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Topic: book reviews

An Extravagant Mind: Erin Robinsong’s Rag Cosmology

This is Erin Robinsong’s first book and its scope is vast, its premise to somehow gather the cosmos into a bucket an ambitious one. We’re reminded that there’s “no eros / like earth,” and that to be human is to be sensuous. Lines pulse with succulent life, hypnotic in its eroticism, heartbreaking in its frailty. An exploration of life’s many shapes, from polygons and fractals to amorphous entities, leads the reader through a landscape before cities and villages, before humans stamped the map.

Renaissance Clockwork: Aaron Giovannone’s The Nonnets

I’ve been drifting around in Aaron Giovannone’s latest book of poems, The Nonnets, for a while, trying to figure out, ridiculously, why I love this volume of poetry so much―its wit, its wonder, its space. There is a strange delight in staring at the figures in Giovannone’s plazas, trying to grasp how big it all feels, how human, how funny it is, like returning to the metaphysical landscape of Giorgio De Chirico’s painting, “Mystery and Melancholy of a Street,” only to find that in each return, each rifacimento, each nonnet, there are new figures prowling around, exchanging half-heard jokes and laughter, while you, the reader, keep seeing mysteries suddenly shift across the sand, subtly altering the metaphysics of the square itself. This book is full of surprises and embraces, and is strikingly beautiful.

Earnestly into the Future: Paul Vermeersch’s Self Defence for the Brave and Happy

The self defence tips in Self Defence for the Brave and Happy range from the obviously absurd to the useful―from “if you drown, report it” to “Tell yourself that you are beautiful.” But for the most part they are fiercely double-edged, like the book as a whole: “Keep your hands in the air or go for the eyes, depending.”

Books Received in 2016

Arc accepts review copies and advance reading copies of books of and on poetry from Canadian and international publishers. The books reviewed online and in print by Arc are selected by the reviewers, the Reviews Editor and the Managing Editor, based on aesthetic and thematic considerations, timing and space. The following list is an account of the books submitted to Arc in 2016.

A Vision to Rebuild: Maleea Acker’s Air-Proof Green

The individual sections in Maleea Acker’s second book of poetry, Air-Proof Green, act like an optometrist’s refractor, the lenses slotting into place, one after another, the calm voice, the birds outside. Can you see better now? How about now? Acker’s poetry is all about perception, about seeing better, about being still enough to see. In […]

Slow Down and Listen: Lola Lemire Tostevin’s Singed Wings

  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 […]

Books Received 2011

Arc accepts review copies and advance reading copies of books of and on poetry from Canadian and international publishers. The books reviewed online and in print by Arc are selected by the reviewers, the reviews editor and the editor, based on aesthetic and thematic considerations, timing and space. The following list is an account of […]