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Wilfrid Laurier UP - September 15, 2009 - 58 Comments

The Crisp Day Closing on My Hand: The Poetry of M. Travis Lane

The Crisp Day Closing on My Hand: The Poetry of M. Travis Lane edited by Jeanette Lynes

Reviewed by Ian LeTourneau

This book made me feel nostalgic. M. Travis Lane lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick, a place I lived for ten years and a place I still imagine myself moving back to settle some day. The selection of poems in this volume frequently are about landmarks familiar to me, but the aspect I admire most about this selection is the sheer range of Lane’s imagination. As Lynes points out in her introduction, Lane is not a poet who adheres to certain themes and writes them to death; instead, Lane does have a few preoccupations, but her imagination is certainly not limited by them.

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Wilfrid Laurier UP - May 19, 2007 - 12 Comments

Before the First Word: The Poetry of Lorna Crozier

Before the First Word: The Poetry of Lorna Crozier edited by Catherine Hunter

Reviewed by Jason Ranon Uri Rotstien

Lorna Crozier is a knowledgeable poet and a worthy matriarch for Canadian poetry. Before the First Word: The Poetry of Lorna Crozier is a part of a new wise series of texts from Wilfrid Laurier University Press that strive to bring Canadian poets to a larger audience. Without pretence and with an eye to producing the effect of improvisation, these collections come selected and introduced by a critic with an afterword from the poet represented. This project is one of the most exciting, cooperative, communal and familial endeavours that I have seen coming out of the poetry establishment in the past few years and all of my praise goes out to Wilfrid Laurier Press for their efforts.

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Wilfrid Laurier UP - September 28, 2006 - 5 Comments

Speaking of Power: The Poetry of Di Brandt

Speaking of Power: The Poetry of Di Brandt edited by Tanis MacDonald

Reviewed by Jenn Houle

Rob Taylor recently reviewed Wilfrid Laurier Press’s Al Purdy collection, The More Easily Kept Illusions here at PoetryReviews.ca.  Rather than echo his concerns about the viability of capturing the true breadth and reach of a poet’s persona and capabilities in a collection of thirty-five poems, I will refer you all to his review, which not only raises this important question, but also quotes General Editor Neil Besner on the intent behind this series, which is to introduce Canadian poets to a larger readership.  As Taylor notes, it is absolutely a noble goal.  Undoubtedly, the authors selected merit their inclusion in the series. They have proven themselves to be important voices in Canadian poetry.

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Wilfrid Laurier UP - August 09, 2006 - 4 Comments

The More Easily Kept Illusions: The Poetry of Al Purdy

The More Easily Kept Illusions: The Poetry of Al Purdy edited by Robert Budde

Reviewed by Rob Taylor

As The More Easily Kept Illusions: The Poetry of Al Purdy was being shipped to me for review, I had already developed one question-itch that I was desperate to scratch: Why the hell was someone putting out another Purdy book? Not that I was unhappy about it, Purdy being one of my favourite poets, but I figured the market on Purdy collections had already been successfully cornered. Those in need of a Purdy sampler could turn to the 1996 edition Rooms for Rent in the Outer Planets: Selected Poems 1962-1996, while those with heartier appetites could munch their way through Purdy’s posthumously released Beyond Remembering: Collected Poems (2000). What new market could be served by a 35 piece collection of poems already featured in one, if not both, of the aforementioned books? Such dogged competition over Canadian poetry, even Al’s, seems like a stretch.

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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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