Review: Rags of Night in Our Mouths by Margo Wheaton

Reviewed by Michael Edwards Rags of Night in Our Mouths by Margo Wheaton (MQUP, 2022) I. Margo Wheaton’s second poetry collection, Rags of Night in Our Mouths, takes the form of a place-based memoir, presented in three ghazal sequences. In what the book’s jacket describes as a “Maritime gothic,” the … [click for more]

Nutlike: a review of Arborophobia by Nancy Holmes

Reviewed by Dawn MacDonald Arborophobia by Nancy Holmes (University of Alberta Press, 2022) “Pray inwardly,” the 15th-century Christian mystic Julian of Norwich once advised, “even if you do not enjoy it. It does good, though you feel nothing.” “Read poetry,” one might respond, “even if you do not understand it. … [click for more]

Review: The Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology 2021

Reviewed by Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews   Poetry, azure coloured glass of a sunlit window, encases celestine light on the glossy cover of this book, softening the view of reality’s stark terrain. An aperture over a land mass in the middle of the deepest, dark ocean, soon shattered in the inset … [click for more]

Words on the Wing: Review of Artful Flight by Susan Glickman

Reviewed by Patricia Keeney  Susan Glickman, Artful Flight, Essays and Reviews. 1985-2019 (The Porcupine’s Quill, 2022)   “Artful flight.” That’s critical writing at its best. And it’s creativity.  It’s what Susan Glickman brings together in her collection of essays and reviews spanning decades of thinking, writing and being in the … [click for more]

Review: White by George Elliott Clarke

Reviewed by Elana Wolff   White by George Elliott Clarke Gaspereau Press, 2021; 252 pages ISBN: 9781554472307   In his new collection of poems, White, George Elliott Clarke expands his quartet of ‘colouring books’—Blue, Black, Red, and Gold (yellow) to a quintet, or, as he biblically submits: “a Pentateuch!” White, … [click for more]

Review: The Untranslatable I by Roxanna Bennett

Reviewed by Padmaja Battani The Untranslatable I by Roxanna Bennett (Gordon Hill Press, 2021) Roxanna Bennett’s newest book of poetry The Untranslatable I is a saga of ineffable pain that follows wherever they travel. Their work is an exhaustive struggle in explaining restraints of disabled body and the meagerness of language … [click for more]

Review: Bricolage: A Gathering of Centos

Reviewed by K.V. Skene Bricolage: A Gathering of Centos by A. Garnett Weiss (Aeolus House, 2021) A. Garnett Weiss’s Bricolage is a truly beautiful publication – inside and out. The cover art, ‘Cathedral Forest’ by Diana Gubbay, is a superb significator for this recent addition to Aeolus House’s book list. … [click for more]

Review: Shape Taking by Elana Wolff

Reviewed by Lynn Tait Shape Taking by Elana Wolff (Ekstasis Editions, 2021) Colour, art, fairytales, surrealism, humour—whether writing about the whites of eggs or bird poop as colour or description, Elana Wolff brings us into her poems with word craft, narrative and beauty. Colour weaves through these poems in blues, whites, … [click for more]

Review of Keeping Count by M. Travis Lane

Reviewed by Marguerite Pigeon Keeping Count by M. Travis Lane (Gordon Hill Press, 2021)             How can we think about aging and death? As frightening inevitabilities—matters of dread? As processes we’d prefer to wish away or hand over for biomedical oversight (at least in some cultures)? In Keeping Count (Gordon … [click for more]

Review of Cattail Skyline By Joanne Epp

Reviewed by Michael Edwards Cattail Skyline by Joanne Epp (Turnstone Press)        Joanne Epp’s Cattail Skyline (Turnstone Press, 2021) is her second poetry collection. The book is an attentive and intimate poetic treatment of the Canadian prairie landscape. Her poems are immediate and mindful and often steeped in a … [click for more]

Review: footsteps in the garden by Bob Mackenzie

Reviewed by Vanessa Shields footsteps in the garden by Bob MacKenzie (, 2021)   Bob MacKenzie’s latest collection of poetry, footsteps in the garden is for settling in. This is a collection that wants your time and attention for its spirographic dances with words in a plethora of gardens, both … [click for more]

Review: Metastasis by Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews

Reviewed by Emma Odrach Metastasis by Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews (Mosaic Press, 2021) Insightful. thoughtful and timely Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews says in her preface poets are “the antennae of their times”. She is correct and her poems prove it. But they are not optimistic, rather, they come with an outcry against … [click for more]

Review: Wild Hope: Prayers and Poems by John Terpstra

Reviewed by Carol MacKay Wild Hope: Prayers and Poems by John Terpstra (St. Thomas Poetry Series, 2020) John Terpstra’s book of prayers takes its title from the final line of “The Kind of World We Live in,” the first poem in his collection. This Lenten poem was written pre-COVID-19 but … [click for more]

Review: Thimbles by Vanessa Shields

Reviewed by Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews Thimbles by Vanessa Shields (Palimpsest Press, 2021)    In poetry, everything has a deeper meaning. A thimble as a mythopoetic symbol evokes a sense of immunity and self-protection against the pain and bloodletting of life’s allegorical needles. It is a shield against pain. Interestingly,  the … [click for more]

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]


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]