poetry reviews

Keep PoetryReviews.ca Alive

Ok, it’s been almost a month since the last review, and that’s way too long. It’s certainly not for a lack of reviews to post or books to review: I’ve got about 20 reviews that need positing and at least 80 books that could be sent out for review. The problem is time. I’m a one-person operation, and my business and family take precedence over this site. Having said that, I don’t just want to let PoetryReviews.ca fade away into nothing. It’s become an excellent resource and remains the only site dedicated solely to Canadian poetry reviews. So, it’s probably time for me to either give the site up or look for a partner who’d be willing to take on
Unsettled by Zachariah Wells

Unsettled by Zachariah Wells

“Not since Al Purdy’s North of Summerhas 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,

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

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. The poems of Lorna Crozier

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