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Topic: Talon Books

Poetry as a Method of Divination: Tolu Oloruntoba’s The Junta of Happenstance

In the Junta of Happenstance, Tolu Oloruntoba uses a “safecracker ear” (“Child at Sleep”) to perceive both the subtle and overt mechanics of human interactions and to explore the interlocking parts of past and present, individual and community, and the here and there.

Life in Letters in the Garden: M.A.C. Farrant’s one good thing: a living memoir

Born in 1947, M.A.C. Farrant is an icon of realistic and often humourist writing who lives in North Saanich, British Columbia. She is a versatile author who writes fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, book reviews and essays, and has won numerous awards. Now, taking a classic art form—letter writing—Farrant has compiled a poetry collection of sixty-four letters that she has intentionally addressed to Victoria Times Colonist’s garden columnist Helen Chestnut. Each letter addresses a specific column, a gardening topic, and then morphs into a discussion of Zen-like simplicity of life issues that include current events and personal memories long past. The theme, quite cleverly portrayed, is that life is a garden of pests, blight, beauty, tragedy and so much more.

Gourmet Ginger Ale and Modern Ails My Heart Is a Rose Manhattan by Nikki Reimer

Concerned with the disease of modern life, Nikki Reimer’s poetry collection, My Heart Is a Rose Manhattan, thinks honestly about the different ways we experience connection, grief, and womanhood in the urban centers of today.

Ambivalent Inheritance: my yt mama by Mercedes Eng

Calling something a “myth” or a “legend” is misleadingly aggrandizing; it elevates while also implying that the thing being elevated is something other than the truth. In my yt mama, Mercedes Eng emphasizes mythologization’s long history as a colonial tool, and turns its destabilizing logic onto her own personal origin story as the “non-yt” daughter of a “yt mama” born in Medicine Hat. She ravenously forages knowledge from family hearsay, childhood memories, Wikipedia, a colonial history of Medicine Hat written for Canada’s centennial, and observations of family members, friends, celebrities, and craft-brewery bros. The strongest sense of authority among all these knowledges comes from the unspoken memories of childhood: in poems such as “race according to my yt mama,” an adult Eng restores the child’s narrative by drawing attention to what her mother was not seeing in their offhand exchanges about race.

Everything Is Something Else and Back Again: Stereoblind Emma Healey

I have a confession to make. I dog-ear books I’m reviewing. Reading wherever I happen to be, I crisply fold and tuck a small triangle of the top or bottom of pages I may end up quoting or referencing.

Under the Microscope: It’s a Big Deal! Dina Del Bucchia

“So many things seem like a BIG DEAL.” So begins the back cover copy for Dina Del Bucchia’s latest poetry collection, and a truer sentence could not be said of our hyperconnected, contemporary world. Every five seconds there’s some new trend or bit of news we’re expected to have a reaction to, whether it’s outrage or joy, sadness or annoyance. It’s a Big Deal! tackles the concept of “bigness”―personal, ideological, physical, or otherwise―examining how we interpret and handle the captivations and distractions of modern life.