Posts: Reviews »
Maureen Scott Harris. Slow Curve Out. St. John’s, Newfoundland: Pedlar Press, 2012.
~Reviewed by Alexis Motuz
Maureen Scott Harris’ evocative Slow Curve Out places us in conversation with the natural world and explores the possibilities and the apparent limitations of language to communicate with the Other. Her collection opens with “Walking in Saskatchewan with Rilke,” a lyric spoken from the point of view of a deeply meditative yet playful narrator who describes her failed attempt to engage Rilke in the beauty of the prairie landscape. The poem recalls Rilke’s own “A [...]
Brenda Schmidt. Grid. Regina, Saskatchewan: Hagios Press, 2012.
~Reviewed by Tanis MacDonald
I read Grid with a lot of curiosity about its title, for the back-cover blurb about living “off the grid” seemed true enough but entirely too easy a metaphor. These poems use rural life in northern Saskatchewan to propose an existential dilemma whereby the beauty of distance squares off against the queasiness of intimacy. The grid is a visual metaphor: the patterns of roads travelled by trucks and cars that are forever heading somewhere else; the parallel lines made by [...]
Tom Wayman. Dirty Snow. Madeira Park, British Columbia: Harbour Publishing, 2012.
~Reviewed by John Lent
These are such mean, square, bullying times. I am gripped by this realization every day. Crazy. Unnerving. I was born in 1948 and grew up in the 50s and 60s in Edmonton, and I never thought I might be living, eventually, in a culture and a time more conservative and square—as imprecise as those terms have become—than those times and that culture. But these times and this culture are more conservative. We have allowed that to happen, and [...]
Natalie Zina Walschots. DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains. London: Insomniac Press, 2012.
~Reviewed by Christopher Doda
With her second book, Natalie Zina Walschots continues to explore poetic territory left largely unmarked by others. After Thumbscrews, a book of S&M flavoured poetry, she has turned her quirky pop-culture eye to the now-seemingly ubiquitous world of comic books in DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains. The subtitle says it all: this is a book that imagines the erotic lives of fictitious beings who a) have superhuman abilities and b) are evil. The resulting collection is [...]
Erín Moure. The Unmemntioable. Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2012.
~Reviewed by Michael LaPointe
Erín Moure’s The Unmemntioable is a modern artifact. Recalling an age when a volume might comprise poems, stories, illustrations, translations, and philosophy, The Unmemntioable is a book containing, among other things, “poems, a filched Moleskine, a correspondence… a dog with a headache, and sundry philosophic remarks,” as its cover advertises. Not to be confused with a miscellany, however, this medley has a story to tell. Moure (or “E.M.”) arrives in Bucharest, Romania, having spread her mother’s ashes at [...]
Asa Boxer. Skullduggery. Montreal: Signal Editions – Véhicule Press, 2011.
~Reviewed by Lise Gaston
Asa Boxer’s second book is a collection of unabashed, raucous, and occasionally raunchy mimicry. Not only does Boxer confront some of the biggest personages, myths, and motifs of the Western canon, but he slips his name in alongside them: the “The Boxer Primer” introduces a sequence on imagined firearms, such as “The Coleridge Porlock” and “The Browning Colt .45.” “Dear Asa,” the collection’s first poem, launches directly into audacious vocal play, as Boxer addresses his persona in the [...]
C.R. Avery. 38 Bar Blues. Long Beach, California: Write Bloody Publishing, 2011.
~Reviewed by Priscila Uppal
Anyone who has experienced the explosive live performances of Vancouver’s C.R. Avery—a folk, rock, punk, blues, bebop, hip hop, beat box virtuoso—knows that he has a way with words. Many of his songs contain cadenced free-verse rants and rambles that easily lend themselves to poetry, so it is no surprise that he should be a proficient poet as well. At least half of the poems in 38 Bar Blues are written versions of his song lyrics. [...]
Stuart Ross. You Exist. Details Follow. Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2012.
~Reviewed by Andrew Johnson
Stuart Ross’s You Exist. Details Follow. is a wonderfully sprawling collection far more interested in exploring poetic process than in using poetry to make grand statements. The title quashes any desire for conclusions right away: “you exist”, full stop, clears the way for the interesting parts—the details that follow. Ross excavates those details playfully, using various structural strategies, one of which is the cento, or “patchwork” poem, in which a new poem is constructed from an existing poem [...]
Katherine Bitney. Firewalk. Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 2012.
~Reviewed by Ann Scowcroft
In “There is a Good Wind,” one of the first poems in Katherine Bitney’s fourth collection of poems, Firewalk, Bitney writes, “When you sleep in wind you are between two worlds.” The most satisfying poems in this collection are those that situate the reader in that wind between worlds in the company of the speaker. They offer the surprise of insight—we learn exactly what must be gambled in order to live a fuller life. “The Sun at Midwinter” is a good [...]
Victor Coleman. ivH: An Alphamath Serial. Toronto: BookThug, 2012.
~Reviewed by rob mclennan
One of Canada’s consistently interesting and innovative poets, Victor Coleman is undervalued, which is especially frustrating when one considers that he has been producing and publishing work for more than fifty years. Victor Coleman has long been engaging deeply with poetic experiment and exploration and rarely held to a particular form. Over the past two decades, Coleman has been shifting slowly into the Oulipian, composing works structured out of procedural “baffles” (as George Bowering calls them), with an increasing [...]