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 #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 walked into this

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CAROUSEL 45 out now!

CAROUSEL 45 out now!

The summer 2021 issue of CAROUSEL is available to read for free at our website now! Summer 2021; released exclusively online Cover artwork by Amy Friend Design by Origin Obscure Art Portolio — Amy Friend Fiction — Shaelin Bishop— Dawn Lo— Thaddeus Rutkowski— Isabelle Teo Poetry — Courtney Bates-Hardy— Gregory Betts— Kate Cayley— Natasha Kessler + Adam Day— Annick MacAskill— Jessi MacEachern— Mickey Mahan— Carol Harvey Steski— Bronwen Tate— Carl Watts— Yvonne CHAIN Response Poetry

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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 #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 emotional tenor of

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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 #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 form of countless

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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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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 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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USEREVIEW 023 (Capsule): The Knowing Animals

USEREVIEW 023 (Capsule): The Knowing Animals

Emily Skov-NielsenThe Knowing Animals (Brick Books, 2020)ISBN 978-1-771315333 | 104 pp | $20 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Emily Skov-Nielsen’s debut poetry collection, The Knowing Animals (Brick Books, 2020), integrates the small, prosaic dramas of mundanity (“I’m bent over the cutting board slicing tomatoes / with a serrated knife — deciding if I should leave you”) and luxuriously lyrical imagery (“coltsfoot clambers / from concrete clefts, groundlings of the groundsel tribe, / lovers of rifts and shambles, larvae

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USEREVIEW 020 (Capsule): Cosmic Bowling

USEREVIEW 020 (Capsule): Cosmic Bowling

Cornelia Hoogland and Ted GooddenCosmic Bowling (Guernica Editions, 2020)ISBN 978-1-771835374 | 156 pp | $20 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Cornelia Hoogland and Ted Goodden’s Cosmic Bowling (Guernica Editions, 2020) pairs Hoogland’s brief, meditative poems with Goodden’s humanoid ceramic sculptures to form a collaborative, multidisciplinary ekphrastic response to the I Ching. This book is the product of two practised artists, and both poems and sculptures have an unassuming, quotidian, near-directness about them, a quality of commonsense wisdom rendered

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USEREVIEW 017 (Capsule): Mythical Man

USEREVIEW 017 (Capsule): Mythical Man

David LyMythical Man (Palimpsest Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-989287354 | 70 pp | $18.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Reading David Ly’s Mythical Man (Palimpsest Press, 2020) feels not unlike being on late-night Twitter, where text slips between gossip and discourse, where a quippy tone is an obvious filter for latent ennui. This debut collection is young and lustful, tech-savvy and oppression-aware. The poems in it that interested me most were the ones slightly removed from realism, that indulged a

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USEREVIEW 015 (Capsule): Swimmers in Winter

USEREVIEW 015 (Capsule): Swimmers in Winter

Faye GuentherSwimmers in Winter (Invisible Publishing, 2020)ISBN 978-1-988784502 | 208 pp | $19.95 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Faye Guenther’s Swimmers in Winter (Invisible Publishing, 2020) has a title that accurately bespeaks its tone — there is a chill to these three sets of paired-off stories that is, by turns, invigorating and lulling. But there is also a clarity in the prose, like cold water free of rose-eyed summer. Though this is Guenther’s debut collection of short fiction,

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USEREVIEW 014 (Capsule): Tiny Ruins

USEREVIEW 014 (Capsule): Tiny Ruins

Nicole Haldoupis Tiny Ruins (Radiant Press, 2020)ISBN 978-1-989274385 | 88 pp | $20 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY How many novels do you get to read that are composed entirely of linked flash fiction? That alone is reason enough to peruse Nicole Haldoupis’ debut, Tiny Ruins (Radiant Press, 2020). The action is largely commonplace — anecdotes of minor embarrassments that threaten to become neuroses, ambivalent infatuations, prickling familial conflicts — the sort of tales we tell only our

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