Saturday 20 June 2009

Some recent reviews I've written for the Globe & Mail

Love Outlandish by Barry Dempster

" could be argued that love has been the principal subject matter of poetry since we began writing it, and from Solomon to Sappho, from Shakespeare to Sexton, many poets have made it their specialty. To that long list we may now add Barry Dempster.

Love Outlandish
, Dempster's 10th collection of poetry, contains (let me count the ways) exactly 60 poems, and each one aspires to approach the well-charted subject of love from a new direction. In order to accomplish this feat, there are at least 4,000 years' worth of sap, sentiment and cliché to navigate around. It's a very tall order."

Read the rest of my review here.

This Way Out by Carmine Starnino

"What is surprising is how much more free-wheeling and playful Starnino the poet seems to be than Starnino the critic. For example, the poem Doge's Dungeon brilliantly uses this emoticon (:-o) as a kind of conceptual end-rhyme with the word “terror.” And the poem Heavenography is a stream-of-consciousness prose poem about “working-class” clouds. It's a rollicking, surrealist vaudeville of a poem that has more in common with experimentalist sensibilities than Starnino the critic might like to admit, but its jazzy freeform lightheartedness suits the poet so well that we should all hope he'll write more like it soon.

I like this version of Carmine Starnino best: the good-natured poet, full of beans, approaching his aesthetics with an air of carefree mischief. It's so refreshing, one has to wonder..."

Read the rest of my review here.

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