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 Dooneyscafe.com. 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.