A magical filmic quality infiltrates Nick Thran’s most recent collection. Viewpoints shift according to the book’s three-part structure. The eye of the camera first captures site-specific interactions then pulls back to expose the surreal qualities of contemporary decadence. In the final part, the lens zooms into the raw truths of existence in everyday situations, an approach that conjures cinéma vérité.
We reach after our future like it’s a balloon bobbing above us, its string trailing down over our heads. In Sheryda Warrener’s second book of poetry, Floating is Everything, permanence, mortality and the art of living is looked at through the lens of party balloons, art installations, family memories and space travel. By the end of the book, I was entranced. Warrener’s long and luxurious phrases begin to sing, whether in the stately voice of Soviet cosmonaut Valerie Polyakov, or in the casual, free flowing “Letter to Mel from East Van,” a remarkable poem that ends:
Fernandes lets us enter his poetic mind the way he might let you into his home, and you know at once you won’t be a guest there. You’ll be permitted to browse the bookshelves, to finger the drooping flowers and to examine his half-built machines, asking, “What are these for?” Though the answer may surprise you. “There’s this time I’ve always / wanted to talk about with someone…” Raoul Fernandes writes in the opening poem, addressing the reader like a confidante. Transmitter and Receiver may be Fernandes’ debut but it does not feel like the work of a debutante. Astute, wry and reassuring, these poems contain a gentle yet insistent lesson for us.
With nine previous trade collections and a number of significant awards in his rear-view, John Barton is well within selected-poems territory. But as perhaps the first career retrospective by a Canadian openly gay male poet, For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin also charts the broad strokes of a 30-year sea change. In […]
“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 […]
Rob Winger is a talented poet, a steely imagist with social conscience, political irony and acute intercultural awareness. In The Chimney Stone, he may also be a poet too easily seduced by the resonating lines of others. Attempting to wring clarity from complexity—personal, public and artistic, Winger incorporates song lyrics and memorable phrases from Adrienne […]