Posts: Reviews »
Elizabeth Bachinsky. The Hottest Summer in Recorded History. Gibsons, BC: Nightwood Editions, 2013.
~Reviewed by Jennifer Delisle
“To dislike this poem, to dislike me,” begins one of the poems in Elizabeth Bachinsky’s The Hottest Summer in Recorded History. The line is both a continuation of the title, “Somewhere there is Someone Waiting,” and a statement that stands on its own, asserting that the poem and its speaker are equivalent, and playfully challenging the reader to dislike them. From here the poem rushes forward in a stream of consciousness, listing possible reasons why [...]
Juleta Severson-Baker. Incarnate. Calgary, AB: Frontenac House, 2013.
~Reviewed by Harold Rhenisch
To be incarnate is to have a body, especially a human body. It is also to have a spirit that is made comprehensible through the gift of form. Severson-Baker is most definitely incarnate in both these senses in such poems as “Of.” In it, she writes “the opening of the orgasm was black.” This black female space soon becomes “the black of being born” and “a coming as if to love when love was new.” It’s like the Garden of [...]
Amanda Jernigan. All the Daylight Hours. Markham, ON: Cormorant Books, 2013.
~Reviewed by Jenny Haysom
Amanda Jernigan’s second collection of poetry, All the Daylight Hours, “took shape over the course of twelve years” and reads as something of a miscellany, especially when contrasted with her debut, Groundwork (Biblioasis, 2011). One supposes that these books emerged concurrently, and that the poet channeled her output accordingly; in Groundwork, she organized poems around three distinct themes, and in All the Daylight Hours, she gathered what was left––her sundry, daily labours. That said, All the Daylight [...]
Kanina Dawson. Masham Means Evening. Regina: Coteau Books, 2013.
~Reviewed by Christopher Doda
Masham Means Evening is unique among poetry books published in Canada this year, not because Kanina Dawson’s style is especially engrossing but because she documents her time in the Canadian forces during her tour of Afghanistan. Structured chronologically, from her landing in Kabul to her return to civilian life, this poetic diary largely deals with her resistance to psychic numbing in the face of unrelenting horror. Early pieces showcase how violence has been entrenched in Afghan society for so [...]
Daniel Karasik. Hungry. Toronto: Cormorant Books, 2013.
~Reviewed by Emily Davidson
In his debut collection of poetry, Toronto playwright Daniel Karasik lays out an ambitious spread. Hungry is a feast – a table piled high with sushi restaurants and greyhound buses, locker rooms and microscopes. Karasik investigates aging and impermanence, his attention skipping ahead with the frenzied focus of the emerging connoisseur. Held up by a framework of traditional forms freshly spun, Hungry grapples with the gnawing absence in the middle of abundance. The work holds at its core a staunch anxiety. [...]
Daniela Elza. milk tooth bane bone. Lantzville, BC: Leaf Press, 2013.
~Reviewed by Al Rempel
Daniela Elza finds voice in both the gaps and the gravity of language in her second book, milk tooth bane bone, an interconnected series of poems that begins with this startling image:
The four titular nouns typify what I mean by gravity and gaps. Elza places these words side by side as effortlessly as setting four small stones in a row on the beach, yet they carry the weight of four silent moons around a planet, bodies that [...]
Jordan Abel. The Place of Scraps. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2013.
~ A Response to Jordan Abel’s The Place of Scraps by Margaret Christakos
It is easy to scrap the effort it takes to speak about the intensely complicated ethics of museum culture. Every object in a museum “comes” from a source place; most often the objects have been taken, and their home cultural context has been subsequently imperilled. The artifact accession process, subsumed in hyperattentive procedures of classification and conservation, is equally and ongoingly evidence of the subjugating relations of cultural dispossession.
At the [...]
Lola Lemire Tostevin. Singed Wings. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2013
~Reviewed by rob mclennan
Given that nearly a decade has passed since the appearance of her previous trade poetry collection, Site-Specific Poems (2004), there is much to celebrate for the fact that Toronto writer Lola Lemire Tostevin has released Singed Wings. Not that she was idle during that period—much of the past decade and a half of Tostevin’s writing career has equally focused on fiction, with the publication of her most recent novels being The Jasmine Man (2001) and The other sister (2008). For [...]
Stephen Scobie. At the limit of breath: Poems on the films of Jean-Luc Godard. Edmonton: U of Alberta P, 2013.
~Reviewed by Kimmy Beach
Stephen Scobie’s newest collection is a chronological, poetic study of the films of French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. And like the work of the man about whom Scobie writes, the book is pleasingly esoteric and sharply focussed.
Claustrophobia is a feature of Godard’s films, in which there is often an extended scene within a tight, domestic sphere. Even when the setting encompasses many rooms, the tension between the two people in the [...]
Carmelita McGrath. Escape Velocity. Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions, 2013.
~Reviewed by Zachariah Wells
Since 1997, there have been well over 2000 poetry collections published in Canada—counting only the books produced by accredited presses. If, like Carmelita McGrath, you released your last book in 1997 with a small press in Newfoundland, you should perhaps forgive the poetry-reading public if you’re not on its radar. In the interval between To the New World and the present, McGrath has not been silent, having published three books in other genres, a couple of poetry chapbooks and [...]