USEREVIEW 114: Something Worthy

USEREVIEW 114: Something Worthy

Joanna Acevedo reveals the ghosts and the guts beneath the “deceptively simple” surface of R.F. Kuang’s latest novel Yellowface (Harper Collins, 2023). Note: the last paragraph of the review contains potential spoilers. ISBN 978-0-06325-083-3  | 336 pp | $37.00 CAD / 30.00 USD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY R.F. Kuang’s forthcoming novel, Yellowface, brings up complex and nuanced concepts of race and appropriation in the literary world, through a close examination of the publishing industry. Failed

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USEREVIEW 113 (Capsule): Explodingly Yours

USEREVIEW 113 (Capsule): Explodingly Yours

Chen ChenExplodingly Yours (Ghost City Press, 2023)ISBN 978-1-7327347-8-4 | 48 pp | $10 USD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY In Chen Chen’s latest chapbook, Explodingly Yours, which came out in January 2023 from Ghost City Press, Chen explores similar themes from his previous two books, but with a more explicit touch. The chapbook is erotic, ephemeral and formally innovative for Chen. As seen in his most recent release, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced An Emergency (BOA

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USEREVIEW 112 (Capsule): Judas Goat

USEREVIEW 112 (Capsule): Judas Goat

Gabrielle BatesJudas Goat (Tin House, 2023)ISBN 978-1-95353-464-4 | 104 pp | $16.95 USD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Gabrielle Bates’ debut collection of poems, Judas Goat, surprises and shocks with its candor and specificity about being a young woman in the beckoning Deep South. Violence permeates this collection, as does religion — images of Judas, his organs spilling out of his body, make appearances, as do the Virgin Mary and other eclectic figures. They are woven

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March 2023 Reviewer-in-Residence: Joanna Acevedo

March 2023 Reviewer-in-Residence: Joanna Acevedo

Introducing our March 2023 Reviewer-in-Residence: Joanna Acevedo (she/they) is the Pushcart nominated author of the chapbook List of Demands (Bottlecap Press, 2022) and the books The Pathophysiology of Longing (Black Centipede Press, 2020) and Unsaid Things (Flexible Press, 2021). She received her MFA in Fiction from New York University in 2021. More: joannaacevedo.net Over the course of the month, Acevedo will review the following books: • Gabrielle Bates’ debut poetry collection Judas Goat (Tin House,

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New at USEREVIEW in 2023

New at USEREVIEW in 2023

Since our debut more than two years ago in September 2020, CAROUSEL’s USEREVIEW has published over 100 traditional, experimental and short-form capsule reviews. Last year, we debuted our Reviewer-in-Residence program, in which we published short capsule reviews from a single reviewer for three weeks in a row. Never ones to coast, we decided this year to expand our Reviewer-in-Residence program to shine an even brighter spotlight on individual reviewers’ critical practices. For 2023, we have

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USEREVIEW 111 (Capsule): Allodynia

USEREVIEW 111 (Capsule): Allodynia

Nisa MalliAllodynia (Palimpsest Press, 2022)ISBN 978-1-99029-306-1 | 80 pp | $19.95 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Allodynia (Palimpsest Press, 2022) is the debut poetry collection from bpNichol Chapbook Award-winning poet Nisa Malli. In Allodynia, Malli builds on her explorations of pain and illness, moving her poetry further into the sci-fi and speculative realms. The collection is divided into three sections: ‘Pain Log,’ ‘Ship’s Log,’ and ‘Pain Log.’ The poems from the two ‘Pain Log’ sections

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USEREVIEW 110 (Capsule): arrhythmia

USEREVIEW 110 (Capsule): arrhythmia

Natalie Limarrhythmia (Rahila’s Ghost Press, 2022)ISBN 978-1-98946-313-0 | 32 pp | $12.00 CAD | BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Natalie Lim’s debut poetry chapbook, arrhythmia (Rahila’s Ghost Press, 2022) shares the same name as Lim’s CBC Poetry Prize-winning poem, but this is an astounding collection that shows Lim’s growth as a poet since winning the prize. Lim’s writing is breathless, seen from opening poem, ‘How do you tell someone you’ve written a poem about them.’ Here, Lim

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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USEREVIEW 104: A Search for Another Ending

USEREVIEW 104: A Search for Another Ending

In this traditional review, Marcie McCauley assesses the successes of Victoria Hetherington’s sophomore novel Autonomy (Dundurn Press — Rare Machines imprint, 2022) within the context of a history of literature about human-AI interaction. ISBN 978-1-45974-847-7  | 272 pp | $23.99 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY One of the characters at the heart of Victoria Hetherington’s Autonomy is a reader with a habit of peering into stories to find new ways of being. “All the female

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USEREVIEW 103: Prolong, in Fragments

USEREVIEW 103: Prolong, in Fragments

In this traditional review, Hollay Ghadery gets out the microscope to peer closely at rob mclennan’s latest poetry collection the book of smaller (University of Calgary Press, 2022). ISBN 978-1-77385-261-4  | 120 pp | $19.99 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY rob mclennan’s newest poetry collection, the book of smaller, is an impressive exercise in compression. Like so many of my favourite poets, mclennan excels at distilling sentiment into something, if not more pure, at least

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USEREVIEW 102: Pulsing Light

USEREVIEW 102: Pulsing Light

Kate Finegan finds the love and courage that bloom like flowers among ruins in this traditional review of Deirdre Danklin’s debut novella Catastrophe (Texas Review Press, 2022), winner of the 2021 Clay Reynolds Novella Prize. ISBN 978-1-68003-273-4 | 186 pp | $19.95 USD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY In Deirdre Danklin’s debut novella, Catastrophe, two friends separated by time and distance communicate telepathically while waiting out a catastrophe that has made population centres uninhabitable. The unnamed

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USEREVIEW 101: The Poet and the Singer

USEREVIEW 101: The Poet and the Singer

In a departure from our usual focus on indie presses and authors who aren’t already famous millionaires, we present Daniel Hinds‘ experimental prose poem review of Lana Del Rey‘s debut poetry collection Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass (Simon & Schuster, 2020). Why did we break our own unspoken rules on which books we prioritize for reviews? Probably because we feel that what’s happening in this review is something much more than direct commentary on

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USEREVIEW 100: Five from ‘CONUNDRUM 25’

USEREVIEW 100: Five from ‘CONUNDRUM 25’

Happy anniversary to us, it’s our 100th review! In this sweeping traditional review of five books, reviewer Mark Laliberte takes on a handful of early samples from Conundrum Press’ Conundrum 25, a series of graphic short stories, each presented as a small volume of its own, in honour of the publisher’s 25th anniversary. Joe OllmannDay Old (2021) — #1 in the Conundrum 25 SeriesISBN 978-177262-058-0 | 107 pp, 4.25 x 6.25 in | $10 CAD

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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

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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

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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

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