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Reviews

Insomniac Press - July 16, 2007 - 16 Comments

Every Inadequate Name

Every Inadequate Name by Nick Thran

Reviewed by Alessandro Porco

In his debut collection of poetry, Every Inadequate Name, Nick Thran’s is at its best when his poem’s speaker’s emotional transparency is honest enough to admit complicity; he’s flawed and guilty, young and frivolous — that is to say, too human for living yet just perfect for poetry. Conversely, the collection is at its worst when the poem’s speaker participates only in his capacity as a moralizing spectator, resulting in off-putting poems quietly dictated from the sidelines. Perhaps these are the inevitable two faces of a romantic like Thran. Where one goes, the other follows. Surely, there are other poems that fall somewhere in between, but they are for some other review to take up and defend.

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Insomniac Press - July 03, 2007 - 0 Comments

Unsettled

Unsettled by Zachariah Wells

Reviewed by Rob Taylor

“Not since Al Purdy’s North of Summer has a Canadian poet written so compellingly about life in the frozen arctic,” opens the back-cover blurb of Vancouver-via-Baffin Island-via-PEI poet Zachariah Wells’ first collection, Unsettled. The similarities between Purdy’s book and Wells’ — a collection of poems written during Wells’ time working as an airline freight handler on Baffin and Cornwallis Islands — are found both in their subject matter and styles. The poems in the two collections explore the authors’ sense of self as grounded in (and out of) place – writers utilizing a foreign land to unlock once-foreign parts of themselves. Likewise, stylistically, it would not take much to convince me that lines such as “Tirelessness, sleeplessness, endless darkness, endless / light, boxes, boxes, boxes” (“A Cargo Handler Howls on His Fifteen Minute Lunch Break” 19) were pulled directly from North of Summer, not Unsettled.

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Insomniac Press - July 04, 2006 - 1 Comment

Creamsicle Stick Shivs

Creamsicle Stick Shivs by John Stiles

Reviewed by Greg Santos

John Stiles’ second collection of poetry, Creamsicle Stick Shivs, is an enjoyable read particularly due to Stiles’ delight in language, humour, and unique observations. Split up into three sections, the book chronicles the poet’s movements from Canada’s east coast to Toronto and finally England.

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