Skip to content Skip to navigation

Poetry Reviews

Cultural Stoicism & Atlantic Canadian Vernacular: Carmelita McGrath’s Escape Velocity

By Phillip Crymble

A Review of Carmelita McGraw's Escape Velocity (Goose Lane, 2013) I was reminded, in reading through Escape Velocity, of the cultural and aural vernacular that’s so much a part of the literary geography of Newfoundland. The trick, I think, with any brogue, is to try and do it justice without putting the idiomatic phrases and language used in jeopardy of being considered a caricature. McGrath deftly straddles the line in this new collection, and her ability to recognize and resist the impulse to essentially reduce native Newfoundlanders to a comic commodity through exaggerated dialect is one of the book’s great achievements.

Day on Salamis’ Seacoasts: Emery George's translation of Frederich Hölderlin's Selected Poems

By Eric Miller

A Review of Friedrich Hölderlin, Selected Poems, introduced, edited and translated by Emery George (Princeton UP, 2011) What is “nobility”? In a society, such as ours, that makes a fretful, often duplicitous, yet admirable pretence to democratic practice, the word may seem insistently, even discouragingly, to flaunt a feudal livery, contaminating all the situations into which we import it with the ghost of a titular presumption over the rest of society: an intractable case of most ancient bloodlines. But the origins of the word “noble” offer a means by which to parry, even to disarm, such narrow atavism.

Taking Leave: Mindful Self-Reproach & the Repudiation of Cultural Gender Expectations in Danielle Deveraux’s “Playthings”

By Phillip Crymble

A Review of Danielle Devereaux's Cardiogram (Baseline Press, 2011)

The accolades for “Cardiogram”, the eponymous poem of Danielle Devereaux’s 2011 Baseline Press debut short collection have been many. From "Cardiogram"'s initial publication in The Fiddlehead 244 and subsequent inclusion in The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2011, to the attention it has received from reviewers at Salty Ink, Literatured.com, and elsewhere, it’s abundantly clear that this little poem has legs.

Show Me the Way to Go Home: Place & Belonging in Shoshanna Wingate’s Homing Instinct

By Phillip Crymble

A Review of Shoshanna Wingate's Homing Extinct (Frog Hollow Press, 2011)

Home and all of its accoutrements, conventions, and cultural imperatives are made accountable in Wingate’s collection as it moves inexorably towards the final reckoning we encounter in the closing poem. “Neighbours” and “The Cotton Mill” come early in the book, and as companion pieces, work to both establish and entrench the prevailing thematic locus. . . .