Poetry

#979 A fiery & persevering love affair

Through the Garden: A Love Story (with Cats) by Lorna Crozier Toronto: Penguin Random House (McClelland and Stewart), 2020 $29.95 / 9780771021183 Reviewed by Kathy Mezei * We know of famous, sometimes notorious, writing couples — Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne, Simone Beauvoir and Jean-Paul…
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#969 Piquing interest in Purdy

An Echo in the Mountains: Al Purdy after a Century by Nicholas Bradley (editor) Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020 $34.95 / 9780228003373 Reviewed by Sheldon Goldfarb * “Purdy,” I say. “Al Purdy. Have you heard of him?” “You mean like the chocolates?” She is probably joking. I am asking people I know outside…
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#963 If I came back as a flower

The Essential Derk Wynand by Derk Wynand, selected by John Barton Erin, Ontario: The Porcupine’s Quill, 2020 $14.95 / 9780889844407 Reviewed by Christopher Levenson * To be direct, simple, and yet also powerful in the evoking of strong, intimate emotion is one of the trickiest tasks for any mature poet but Wynand succeeds impressively, even…
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#939 The path to regeneration

Seven Sacred Truths by Wanda John-Kehewin Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2018 $18.95 / 9781772012132 Reviewed by Savana Alphonse with Rebecca Fredrickson * Seven Sacred Truths offers an unfettering of writing styles, including prayer, poetry, prose, and letters, that reflect Wanda John-Kehewin’s personal exploration of self through a healing journey. The title relates to what Indigenous people know…
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#936 Crow mythology and archetype

Dead Crow & the Spirit Engine by Art (Sean Arthur) Joyce New Denver: Chameleonfire Editions, 2020 $20.00 / 9780995240148 Reviewed by Roger C. Lewis * This poem is a fascinating exercise in the bending, blending, and merging of genres while at the same time assaulting the empty pretensions of narcissistic nihilism in today’s grossly politicized…
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#929 Sylliboy’s ​hieroglyphic poetry

Kiskajeyi — I Am Ready: A Hermeneutic Exploration of Mi’kmaq komqwejwi’kasikl Poetry by Michelle Sylliboy, edited by Michael Calvert Nanoose Bay: Rebel Mountain Press, 2019 $19.95 / 9781775301929 Reviewed by Paul Falardeau * On a first approach to Mi’kmaq poet Michelle Sylliboy’s work, one might quickly notice her interdisciplinary approach to interacting with the world…
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#925 The process of forgetting

On Forgetting a Language by Isabella Wang London, ON: Baseline Press, 2019 [out of print]  /  9781928066477 Reviewed by Michael Turner * This ten-poem unpaginated chapbook arrived in my mailbox last week, an hors de commerce copy because its numbered run of 80 is now in the hands of its readers. I chose the book…
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#916 An elixir of deceptive levity

What Hurts Going Down by Nancy Lee Toronto: Penguin Random House (McClelland & Stewart), 2020 $19.95 / 9780771049033 Reviewed by Grace Lau * Nancy Lee’s collection of poetry, What Hurts Going Down, unabashedly examines pain and power. Often, it is through the lens of images we’re familiar with, thanks to Hollywood. You’ve seen it on…
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#908 Hooktenders & wildcat strikes

Disappearing Minglewood Blues by M.C. Warrior Salt Spring Island: Mother Tongue Publishing, 2020 $19.95 / 9781896949796 Reviewed by Colin Sanders * In Disappearing Minglewood Blues, a collection of poems written over several decades, M.C. Warrior gives voice to the mostly voiceless, often nameless, persons who toiled and laboured, navigating and negotiating, or falling victim to,…
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#895 Eulogy for vanished creatures

Endlings: A Collection of Poems about Extinct Animals by Joanna Lilley Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 2020 $18.00 / 9780888016898 Reviewed by Heidi Greco * Mary Anning is a name we should recognize, though I’m sure most people don’t. She was the first person (often not credited) to discover ichthyosaur fossils, and did so when she was…
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#884 Decolonizing Shakespeare

Sonnet’s Shakespeare by Sonnet L’Abbé Toronto: Penguin Random House (McClelland & Stewart), 2019 $21.00 / 9780771073090 Reviewed by Natalie Lang * On March 12, 2020, Sonnet’s Shakespeare, by Sonnet L’Abbé, was one of five books shortlisted for the 2020 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize of the BC and Yukon Book Prizes. Winners will be announced on September…
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#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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