Poetry

#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 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 realisation…
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#562 Blodgett’s poetic microclimate

Apostrophies VIII: Nothing Is But You and I by E.D. Blodgett Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2019 $19.99 / 9781772124514 Reviewed by Christopher Levenson * Born in Philadelphia in 1935, Ted (Edward Dickinson) Blodgett came to Canada in 1966 to teach at the University of Alberta. He moved to Surrey in 2009 after serving as Edmonton’s…
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#560 Arbutus, sandstone, & Salish Sea

Love of the Salish Sea Islands: New Essays, Memoirs and Poems by 40 Island Writers by Mona Fertig (editor) and Gail Sjuberg (introduction) Salt Spring Island: Mother Tongue Publishing, 2019 $23.95 / 9781896949734 Reviewed by Theresa Kishkan * I first encountered the term “islomania” in Lawrence Durrell’s sublime Reflections on a Marine Venus, a memoir…
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#559 Playing saxophone at Ponoka

Playing into Silence by Tina Biello Halfmoon Bay: Dagger Editions, 2019 $18.00 / 9781987915785 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve * Narrative poetry often seems autobiographical even when we know it isn’t. Perhaps poetry is by definition more intense, concentrated and personal than prose. Tina Biello’s two previous books of poetry, In the Bone Cracks of the…
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#554 Patricia’s preternatural power

Amateurs at Love by Patricia Young Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions, 2019 $19.95 / 9780864929914 Reviewed by Heidi Greco * The word “amateur” comes from the French, the source language for our most beautiful words. Originally it meant “one who loves” or “lover” — so, to be an “amateur at love” must mean someone who loves…
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