Review of Books

All Reviews | Book Reviews | Poetry

Cardinal in the Eastern White Cedar by Roo Borson

Ever since I read her poem, “Rubber Boots” (1989), which I found in an anthology that would let me teach classic Canadian poetry to first-year university students, I have been enchanted with Roo Borson’s work. Read More…

All Reviews | Book Reviews | Poetry

#IndianLovePoems by Tenille K. Campbell

#IndianLovePoems, a poetry collection by Tenille K. Campbell, provides evocative, truthful words about love without silencing her Indigenous perspective. Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

Dead White Men by Shane Rhodes

 

Canada is so haunted by the spectres of dead white men that they almost seem inescapable, a presence so persistent as to be definitive. Read More…

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Common Place by Sarah Pinder

Common Place, Sarah Pinder’s second book of poetry, is a challenging read. This is partially due to the subject matter at hand Read More…

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How Festive the Ambulance by Kim Fu

How Festive the Ambulance, Kim Fu’s debut book of poetry, is a startling exploration of the banality of modern life.

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All of Us Reticent, Here, Together by Stephen Brockwell

The cover says Brockwell’s All of Us Reticent, Here, Together will turn around family, detritus, and the everyday of modern technology. Read More…

All Reviews | Book Reviews | Poetry

Every Night of Our Lives by Rocco de Giacomo

 

Rocco de Giacomo is the author of several books of poetry. Over the years his works have appeared Read More…

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Little Wildheart by Micheline Maylor

The Vagaries of Love, its Loss and Renewals, Replenishment of the Self Read More…

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Assdeep in Wonder by Christopher Gudgeon

 

Christopher Gudgeon’s Assdeep in Wonder weds a raw, intense emotionalism to a wry, detached cynicism. Read More…

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For Love and Autonomy by Anahita Jamali Rad

The cover of Jamali Rad’s book depicts a building and an outdoor courtyard with slab benches. Read More…

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Tell Them it was Mozart by Angeline Schellenberg

Angeline Schellenberg’s debut collection of poetry concerns raising children on the autism spectrum. Read More…

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The Home Place: Essays on Robert Kroetsch’s Poetry

Dennis Cooley’s The Home Place: Robert Kroetsch, Uninvention, AND Poetic Aposiopesis

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All Reviews | Book Reviews | Poetry

Hermit Thrush

It might seem that Mark Frutkin takes no risks in his fluid and lyric collection Hermit Thrush, but listen closer and you’ll hear the ominous vibration of a thrumming string. Read More…

All Reviews | Book Reviews | Poetry

calling down the sky

Rosanna Deerchild’s second book of poetry, calling down the sky, is a poetically and narratively powerful collection Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

My Mother Did Not Tell Stories

Though Laurie Kruk’s latest book of poems, My Mother Did Not Tell Stories, possesses Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

Bite Down Little Whisper

It is fortuitous that I began reading a book on quantum theory while reviewing this book. Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems

There is such density in Tomas Tranströmer’s poetry, and such a wide range of images and concerns. Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

Pluck

The first as well as the most lasting impression of Laisha Rosnau’s third book of poetry can best be summed up as “young-maternal.” Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

Night-Eater

What an odd title for a book of poems. I conjure up a beast, Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

Natural Capital

Jason Heroux’s Memoirs of an Alias surprised me with its brilliance. His ability to create images seemed bold, Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

ivH: An Alphamath Serial

Victor Coleman has been writing for a lifetime, working at the edges of poetry – never afraid to challenge any reader Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

Boy

In Victor Enns’s Boy, family and locale figure prominently, as well they might when the topic is adolescence. Enns feels dearly about his sister, not as strongly about his brother, he desperately needs his mother, and Dad keeps a leather belt in his roll-top desk. Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

Firewalk

In Firewalk, Katherine Bitney writes poems against a spectacular northern backdrop of aurora borealis conceived of as a “forest of green girls” (13), with the stag at the winter solstice standing with the sun “mov[ing] lower, into his antlers” (37), and the ever-hungry wolf watching over the animal and human kingdoms. Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

North End Love Songs

Katherena Vermette’s North End Love Songs is a debut collection from an emerging Winnipeg poet, a book that combines elegiac and fiercely ecstatic melodies to sing of a complicated love for a city, a river, and a neighbourhood. Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

What’s The Score?

It took me a while to figure it out, but now I know who David McFadden reminds me of – the late American performing artist Andy Kaufman. Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

Dancing, with Mirrors

Aldous Huxley said, “Every man’s memory is his private literature.” Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

There are many ways to die while travelling in Peru

The main difference between travellers of old and today’s wanderers is that the former did not have to travel far from home to find themselves in a truly alien and dangerous territory teeming with shadows and tricksters. Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

A Difficult Beauty

An accomplished poet with several books of poetry, David Groulx presents us with a new collection, A Difficult Beauty. Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

The Other Side of Ourselves by Rob Taylor

Rob Taylor’s debut collection, The Other Side of Ourselves – which in an earlier version won the Alfred G. Bailey Prize for an unpublished poetry manuscript – shows considerable talent and imagination. Here is a poet who likes to play with a variety of traditional verse forms as applied to free verse: ghazals, sonnets, haiku, and lyrical poetry. Taylor has a propensity for striking metaphors that he likes to extend and mix in pumped metaphysical guise, as in “The Wailing Machines” and “What the Minister Meant When He Said Love Is Like A Flower.” Also, he is adept at analogy and allegory, as in the playful “Happiness” and the nightmarish “The Night.” Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

At the Gates of the Theme Park by Peter Norman

Peter Norman’s debut poetry collection covers a lot of ground without staking out any particular section as its very own. Norman rhymes a bit, messes with perspectives, fiddles with techniques, primps a tendency to lists and catalogues, and it all sounds refreshing and at ease. The writing is not laboured and only occasionally over-written. Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

A Dark Boat by Patrick Friesen

During a taping of the radio show Speaking of Poets, Patrick Friesen and I were discussing the trip he took to Spain in 2010, following an earlier one to both Spain and Portugal in 2005. Patrick, who doesn’t appear to do anything in half measures, was delighting me with his discussion of Portuguese fado music. If you’ve never heard fado music, you should. Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

Louis: The Heretic Poems by Gregory Scofield

Finally, a Western Canadian, a Métis, writing about the mythic Western Canadian hero Louis Riel, whose first language was French and who was raised a devout Catholic. Father of Confederation for Manitoba, elected to parliament three times but unable to take his seat in Ottawa because of the warrant out for his arrest. Exiled, begged to return. Resisting armed conflict, turning himself in. Tried and, against the jury’s recommendation, hanged for treason. Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

Day and Night: Poems by Dorothy Livesay

Day and Night was awarded the Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 1944 and established Dorothy Livesay as a writer. More than 60 years have passed since then and I wondered why the publishing company made the decision to print an anniversary edition. Upon reading the poems however, I realized that Livesay’s poetry is still relevant, particularly in light of present-day political unrest and economic uncertainty. Her poems concern themselves with the human penchant always to want more and the consequences of that greed, with wars and the unpredictability of weather. Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

Dying a Little

Don’t think that because Barry Dempster has published four books of poetry in three years you can slide your eye past Dying a Little.1 This book is exceptional – carefully structured, beautifully written without a false word, taking us face to face with illness, death and grief, and turning back at points, to life. By the end, we have experienced the other world without ever leaving the poet’s home territory north of Toronto. Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

A Page from The Wonders of Life on Earth by Stephanie Bolster

In A Page from The Wonders of Life on Earth, Stephanie Bolster uses startling juxtapositions as a means for irony and to perceive the world from jagged, deconstructing angles. Although her milieu is urban, birds and animals, frequently from a zoo setting, inhabit her verses. Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

Hordes of Writing by Chus Pato; translated by Erín Moure

Erín Moure’s translating career can be considered on two planes. The first, the one she began in 2000 in collaboration with Robert Majzels, was the translation of domestic works which, in this case, involved Nicole Brossard’s Installations. Two further translations of Brossard’s works, with Majzels as collaborator, appeared Read More…

Book Reviews | Poetry

Outskirts by Sue Goyette

I am delighted with the new poetry collection from this Nova Scotia poet who stole so many hearts when she launched her first book, The True Names of Birds, in 1998. Firmly rooted in Nova Scotia’s natural environment and culture, the poems in Outskirts feel quite at home in my urban prairie setting. As I feel in Gus’s Pub. Read More…