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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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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,

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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

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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

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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

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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

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USEREVIEW 061 (Capsule): What We Think We Know

USEREVIEW 061 (Capsule): What We Think We Know

Aaron SchneiderWhat We Think We Know (Gordon Hill Press, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77422-029-0 | 224 pp | $22 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY What We Think We Know is ostensibly Schneider’s debut collection of short fiction, though it tests the limits of that designation in various ways. On the one hand, there’s the fact that two of the stories in the collection are virtually novella-length; and on the more experimental hand there’s the fact that many of

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USEREVIEW 060 (Capsule): In Veritas

USEREVIEW 060 (Capsule): In Veritas

C.J. LavigneIn Veritas (NeWest Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-98873-283-1 | 344 pp | $21.95 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Like many works of speculative fiction, C.J. Lavigne‘s debut novel In Veritas is interested in examining the lives and significance of characters who are outsiders. The narrative primarily follows the protagonist Verity, a lifelong synaesthete who has previously been hospitalized for so-called hallucinations, but which are in fact glimpses into another world that exists within our own world,

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USEREVIEW 059 (Capsule): Can the Monster Speak?

USEREVIEW 059 (Capsule): Can the Monster Speak?

Paul B. PreciadoCan the Monster Speak? (Semiotext(e), 2021)Translated by Frank WynneISBN 978-1-63590-151-1 | 104 pp | $15.95 USD / $21.95 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Can the Monster Speak? is the full text of a speech that Paul B. Preciado attempted to deliver to a few thousand psychoanalysts from Lacan’s L’École de la Cause Freudienne in 2019. The speech was never completed because it caused such an uproar among the gathered psychoanalysts and it is

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USEREVIEW 057 (Capsule): Uncharted

USEREVIEW 057 (Capsule): Uncharted

Sabyasachi NagUncharted (Mansfield Press, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77126-248-4 | 94 pp | $17 CAD/USD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY I confess: it was the eye-catching cover of Uncharted — designed by Mansfield’s publisher, Denis De Klerck — that first drew me to the work. The confrontational stare of a white tiger, whose face engulfs and exceeds the the edges of the book, is difficult to look away from. But the interior content of Uncharted, the third collection of

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USEREVIEW 056 (Capsule): Fuse

USEREVIEW 056 (Capsule): Fuse

Hollay GhaderyFuse (Guernica Editions, 2021)ISBN 978-1-77183-592-3 | 170 pp | $20 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Ghadery’s debut, Fuse, is a collection of personal essays so intimate and engrossing that at times I had the strange sensation that my consciousness had melted and was being subsumed into the author’s. As if the secrets she was telling were mine laid bare on the page instead of hers. This, of course, is an illusion, a deft trick

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USEREVIEW 054 (Capsule): Disappearing in Reverse

USEREVIEW 054 (Capsule): Disappearing in Reverse

Allie McFarlandDisappearing in Reverse (University of Calgary Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-77385-143-3 | 238 pp | $24.99 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Like loose shale skidding down a mountainside, everything in Allie McFarland’s novel(la) feels like it’s slipping out from under you. The narrative is told by a narrator who is conspicuously unreliable. We watch her lie, for unarticulated if intuitable reasons, to everyone she meets, from the moment she meets them. Neither they, nor we, are

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USEREVIEW 053 (Capsule): The Man with the Spider Scar

USEREVIEW 053 (Capsule): The Man with the Spider Scar

Michael e. CasteelsThe Man with the Spider Scar (Puddles of Sky Press, 2021)ISBN 978-1592913343 | 68 pp, 4.25 x 5.5 in | $20 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY A long-form collage poem that takes the reader on a first-person gunslinging journey, The Man with the Spider Scar offers a tale about a horse thief, split into fifty minimalist poem fragments. It’s a text that’s easy to traverse in a single sitting, galloping on horseback “across

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USEREVIEW 052 (Capsule): Yes, I am a corpse flower

USEREVIEW 052 (Capsule): Yes, I am a corpse flower

Travis SharpYes, I am a corpse flower (knife|fork|book, 2021)ISBN 978-1-989355-27-5 | 108 pp | $20 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY The poetry debut of writer, editor and book artist Travis Sharp and the second full-length collection put out by Toronto independent publisher knife | fork | book, Yes, I am a corpse flower (2021), articulates the ache and bliss that accompany occupying a (queer) body at odds with the (heteronormative, late-capitalist) world. As the book’s

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