Poetry

#881 A gentle terrier of language

the broken boat: new poems by daniela elza Salt Spring Island: Mother Tongue Publishing, 2020 $19.95 / 9781896949796 Reviewed by Christopher Levenson * Anyone who has endured the break-up of a marriage or indeed any close long-term relationship will be able to empathize with the settings and themes of these poems. Readers, who might shy…
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#867 Between the empty and the all

Between the Empty and the All by Rod Deakin-Drown New Westminster: Silver Bow Publishing, 2019 $20.00  /  9781774030547 Reviewed by Marie Bibas * The quote with which Rod Deakin-Drown starts us off on a delightful journey shocked me at first — until I rambled on reading to discover a poet seduced by a literary spleen…
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#863 A love letter to Vancouver

Pineapple Express by Evelyn Lau Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2020 $18.00 / 9781772141474 Reviewed by Grace Lau * If, upon hearing the words “pineapple express,” you immediately think of a certain feel-good stoner/buddy comedy from the late 2000s starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, and a few tons of weed, you could be reasonably forgiven. Though also…
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#842 Poetry for a better tomorrow

All My Politics are Poetry by Larry Hannant Victoria: Yalla Press, 2019 $16.95 / 9791999289300 Reviewed by Natalie Lang * Throughout history, poetry has been a marker for monumental events by lyrically capturing emotional and provocative aspects of life, change, disruption, and chaos. It addresses difficult and challenging issues, making pain palatable enough for readers…
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#838 Finding hope in Lost Lagoon

Lost Lagoon / lost in thought: prose poems by Betsy Warland Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2020 $20.00 / 9781773860251 Reviewed by Adrienne Drobnies * As I write this now into a third month of being at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, I think what could be more agreeable than to go for a stroll around…
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#835 Songs for crossover Mamas

My yt mama by Mercedes Eng Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2020 $16.95 / 9781772012552 Reviewed by Grace Lau * As I read through Mercedes Eng’s poetry collection, my yt mama, I found myself in a liminal space that is rarely explored in the stories in mainstream culture. How many stories about “yt mamas” and Chinese fathers do…
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#833 A fresh water poetry anthology

Sweet Water: Poems for the Watersheds by Yvonne Blomer (editor) Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2020 $22.95 / 9781773860220 Reviewed by John Swanson * Sweet Water is an important and timely book, about fresh water in all its many forms — lakes, ponds, rivers, creeks and streams, wetlands, marshes, and ground water, the water under the…
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#831 Don’t mention the Yukon Poet

Robert Service: The True Adventures of Yukon’s Favourite Bard by Elle Andra-Warner Victoria: Heritage House, 2020 (first published as Robert Service: A Great Canadian Poet’s Romance with the North, Altitude Publishing, 2004) $9.95 / 9781772033311 Reviewed by William R. Morrison * As an experiment in the lasting influence of poetry in this country, I thought…
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#820 Calgary and the world awry

Watching a Man Break a Dog’s Back: Poems for a Dark Time by Tom Wayman Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2020 $18.95 /  9781550179125 Reviewed by Emma Rhodes * Award-winning Canadian author Tom Wayman has returned with another poetry collection in Watching a Man Break a Dog’s Back: Poems for a Dark Time. His audience, he…
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#814 Anxiety and clunky plastics

INTERVIEW: Curtis LeBlanc with Nathaniel G. Moore  * Curtis LeBlanc’s second poetry book is fresh off the printing press and on bookshelves across the country, in the middle of a global pandemic. Birding In The Glass Age of Isolation (Gibsons: Nightwood Editions, April 2020) confronts mental illness, masculinity, and humanity’s relationship with the nature world….
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#811 Care, craft … couplets!

Bounce House by Jennica Harper Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2019 $18.00 / 9781772141405 Reviewed by John Pass * There’s a lot to like in Jennica Harper’s new book of poems. I was struck first with how seamlessly she stitches straightforward colloquial language into fairly rigorous, but pleasingly transparent, form. My wife suggests the book-length sequence of…
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#804 Gibson’s poetic pyrotechnics

How She Read by Chantal Gibson Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2019 $20.00 / 9781987915969 Reviewed by Renée Sarojini Saklikar * On March 12, 2020, Chantal Gibson’s How She Read was shortlisted for both the 2020 Dorothy Livesay and Jim Deva prizes of the BC and Yukon Book Prizes. Winners will be announced on September 19th. As…
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#803 Species survival and adaptation

Re-Origin of Species by Alessandra Naccarato Toronto: Book*hug Press, 2019 $18.00 / 9781771665421 Reviewed by John Swanson * On April 6, 2020, Alessandra Naccarato’s Re-Origin of Species was longlisted for both the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award of the League of Canadian Poets. On 20 April 2020, it was shortlisted…
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#797 Secwépemc land and language

Clinging to Bone by Garry Gottfriedson Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2019 $17.95 / 9781553805625 Reviewed by Heather Simeney MacLeod * Garry Gottfriedson is from the Secwépemc (previously Shuswap) Nation. He was born, raised and continues to reside in Kamloops. He studied under Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, and Marianne Faithful at the distinguished Naropa Institute in Boulder,…
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#795 Choosing a seat on a plane

Outside, America by Sarah de Leeuw Gibsons: Nightwood Editions, 2019 $18.95 / 9780889713543 Reviewed by Christopher Levenson * Good poetry derives from the confluence of at least two abilities: a mastery of the full resources of the medium, language, and an unusual angle or perspective on the poem’s subject matter. All good poets achieve their…
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