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Topic: poetry reviews

Looking In, Looking Out: The Gods of East Wawanosh by Marilyn Gear Pilling

Marilyn Gear Pilling’s seventh book of poetry, The Gods of East Wawanosh, comprises two sections. The first (I) emphasizes the book title, following the wayward, messy, traumatic, and poignant lives of one farming family through several generations in East Wawanosh, Huron County, Ontario. The second (II), “The Lives That Surround Us,” takes the reader in a different direction, focusing globally, the poems distinctive in scope and temperament.

Light through the Trees: Dark Woods by Richard Sanger

Dark Woods is the third offering from Toronto poet Richard Sanger. The collection is deeply honest and somewhat uncomfortable in its portrayal of a dim, ordinary life touched by momentary excitement and its processing of aging, parenting, and mortality. While the book’s language doesn’t deny there are extraordinary moments in life, it doesn’t give way to them: life is confined, limited to what might have been, or may still be. There’s no obvious aspiration to live beyond the shadow of the trees.

Lucas Crawford Reclaims Trans Bodies: The High Line Scavenger Hunt by Lucas Crawford

The central tension of Lucas Crawford’s The High Line Scavenger Hunt explores the friction between transgender identity and architecture. He posits that architectural spaces are designed to keep trans bodies out. In this sense, trans bodies are the absent presence within architectural spaces, a presence that “haunts” them. This tension is not new for Crawford, as it is also the basis for his academic monograph titled, Transgender Architectonics (2015).

Hitting the Mark: Near Miss by Laura Matwichuk

Any book that opens with a quotation by Joy Division is probably worth investigating and Near Miss is no exception.

When “The Spring Light is Like Glass”: Ledi by Kim Trainor

The archaeological excavation of a 2000-year-old woman (possibly a storyteller or shaman) in Siberia named Ledi, and an urgent excavation of the death of a former lover by suicide, are the focus of this fascinating and enigmatic book.

Flexing the Poetry Muscle: Twitch Force by Michael Redhill

Engraved on every body and programmed to repeat, “twitch force” is a muscle’s “measurement of its energy potential,” so the back cover of Michael Redhill’s new volume tells us. Quirky, unaffected and completely at ease with itself, the whole book is a twitchy learning curve. Section headings alone—Astronomical Twilight, Chemical Drowsing, Core Sample—illustrate Redhill’s edgy range of call and response. While reading you inevitably increase your word horde. You find yourself looking up scientific terms for transformations of various kinds. You laugh. You learn.

Laughing Towards Apocalypse: Al Rempel’s This Isn’t the Apocalypse We Hoped For

Rempel’s playful title is well chosen. Is he living in an apocalypse somehow different from one hoped for? Is it a disappointing apocalypse? Is he not living in an apocalypse at all? Does he miss it? Whatever it is, “fat bees hover above satellite dishes purple in colour,” as he writes in the title poem, […]

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 […]

Poet Vs Poet online: Douglas on the 2010 Best Canadian

Poems ‘for all who are curious’ It can be hard to know how to approach an anthology of this nature. Tuck your question marks into your pocket and just read, hoping—as you do with every new poetry book—to be shown a poem that might illuminate the dark little corners of your life? Pretend you don’t […]

Poet vs. Poet online: Leifso on the 2010 Lampman shortlist

Which came first: awards or great poetry? A chicken-and-egg review of the 2010 nominees for the Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry Feature Review ~ Brenda Leifso   Blaine Marchand. The Craving of Knives. Ottawa: BuschekBooks, 2009 Susan McMaster. crossing arcs: alzheimer’s, my mother, and me. Windsor: Black Moss Press, 2009 Barbara Myers. Slide. Winnipeg: Signature […]