Author Archives: Douglas Barbour

Jenna Butler’s visionary voyage into the Arctic.

Jenna Butler. Magnetic North: Sea Voyage to Svalbard. (University of Alberta Press 2018). Although published in UofAPress’s ‘Wayfarer’ travel narrative series, Magnetic North reads as a sequence of meditational prose poems exploring one extraordinarily sensitive creative mind’s encounter with the … Continue reading

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Michael Ondaatje’s extrardinary play of warlight & shadow

Michael Ondaatje. Warlight. (McClelland & Stewart 2018). Set in early post-WW2 London to begin with, told from the point-of-view of a young man in his late 20s writing in 1959, Warlight takes up the tropes of mystery, spy thriller, & … Continue reading

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Jennifer Still plays the silences

Jennifer Still. Comma. (BookThug 2017). As a sign of just how large & crowded the poetry scene, just in Canada, is, although she has published 2 previous books & been nominated for many awards, Comma is my first encounter with … Continue reading

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Stephen Cain raises his ante & his anti- in False Friends

Stephen Cain. False Friends. (BookThug 2017). In his first full length collection in over a decade, & playing off the multilingual opposition contained in his title, Stephen Cain offers hifalutin (& low) games, lots of play on & with various … Continue reading

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Firebreaks: John Kinsella’s eocpoetic homecoming.

John Kinsella. Firebreaks. (Norton 2016). The Australian writer, John Kinsella, has earned an international reputation as a poet both progressive & traditional, exploring innovative or more conventional forms, depending on what each book ends up being, ‘about’. Firebreaks, his latest, … Continue reading

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For Claire Kelly, maunder is an active verb

Claire Kelly. Maunder. (Palimpsest Press 2017). According to The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, ‘maunder’ refers to both speaking & walking, the former ‘in a dreamy or rambling manner,’ the latter ‘listlessly or idly.’ Well, the poems in Maunder, Clair Kelly’s first … Continue reading

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Sandra Ridley does the elegy as dark construction

Sandra Ridley. Silvija. (BookThug 2016). About midway through this volume of shorter serial poems making up a single longer one, we read: ‘Decide what to keep.’ In many ways this is the mandate of the whole book, a book the … Continue reading

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