USEREVIEW 079: Do You Believe in Ghosts?

USEREVIEW 079: Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Like a seance, this traditional review by Deirdre Danklin will reveal the spirits that animate Andrea King’s debut novel Spectral Living (University of Calgary Press, 2021). ISBN 978-1-77385-147-1 | 192 pp | $27.99 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Do you believe in ghosts? This question comes up at every gathering of writers I’ve ever hosted. Above a cheeseboard, putting jam on scones, the question pops out. Most of my friends believe — they swear upon

Read More

USEREVIEW 078 (Capsule): Approaching Fire

USEREVIEW 078 (Capsule): Approaching Fire

Michelle PorterApproaching Fire (Breakwater Books, 2020)ISBN 978-1-55081-853-6 | 192 pp | $19.95 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Michelle Porter’s 2020 memoir, Approaching Fire, approaches its subject with depth, sensitivity and purpose. Following Porter’s journey to find out more about her great-grandfather, the Métis fiddler Léon Robert Goulet, the book deftly blends research, reporting, personal narrative, family history, poetry and found media. Print ephemera anchor the factual discoveries Porter makes about her great-grandfather’s life, while bearing

Read More

USEREVIEW 077 (Capsule): Be Scared of Everything: Horror Essays

USEREVIEW 077 (Capsule): Be Scared of Everything: Horror Essays

Peter CounterBe Scared of Everything: Horror Essays (Invisible Publishing, 2020)ISBN 978-1-98878-456-4 | 200 pp | $20.95 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY In his 2020 debut essay collection, Be Scared of Everything: Horror Essays, Peter Counter turns sharp, thoughtful attention to one of literature and film’s most critically under-appreciated genres: horror. The collection, published by Invisible Publishing, is based on Counter’s horror blog, Everything is Scary, and the essays in the book retain a breezy pace

Read More

USEREVIEW 076 (Capsule): alfabet / alphabet

USEREVIEW 076 (Capsule): alfabet / alphabet

Sadiqa de Meijeralfabet / alphabet (Palimpsest Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-92679-460-6 | 100 pp | $15.95 CAD / $14.95 USD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Surely there is no one to better explore the limits, beauty and vagaries of language than a poet, someone who has dedicated their life to engaging in a deep relationship with words. Sadiqa de Meijer, who has previously published two poetry collections, turns her attention to memoir in Alfabet / Alphabet. Subtitled ‘a

Read More

DECOCTION 03: Lydia Kwa

DECOCTION 03: Lydia Kwa

Elee Kraljii Gardiner interviews writers about their coffee and tea rituals in this special series for CAROUSEL … DECOCTION— the act or process of boiling usually in water so as to extract the flavour or active principle. “Coffee is a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within yourself. It gives you time,

Read More

USEREVIEW 075: Psychic Chafing

USEREVIEW 075: Psychic Chafing

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, might it also be the most effective mode of review? Taking her cue from the very book she is assessing, Meredith Sadler employs the comics form to respond to the ‘Youth’ section of Tove Ditlevsen’s graphic memoir The Copenhagen Trilogy (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021). ISBN 978-0-37460-239-0 | 384 pp | $37.95 CAD / $30 USD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY

USEREVIEW 074 (Capsule): Leonard Cohen: On a Wire

USEREVIEW 074 (Capsule): Leonard Cohen: On a Wire

Philippe Girard (Writer and Illustrator), Helge Dascher and Karen Houle (Translators)Leonard Cohen: On a Wire (Drawn & Quarterly, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77046-489-6 | 120 pp | $29.95 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY This graphic biography of the famous poet and musician from Montreal is told in a series of flashbacks as Cohen lies dying. To condense a life as rich and varied as Cohen’s in a mere 119 pages is no easy task but Girard’s flashback format

Read More

IN MEMORIAM: David Haskins

IN MEMORIAM: David Haskins

Remembering writer David Haskins (ca. 1945-2022) We at CAROUSEL were deeply sorry to hear of the passing of teacher, father, writer and friend to literature, David Haskins, of Grimsby, Ontario. An emigrant from post-war Britain, Haskins spent his entire adult life in Ontario, where he taught high school English for 36 years, and will continue to be fondly remembered by students as an engaged, thoughtful and kind teacher. As a writer, Haskins was the author

Read More

USEREVIEW 073 (Capsule): The Good Fight

USEREVIEW 073 (Capsule): The Good Fight

Ted Staunton (Writer), Josh Rosen (Illustrator)The Good Fight (Scholastic Canada, 2021)ISBN 978-1-44316-383-5 | 224 pp | $16.95 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY I’m glad this book exists. Staunton and Rosen do a good job of shedding light on a shameful chapter of Toronto’s history, when pro-Hitler fascists openly roamed the city’s streets. In 1933, hundreds of members of The Balmy Beach Swastika Club painted Nazi symbols on their clothing, carried placards with anti-Semitic slogans, flashed

Read More

USEREVIEW 072 (Capsule): Weeding

USEREVIEW 072 (Capsule): Weeding

Genevieve LeBleuWeeding (Conundrum Press, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77262-048-1  |  102 pp | $18.00 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Weeding is a fantastic and deeply weird graphic novel. LeBleu’s artwork is reminiscent of Strange Growths by Jenny Zervakis and Safari Honeymoon by Jesse Jacobs. There’s a touch of Rory Hayes in there, too.  Martha is hosting a tea party inside her house. Outside, Martha’s garden is overrun with weeds with eyes and tendril-like vines and a Venus flytrap-style

Read More

USEREVIEW 071: Looking for Lost Keys

USEREVIEW 071: Looking for Lost Keys

Kate Finegan throws open the doors and windows to inspect the architecture of Amy LeBlanc’s debut novella Unlocking (University of Calgary Press, 2021) in this traditional review. ISBN 978-1-77385-139-6 | 112 pp | $19.99 CAD/USD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY In a 2020 interview with David Ly for PRISM International, author and poet Amy LeBlanc discusses the impact of fairy tales on her work: “When I read the Grimm’s fairy tales for the first time and

Read More

USEREVIEW 070: By Definition

USEREVIEW 070: By Definition

Renée M. Sgroi assesses the ability of the text to live up to to its own self-definition in this traditional review of Poetry & the Dictionary, an essay collection edited by Andrew Blades and Piers Pennington (Liverpool University Press, 2020). ISBN 978-1-78962-056-6 | 312 pp, hardcover | $132 CAD (£90) — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Poetry & the Dictionary is a collection of academic essays that examines poetic engagements with dictionaries, particularly the Oxford English Dictionary.

Read More

USEREVIEW 069 (Capsule): Dominant Genes

USEREVIEW 069 (Capsule): Dominant Genes

SJ SinduDominant Genes (Black Lawrence Press, 2022)ISBN 978-1-62557-717-7 | 37 pp | $9.95 USD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Dominant Genes is one of the latest chapbooks by Tamil diaspora writer SJ Sindu, published by Black Lawrence Press. This genre-bending book is playful and fierce; stark and lyrical; tender and packed with satisfying, full-blooming rage. Sindu examines many facets of her life in Dominant Genes, including sex and sexuality, genderqueerness and the hold of familial and

Read More

USEREVIEW 068 (Capsule): Alignment

USEREVIEW 068 (Capsule): Alignment

Ashley-Elizabeth BestAlignment (Rahila’s Ghost Press, 2021)ISBN 978-1-98946-309-3 | 29 pp | $12 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY There’s violence in interpretation, and Alignment — a chapbook by disabled poet and essayist Ashley-Elizabeth Best, published by Rahila’s Ghost Press — sheds light on this violence with stunning and shattering insight. Not only does Best explore how language is interpreted, but she also explores the way in which a suffering mind and body are (mis)interpreted through language,

Read More

USEREVIEW 067 (Capsule): Disintegration in Four Parts

USEREVIEW 067 (Capsule): Disintegration in Four Parts

Jean Marc Ah-Sen, Emily Anglin, Devon Code and Lee HendersonDisintegration in Four Parts (Coach House Books, 2021)ISBN 978-1-55245-424-4 | 206 pp | $21.95 CAD — BUY here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Starting with the sentence, “all purity is created through resemblance and disavowal,” Disintegration in Four Parts by Jean Marc Ah-Sen, Emily Anglin, Devon Code and Lee Henderson explores the notion of purity in four novellas that are distinct in terms of narrative style, but harmonious in their

Read More

USEREVIEW 066: A Bolt of Blue

USEREVIEW 066: A Bolt of Blue

In this traditional review, gustave morin coaxes forth meaning and explodes the text by turns to bring the quiet poetic revelations of Lorenzo Buj’s debut collection Earlybloom Bombs (2021) bursting onto the literary scene. ISBN 978-1-77785-710-3 | 124 pp | $16.95 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY In the autumn of 2021, in his sixtieth year, a writer named Lorenzo Buj from Windsor, Ontario did a most curious and unusual thing: he deigned to publish, privately,

Read More

USEREVIEW 065 (Capsule): What We Call Home

USEREVIEW 065 (Capsule): What We Call Home

Terrence Abrahams X Cleopatria PetersonWhat We Call Home (Collusion Books, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77781-490-8 | 32 pp | $16 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY What we call home is a stunning chapbook of prose poems by Terrence Abrahams and Cleopatria Peterson that moves through the love, care and intimacy involved in making a home as two trans and queer poets. The chapbook is one long sequence that begins with objects from the house (“the stink of washed

Read More

USEREVIEW 064 (Capsule): Sample Platter

USEREVIEW 064 (Capsule): Sample Platter

Vannessa BarnierSample Platter (Gap Riot Press, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77746-203-1 | 22 pp | $10 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Vannessa Barnier’s debut poetry chapbook, Sample Platter is honest, absurd and hilarious. Told in prose-poem style anecdotes, Barnier captures everyday moments of life with a sharp introspection. Barnier encounters various people throughout the stories: a therapist, a partner, convenience store workers, friends and more. There is an intimacy of shared moments with each one that settles in

Read More

USEREVIEW 063 (Capsule): Side Effects May Include Strangers

USEREVIEW 063 (Capsule): Side Effects May Include Strangers

Dominik ParisienSide Effects May Include Strangers (McGill-Queens University Press, 2020)ISBN 978-0-22800-357-1 | 96 pp | $17.95 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY What Dominik Parisien’s debut poetry collection Side Effects May Include Strangers (McGill-Queens University Press, 2020) is sometimes painful, sometimes angry and always full of tenderness. Echoing themes of Parisien’s 2018 chapbook, We, Old Young Ones (Frog Hollow Press), Side Effects explores what it means to live, love and move through an ableist world. Parisien

Read More

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

Read More