USEREVIEW 109 (Capsule): Let the World Have You

USEREVIEW 109 (Capsule): Let the World Have You

Mikko HarveyLet the World Have You (House of Anansi, 2022)ISBN 978-1-48701-069-0 | 96 pp | $19.99 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Mikko Harvey’s second book of poems, Let the World Have You (House of Anansi, 2022) is a dive into a strange and surreal world. Like his debut collection Unstable Neighbourhood Rabbit, Harvey’s newest work is full of animals and other creatures interacting with the daily occurrences of our lives. In ‘Funny Business,’ the speaker

Read More

USEREVIEW 108 (Capsule): Tear

USEREVIEW 108 (Capsule): Tear

Erica McKeenTear (Invisible Publishing, 2022)ISBN | 978-1-77843-006-0 | 304 pp | $22.95 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY The latest addition to the ‘monstrous feminine‘ literary canon is Erica McKeen‘s debut novel Tear. Aptly described by its synopsis as a “horrifyingly deformed Bildungsroman,” Tear shadows its protagonist, Frances, from her childhood with a deadbeat father, an ambivalent mother and her only friend Jasper, to her early adulthood as a reticent and isolated young woman on the

Read More

USEREVIEW 107 (Capsule): rump + flank

USEREVIEW 107 (Capsule): rump + flank

Carol Harvey Steskirump + flank (NeWest Press, 2021)ISBN | 978-1-77439-028-3 | 96 pp | $19.95 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Carol Harvey Steski’s poetry debut rump + flank is, as the title suggests, concerned with the body, with the essential physical substance of existence — but also with the bawdy, with the erotic, the indecent, the amusing. Divided into three sections, the collection is book-ended by ‘Various Cuts’ and ‘Scar,’ their names clearly evoking the

Read More

USEREVIEW 106 (Capsule): The Razor’s Edge

USEREVIEW 106 (Capsule): The Razor’s Edge

Karl JirgensThe Razor’s Edge (The Porcupine’s Quill, 2022)ISBN | 978-0-88984-450-6 | 152 pp | $18.95 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Karl Jirgens gave me some advice years ago that I haven’t been able to forget. He said (and here I paraphrase): “If you want to be a writer, don’t become a publisher.” Whatever wisdom there might be in that aphorism, it doesn’t seem to apply very well to Jirgens himself. He was the editor and

Read More

USEREVIEW 105 (Capsule): the half-drowned

USEREVIEW 105 (Capsule): the half-drowned

Trynne Delaneythe half-drowned (Metatron Press, 2022)ISBN | 978-1-98835-525-2 | 144 pp | $18.00 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY I became acquainted with Trynne Delaney’s writing through their compelling, experimental ‘dark patterns: matrilineal family curse,’ described as a “poem nested in a genetic pedigree,” that appeared in the “2S+QTBIPOC” issue of CV2. Prior to book publication, a preponderance of Delaney’s publicly available work appears to have been poetry, including their self-published debut chapbook, death of the

Read More

USEREVIEW 099 (Capsule): An Orchid Astronomy

USEREVIEW 099 (Capsule): An Orchid Astronomy

Tasnuva HaydenAn Orchid Astronomy (University of Calgary Press, 2022)ISBN 978-1-77385-271-3 | 196 pp | $24.99 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Tasnuva Hayden’s debut poetry collection is a weighty 186 pages of poetry, segmented into 5 long, semi-narrative poems (ranging from 28 to 40 pages each), variously titled, and 10 short poems (1 page each), titled after, and focusing on, individual constellations. The semi-narrative poems orbit around particular subjects, which are both as changeless and changing

Read More

USEREVIEW 098 (Capsule): The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour

USEREVIEW 098 (Capsule): The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour

Dawn DumontThe Prairie Chicken Dance Tour (Freehand Books, 2021)ISBN 978-1-98829-887-0 | 306 pp | $24.95 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY The prairie chicken — a rare bird that nearly went extinct in the early twentieth century but is now working on a comeback — is known as a strong flyer, so it only makes sense that a book named after the species would take the reader on a whirlwind tour. In Dawn Dumont‘s latest novel

Read More

USEREVIEW 097 (Capsule): Infinity Network

USEREVIEW 097 (Capsule): Infinity Network

Jim JohnstoneInfinity Network (Véhicule Press, 2022)ISBN 978-1-55065-591-1 | 78 pp | $19.95 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Eternity is rendered a slender chronicle in Jim Johnstone’s latest poetry collection, Infinity Network. Where his previous book, The Chemical Life (2017), examined the self as an entity mediated by medication, recreational drugs and various other forms of biological intervention, Johnstone’s current work considers how our identities are incarnated and refracted through the prism of digital media. As

Read More

USEREVIEW 096 (Capsule): Renaissance Normcore

USEREVIEW 096 (Capsule): Renaissance Normcore

Adèle BarclayRenaissance Normcore (Nightwood Editions, 2019)ISBN 978-0-88971-360-4 | 96 pp | $18.95 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Early in the pandemic, when numbness and lethargy felt like a communal experience, I reread Adèle Barclay’s sophomore poetry collection Renaissance Normcore. I needed something familiar to nudge me back into feeling and Barclay’s work welcomed the plunge. Rereading Renaissance Normcore felt like an impromptu pencil dive into cold, dark water. The initial shock was palpable but the

Read More

USEREVIEW 095 (Capsule): Entering Sappho

USEREVIEW 095 (Capsule): Entering Sappho

Sarah DowlingEntering Sappho (Coach House Books, 2020)ISBN 978-1-55245-418-3 | 96 pp | $21.95 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY The dedication of Entering Sappho begins with “To a future time.” This is reminiscent of the fragments of Sappho, as translated by Sherod Santos: “Someone, I tell you, will remember us, / even in another time.” Dowling’s book is a historical document and the poems occupy space on the page, allude to history and seek to deviate

Read More

USEREVIEW 094 (Capsule): Feel Ways

USEREVIEW 094 (Capsule): Feel Ways

Adrian De Leon, Téa Mutonji & Natasha Ramoutar, EditorsFeel Ways: A Scarborough Anthology (Mawenzi House, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77415-011-5 | 96 pp | $22.95 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Feel Ways: A Scarborough Anthology (2021) is an anthology of non-fiction, poetry and prose edited by Adrian De Leon, Téa Mutonji and Natasha Ramoutar. In this collection published by Mawenzi House Publishers, writers locate themselves and their stories within the suburb of Scarborough, ON. This collection pays homage

Read More

USEREVIEW 092 (Capsule): If You Discover a Fire

USEREVIEW 092 (Capsule): If You Discover a Fire

Shaun RobinsonIf You Discover a Fire (Brick Books, 2020)ISBN 978-1-77131-527-2 | 72 pp | $20 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Like a shadowy watermark, a note of anxiety lies beneath the cool, attentive observations of Vancouver-based Shaun Robinson’s debut poetry collection, If You Discover a Fire. It is this mixed tone, a sort of muted dread, and not a common subject, that unites the poems in the book. In this, Robinson shirks the current trend

Read More

USEREVIEW 091 (Capsule): Iceland Is Melting and So Are You

USEREVIEW 091 (Capsule): Iceland Is Melting and So Are You

Talya RubinIceland Is Melting and So Are You (Book*hug Press, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77166-722-7 | 92 pp | $20 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY The second poetry collection from Australia-based Canadian poet Talya Rubin, Iceland Is Melting and So Are You is a climate elegy for the Anthropocene. By turns doleful and playful, even comic, the collection is organized into four sections — ‘Dead Ice,’ ‘Tidewater,’ ‘Drift’ and ‘Chatter Marks.’ ‘Dead Ice’ comprises many of the collection’s

Read More

USEREVIEW 090 (Capsule): Current, Climate

USEREVIEW 090 (Capsule): Current, Climate

Rita WongCurrent, Climate (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77112-443-0 | 104 pp | $15.99 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Another effective and concise contribution to the Laurier Poetry Series, Current, Climate: The Poetry of Rita Wong presents poems from Rita Wong’s multiple collections (some authored independently, some written in collaboration), as selected and introduced by Nicholas Bradley, an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Victoria. Wong’s work and Bradley’s critical

Read More

USEREVIEW 087 (Capsule): Punctum

USEREVIEW 087 (Capsule): Punctum

Dona Mayoora & Gary BarwinPunctum (Gap Riot Press, 2021)ISBN 978-1-7774620-4-8 | 24 pp | $10 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Dona Mayoora maps a layer of focal points on the surface of her face, then weaves them together with butcher’s string, as samples of simulated cosmic noise coalesce, overlap and bustle around her. The noise comes from Professor Teresa Brainerd’s class on Cosmology at Boston University; Brainerd’s research includes investigating the way dark matter haloing

Read More

USEREVIEW 086 (Capsule): Barcode Poetry

USEREVIEW 086 (Capsule): Barcode Poetry

Kyle FlemmerBarcode Poetry (The Blasted Tree, 2021)ISBN 978-1-98790-671-4 | 124 pp | $20 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Early critics with an apocalyptic bent decried them as the ‘Mark of the Beast.’ But since the early ‘80s, barcodes have become such a ubiquitous part of our material culture that the average consumer is unlikely to notice them until the self-checkout machine starts acting up. Kyle Flemmer foregrounds the barcode (literally — he puts the book’s

Read More

USEREVIEW 085 (Capsule): Machine Dreams

USEREVIEW 085 (Capsule): Machine Dreams

Liam Burke X Natalie HannaMachine Dreams (Collusion Books, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77722-448-6 | 48 pp | $16 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Liam Burke and Natalie Hanna’s circuit-bent verse gives voice to the forces of commerce, war, industry and scientific research that we so easily relegate to background noise, footnotes to the history of progress. ‘Adventures in total artifice’ races one of the world’s first artificial hearts against the all-too-human ticker and its secrets, and ‘primal road

Read More

USEREVIEW 082 (Capsule): Tacky: Love Letters to the Worst Culture We Have to Offer

USEREVIEW 082 (Capsule): Tacky: Love Letters to the Worst Culture We Have to Offer

Rax KingTacky: Love Letters to the Worst Culture We Have to Offer (Vintage Books, 2021)ISBN 978-0-59331-272-8 | 208 pp | $21.95 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Rax King is good at two things: she makes me care about the things I’ve unjustly overlooked, and she validates my brilliant little mind for caring about the things that I do. In Tacky, her debut collection of personal essays from Vintage Books, King pays homage to lowbrow culture.

Read More

USEREVIEW 081 (Capsule): undergrad: a commonplace book

USEREVIEW 081 (Capsule): undergrad: a commonplace book

Laila El Mugammarundergrad: a commonplace book (2021)ISBN 978-1-77779-150-6 | 108 pp | $19.99 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Undergrad: a commonplace book is Laila El Mugammar’s self-published debut collection. It serves as a literary scrapbook from El Mugammar’s time as an undergraduate student at the University of Guelph. Featuring academic essays, personal essays, speeches and fiction, undergrad examines and illuminates anti-Blackness, Islamophobia, queerness, disordered eating and much more within the context of university campuses and

Read More

USEREVIEW 080 (Capsule): Dreaming of You

USEREVIEW 080 (Capsule): Dreaming of You

Melissa Lozada-OlivaDreaming of You (Astra House Books, 2021)ISBN 978-1-66260-059-3 | 192 pp | $30.00 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY To call a book ‘haunting’ is a cliché. Melissa Lozada-Oliva’s debut novel, Dreaming of You (Astra House Books, 2021) is haunted — an important distinction. This novel-in-verse is so haunted, in fact, that it holds a séance to resurrect Tejano pop star Selena Quintanilla. It’s so haunted that it’s narrated by a gossiping Greek chorus. It’s

Read More