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)ISBN978-1-98873-283-1 | 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, hidden

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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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USEREVIEW 048 (Capsule): Talking to a Portrait: Tales of an Art Curator

USEREVIEW 048 (Capsule): Talking to a Portrait: Tales of an Art Curator

Rosalind M. PepallTalking to a Portrait: Tales of an Art Curator (Véhicule Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-55065-541-4 | 224 pp | $22.95 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY In Talking to a Portrait, Rosalind M. Pepall employs a prose style that combines personal essay with art history to recount notable stories that unfurled during her decades as a curator for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. None of this is within my areas of expertise, and so I

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USEREVIEW 046 (Capsule): Blood Rises

USEREVIEW 046 (Capsule): Blood Rises

David HaskinsBlood Rises (Guernica Editions, 2020)ISBN 978-1-77183-538-1 | 144 pp | $20 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Blood Rises is an apt title for the latest poetry collection from longtime figure in the literary scene, David Haskins. These poems are rich in lifeblood — the substance that rises to the skin at the sight of injustice, that brightens the cheek during unstoppable laughter, that pulses on insistently in the face of death and grief. The

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USEREVIEW 045 (Capsule): Anthesis

USEREVIEW 045 (Capsule): Anthesis

Sue GoyetteAnthesis (Gaspereau Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-554472-10-9 | 80 pp | $19.95 CAD — BUY Here #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY It was difficult for me, while reading Sue Goyette’s Anthesis, not to compare it to her earlier poetry collection The Brief Reincarnation of a Girl (Gaspereau Press, 2015), which likewise recounts childhood trauma. The difference between the books is that the factual events that form the basis of The Brief Reincarnation of a Girl are readily discoverable in the

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USEREVIEW 044 (Capsule): Ghost Tracks

USEREVIEW 044 (Capsule): Ghost Tracks

Sneha Subramanian KantaGhost Tracks (Louisiana Literature Press, 2020)ISBN 978-0-94508-351-1 | 30 pp | $8.95 USD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY There are ghosts everywhere in Kanta’s chapbook of poetry. The ghosts “freckle silence” and “remove fishhooks from animal bodies” and are “carried on the wind” with “hands full of flowers.” We are told by the title to expect tracks, traces, as if the ghosts were deer disappearing into the woods, but instead the ghosts are moving about in front

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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 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 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 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 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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