Poetry

1311 The land of reading and writing

emerge 21: The Writer’s Studio Anthology by Emma Cleary, Raoul Fernandes, Dayna Mahannah, Christina Myers, and KT Wagner (editors), with a foreword by Renée Sarojini Saklikar Burnaby: Simon Fraser University, 2021 [price unknown]  / 9781772870831 Reviewed by Michael Turner * For travellers who find reading and writing an essential service, I’m sure there is at…
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1306 The value & force of friendship

First by Arleen Paré London, ON: Brick Books, 2021 $20.00 / 9781771315425 Reviewed by Candace Fertile * The latest book of poems by Governor-General’s Award winner Arleen Paré, First, delves into her first friendship and moves out into broader considerations of the role of memory and creation of personal worlds. Paré dedicated the book to…
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1299 Cut from a cloth of desire

The Endless Garment by Marguerite Pigeon Hamilton, ON: Wolsak & Wynn, 2021 $18.00  /  9781989496374 Reviewed by Heidi Greco * Admiration. That’s the feeling I get when I think of authors who are able to envision a big picture for their manuscript, who can write to a unified subject or theme. Poet Marguerite Pigeon is…
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1297 Here to celebrate the moon

A Sure Connection by W.M Herring Surrey: Now or Never Publishing, 2021 $19.95  /  9781989689288 Reviewed by Danny Peart  * In A Sure Connection, a first collection of 69 poems on a number of themes, W.M. (Wendy) Herring shows that she is fully prepared to do the work of a poet. Born in Quebec, Herring…
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1292 Circling lines & opening spaces

Word Problems: Poems by Ian Williams Toronto: Coach House Press, 2020 $21.95  /  9781552454145 Reviewed by Candace Fertile * The title of Ian Williams’ latest poetry may be Word Problems, but it could just as easily have been World Problems. The poems tend to explore how language both prevents and allows communication and how difficult…
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1291 Interview with Ellie Sawatzky

INTERVIEW: Ellie Sawatzky with The Ormsby Review Ellie Sawatzky is a writer originally from Kenora, ON. A finalist for the 2019 Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, and the recipient of CV2’s 2017 Foster Poetry Prize, her work has been published widely in literary journals and anthologies such as Grain, The Fiddlehead, PRISM International, Best Canadian…
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1284 A voice for the mute swan

Mute Swan: Poems for Maria Queen of the World by Lesley-Anne Evans Toronto: The St. Thomas Poetry Series, 2021 $20.00 / 9781928095071 Reviewed by Cole Klassen * Mary and the swan: feminine symbols too often detached from reality 34 years ago, Lesley-Anne Evans was excommunicated from her fundamentalist evangelical church for being engaged to a…
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1283 Talking a blue streak

Answer to Blue by Russell Thornton Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2021 $18.95 / 9781550179675 Reviewed by Susan McCaslin * Russell Thornton’s Answer to Blue (Harbour Publishing, 2021) is a tour de force of finely crafted, thematically linked poems. Its evocative title is drawn from D.H. Lawrence’s poem, “Flowers and Men” where Lawrence concludes: “Tell me,…
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1276 In any other country

Landings: Poems from Iceland by Harold Rhenisch Regina: Burton House, 2021 $20.00 / 9780994866967 Reviewed by Luanne Armstrong * I love Harold Rhenisch’s writing. I think it deserves far more attention than it gets. Harold and I have a connection, in a sense, because we both write from and about our beloved places in the…
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1271 Kitchen windows & witches

Linda Rogers reviews two books: The Collected Poetry of Carol Shields by Carol Shields and Nora Foster Stovel (editor), with a foreword by Jan Zwicky Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2021 $34.95  /  9780228008873 * Witchcraft Therapy by Mandi Em Toronto: Simon & Schuster Canada, 2021 $21.95  /  9781507215838 * Disclaimer: I do not…
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1270 Scofflaw & the corn-fed media

Scofflaw by Garry Thomas Morse Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2021 $18.00 / 9781772141726 Reviewed by Danny Peart * Scofflaw has been described as a long poem, a playful exploration of Indigenous-Settler relations and globalized pressures. The long poem is divided into 14 poems, to give us a breather in between, in a paperback edition of 72…
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1262 Poetry from a special place

Idiolect by P.W. Bridgman Victoria: Ekstasis Editions, 2021 $24.95 / 9781771714280 Reviewed by Philip Resnick * I have largely refrained from doing book reviews since my retirement from UBC, having paid my dues in this regard on more than one occasion during my years in academia. If I decided to make an exception in this…
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1256 Poems of innocence & endurance

Resistance: Righteous Rage in the Age of #MeToo by Sue Goyette (editor) Regina: University of Regina Press, 2021 $24.95 / 9780889778016 Reviewed by Linda Rogers * They say our first toy is language, Joyce’s baby tuckoo arranging the universe in a sound poem, later a song, a novel. We are not only amused but also…
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1254 Interview with Matt Rader

INTERVIEW: Matt Rader with The Ormsby Review Matt Rader is the author of five volumes of poetry, including Visual Inspection (2019) — reviewed previously by Paul Falardeau –– as well as a collection of stories and a book of non-fiction. He teaches Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) and lives in Kelowna….
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1233 Alert to the sound of language

This Was the River by John Pass Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2019 $18.95 / 9781550178753 Reviewed by Christopher Levenson * Winner of the 2006 Governor General’s Award for poetry for a previous volume, Stumbling in the Bloom, John Pass is, no doubt justifiably, dismissive in his opening poem, a kind of sonnet, of many of…
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1231 Coming of age in Prince George

In Singing, He Composed a Song by Jeremy Stewart Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2021 (Brave & Brilliant Series) $19.99 / 9781773852201 Reviewed by Jeff Stychin * Have you ever woken up in a haze or dream-like state? Or wondered how long spans of time have seemingly disappeared from memory? In Singing, He Composed a…
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1221 Dandurand in tandem

Two books reviewed by Harper Campbell: SH:LAM (The Doctor) by Joseph Dandurand Toronto: Mawenzi House, 2020 $19.95 / 9781988449715 * The Sasquatch, the Fire and the Cedar Baskets by Joseph Dandurand, illustrated by Simon Daniel James Gibsons: Nightwood Editions, 2020 $14.95 / 9780889713765 * Joseph A. Dandurand is a man of many roles. A member…
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1216 Despatches from the Pit

The Pit by Tara Borin Gibsons: Nightwood Editions, 2021 $18.95 /  9780889713949 Reviewed by Michael Turner * Tara Borin’s first poetry collection The Pit takes its name from a Dawson City hotel, “the Yukon’s oldest and longest-running.” Christened the Westminster Hotel in 1898, its building (rooms, bars and a diner) has undergone numerous additions and…
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1215 Couplets of inspired brushstrokes

Gold in the Shadow: Twenty-Two Ghazals and a Cento for Phyllis Webb by Diana Hayes Salt Spring Island: Rainbow Publishers, 2021 $24.95 / 9780973440874 Gold in the Shadow is available here and here Reviewed by Isabella Wang * The poetry community flourishes on a synergism of influence, friendships, and what poet Stephen Collis calls “the…
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