New last year from icehouse poetry, Allison LaSorda’s Stray is the rare debut collection that emerges brimming and whole. LaSorda’s poetry is both specimen and magnifying glass, her speaker displaced by death, the strangeness of becoming, and the realization she is at times more stray animal than rooted human being. LaSorda invokes the natural world―lionfish in a cloudy tank, an eight-point buck among the trees, passerines, mollusks―to tease out the more delicate questions of how to move forward after a loss, how to grow up inside a body.
How to Draw a Rhinoceros, the debut poetry collection from short fiction writer Kate Sutherland, is a detailed survey of a disappearing giant. Borrowing lines from paintings, scientific texts, newspapers, and handbills, Sutherland sketches out her object: the rhinoceros, pachyderm of legend, prize of carnivals and trophy cases. In a marriage of found texts and wry fancies, How to Draw a Rhinoceros assembles an interrupted past to illuminate an imperiled present.
Vincent Colistro’s debut casts an uncanny eye towards absurdity. Late Victorians is a skilled foray into the essential and the laughable, the poems bristling with attention. Colistro skewers and exposes with blithe ease: here is adulthood, there, poetics, nearby, magic, further afield, sex and death. The collection dismantles and demands, managing to adore and flout convention both.
In her third collection, Albertan poet Monica Kidd does the rare work of travelling light. The Year of Our Beautiful Exile tracks the media and methods of displacement, and Kidd maps her terrain with an expert eye: here the slow, specific creep of evolution, there the quick gulp of the Albertan floodwaters. Revelling in the “sudden stops along the road / to pull focus,” the collection ultimately wends its way home, sounding out and condensing the world just enough for travel.
Not the First Thing I’ve Missed, Saskatoon poet Fionncara MacEoin’s debut collection, anthologizes the break and swell of the everyday. The book indexes shortcomings, poverty, addiction, the transience of home, and the promising breadth of nature. Despite the book’s title, it is hard to imagine, with her spare, merciless, fearless verse, that MacEoin misses much […]
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 […]