Review: Locked in Different Alphabets by Doris Fiszer

Reviewed by Pearl Pirie Locked in Different Alphabets by Doris Fiszer (Silver Bow Publishing, 2020) I’ve had the privilege of seeing some of these poems as they developed since Fiszer and I overlapped for a time in the same writing group. I’ve read some iterations of the poems in her … [click for more]

Review: The Muse Sings by Dennis Cooley

Reviewed by Pearl Pirie The Muse Sings by Dennis Cooley (At Bay Press, 2020) I’ve long admired the playfulness of Dennis Cooley. The Muse Sings is his 21st book. His abcedarium (University of Alberta Press, 2014) has a freewheeling sort of swirl of concrete poetry and it continues in this … [click for more]

Review: sfumato by David Stones

Reviewed by Kamal Parmar sfumato by David Stones (Blue Moon Publishing, 2021)   In the book sfumato, the poet David Stones, writes poems that are very powerful and precise, reflecting on things that are often unnoticed. Each poem is a masterpiece so thought provoking  and an in-depth study of life’s, … [click for more]

Review: Walking Across The Day by d.n. simmers

Reviewed by Michael Edwards Walking Across The Day by d.n simmers, New Westminster, BC: Silver Bow Publishing, 2020. Vancouver poet d.n. simmers published his third collection of poems, Walking Across the Day, with Silver Bow in 2020. Entering into the book, the epigraph comes from the title poem, offering the … [click for more]

Review: For the Love of Lazaros by Susan Ioannou

Reviewed by Ronnie R. Brown first published in Verse Afire, January 2020.   For the Love of Lazaros by Susan Ioannou Opal Editions, 54 pp. paper ISBN 978-0-920835-53-1, 2019 eBook eISBN 978-0-920835-57-9, 2021   Susan Ioannou is a name very familiar to readers of all aspects of Canadian Writing—children’s literature, … [click for more]

Review: The Other Life by Pat Connors

Reviewed by Jeevan Bhagwat In his debut poetry collection, The Other Life (Mosaic Press, 2021), Patrick Conners takes us on an introspective journey that seeks to find meaning and purpose in the sometimes mundane aspects of everyday life. Following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Al Purdy and Milton … [click for more]

Review: A Near Memoir: New Poems by Penn Kemp

Reviewed by Katerina Fretwell A Near Memoir: New Poems, Penn Kemp’s elegant chapbook, features her father’s portrait of her at 14 on the cover. Photos and art invite the reader into family dynamics. Fitting for a memoir, Kemp’s poetry expands Heidegger’s perception that “nearness slows the future’s approach, creating room … [click for more]

Review of Niagara & Government, by Phil Hall

Reviewed by Marguerite Pigeon “I have compounded another thingamajig,” exclaims Phil Hall partway through his recent collection, Niagara & Government (Pedlar Press, 2020). The thingamajig in question is a scavenged toy compass that Hall has fit inside a bottle cap, to his great satisfaction. But it also stands in for … [click for more]

Review: Me, You, Then Snow by Khashayar Mohammadi

Reviewed by Kate Rogers   The poems in Khashayar Mohammadi’s new poetry collection, Me, You, Then Snow, skillfully evoke the surreal nature of everyday life as the young narrator searches for self-understanding in our age of profound uncertainty. The poems explore the evolving self without self-centeredness. An epigraph from Khurdish-Iranian … [click for more]

Uncharted: Sabyasachi Nag Uncovers New Territory

reviewed by Pat Connors There are certain canonical books to which I always return, as they have an almost scriptural appeal to me. Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s passing led me to read parts of Poetry as Insurgent Art for at least the twentieth time. Poets of Contemporary Canada 1960-70 (edited by Eli … [click for more]

Review: Poisonous If Eaten Raw by Alyda Faber

Reviewed by John Vardon Ever since my mother died almost two years ago, memories of her surface into consciousness at all times of the day, evoked by events and objects both trivial and significant. I suspect that the same process was at work as the motivation and impetus for most … [click for more]

Review of Locked in Different Alphabets by Doris Fiszer

reviewed by Allan Briesmaster   Locked in Different Alphabets by Doris Fiszer (Silver Bow Press, 2020) Books of poetry that combine family history with autobiography have been appearing often enough in recent years to form a notable sub-genre. Locked in Different Alphabets is an excellent instance of such “memoir poetry.” … [click for more]

Review: China Suite by Julie de Belle

Reviewed by Sandra Stephenson Here is a little book I read with a haiku mind.  A haiga mind, really, as the pages are accompanied liberally with photos by the author, of her near-year in China teaching English.  Stationed in Jiaxing,   The longer poems at the beginning of the book … [click for more]

Review: This White Nest by Frances Boyle

Reviewed by Kim Fahner This review was originally published by Prairie Fire, Jan 28, 2020.  In the title poem of her newest collection, This White Nest, Frances Boyle poses the question “What shines?” This is the question that sits with the reader as they make their way through the poems, but others … [click for more]

Review of Parramisha by Frances Roberts Reilly

reviewed by Bob MacKenzie.   In firmly holding onto the desire to love and cherish one another we keep faith with many who have gone before us, by honouring those we have lost. —“Forged in Fire”   Many poems are written to be engraved into the texture of paper, inked … [click for more]

Review of DREAM FRAGMENTS by Mirabel

Reviewed by Catherine Morrison DREAM FRAGMENTS is an incredible collection of poems that bring readers into her mind, experiencing the vibrant and intimate thoughts she experiences in her sleep. A reflection of self, of history, and future, Mirabel’s poems are extremely approachable, allowing readers to connect to a thought or … [click for more]

Book Review: Glass Float by Jane Munro

Reviewed by Marguerite Pigeon. In her last collection, Blue Sonoma (Brick Books, 2014), Jane Munro used dreamscapes and reportage as paper and pen to trace jagged contours of meaning during her husband’s dementia and death. Those poems were sober, plainspoken—and won Munro a Griffin Poetry Prize. Six years later, Munro … [click for more]

Review: Swoon by Elana Wolff

Reviewed by Kate Marshall Flaherty Swoon by Elana Wolff. Guernica Editions, 2020, 94 pp, ISBN 978-1-77183-507-7 Elana Wolff explores the many layers of ecstasy and everyday-ness in her powerful collection of poems, Swoon. In her epigraphs, Wolff depicts swooning as the physical manifestation of an emotional moment in time, as … [click for more]

Apples and Oranges, Plastic and Screens, Crows on Utility Poles: a review of Fiona Tinwei Lam’s Odes and Laments

Reviewed by Crystal Hurdle   Lam’s third poetry collection, Odes and Laments, surprisingly sweet, offers an equal measure of elegies and odes, sometimes in the same poem.  The opener, “Libation,” concludes, “What’s held within/this cup, this poem, this juice/I offer you.”  The poem could be container or contents, and what does it matter?  Everything … [click for more]

Meditations on Steffler’s Forty-One Pages

Review of Forty-One Pages: On Poetry, Language and Wilderness by John Steffler Reviewed by Antony Di Nardo   In his latest book, Forty-One Pages: On Poetry, Language and Wilderness, a collection of forty-one anecdotal essays and a handful of poems, John Steffler defies you to draw a dividing line between … [click for more]

Review of Understan by Gavin Barrett

Reviewed by Patrick Connors Gavin Barrett lives a life with many layers of creativity. Much of his service to poetry is organizational, such as in curating the Tartan Turban Secret Readings, a series which prides itself on diversity and providing opportunity to visible minorities. However, his writing has also garnered … [click for more]

An Expectation of Enlightenment: walking the Camino

Review of The Way History Dries by Keith Inman Reviewed by John B. Lee       “Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,         And palmers for to seken straunge stronds,         To ferne halwes koweth in sondre londes …”            Lines from ‘The General Prologue” to Canterbury Tales  Geoffrey Chaucer   … [click for more]

Review of Devolution by Kim Goldberg

reviewed by Carole Mertz. Kim Goldberg writes surrealistic poetry that sometimes incorporates formal poetic forms. Many of the 60 poems in this collection use animals or anthropomorphic beings to convey their frequently apocalyptic messages. Shifts from the concrete to the abstract often startle the reader. You will not find cliches … [click for more]

In the 4 a.m.: A Review of Arleen Paré’s Earle Street

Reviewed by Clayton Longstaff   two women together alone in the luminous house   When you look out your window, what do you see? Are there trees? (how many?) Birds? (ever-fretting pigeons, circling the feet of passing pedestrians? Or are they predatory where you live—a turkey-vulture, perhaps, solitary, perched on … [click for more]

Of Light: A Review of Jude Neale’s Impromptu

Reviewed by Cynthia Sharp First Published by The Miramichi Reader Jude Neale encouraged me to write with her through National Poetry Month and I caught the fever, her own original prompts the ones that flowed most easily. Like the collage of hearts and stars on the cover, Impromptu is an explosion … [click for more]

Review: Common Brown House Moths by Laura Zacharin

Reviewed by Marguerite Pigeon Pests lurk through the pages of Laura Zacharin’s assured first collection, including lice and the titular moths. Nagging, unsettling, preoccupying to the point of distraction, these domestic nuisances are symptomatic—but of what? An unnamed woman in the poem “Common Brown House Moths” can’t shake a dread … [click for more]

Review: Love’s Lighthouse by Anna Yin

Reviewed by Susan McMaster May 2020 Anna Yin’s new book of poetry has exactly five English words on the cover – her name, the title, Love’s Lighthouse, and the ISBN if you count that as a word. It is, however, covered in Chinese characters in red and black placed in … [click for more]

Review: Salt Bride by Ilona Martonfi

Reviewed by Vanessa Shields Martonfi’s fourth book, Salt Bride (Inanna Publications, 2019) is a collection of poetry that begs for companionship. This is not a collection for the faint of heart nor for the reader who doesn’t know her human atrocities his[her]story. The Salt Bride is a deep dive into … [click for more]

Review: heft by Doyali Islam

reviewed by Carole Mertz This review appeared June 2019 at Dreamers Creative Writing. A prolific history lies behind Doyali Islam and her approach to writing poetry. While we may not fully understand the method she applies, we can appreciate the resultant strength of her compositions and respect the idiosyncrasies of … [click for more]

Review: Undiscovered Country by Al Rempel

Reviewed by Adrienne Fitzpatrick This review was first published in Thimbleberry (Volume 4, Summer 2019) Rempel’s book arrived in the mail in late August, in the still bright summer. I was still slow with the heat. It was deep into October when I first read through it and it was … [click for more]

Review: Treaty # by Armand Garnet Ruffo

Reviewed by Marguerite Pigeon Treaty # opens with a prose poem, “Impetus Ungainly,” in which Armand Garnet Ruffo manipulates language from a 1905 treaty between the British Crown and Ojibwe, Cree and members of other Indigenous groups in Ontario. The poem’s title hints, bitingly, at the treaty’s function. It was … [click for more]

Review: Ego of a Nation by Janet Rogers

Reviewed by Miles Morrisseau Janet Marie Rogers’ 7th book of poetry is her double album and it may become her classic. Rogers, who is Mohawk and Tuscarora, is a gifted poet and she has written the book that Canada needs to read in 2020. The year we see clearly: if … [click for more]

Review: Cold Metal Stairs by Su Croll

Reviewed by Marguerite Pigeon Dementia might seem like the anti-muse: not creative inspiration, but its sapping. Yet, in her new collection, Cold Metal Stairs, Su Croll follows dementia—her father’s—as it pulls her vicariously, clanging and spiralling downwards, through grief, fragmentation, and fear. The poems in this collection enact the repetitive, … [click for more]

Learning from Pier Giorgio Di Cicco (1949-2019)

Introduction by Diana Manole   Pier Giorgio Di Cicco’s poems have always brought me the enjoyment of spiritual grace strongly grounded in sociopolitical and cultural activism. I’ve taught his work in all my Canadian Literature courses, while also emphasizing his contribution to helping Canadians become aware of the very existence … [click for more]

Review: Against Forgetting by Keith Garebian

Reviewed by Elana Wolff “A poem can hold more mysteries more easily than any factual timeline,” writes Naomi Shihab Nye — 2019-2020 Young People’s Poet Laureate of the Poetry Foundation of Chicago. Nye’s line aptly describes the holding-effect of Keith Garebian’s intricate documentary voice in Against Forgetting — a collection … [click for more]

Review: River Revery by Penn Kemp

Reviewed by Bill Arnott London Ontario’s my home. In part. Lived there two years. Important years. Growth years. It’s why I feel kinship, connection with the community and the meandering multi-named river that sews it together. I feel the same for the Laureate Emerita that truly calls this place her … [click for more]

Review: Joe Batt’s Arm and Other Islands by Shayne Coffin

Reviewed by C.S. O’Cinneide Location. Location. Location. Joe Batt’s Arm and Other Islands follows the poet Shayne Coffin on a US-Canadian road trip where he uses destination as lyrical inspiration, be they as culturally significant as the house of Ralph Waldo Emerson in Massachusetts or as comically crass as a highway … [click for more]

Review: Local Heroes by Penn Kemp

Reviewed by Jennifer Wenn Local Heroes by Penn Kemp is an “eclectic collection” (from the introduction) of pieces celebrating a range of fascinating people from London, Ontario, and the wider Southwestern Ontario region (or Souwesto, a term popularized by James Reaney, one of those honoured in the Tributes section).  A … [click for more]

Review: Radiant by Kate Marshall Flaherty

From The Trinity Review By Grace Ma Edited by Antonia Facciponte Read the review on The Trinity Review here The first poem of Kate Marshall Flaherty’s Radiant, “Welcoming Angels,” begins with: “I will not see cancer as an enemy / nor foreign intruder, / but a passenger pigeon, (not extinct), / … [click for more]

Review: These Wings by Kim Fahner

Pedlar Press| 2019 | 80 Page | $22.00 | Purchase online Reviewed by Vera Constantineau   First, let’s talk about the physical aspects of this poetry collection. These Wings is as light as a feather—no pun intended. Inside the smooth cover the feel of the pages is surprisingly substantial, like a … [click for more]

Review: Radiant | By Kate Marshall Flaherty

Inanna Publications | 2019 | $18.95 | Purchase online Reviewed by Lesley Strutt   Kate Flaherty’s collection of poems in Radiant is an uplifting treatment of one of life’s most excruciating experiences – cancer. Rather than drifting into self-pity, Flaherty finds a moment in almost every poem to celebrate being alive. When … [click for more]

REVIEWING THE SHORTLIST: Ledi | By Kim Trainor

Book*hug | 2018 | 108 Page | $18.00 | Purchase online Reviewed by Jennifer Zilm Reviewing the Shortlist is a weekly series in which poets shortlisted for our 2019 Book Awards review books written by their peers. Join us for this series until the award winners are announced on June 8, … [click for more]

Review: Little Red | By Kerry Gilbert

Mother Tongue Publishing | 2019 | $19.95 | Purchase online Reviewed by Bill Arnott   Grey. That was the day. Like most November days in Vernon, BC. Bundling against cold, I made my way from Sveva Caetani’s pleasantly haunted mansion across a downtown where I lived, worked, and grew up … [click for more]

Review: The Way of Haiku | By Naomi Beth Wakan

Shanti Arts | 2019 | 110 Page | $15.95 | Purchase online   Review by Janet Vickers, author of Infinite Power (Ekstasis Editions, 2016)   “Outside of truth there is no poetry” Uejima Onitsura” This quote, by Onitsura, is one that Naomi Beth Wakan uses to begin her introduction to haiku-writing and … [click for more]

Review: Shards of Crystal | By Fern G. Z. Carr

Silver Bow Publishing | 2018 | 98 Page | $23.95 | Purchase online The Musicality of Stars: Shards of Crystal Reviewed by Cynthia Sharp. Originally published on Canadian Poetry Review’s Facebook page.   I’ve been a fan of Fern G. Z. Carr’s work for years, whether it’s orbiting Mars or … [click for more]

Review: Practical Anxiety | By Heidi Greco

Inanna Publications | 2018 | 104 Page| $18.95 | Purchase online Double the Pleasure: Heidi Greco’s Practical Anxiety Review by Susan Ioannou When Inanna Publications announced Heidi Greco’s newest collection Practical Anxiety, it blurbed that the poems “dwell in the hearth of domesticity.” I was intrigued by the title, especially … [click for more]

Review: Checking In | By Adeena Karasick

Talonbooks | 2018 | 96 Page | $16.95 | Purchase online  Reviewed by Jake Marmer for Tablet Poetry, at its core, is a mystical endeavor: an encounter with the web of language that holds our consciousness. This is true even if the poem, on the surface, seems like a series … [click for more]

Review: Writers North of 54° Chapbooks

Snow Feathers and Skunk Cabbage anthologies from Writers North of 54° 2016 | Contact Harold Fedderson at haroldfeddersen@gmail.com to purchase these chapbooks poems of winter and renewal Review by Lesley Strutt Whatever else we are, Canadians are a nordic people. Our psyche is shaped by our geography. No matter whether we hail … [click for more]

Review: Auguries | By Clea Roberts

Brick Books | 2017 | 104 Page | $20.00 | Purchase online Signs, Signals, Divinations: Clea Roberts’ Auguries Review by Susan McCaslin Clea Roberts’ spare, finely-crafted Auguries (Brick Books, 2017) is, as the title suggests, a scanning of the Yukon sky and landscape for signs and portents of mysteries both hidden … [click for more]

REVIEW: FOX HAUNTS | BY PENN KEMP

Aeolus House | 2018 | 97 Page | $20.00 | Purchase online Review by Stanley Fefferman, also found on Opus One Review The way suburban garden fences are a line the fox crosses from the countryside to steal our chickens, is like the line fox, since time immemorial, has crossed … [click for more]

REVIEW: A GENEROUS LATITUDE | BY LENEA GRACE

ECW Press | 2018 | 88 Page | $18.95 | Purchase online Review by M.A. Mahadeo – Lenea Grace’s debut poetry collection A Generous Latitude is an intertwined tale of human interaction, love, loss, and the need for connection. Language transcends literal meaning to reflect today’s dating culture, I found … [click for more]

REVIEW: THE PANIC ROOM | BY REBECCA PAPUCARU

Nightwood Editions | 2017 | 96 Page | $18.95 | Purchase online The Prodigal Daughter’s Return to Memory: Review by Diana Manole Our shared Romanian cultural background has instantly attracted me to The Panic Room (Nightwood Editions, 2017), Rebecca Păpucaru’s debut collection of poems. I was keen to find out … [click for more]

REVIEW: THIS WOUND IS A WORLD | BY BILLY-RAY BELCOURT

Frontenac House | 2017 | 64 Page | $19.95 | Purchase online Reviewed by Hannah Karpinski on Lemonhound 3.0: Belcourt’s body, which has been subject to marginalizing inscriptions against both queerness and Indigeneity, tethers him to a world in which “native means lonely and lonely feels a lot like dying.” He … [click for more]

REVIEW: POETRY THAT HEALS | BY NAOMI BETH WAKAN

Shanti Arts Publishing | 2017 | 104 Page | $18.95 | Purchase online Review by Terry Ann Carter Naomi Wakan’s poetry journey Poetry That Heals begins in her “middle years” with a two year stay in Japan. As she began to translate a Japanese friend’s book of haiku into English (with … [click for more]

REVIEW: OUT OF PLACE | BY KATE ROGERS

Aeolus House | 2017 | 65 Page | $20.00 | Purchase online Review by Lisa Richter “How I Was Invented”: Belonging and (Dis)placement in Kate Rogers’ Out of Place Place is a difficult subject to write about. With more obscure or esoteric subjects, poets can maintain a safe emotional distance, … [click for more]

REVIEW: TABLE MANNERS | BY CATRIONA WRIGHT

Signal Editions | 2017 | 88 Page | $17.95 | Purchase online Reviewed by Julie Mannell on Vallum: Contemporary Poetry: It might be a stretch to call Wright’s poetry anti-Whitman because it seems both poets are driven by the urge to connect the body with the external world to show the … [click for more]

REVIEW: SIREN | BY KATERI LANTHIER

Signal Editions | 2017 | 80 Page | $17.95 | Purchase online Reviewed by Hannah Brown on Toronto Review of Books: In this collection, the poet delivers rich combinations of imagery, much of it urban, and often at night, as in one of the most startling poems, “Guanyin Lamp.”  Here … [click for more]

REVIEW: MAUNDER | BY CLAIRE KELLY

Palimpsest Press | 2017 | 72 Page | $18.95 | Purchase online Reviewed by Karen Hofmann on Prairie Fire:   “Maunder” is a pejorative term for meandering speech. In this grudging landscape, where everything should have a pragmatic, immediate purpose, to maunder is to go against the grain or flow, at … [click for more]

REVIEW: TRAILER PARK ELEGY | BY CORNELIA HOOGLAND

Harbour Publishing | 2017 | 88 Page | $18.95 | Purchase online Review by Vanessa Shields – Hoogland’s Trailer Park Elegy, a long poem, is a lament that skids down literal and metaphorical roads of memory and grief, shock and love, and pain and forgiveness. It moves jarringly between the present and … [click for more]

REVIEW: VOODOO HYPOTHESIS | BY CANISIA LUBRIN

Reviewed by Geoffrey Morrison on Debutantes: Lubrin’s book is about the dislocated psychogeography wrought by that history, working through the displacements of the African-Caribbean diaspora from her birthplace of St. Lucia in the Windward Antilles to the United States and “that cold Victorian country” of Canada to the outermost fringes … [click for more]

REVIEW: WINNOWS | BY MAXIANNE BERGER

Imago Press | 2016 Review by kjmunro — To winnow is to separate the wheat from the chaff, & in Winnows we find a series of erasure poems mined from Melville’s Moby Dick. These poems come from the novel, but do not tell the same story. At the beginning of … [click for more]