Headframe: 2 by Birk Sproxton

Headframe: 2 by Birk Sproxton

Review by Rob Mclennan. I haven’t read any of Sproxton’s work before, but it would be difficult to not know that he has been publishing for years, including the long poem Headframe: (Winnipeg MB: Turnstone Press, 1985), the novels The Red-Headed Woman with the Black Black Heart (Turnstone Press, 1997) and The Hockey Fan Came Riding (Turnstone Press, 1990), and the collection Phantom Lake: North of 54 (Edmonton AB: University of Alberta Press, 2005). His newest collection is a follow-up to his long poem, the collection Headframe: 2 (Turnstone Press, 2006). A prolific editor, he is also responsible for the collections The Winnipeg Connection: Writing Lives at Mid-Century (Winnipeg MB: Prairie Fire Press, 2006), Trace: Prairie Writers on Writing (Turnstone
Ricochet by Seymour Mayne

Ricochet by Seymour Mayne

Reviewed by Liam Ford Ricochet is a slim but impressive volume of word sonnets by the form’s pioneer, Seymour Mayne. A word sonnet is a fourteen line poem, where each line contains a single word: the process of reading becomes a meditation, an expansion. Its reader quickly grasps the similarity to haiku, where the beauty of the poem lies in simplicity and succinctness. But where a haiku creates a scene, universal and eternal, like cycles of life and death, or of the seasons, these word sonnets choose different themes and lack an inherent, comforting circularity. Furthermore, constricted by rigid formal rules, the syllabic structure of haiku ensures that no word is used superfluously. Here, the universality of the haiku is

Ricochet by Seymour Mayne

Title: Ricochet Author: Seymour Mayne Publisher: Mosaic Press Year: 2004 Pages: n/a     Ricochet is a slim but impressive volume of word sonnets by the form’s pioneer, Seymour Mayne. A word sonnet is a fourteen line poem, where each line contains a single word: the process of reading becomes a meditation, an expansion. Its reader quickly grasps the similarity to haiku, where the beauty of the poem lies in simplicity and succinctness. But where a haiku creates a scene, universal and eternal, like cycles of life and death, or of the seasons, these word sonnets choose different themes and lack an inherent, comforting circularity. Furthermore, constricted by rigid formal rules, the syllabic structure of haiku ensures that no word is used superfluously. Here, the universality
Decreation Poetry, Essays, Opera by Anne Carson

Decreation: Poetry, Essays, Opera by Anne Carson

Reviewed by James Pollock Anne Carson is often called avant-garde because of her generic innovations and her experiments with prosody and form. The label clearly makes some sense, at least superficially: think of her genre-bending book Short Talks, for example, or the arbitrarily end-stopped lines in her early sequence The Life of Towns. What is less commonly acknowledged is that Carson is also a radically traditional writer; she is a professor of classics, a superb translator from ancient Greek, and in her own writing she returns again and again to the ancient roots, the classical and biblical origins of Western literature. These facts, combined with her interest in certain great innovators of the twentieth century like Paul Celan and Samuel
Jaguar Rain The Margaret Mee Poems by Jan Conn

Jaguar Rain: The Margaret Mee Poems by Jan Conn

Review by Jenna Butler. Jaguar Rain: The Margaret Mee Poems is a sensual feast for the image-starved reader. Poet Jan Conn realizes the lush landscape of Brazil in vivid detail through the eyes of artist Margaret Mee, imbuing the poems with a vivid tapestry of scent, sound and colour. At the same time, Conn’s work is subtly underwritten by an awareness of the volatile nature of the landscape and of the painter/poet’s place in it. Conn gives the reader no preamble; the leap into the Brazilian landscape is immediate and alienating, much as Mee found her initial forays into the forest to be. Not only are the surroundings quite different from anything the speaker in the poems has encountered before,
Creamsicle Stick Shivs by John Stiles

Creamsicle Stick Shivs by John Stiles

Review 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. The first section is the most linguistically interesting of the book. Stiles uses colloquial dialect from Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley to great effect, bringing characters to life in brief pieces that sparkle with energy. Take for instance these lines from “Halifax Snowstorm”: Well, it’s true: I do stand like a soldier in the parking lot with yer grocery bags. But Jesus girl, wouldja take off yer goddamned top en let that stunning
Airstream Land Yacht by Ken Babstock

Airstream Land Yacht by Ken Babstock

Review by Jenn Houle. I think it might be best to read Ken Babstock’s Airstream Land Yacht in the morning. I made the mistake of first cracking it in the evening, and I ended up unable to sleep. Could be that it was the seasons changing, my circadian rhythms glitching with late spring dampness and fog, but I am nearly certain Babstock’s poems played a part. Some of the poems in this collection are just so surprisingly beautiful, so stunning and viscerally interesting, that it actually takes your brain a little while to apprehend it. Something like when you have a near collision in the car, and the details of the near-miss only fill themselves in later, once you’re already
The Village of Sliding Time by David Zieroth

The Village of Sliding Time by David Zieroth

Review by Rob Taylor Your teenaged self arrives at your door one morning. Like in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the boy has come to guide you on a journey through your past, yes, but this is somehow different. The boy is as amazed by the present as he is knowing of the past. It is the path the speaker travels with this, his younger self, that is the narrative of David Zieroth’s engaging long poem The Village of Sliding Time. Zieroth, the former editor of Event Magazine, was raised in rural Manitoba, and currently resides in North Vancouver. It is within these two locales that Zieroth fixes his story, as they are the landscapes of his past and his present.
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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
Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen

Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen

Review 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. Cohen’s Book of Longing is made up of poems written over the last thirty years and includes on almost every page original drawings that he made of himself and other subjects. Book of Longing is not a major book in Leonard Cohen’s body of work. Some of the poems are very good, but it is mostly a