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Topic: McClelland & Stewart

Taxonomy of Betrayal: Washes, Prays by Noor Naga

Noor Naga’s debut novel-in-verse, Washes, Prays, is a story of unrequited love and adultery. The protagonist, Coocoo is struggling to reconcile her love affair with a married man Mohammad while her best friend Nouf offers her companionship. The lovers’ predicaments are set to music by a familiar sensuality inherent in traditional Islamic love. Naga’s careful romanticism of Islamic sensuality is characteristic of contemporary Islamic poetry which can be interpreted as a radical reaction to rampant Islamophobia in the post 9/11 English speaking world.

Rewriting the Rational: Drolleries by Cassidy McFadzean

Drolleries by Cassidy McFadzean is a witty collection, infusing sarcastic humour into witchcraft and sorcery. She weaves realms of fantasy, history, and modernity together such that all seem to happen simultaneously. Many poems in this collection cite literary and artistic references, rejecting the division between rational intellectualism and the supernatural.

Wilding Land Acknowledgements: Phoebe Wang’s Admission Requirements

Phoebe Wang’s Admission Requirements is, from the title itself, a collection inflected with tender irony. Admission, here, appears in all its meanings: the act of letting in; the privilege of being allowed, and the price paid for it; the acceptance of difficult truths. Variations of the word “settler” appear throughout, in double entendres. One could think of Wang’s poetry as an introspective land acknowledgement.

There’s Stuff Between Things: Aisha Sasha John’s I have to live

In a conversation with Lisa Robertson, (hosted by BookThug and viewable online), Aisha Sasha John observes that an octopus can see with its skin. Tiny organs in the skin of an octopus, disconnected from the brain or eye, swell in response to light, sending waves of colour across the skin’s surface. John uses this phenomenon to challenge one’s prevailing modes of perception. In I have to live, she posits new modes of perception in seeking to answer the question–Where is the soul lodged?

Love Poems: Lorna Crozier’s The Wrong Cat

Crozier’s bio reads like a Canadian poet’s wish list and her latest and 17th book of poetry, The Wrong Cat, is an achievement in and of itself.