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 Rasqira 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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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 022: Between the Body and the Mind

USEREVIEW 022: Between the Body and the Mind

Melanie Power looks at, and beyond, the mesmerizing lyricism of Emily Skov-Nielsen’s debut poetry collection The Knowing Animals (Brick Books, 2020) in this traditional review. With a steady hand, Power unearths the ecological concerns, the philosophical preoccupations, and the sharp snark from beneath the stunning surface of these poems. ISBN 978-1-771315333 | 104 pp | $20 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY As cerebral as they are embodied, these poems marry the ecological and the personal. The book is

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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 019: Playing with the Universe

USEREVIEW 019: Playing with the Universe

In this exuberant traditional review, Julie McIsaac traces the metaphysical, mythological and scientific lineage of Cosmic Bowling, a collaborative art and poetry collection by Cornelia Hoogland and Ted Goodden (Guernica Editions, 2020), while simultaneously imitating the spirit of playful wonder that animates the book.  ISBN 978-1771835374 | 156 pp | $20 CAD #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Cosmic Bowling by Cornelia Hoogland and Ted Goodden was released in 2020 as part of Guernica Editions’ Essential Poets Series. The collection

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USEREVIEW 018: Dwelling in the Organic

USEREVIEW 018: Dwelling in the Organic

Mark Laliberte transliterates visual poems into text in this traditional review of Sacha Archer’s third full-length collection, Mother’s Milk (Timglaset Editions, 2020). Balancing considerations of both the sensory impact of the works with their articulated thematic preoccupations, Laliberte brings his twin literary and artistic expertise to bear in a way that contextualizes and enlivens Archer’s book. ISBN 978-91-985539-0-1 | 84 pp | €16.00 #CAROUSELreviews#USEREVIEWEDNESDAY Mother’s Milk is an essential collection of Canadian creator Sacha Archer’s

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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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