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Reviews

Frontenac House - March 17, 2008 - 0 Comments

The Lightness Which Is Our World, Seen From Afar

The Lightness Which Is Our World, Seen From Afar by Ven Begamudré

Reviewed by Marie Powell

I don’t mind a book that makes me work a little. If I did, I wouldn’t read Canadian poetry.

To set my biases out front: I took a writing class from Ven Begamudré many years ago. I didn’t get to know him well – he’s not the kind of guy you play caps with in the bar, if you know what I mean – but he impressed me as a quiet and intelligent man. His keen sense of humor kept us all laughing in class, too.

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Frontenac House - July 27, 2007 - 6 Comments

Pearl

Pearl by Nancy Jo Cullen

Reviewed by M. Maylor

In this tale told in poems, a mug shot, a preamble, and a Calgary address introduce Pearl Miller, a notorious early twentieth century madam. She’s set up shop west of the famous King Edward hotel and is doing a swinging business. The chronological tale follows Pearl on her move from B. C. and explores her quest for survival in her new line of work. Pearl’s character is revealed through detail, imagistic lines and short narratives as the story proceeds towards her inevitable downfall at the hands of ‘Those young men, / Constables Ritchie and Timms.’ Following her arrest, during a quick stint in Fort Saskatchewan jail, Pearl finds The Man and salvation.

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Frontenac House - July 10, 2007 - 26 Comments

Rhyming Wranglers: Cowboy Poets of the Canadian West

Rhyming Wranglers: Cowboy Poets of the Canadian West Selected by Ken Mitchell

Reviewed by Richard Stevenson

First a confession: I’m not a huge fan of cowboy poetry.  My academic training in literature and creative writing has made me that city slicker cowboy poets like to make fun of: the guy who barely knows one end of the horse from the other, let alone how to saddle a horse or wrangle anything.  My attempts at herding amount to letting the cats and dogs in and out of the house to do their business, letting them out in the morning, callin’ my “dogies” home at night from the front porch. I’ve ridden horses a handful of times, and once hard-reigned my hoss left and flew right – right into the trunk of a very large, very unforgiving Douglas fir tree.  Ah yes, I know the flora of which I speak: I wore a bruise from hip to thigh for at least a week afterward and hobbled around the Flying U Guest Ranch like Festus Hagen.  Only horse lineament, in fact, broke up the pooled blood and gave me any free range of movement.  My tastes, not surprisingly, tend to lean toward the academic stuff you tend to find in literary magazines and on literary web sites: free verse, long on schemes and tropes, indirection; short on linear narrative expression.

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Frontenac House - March 11, 2007 - 250 Comments

bulletin from the low light

bulletin from the low light by j. fisher

Reviewed by Liam Ford

j. fisher’s bulletin from the low light is “Frontenac’s first blog book from fisher’s popular blog of the same name” (jfisher.frontenachouse.com).  I’d read some fisher before, and enjoyed his distinctive voice — a wordy Bukowski on his first whisky drunk.  I liked his political incorrectness and his brash, confident, drunken word-swagger.  I liked his alliterative, rapid-fire pseudo-slam poetics.  I liked how he seemed to not really give a fuck, and how he wrote about drinking like his death depended on it.

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Frontenac House - August 17, 2006 - 0 Comments

Invisible Foreground

Invisible Foreground by David Bateman

Reviewed by Jenn Houle

David Bateman’s Invisible Foreground is easily among the most interesting and enjoyable poetic collections I have read since the turn of the millennium. I was worried, when I first opened it, and saw the many long, free verse installments ahead of me.  I could tell by the book’s layout that I was in for a long, conversational interlude.  I was in for anecdotes, story and spin, and this unnerved me, because, unfortunately, this is a style of poetry that has been going largely wrong for many years now, maybe since the 70s, when English-language poets could still confess and consider at length and not be in any sort of shamed rush about it.  It looked like the sort of poetry which might get reviewed as “rollicking” or “free-wheeling”.  I also noted the presence of two double-columned poems, another form I have rarely found to be engaging—the mirroring attempted so frequently serves only to disorient.

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Frontenac House - June 08, 2006 - 1 Comment

A Bad Year for Journalists

A Bad Year for Journalists by Lisa Pasold

Reviewed by Kris Brandhagen

Lisa Pasold’s A Bad Year for Journalists is about the travels of a male writer and a female photographer, and is an attempt to capture the interactions between the two journalists and the world around them. As a writer/photographer I was eager to crack its pages.

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Frontenac House - May 08, 2006 - 0 Comments

Re:Zoom

Re:Zoom by Sheri-D Wilson

Reviewed by Marissa Ranello

Re:Zoom  is a highly readable journey into a cultural labyrinth. Sheri-d Wilson does not blanch from crossing the imaginary line between Canada and the United States. Her poems are both as American as apple pie and as Canadian as Alberta beef.

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Frontenac House - March 13, 2006 - 0 Comments

Puti/White

Puti/White by Patria Rivera

Reviewed by Robert Price

We live in a world of surplus. The problem with surplus is one of displacement: too much of one thing excludes another. Eat too much and you’ll lose your swiftness. Listen to too much heavy metal and you’ll lose your sense of silence (unless you lose your hearing first). The same is true with poetry. Publish too many books and you’ll lose sight of the good stuff.

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Frontenac House - March 08, 2006 - 0 Comments

Between the Silences

Between the Silences by Diane Buchanan

Reviewed by Helen Zisimatos

Between the Silences (Frontenac House 2005), by Diane Buchanan, is devoted to courts and the legal system. With an echo of Foucault’s relations of power in the background, the book alerts us to the many different relationships between society and its members. The book, as a whole, is a sharp portrayal of various court cases, ranging from youth trials to family trials to murder trials to mental health cases.

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