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

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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 Dowling’s book is a historical document and the poems occupy space on the page, allude to history and seek to deviate

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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

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USEREVIEW 093: Critical Pictures

USEREVIEW 093: Critical Pictures

How can a critic respond to Zane Koss‘ debut collection, Harbour Grids (Invisible Publishing, 2022), which, despite being “a long poem in four parts” is textually, and even visually, sparse, defined as much by absence as by presence? In this experimental review, John Nyman mirrors Koss’ terse and spatial form, in an attempt to approach the text on its own terms — to chart a route for readers through the breakwater and steer us clearly

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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

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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

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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

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USEREVIEW 089: Mute as a Riot

USEREVIEW 089: Mute as a Riot

In this traditional review, Mark Laliberte offers a ouevre-spanning retrospective as context for mid-career writer Gustave Morin‘s latest poetry collection, Gongo Dodan (New Star books, 2022), the first language-forward book from this otherwise ‘visually dominant’ author. ISBN 978-1-55420-186-0  | 88 pp | $16 CAD — BUY Here (publisher) or if you’re in Windsor, get copies at Biblioasis Bookshop #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY After several decades of producing visually dominant ‘writing’ & releasing a constellation of projects falling into

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USEREVIEW 088: A Darker View of Western Canada

USEREVIEW 088: A Darker View of Western Canada

Reviewer Katharine Mussellam shows us the sights of John O’Neill‘s short story collection Goth Girls of Banff (NeWest Press, 2020) in this thrill ride of an experimental review. ISBN 978-1-98873-295-4  | 208 pp | $19.95 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY As I got off the plane in Alberta on my way to my first tour with John O’Neill Travel, I knew it would be unlike any other I have been on. We are all familiar

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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

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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

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IN MEMORIAM: Scott Carruthers

IN MEMORIAM: Scott Carruthers

RIP Scott Carruthers (1961 – 2022) We at CAROUSEL are heartbroken at the news of the death of Toronto artist Scott Carruthers, who passed away at home on June 21, 2022 at the age of 61. Scott was a friend, and a cherished contributor to the early days of CAROUSEL; he did a really interesting 4 page experimental comics sequence called ‘Random Passage’ for us waaaaaaaaay back in issue 20 that helped set the tone for

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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

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USEREVIEW 084: Ghost Lake Survival Guide

USEREVIEW 084: Ghost Lake Survival Guide

In this thrilling and chilling experimental review, Emily Woodworth takes us on a knowing tour of the local lore, flora and fauna of Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler‘s Ghost Lake (Kegedonce Press, 2020). ISBN 978-1-92812-024-7 | 307 pp | $19.95 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY A Ghost Lake Guide to Survival by Ghost Lake Citizens for Tourism So, you want to visit Ghost Lake. You’ve made an excellent choice! An exhilarating, backcountry paradise awaits, complete with

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USEREVIEW 083: Kenningdom

USEREVIEW 083: Kenningdom

In this lush and ambitious traditional review, Elizabeth Upshur coins stunning neologisms in order to craft a review that matches the linguistic elasticity of Nicola Vulpe’s latest poetry collection Through the Waspmouth I Drew You (Guernica Editions, 2021). ISBN 978-1-77183-591-6  | 80 pp | $20 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Spending time with a book of poems is the smallest of demands, and yet it offers the greatest of rewards if we can connect with

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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