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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USEREVIEW 042: Johanna Hedva’s Mad Epistemology

USEREVIEW 042: Johanna Hedva’s Mad Epistemology

As gender and genre-bending as its subject, this experimental review by Sarah Cavar skips between theory, memoir, and experimental poetry in order to keep pace with Johanna Hedva’s hybrid literary collection, Minerva the Miscarriage of the Brain (Sming Sming Books + Wolfman Books, 2020), which “incorporates plays, performances, an encyclopedia, essays, autohagiography, hypnagogic and hypnapompic poems.” ISBN 978-1-953189-00-4 | 194 pp | $18 USD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY What I needed to make this review: Twitter. My Chemex. Crystal

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USEREVIEW 041 (Capsule): A Map of Rain Days

USEREVIEW 041 (Capsule): A Map of Rain Days

Jennifer HoseinA Map of Rain Days (Guernica Editions, 2020)ISBN 978-1-771834-41-4 | 128 pp | $20 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY “My mother’s toes are / crooked and curled / in a misguided, arthritic map / of rain days,” writes Jennifer Hosein in the eponymous poem of her debut collection, A Map of Rain Days. In these lines there is a conflation of body and world, but also of space and time. Time becomes an entity that is spatially

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USEREVIEW 040 (Capsule): Gold Rush

USEREVIEW 040 (Capsule): Gold Rush

Claire CaldwellGold Rush (Invisible Publishing, 2020)ISBN 978-1-988784-46-5 | 80 pp | $17.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Writing about pioneers and summer camp risks a confrontation with banal, or even dangerous, sentimentalism. However, in her sophomore poetry collection, Gold Rush, Claire Caldwell is circumspect, scrutinizing and assessing her subjects with the critical eye they deserve — and she never mistakes pyrite for gold. See, for instance, her poem ‘After the Gold Rush,’ in which the speaker declares, “We

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USEREVIEW 039 (Capsule): The Weight of the Heart

USEREVIEW 039 (Capsule): The Weight of the Heart

Theresa KishkanThe Weight of the Heart (Palimpsest Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-98928-747-7 | 120 pp | $15.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY It isn’t a spoiler to say that we never do find out exactly how much a heart weighs in the latest novella from prolific author Theresa Kishkan, but what is clear is that the heart weighs more than we might be given to expect. The story foreshadows this figurative surprise with its opening lines: “The closer I got

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USEREVIEW 038: Watch the Left Hand

USEREVIEW 038: Watch the Left Hand

Through a process of careful and combing traditional review, Leah Bobet is able to find and extract the half-concealed magic tricks and the mixtapes from Jen Sookfong Lee’s debut poetry collection The Shadow List (Wolsak & Wynn, 2021). ISBN 978-1-989496-28-2  | 96 pp | $18 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Smudged lipstick, sleepless nights and a deft structural-linguistic game that cracks binary questions of self-worth like a hatching egg: Vancouver author Jen Sookfong Lee’s The Shadow List charts

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USEREVIEW 037 (Capsule): God Damned Avalon

USEREVIEW 037 (Capsule): God Damned Avalon

Paul Edward CostaGod Damned Avalon (Mosaic Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-77161-532-7 | 108 pp | $17.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Paul Edward Costa’s debut flash fiction collection, God Damned Avalon, is as chock-full of switchbacks as its paradoxical title — invoking a paradise that divinity has forsaken — should lead you to expect. Earning the name of their genre, the tales in this book are lightning-quick, though the subjects they depict sometimes span centuries, the rises and falls of

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USEREVIEW 036: A Colossal Problem

USEREVIEW 036: A Colossal Problem

There was supposed to be a review of Jeremy Colangelo’s debut short fiction collection Beneath the Statue (Now Or Never Publishing, 2020), but due to unforeseen circumstances, there will be none. To find out what led to this utter catastrophe, please read on. ISBN 978-1-98968-910-3 | 184 pp | $19.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Dear Jade Wallace, Reviews Editor for CAROUSEL, Thank you for sending me a review copy of Jeremy Colangelo’s debut short fiction collection, Beneath

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USEREVIEW 035 (Capsule): I Know Something You Don’t Know

USEREVIEW 035 (Capsule): I Know Something You Don’t Know

Amy LeBlancI Know Something You Don’t Know (Gordon Hill Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-928171-97-3 | 100 pp | $20.00 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY The poems of Amy LeBlanc’s debut poetry collection, I Know Something You Don’t Know, are as morally elusive as the best and grimmest old fairy tales, but also as narratively destabilized as we’ve come to expect contemporary poetry to be. Danger lurks in the empty spaces between every stanza break, but these poems offer no false

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USEREVIEW 034 (Capsule): Murmurations

USEREVIEW 034 (Capsule): Murmurations

Annick MacAskillMurmurations (Gaspereau Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-554472086 | 96 pp | $20.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY I sat down at my writing desk to begin reading Annick MacAskill’s sophomore poetry collection Murmurations (Gaspereau Press, 2020), expecting to get through a few poems before going to bed. Instead, by the end of an hour or so, I had devoured the book completely. Murmurations, I think, invites this kind of reading. There is a through-line in the poems that is

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USEREVIEW 033: Geographies of Continuum: Lyric and Love

USEREVIEW 033: Geographies of Continuum: Lyric and Love

Attentive as a bird-watcher, reviewer Sneha Subramanian Kanta studies the wingbeats of Annick MacAskill’s sophomore poetry collection, Murmurations (Gaspereau Press, 2020). From landscape to lineation, this traditional review observes and appreciates the full scope of forces that give life to the text. ISBN: 978-1-554472086 | 96 pp | $21.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Murmurations by Annick MacAskill is a meditation upon the topographies of love, where every essence is magnified by the presence of nature. In tenderness,

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USEREVIEW 032 (Capsule): Bones

USEREVIEW 032 (Capsule): Bones

Tyler PennockBones (Brick Books, 2020)ISBN 978-1-77131-521-0 | 128 pp | $20.00 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY “[T]hey forget / that we are bones / — resurrected from the bones of others,” writes Tyler Pennock, alluding both literally and figuratively to how, in the earth, skeletons slowly disintegrate so that their particles take on new functions in the larger ecosystem. Digested by detrivores, turned into fertile soil, the bones often eventually resurface to nourish the flora and fauna that

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USEREVIEW 031: Counting the Hours

USEREVIEW 031: Counting the Hours

Hollay Ghadery converts Gillian Wigmore’s trifecta of novellas Night Watch: The Vet Suite (Invisible Publishing, 2021) into (32) tercets, each comprising a prime number of syllables, in this mathematically perfect, verse-form experimental review. ISBN 978-1-988784588   | 152 pp | $19.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Heifer I don’t want to doit again — I want to doit in reverse: do what I couldn’t dothe first time. See with the slowgaze of cattle, their genuflect feyness,it’s in all

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USEREVIEW 030 (Capsule): The Work

USEREVIEW 030 (Capsule): The Work

Maria MeindlThe Work (Stonehouse Publishing, 2020)ISBN 978-1-988754-16-1| 264 pp | $19.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY It’s called The Work but reading Maria Meindl’s debut novel couldn’t be farther from a slog. The story hovers over the shoulder of stage manager Rebecca Weir, who works for an experimental theatre company that may or may not be a cult. As the eclectic and shifting cadre of artists devote themselves to breath work and movement exercises and overly-intimate relationship dynamics,

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USEREVIEW 029: Me, You, Then Me Again

USEREVIEW 029: Me, You, Then Me Again

Boldly eschewing the literary convention of never reviewing one’s own work, Khashayar Mohammadi reflects on his newly-released, debut poetry collection, Me, You, Then Snow (Gordon Hill Press, 2021), and its place in Canadian literature, in this autoethnographic experimental review. ISBN 978-1-774220146|  96 pp | $20.00 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY In the depths of pandemic insomnia, there isn’t much I can read anymore; so I keep reading and rereading my debut, anticipating the pictures, reviews, award season; practising

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USEREVIEW 028: Loss for Words

USEREVIEW 028: Loss for Words

John Nyman parses, calculates and looks for linguistic solutions in this traditional review of Ian Williams’ poetry collection Word Problems (Coach House Books, 2020). ISBN: 978-1-552454145 | 96 pp | $21.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Showcasing a wide range of formal experimentation, an obsession with the technical aspects of language and short, often sentimental lyrics voiced by everyperson speakers, Ian Williams’ poetry is driven by postmodern stylistic devices canonically linked to distancing an author’s identity from the

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USEREVIEW 027: Women Talking Absinthe

USEREVIEW 027: Women Talking Absinthe

Lannie Stabile daydreams a strange and aureate bar-side interview with the eponymous woman of Katherine E. Young’s most recent poetry collection, Woman Drinking Absinthe (Alan Squire Publishing, 2021) in this conversational experimental review. ISBN 978-1-942892243  | 72 pp | $20.99 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Normally, when I interview authors, I like to meet them in a quiet cafe, treat them to their preferred coffee or tea. Drinks in a dark, local bar seemed more fitting, however, to

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USEREVIEW 026 (Capsule): Cephalopography 2.0

USEREVIEW 026 (Capsule): Cephalopography 2.0

Rasiqra RevulvaCephalopography 2.0 (Wolsak & Wynn, 2020)ISBN 978-1-989496084 | 104 pp | $20 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Never has poetry felt so much like a marine biology-themed museum-cum-amusement park as it does in Rasiqra Revulva’s exuberant, endlessly clever Cephalopography 2.0 (Wolsak & Wynn, 2020). What doesn’t this debut collection offer? From Revulva’s take on traditional forms, to vispo, to crossword puzzles (yes, you read that right), the book is a deep-diver, as malleable and startling as the

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USEREVIEW 025: Swivel Sights

USEREVIEW 025: Swivel Sights

Karl Jirgens proceeds by paradox — with an outward-looking and self-reflexive gaze, with enthusiastically energetic aplomb — in this not-quite traditional review that echoes the stylistic elements of its subject: Ken Babstock’s poetry collection, Swivelmount (Coach House Books, 2020). ISBN 978-1-55245-4138 | 128 pp | $21.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY In preparing this review for CAROUSEL, I thought it’d be interesting if book reviews reacted rather than described or interpreted. After all, writing ought to open dialogues.

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USEREVIEW 024 (Capsule): The Only Card in a Deck of Knives

USEREVIEW 024 (Capsule): The Only Card in a Deck of Knives

Lauren TurnerThe Only Card in a Deck of Knives (Wolsak & Wynn, 2020)ISBN 978-1-989496091 | 112 pp | $20 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY It is common enough to find a novel that clasps you by the hand, Nimue-like, draws you into its realm and will not let you leave; far rarer is the debut poetry collection that does this. Yet Lauren Turner’s The Only Card in a Deck of Knives (Wolsak & Wynn, 2020) manages it. Looped

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