Skip to content Skip to navigation


Stop! Look! Listen! Simon Brown’s Reading Recommendation

When I read Lisa Jarnot, it makes me want to write. So, given my frequent creative slumps, I keep Lisa’s collections close to my writing desk. I love all of them, but Ring of Fire is perhaps my favourite. It’s the kind of book you can either open up anywhere and plunge into for two minutes, or let yourself become engrossed, and reread the whole thing.

Excerpt of "We Could Fill A River" by Douglas Walbourne-Gough

"We Could Fill A River" by Douglas Walbourne-Gough
The Wolastoq flows below me. Spring
ice is receding, this year’s first blue herons
bring sun. They call me outside to warm my
snow-weary bones. I’ve crossed this bridge
often, stopped to watch people fish, couldn’t
resist comparing this river to the rum-brown
water of the Humber I’ve never fished
but grew up convinced I’d drown in.
I’d watched The Country, broke down

Stop! Look! Listen! Ronna Bloom's Book Recommendation

Phil Hall’s new book, The Ash Bell, undoes me. His work makes me read below the below and out the corners of my eyes. Drops me down under understanding, echos of words like backlit other words waving their fronds. I read the word “worship" and see “warship." It's blunt, raw, funny and true. Cumulative. I do not understand, I stand under, happily. 

Stop! Look! Listen! Dawn MacDonald's Book Recommendation

The literary lives of us rural folks can be overly shaped by whatever happened to be available at our local library, or that one random anthology we found in a "free books" pile. I was extremely fortunate to have that anthology be The New American Poetry: 1945-1960, edited by Donald Allen. What a revelation! Kenneth Koch's sense of play, Frank O'Hara's "I do this I do that" poems, the whole New York School in general -- the Beats -- it just blew my head off. I had no idea you could do this stuff.

Katia Grubisic: Different Fruit, Review of Little Wet-Paint Girl by Ouanessa Younsi and translated by Rebecca L. Thompson

“My parents peeled me like a fig. I was a different fruit each day.” Is the self the me, an object created, or the I, with self-knowledge and even agency over its own definition? In Métissée, ably rendered in English by translator and scholar Rebecca L. Thompson as Little Wet-Paint Girl, Québec poet Ouanessa Younsi brings multiple possible selves together in a collision complicated by mixed cultural heritage.

Gary Barwin: A Radiant Incipience: Build a Wind Turbine or Get Out of the Way, Review of Plenitude by Daniel Sarah Karasik

Daniel Sarah Karasik’s Plenitude is not only a cogent articulation of trans experience, identity and rights, but an incisive systemic reading — often a socialist or Marxist reading — with several side trips to consider Jewishness. By situating gender, queerness and identity within the larger context they bring a broader analysis of how culture can subsume and often commodify the personal. And because this is poetry, we’re aware that the tropes of lyric positionality (including the lyric “I”) are also implicated.

Emily Skov-Nielsen: “What am I / Water’s Bitch?” Review of Wet Dream by Erin Robinsong

While considering my sprawl of notes from my reading, and re-reading, of Erin Robinsong’s second full-length book of poetry, Wet Dream, and wondering how to begin this review, I called to mind the following quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:

“Curiouser and curiouser!” Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English), “now I’m opening out like the largest telescope that ever was!”

Kevin Bushell: Poetry — not a jeux des mots but a weapon used to battle for historical truth, Review of The Ventriloquist: Poetic Narratives from the Womb of War by Gary Geddes

The current geo-political events in Ukraine make the release of Gary Geddes’ latest collection, (The Ventriloquist: Poetic Narratives from the Womb of War (Rock’s Mills Press), all the more timely. Geddes has gathered in this one collection four previous books on the theme of war: Letter of the Master of Horse (1973), War & Other Measures (1976), The Terracotta Army (1984), and Hong Kong Poems (1987).