Poetry

#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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#658 Plain words in a plain wrapper

A Mysterious Humming Noise: New Poems by Howard White Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2019 $18.00 / 9781772141412 Reviewed by Linda Rogers * Let’s start with the cover. None of your “art-whatever” declarations of sacred intent, pretty pictures promising verbal home decoration: this is a kitchen cover promising kitchen music, including a toe tapper, a fiddle, and…
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#654 When images yield poems

The House the Spirit Builds by Lorna Crozier, with Peter Coffman and Diane Landy (photography) and Rena Upitis (introduction) Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2019 $22.95 / 9781771622417 Reviewed by Paul Falardeau * The natural world has long been de rigueur to the life of poets and artists, the Chinese poet Han Shan (寒山, literally…
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#648 A glance of a thousand years

Paradise, Later Years by Marion Quednau Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2018 $18.00 / 9781987915839 Reviewed by Renée Sarojini Saklikar * Marion Quednau, from Gibsons, has won awards for both poetry and prose, including a Smithbooks-Books in Canada First Novel Award for The Butterfly Chair (1987). With Paradise, Later Years, she now debuts her first full-length…
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#618 The deeper language of women

Women’s Writing in Canada by Patricia Demers University of Toronto Press, 2019 $34.95 / 9780802095015 Reviewed by Linda Rogers * They used to throw women artists in mental institutions, our radical behaviour disruptive to the norm. Across the street from my house, there is a half way home for mentally challenged adults, the victims of…
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#595 Mind your imperfection

Visual Inspection by Matt Rader Gibsons: Nightwood Editions, 2019 $18.95 / 9780889713567 Reviewed by Paul Falardeau * I don’t live with an autoimmune disease and probably – hopefully — neither do you. I haven’t had to scramble from doctor to doctor for answers or decode what is different about my body, what is or isn’t…
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#591 pomes organik n vulnrabul

breth/th treez uv lunaria: selektid rare n nu pomes n drawings, 1957-2019 by bill bissett Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2019 $29.95 / 9781772012262 Reviewed by Heidi Greco * Looking at my shelves of poetry, I see that bissett books occupy the breadth of an outstretched hand, yet these don’t constitute even half of this prolific poet’s output….
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#586 Shortcuts to the heart

an almost hand, beckoning by John Swanson San Francisco: Blurb Books, 2019 $20.00 (Canada and U.S.) / 9781999131302 Reviewed by P.W. Bridgman * John Swanson will be reading from an almost hand, beckoning at the Planet Earth Poetry reading in Victoria on March 27th 2020, and in Nanaimo at the Metaphorically Speaking reading, April 2nd…
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#582 Archaeology of a horsewoman

Ledi by Kim Trainor Toronto: Book*hug Press, 2018 $18.00 / 9781771664479 Reviewed by Jenna Butler * Ledi, by East Vancouver poet Kim Trainor, was shortlisted for the Raymond Souster Award for poetry books published in 2018. Trainor, who holds a PhD in English Literature from McGill University, teaches at Douglas College in New Westminster —…
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#579 Poetic memoir and needle biopsy

Trauma Head by Elee Kraljii Gardiner Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2018 $18.00 / 9781772141221 Reviewed by Yvonne Blomer * Trauma Head, by Vancouver poet Elee Kraljii Gardiner, was long-listed for the Raymond Souster Award and shortlisted for Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, both for books published in 2018 – Ed. * Try to hold mist,…
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#571 The Slinky and the mirror

Slinky Naive by Caroline Szpak Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2018 $18.00 / 9781772141153 Reviewed by Andrew Yang * Born in Istanbul, Polish-Canadian writer Caroline Szpak graduated from the writing program at the University of Victoria. Andrew Yang finds her debut volume of poetry, Slinky Naïve, “a collection that tirelessly pushes and expands the brackets of convention.”…
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#568 Pregnant lines and pauses

Q & A by Adrienne Gruber Toronto: Book*Hug Press, 2019 $18.00 / 9781771664721 Reviewed by Phyllis Parham Reeve * “How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension.” — Harry, Duke of Sussex, after witnessing Duchess Meghan give birth to their first child. Adrienne Gruber’s poetic memoir arrives in the midst of a dawning…
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