Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading A.E. Stallings’ latest collection, Like. It’s easy to gulp down these poems in which the tension between sense and sound is often immediately satisfied, but it’s worth going slowly to appreciate how she achieves her effects. When peacocks overtake a yard, “The garden sprouts a ferny iridescence/dazzled with targets” or when a cast iron pan is left to rust, “it is vulnerable and porous/As a hero stripped of his arms/Before a scornful chorus.” As an American living in Athens, Greece, Stallings’ poems take on traditional metres and forms to mash-up Classical myth and contemporary life. She writes about everything from motherhood to social media and migration in the long shadow of the region’s fraught history.
Kevin Shaw is a poet and essayist living in Ottawa. He’s the author of a poetry collection, Smaller Hours (icehouse), and his poems and nonfiction have appeared in The Malahat Review, Arc, CV2, PRISM international, Event, and The Best Canadian Essays 2018. Two of Shaw's poems appeared in the summer poetry issue (No. 284) of The Fiddlehead, order your copy today!