of light and dark in life.

"It is a lot about a metaphor for living an emotionally full life," observes Shillingford. Cameron knows about living life. The Kitchener-Waterloo native lived in various South American countries before choosing Winnipeg. In the nine [sic] years since she began calling Winnipeg home, she has injected her love for her life into her new environment. Winnipeg will benefit from her vision.

"Melanie is not yet well known in the writing community," states Shillingford. With the appearance of her first collection, that will, most certainly, change.