Poetry

#753 Pungency and plate glass

Gatecrasher by Susan Buis Picton, Ontario: Invisible Publishing, 2019 $17.95 / 9781988784267 Reviewed by Christopher Levenson * We do not have to wait long with Susan Buis’s first volume, Gatecrasher, to realize that we are in the presence of a formidably original poetic talent. Take the first four lines of the first poem, “Arrowslit:” Quarry…
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#749 Robin Blaser in retrospect

A Literary Biography of Robin Blaser: Mechanic of Splendor by Miriam Nichols New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019 $39.99 (U.S.) / 9783030183264 Reviewed by Sheldon Goldfarb * The most astonishing section of this book comes when author Miriam Nichols describes Robin Blaser’s time as a teacher at Simon Fraser University. Perhaps it is because…
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#736 Bowering’s ashes and sparks

Taking Measures: Selected Serial Poems by George Bowering, edited by Stephen Collis Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2019 $49.95 (hardcover) / 9781772012378 (softcover $29.95 due Fall 2020) * Ten Women: Stories by George Bowering Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2015 $20.00 / 9781772140316 * Writing and Reading: Essays by George Bowering Vancouver: New Star Books, 2019 $18.00 / 9781554201549 Three…
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#735 A distant howl between covers

Odes and Laments by Fiona Tinwei Lam Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2019 $18.00 / 9781773860152 Reviewed by Christopher Levenson * Fiona Tinwei Lam has long been an important presence in the Vancouver literary scene, not only as a poet but also as the editor of an excellent anthology, The Bright Well (Leaf Press, 2011), contemporary…
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#725 Tenebrous and illuminating

Every Shameless Ray by Leslie Timmins Toronto: Inanna Publications, 2018 $18.95 / 9781771335775 Reviewed by P.W. Bridgman * As can be gathered from its enigmatic title, Vancouver poet Leslie Timmins’ first collection, Every Shameless Ray, is much concerned with matters of darkness, shadows and light. Oftentimes these conceits are introduced metaphorically in her poetry; at…
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#717 A celebration of friendships

Pensive & beyond by Joanne Arnott Vancouver: Nomados, 2019 $10.00 / 9781927751107 Reviewed by Paul Falardeau * Joanne Arnott’s voice is, figuratively and literally, one of Canadian poetry’s strongest. A captivating and intimate writer since her first book of poetry, Wiles of Girlhood (1991), Arnott is also a consummate performer. Yet her influence on Canadian…
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#712 Okanagan verse and jazz

A Matins Flywheel by John Lent Saskatoon: Thistledown Press, 2019 $20 / 9781771871914 Reviewed by Trevor Carolan * John Lent, the veteran BC poet, writes from Vernon where he has taught at Okanagan College and performed as a jazz artist for years. Within the literary community, he has long been appreciated for his contributions to…
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#711 In memoriam E.D. Blodgett

In memoriam E.D. Blodgett by James Felton (editor) * Born in Philadelphia in 1935, E.D. Blodgett (Ted) (Edward Dickinson) Blodgett came to Canada in 1966 to teach at the University of Alberta. He wrote 22 books of poetry, one of which, Apostrophes: Woman at a Piano (Ottawa: Buschek Books, 1996), won the Governor General’s Award for…
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#684 English views & melting glaciers

Rail by Miranda Pearson Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2019 $17.95 / 9780773558946 Reviewed by Christopher Levenson * If surprise is a necessary ingredient of good poetry, Miranda Pearson’s fifth volume, Rail, will not disappoint. Those who know her four previous volumes — Prime, The Aviary, Harbour, and The Fire Extinguisher — will recognize…
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#671 Connecting the dots

The Great Happiness: Stories and Comics by M.A.C. Farrant Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2019 $14.95 / 9781772012217 Reviewed by Valerie Green * I’ve learned through the years that book covers can be deceiving. Such was the case with M.A.C. Farrant’s book The Great Happiness, which shows a young girl, some flowers, and a small bird. It enticed…
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#665 Poems of grief and acceptance

Salt and Ashes by Adrienne Drobnies Winnipeg: Signature Editions, 2019 $17.95 / 9781773240480 Reviewed by John Swanson * Adrienne Drobnies’ Salt and Ashes is a powerful, intimate book, a journey marked by a legacy of early pain and power inflicted — the old suffering, then the new; the loss of a beloved husband, the grief,…
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#662 A young woman’s journey

The Brightest Thing by Ruth Daniell Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2019 $18.00 / 9781987915907 Reviewed by Myshara Herbert-McMyn * New from Ruth Daniell of Kelowna is The Brightest Thing, a book that tells the journey of a nameless young woman through four sections of beautifully written poetry structured around fairy tales. Fairy tales, of course,…
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