New Star Blogs

The New Star Review of Reviews


A round-up of recent reviews we’ve detect­ed in the cos­mos…

A recent issue of Cana­di­an Lit­er­a­ture reviews Michael Turn­er’s 9x11, odd­ly paired with a book by Paul Ver­meersh, a poet of con­fes­sion­al lyri­cism.   The review­er doesn’t seem to much like it, maybe .. . didn’t real­ly GET the book.

Nice­ly pre­sent­ed though on a copy-pas­ta about the Koote­nay School of Writ­ing (all these years lat­er, that KSW patch still scares), it’s a nov­el read­ing of both Turner’s book and the com­mu­ni­ty it’s root­ed in.

Pre­vi­ous­ly, Jonathan Ball reviewed for the Win­nipeg Free Press , along­side a book by anoth­er old up-and-com­er. “Turner’s a nation­al trea­sure — bril­liant, strange, dark and even fun­ny, wry even at his most sen­ti­men­tal — and 9 x 11 has a stark ele­gance,” says Ball. Final­ly, poet Shazia Hafiz Ramji reviewed it for the Geor­gia Straight, declar­ing  “… may as well be a guide to liv­ing in Van­cou­ver right now.”

Michael’s poem “I Ran to Per­sia” (not in the book) is Dusie Poem No. 308, and it’s a doozie.

John Har­ris, retired Eng­lish prof (Col­lege of New Cale­do­nia), Coleridge schol­ar, and long-time observ­er of Can­lit — he wrote a book about George Bow­er­ing and his Work way back in ‛88, and it’s still in print!—has writ­ten a long and infor­ma­tive piece about Some End / West Broad­way, by Georges Stan­ley and Bow­er­ing, which appeared last month on Bri­an Faw­cett-owned-and-oper­at­ed  It’s right here.

The pre­vi­ous issue of Cana­di­an Lit­er­a­ture ran a review / notice real­ly of Sharon The­sen’s The Receiv­er, along­side Rever­ies of a Soli­tary Bik­er, by Catri­ona Strang. Stick­ing more close­ly to the journal’s role of report­ing on recent writ­ing & pub­li­ca­tion, Hilary Clark’s review is more in the way of an unin­fect­ed descrip­tion of Thesen’s “uncan­ny poet­ics of recep­tion”, and inves­ti­gates the paths tak­en and deci­sions made by the poet to find her voice for the col­lec­tion.

On the lit­er­ary webzine Emp­ty Mir­ror, Ali Znai­di has done a deep dive into rob mclen­nan’s A perime­ter, notic­ing a lot in his slow, per­cep­tive read­ing that might oth­er­wise have got­ten away. “mclennan’s poet­ry is clear­ly an exam­ple for a work of art that looks for new pos­si­bil­i­ties of mean­ing beyond “the post­mod­ern con­di­tion,” writes Znai­di. “Con­tain­ing seeds of rev­o­lu­tion­ary acts and polit­i­cal posi­tions (in a non-rad­i­cal way) mclen­nan mas­ter­ful­ly explores the fis­sures in the psy­che and the cracks in the walls in this hos­tile world of now.”

Who says there are no sec­ond acts in Amer­i­can lives?  Oh, right.  Amer­i­can lives.  Doesn’t apply to any­body else. Svend Robin­son’s re-emer­gence onto Canada’s polit­i­cal stage is a sec­ond act that has seemed as inevitable as that guy pick­ing up the gun that some­one else absent­mind­ed­ly left on the man­tel­piece back in the first act.  And so, of course, has “Don’t for­get the ring!” Well.  Graeme Tru­elove’s excel­lent 2013 polit­i­cal biog­ra­phy, Svend Robin­son: A Life In Pol­i­tics, pro­vides a use­ful reminder of Robinson’s con­tri­bu­tions to Cana­da, and to the New Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty and its activism on behalf of work­ing-class Cana­di­ans.  And, yes, it deals with the ring thing too, a whole chap­ter devot­ed to it in fact.