By Vanessa Moeller
I am a long-standing admirer of John Steffler's work. I find his beautifully crafted poems, with their deft use of language, visceral and epiphanic. The senses cannot help but come alive reading lines like "the tramped grass steamy as seaweed in the migraine / of noon" or "the bone flakes encrusting a bracelet / of kelp," but what sets this work apart is the understated manner in which it asks questions of the reader.
By Lorna Crozier
One of the things I admire about Michael Crummey’s work is his nod to traditional forms and the iambic pentameter line. They extend his long reach into the past, yet his poems feel innovative and new because of the subject matter and the toughness and tenderness of his voice. . . .
Photo by Chris Cameron
By Shoshanna Wingate
Carmelita McGrath holds a singular place in the heart of Newfoundland poetry. For an island that loves its poets, this is not a consolation prize for the weird auntie who likes her hats big and bright, but a heartfelt space created for a poet who inspired so many in their development. . . .
Photo by Kerri Cull
By Jeffery Donaldson
Richard Greene begins: “I am at home in a high-rise.” You want to catch the nuance there: the descent motif, finding one’s ground among the contemporary urban domiciles; but also the ascent, the daily routine struggling to rise above itself. Greene’s poems are high-risers that seek a lifting leverage in high-rises. . . .
By George Murray
A transplanted Irishman, Warner fits into the Newfoundland anthology in two ways — first, as a poet who had a significant connection to the Rock before the publication of his first book (he’s been here for 33 years); and second, as a man of wit and stories from a culture of wit and stories. . . .
By Lynn Davies
Some of Mary Dalton’s poems in the Breakwater anthology are brief stories or monologues informed by a vocabulary that also speeds up the telling. Reading “Bridesboys” and “Merrybegot” out loud to myself is a bit like being read to as a child; I hear strange words — brindy bough, upsot, nuzzle-tripe. . . .
By Katia Grubisic
With the publication of the 1999 Mean, from which two of the poems in the Breakwater book are taken, Babstock stood at the cusp of a new Canadian poetics — post-nationalist but snapped in place; as easily confessional as prevaricating, and sometimes simultaneously; and demanding such acrobatics of language. . . .