USEREVIEW 062: A Bloodstory

USEREVIEW 062: A Bloodstory

Emily Woodworth’s exquisitely lyrical review of Rahela Nayebzadah’s debut novel, Monster Child (Wolsak & Wynn, 2021), is as urgent and visceral as if it were written in red ink. ISBN 978-1-989496-30-5 | 200 pp | $20 CAD — BUY here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Blood flows through Monster Child by Rahela Nayebzadah until it animates, breathes, becomes a body in your hands. Then three bodies. Then six. A disease festers in the pages. Bloodguilt spatters the lives of

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USEREVIEW 061 (Capsule): What We Think We Know

USEREVIEW 061 (Capsule): What We Think We Know

Aaron SchneiderWhat We Think We Know (Gordon Hill Press, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77422-029-0 | 224 pp | $22 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY What We Think We Know is ostensibly Schneider’s debut collection of short fiction, though it tests the limits of that designation in various ways. On the one hand, there’s the fact that two of the stories in the collection are virtually novella-length; and on the more experimental hand there’s the fact that many of

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USEREVIEW 060 (Capsule): In Veritas

USEREVIEW 060 (Capsule): In Veritas

C.J. LavigneIn Veritas (NeWest Press, 2020)ISBN978-1-98873-283-1 | 344 pp | $21.95 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Like many works of speculative fiction, C.J. Lavigne‘s debut novel In Veritas is interested in examining the lives and significance of characters who are outsiders. The narrative primarily follows the protagonist Verity, a lifelong synaesthete who has previously been hospitalized for so-called hallucinations, but which are in fact glimpses into another world that exists within our own world, hidden

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USEREVIEW 059 (Capsule): Can the Monster Speak?

USEREVIEW 059 (Capsule): Can the Monster Speak?

Paul B. PreciadoCan the Monster Speak? (Semiotext(e), 2021)Translated by Frank WynneISBN 978-1-63590-151-1 | 104 pp | $15.95 USD / $21.95 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Can the Monster Speak? is the full text of a speech that Paul B. Preciado attempted to deliver to a few thousand psychoanalysts from Lacan’s L’École de la Cause Freudienne in 2019. The speech was never completed because it caused such an uproar among the gathered psychoanalysts and it is

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USEREVIEW 058: The Death Card

USEREVIEW 058: The Death Card

Samantha Garner’s debut novel The Quiet Is Loud (Invisible Publishing, 2021) has a paradox in its very title, so you can expect to find more of the same within. Through the medium of a tarot-savvy traditional review, Deirdre Danklin reaches her hands in to pull out the paradoxes, and the paradextrous characters, that lie at the heart of the text. ISBN 978-1-98878-471-7 | 336 pp | $23.95 CAD — BUY here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY I always get

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USEREVIEW 057 (Capsule): Uncharted

USEREVIEW 057 (Capsule): Uncharted

Sabyasachi NagUncharted (Mansfield Press, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77126-248-4 | 94 pp | $17 CAD/USD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY I confess: it was the eye-catching cover of Uncharted — designed by Mansfield’s publisher, Denis De Klerck — that first drew me to the work. The confrontational stare of a white tiger, whose face engulfs and exceeds the the edges of the book, is difficult to look away from. But the interior content of Uncharted, the third collection of

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USEREVIEW 056 (Capsule): Fuse

USEREVIEW 056 (Capsule): Fuse

Hollay GhaderyFuse (Guernica Editions, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77183-592-3 | 170 pp | $20 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Ghadery’s debut, Fuse, is a collection of personal essays so intimate and engrossing that at times I had the strange sensation that my consciousness had melted and was being subsumed into the author’s. As if the secrets she was telling were mine laid bare on the page instead of hers. This, of course, is an illusion, a deft trick

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USEREVIEW 055: Blowing Up the Book

USEREVIEW 055: Blowing Up the Book

In this tone-hopping traditional review, John Nyman buoyantly takes on the task of facing Paolo Javier’s challenging, genre-blending, Juvenalian poetry-comics hybrid book O.B.B. (Nightboat Books, 2021) featuring art by Alexander Tarampi and Ernest Concepcion. ISBN 978-1-64362-072-5 | 280 pp | $22.95 USD — BUY here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Many books begin with a question of subject: What is this book about?­ A few, however, demand that we start somewhere even more fundamental: What (even) is this book?

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USEREVIEW 054 (Capsule): Disappearing in Reverse

USEREVIEW 054 (Capsule): Disappearing in Reverse

Allie McFarlandDisappearing in Reverse (University of Calgary Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-77385-143-3 | 238 pp | $24.99 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Like loose shale skidding down a mountainside, everything in Allie McFarland’s novel(la) feels like it’s slipping out from under you. The narrative is told by a narrator who is conspicuously unreliable. We watch her lie, for unarticulated if intuitable reasons, to everyone she meets, from the moment she meets them. Neither they, nor we, are

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USEREVIEW 053 (Capsule): The Man with the Spider Scar

USEREVIEW 053 (Capsule): The Man with the Spider Scar

Michael e. CasteelsThe Man with the Spider Scar (Puddles of Sky Press, 2021)ISBN 978-1592913343 | 68 pp, 4.25 x 5.5 in | $20 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY A long-form collage poem that takes the reader on a first-person gunslinging journey, The Man with the Spider Scar offers a tale about a horse thief, split into fifty minimalist poem fragments. It’s a text that’s easy to traverse in a single sitting, galloping on horseback “across

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USEREVIEW 052 (Capsule): Yes, I am a corpse flower

USEREVIEW 052 (Capsule): Yes, I am a corpse flower

Travis SharpYes, I am a corpse flower (knife|fork|book, 2021)ISBN 978-1-989355-27-5 | 108 pp | $20 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY The poetry debut of writer, editor and book artist Travis Sharp and the second full-length collection put out by Toronto independent publisher knife | fork | book, Yes, I am a corpse flower (2021), articulates the ache and bliss that accompany occupying a (queer) body at odds with the (heteronormative, late-capitalist) world. As the book’s

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USEREVIEW 051: A Landscape of Time

USEREVIEW 051: A Landscape of Time

Pictures apparently being worth a thousand words, Manahil Bandukwala uses three paintings to do justice to Selina Boan’s debut poetry collection Undoing Hours (Nightwood Editions, 2021) in this visually arresting experimental review. ISBN 978-0-88971-396-3 | 96 pp | $18.95 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Selina Boan’s poetry is the kind to draw you in and live within the words, and her debut poetry collection Undoing Hours is no different. The collection weaves together language and

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USEREVIEW 050: Curating Vulnerability

USEREVIEW 050: Curating Vulnerability

With a conversational and knowing tone, Joelle Kidd uses the medium of the traditional review to reveal the layers of complexity on display in Molly Cross-Blanchard’s rollicking debut poetry collection, Exhibitionist (Coach House Books, 2021). ISBN 978-1-55245-422-0 | 112 pp | $21.95 CAD — BUY here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY “They will call this vulnerable,” the speaker of Exhibitionist declares, “because it’s a book written by a woman / and it checks the woman’s book vibes: / Heartbreak?

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USEREVIEW 049: A Bespoke Respoke

USEREVIEW 049: A Bespoke Respoke

Gary Barwin uses the medium of sound poetry to respond to visual poetry, in this sensory-blurring experimental review of Kate Siklosi and psw’s collaborative artists’ book, Reply (2021). ISBN n/a | 40pp | €22.00 — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Print is synaesthetic. Its shapes and textures, papers and colours make the inner fingers tingle, the brainskin prickle. Looking is tactile, kinesthetic. Reading is musical, evokes sound. And collaboration, such as between Kate Siklosi and psw in

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USEREVIEW 048 (Capsule): Talking to a Portrait: Tales of an Art Curator

USEREVIEW 048 (Capsule): Talking to a Portrait: Tales of an Art Curator

Rosalind M. PepallTalking to a Portrait: Tales of an Art Curator (Véhicule Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-55065-541-4 | 224 pp | $22.95 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY In Talking to a Portrait, Rosalind M. Pepall employs a prose style that combines personal essay with art history to recount notable stories that unfurled during her decades as a curator for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. None of this is within my areas of expertise, and so I

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USEREVIEW 047: Dreams to Have

USEREVIEW 047: Dreams to Have

In this traditional review, Ursula Pflug identifies Jessi MacEachern’s debut poetry collection, A Number of Stunning Attacks (Invisible Publishing, 2021), as a force that carries forward a legacy of feminist poetry. ISBN 978-1-98878-465-6 | 120 pp | $18.95 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY A few pages into the first section, ‘The Moat Around Her Home,’ Jessi MacEachern writes that she keeps a notebook labelled dreams to have. This is the sort of thing I would

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USEREVIEW 046 (Capsule): Blood Rises

USEREVIEW 046 (Capsule): Blood Rises

David HaskinsBlood Rises (Guernica Editions, 2020)ISBN 978-1-77183-538-1 | 144 pp | $20 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Blood Rises is an apt title for the latest poetry collection from longtime figure in the literary scene, David Haskins. These poems are rich in lifeblood — the substance that rises to the skin at the sight of injustice, that brightens the cheek during unstoppable laughter, that pulses on insistently in the face of death and grief. The

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USEREVIEW 045 (Capsule): Anthesis

USEREVIEW 045 (Capsule): Anthesis

Sue GoyetteAnthesis (Gaspereau Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-554472-10-9 | 80 pp | $19.95 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY It was difficult for me, while reading Sue Goyette’s Anthesis, not to compare it to her earlier poetry collection The Brief Reincarnation of a Girl (Gaspereau Press, 2015), which likewise recounts childhood trauma. The difference between the books is that the factual events that form the basis of The Brief Reincarnation of a Girl are readily discoverable in the

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USEREVIEW 044 (Capsule): Ghost Tracks

USEREVIEW 044 (Capsule): Ghost Tracks

Sneha Subramanian KantaGhost Tracks (Louisiana Literature Press, 2020)ISBN 978-0-94508-351-1 | 30 pp | $8.95 USD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY There are ghosts everywhere in Kanta’s chapbook of poetry. The ghosts “freckle silence” and “remove fishhooks from animal bodies” and are “carried on the wind” with “hands full of flowers.” We are told by the title to expect tracks, traces, as if the ghosts were deer disappearing into the woods, but instead the ghosts are moving about in front

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USEREVIEW 043: Tower of Babelfish

USEREVIEW 043: Tower of Babelfish

In this traditional review, A.G. Pasquella makes use of a wide range of tools — from linguistic theory to allusions to The Simpsons — in an effort to parse the meaning of The Untranslatable I (Gordon Hill Press, 2021), the latest poetry collection from the Trillium Award winning author Roxanna Bennett. ISBN 978-1-77422-017-7 | 88 pp | $20 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Pain cannot be translated. We can never know how a person actually feels. In Roxanna

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