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Reviews

McClelland & Stewart Wilfrid Laurier UP - May 31, 2006 - 2751 Comments

Camber: Selected Poems 1983-2000

Faulty Lines: The Poetry and Poetics of Don McKay

Reviewed by Zachariah Wells

Camber: Selected Poems 1983-2000, by Don McKay, McLelland & Stewart, 2004. 224 pp.

Field Marks: The Poetry of Don McKay, by Don McKay, ed. and intro. Méira Cook, afterword Don McKay. Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2006. 86 pp.

Strike/Slip, by Don McKay, McLelland & Stewart, 2006. 88 pp.

With the publication of a Selected in 2004, an essay collection in 2005, a new collection and a short critical selection in 2006, as well as an anthology of essays on his work forthcoming this year, the time is ripe for a sober appraisal of Don McKay’s merits and flaws as a poet. I say “sober” deliberately, as most of what passes for criticism of McKay’s work sounds to me more like infatuate paean—or, as in the case of David Solway’s terse and unexplained dismissal of McKay’s writing as “slightness wedded to garrulity” (Solway 148)—intemperate, perhaps envious, griping. In either case, McKay’s sagging trophy shelf and his “celebrated reputation as a mentor to other writers” (Field Marks, viii) appear to occlude a clear view of the only thing that really matters when evaluating the successes and failures of a life dedicated to poetry: the poems. I have been reading Don McKay’s books for several years. My reading of them has not been dictated by any sense of cultural obligation.

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McClelland & Stewart - May 30, 2006 - 6 Comments

Book of Longing

Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen

Reviewed by Stephen Morrissey

Leonard Cohen has excelled at all of his creative endeavours, as a poet, a novelist, and as a songwriter. Whether he is compared to his singer-songwriter contemporaries Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, or compared to Margaret Atwood—the only Canadian literary contemporary equal to Cohen in terms of fame—he is among the most creative and accomplished writers Canada has produced.

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McClelland & Stewart - May 17, 2006 - 21 Comments

Inventory

Inventory by Dionne Brand

Reviewed by Jenn Houle

Dionne Brand’s most recent collection of poetry, Inventory, is not for those who prefer to tune out the more discouraging aspects of the world in which we are currently living.  Or maybe it is especially for them.  Her gaze, directed at and into the modern era, is unflinching and extremely critical.  Attempting to inventory “the tumultuous early years of this new century,” Brand begins with the unequivocal statement:  “We believed in nothing” (3).  From there, the reader is led through a series of statistical deaths and atrocities.

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McClelland & Stewart - April 18, 2006 - 0 Comments

Point No Point

Point No Point by Jane Munro

Reviewed by Jenna Butler

Jane Munro’s Point No Point is a quietly eclectic collection of poems situated strongly in both location and recollection. Just as her poems are rooted in the physical landscape and rugged geography of British Columbia’s west coast, so too are they deeply anchored in memory and the ways in which we carry memory: in the blood and in the bones.

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