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Véhicule Press - August 28, 2009 - 19 Comments

The Mechanical Bird

The Mechanical Bird by Asa Boxer

Reviewed by Lorette C. Luzajic

It was the title that grabbed me, and as for why, I cannot exactly say. The Mechanical Bird evoked images of a dusty antique toy store or of Ray Bradbury’s machineries. I let myself be led by this random curiousity, into the mechanics of Asa Boxer’s imagination.

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Véhicule Press - May 10, 2009 - 61 Comments

Penny Dreadful

Penny Dreadful by Shannon Stewart

Reviewed by Michelle Miller

Murder is horrifying. And the serial murders of a specific demographic of vulnerable people—like aboriginal women living in Canada’s poorest neighbourhood and making a living from dangerous and stigmatized work—is even more so. And when those murders happen in your community, it’s heart wrenching.

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Véhicule Press - October 09, 2008 - 36 Comments

Standing Wave

Standing Wave by Robert Allen

Reviewed by Joanna M. Weston

Allen surfs through life on a catamaran built of dualities. He rides light and dark, life and death, war and peace, with philosophic looks at each. His references favour present culture—including CNN, Tinkerbell, Satie, Billy Collins, Davey Crockett, and the Titanic—over the past. Yet there are echoes of Shakespeare in the repetition of the north-north-westerly wind direction, with traces of nursery rhymes and the Bible.

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Véhicule Press - October 02, 2008 - 16 Comments

Red Ledger

Red Ledger by Mary Dalton

Reviewed by Michelle Miller

In Red Ledger, Mary Dalton’s fourth book of poetry, she proves her reputation as a smart-talking, sassy, brilliant, funny, proud, insightful hometown Newfoundland gal. In this collection she displays a wonderfully unstodgy maturity in tackling the erotic, the historical and the socio-political environment of her home province in stanzaic poetry, rants and folkloric parables. Relying on conventions like lyric, ode, conversation, epic, classified ad, sestina, litany and oral history storytelling, Dalton’s poems are diverse in style but cohesive in theme. These poems are about place, but they’re also very richly about people. She is at her best when relaying social history with political criticism, mainly because the voices of her characters are so strong and well-represented. This is history the way history should be written – it comes alive – which is unfortunate only because it’s so bleak.

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Véhicule Press - December 19, 2006 - 34 Comments

There, There

There, There by Patrick Warner

Reviewed by Shane Neilson

Patrick Warner is in the manner of an old poet, a poet of reflection. He thinks about things; he shares his thoughts. I know, I know, any poem that’s not borne of thought isn’t worth a damn. But it’s the way these thoughts are written down, it’s the way they are brought up. Consider the anti-consumerism and a mild railing against the state of our suburban communities in “Gumshoe”:

…pumpkins, shamrocks, hearts, and bunnies
signal the year-long consumer obsession,

in this neighborhood where nobody walks,
where in places there are no sidewalks,
where no one seems to notice what I notice
when I walk, and there’s no one to ask…
(11)

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Véhicule Press - September 12, 2006 - 0 Comments

Out to Dry in Cape Breton

Out to Dry in Cape Breton by Anita Lahey

Reviewed by Ian LeTourneau

Anita Lahey’s Out to Dry in Cape Breton is one of the best Canadian poetry debuts I’ve read in a while. Her poems are vividly imagined, technically and formally astute, and stylistically rich.

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Véhicule Press - June 22, 2006 - 26 Comments

The New Canon: An Anthology of Canadian Poetry

The New Canon: An Anthology of Canadian Poetry edited by Carmine Starnino

Reviewed by James Pollock

“Love poems wither,” writes George Elliott Clarke, “in our bleak, stony, / frigid, hostile, brutal Canuck anthologies” (124). The lines are from his poem “Blue Elegies: I. V.” Clarke might as well have been describing what happens to the hopes of the poor jaded readers of those anthologies, who keep going back for more punishment every time a new one appears. There are many people responsible for this: the too easy-going editors, the poets disdainful of their craft, the reviewers and blurb-writers who bury these books with praise. And yet we keep going back because we love poetry so much. We want the poems to be good so badly we are willing to have our hearts broken again, if we must; only let us read the poems and see for ourselves.

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