The New Layman’s Almanac is a medium-sized book written in the English language. It is a re-stylization of the almanacs and home guides that were a major force in early Canadian publishing. As a collection, its primary question is: What are the rules? Specifically, what in our culture is available for irony, and what needs to be protected? What is sacred and what is spiritually expendable? What benefits from formal packaging and what doesn’t?
Drawing on more modern publishing phenomenon with the same self-improvement kick (Wikipedia would be chief among them), the collection tries to cobble together the memories available to the author (memories both personal and shared) in order to study how the inheritances of his generation, inheritances material and intellectual, prepare an individual to find the logic in his or her life story. Plus, there’s some jokes. And, sadly, five or six poems in which somebody has to die.
-- Jacob McArthur Mooney
“A rollicking debut from a young enthusiast with some of Walt Whitman’s beaming sincerity. . . . Mooney takes authentic and big literary risks, by exploring sincere emotionality, genuine political belief and considered poetic experiment. . . . This is Canada speaking, loud, clear, quirky and unashamed to be itself. This is surely one of the most audacious and fresh poetic debuts of the new Canadian century.”
- Globe and Mail
JACOB McARTHUR MOONEY's debut book of poetry was the much acclaimed The New Layman's Almanac. His work has also received the Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Award. A respected poetry commentator and critic, Mooney writes the popular Vox Populism blog, and was a panelist for the National Post's Canada Also Reads competition. A Nova Scotian now living in Toronto, he is a recent graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing programme at the University of Guelph-Humber.