Mysterious, witty and musical.
Siren, Kateri Lanthier’s astonishing second book, calls us to attention. In her search for what she calls “compelling melancholy,” Lanthier’s new poems not only draw on the ghazal's history as love poetry but remind readers of the dangerous and alluring quality of the ancient form itself. The siren was a lethal yet seductive figure, and that sense of power—and as well as her fast-taking bemusement at her own reputation—is present in lines that marry unnerving dream logic to emotional fearlessness. Siren is an uncompromising achievement: an original style at once mysterious, witty and musical that refines and clarifies the world in consistently surprising ways." Call it playing with fire. Call it connect-the-dots lightning."
Carnal, flamboyant, visceral and bold, Table Manners is a rich meal. Catriona Wright’s debut introduces us to the image of the poet as “gastronaut,” a figure who seems to live entirely between table and a stove and who steeps her surroundings and relationships in complex emotional flavours. “My life,” she writes, “is now tuned to bone marrow donuts and chef gossip. I’m useless at any other frequency.” Wright’s wild narratives are sometimes funny, sometimes frightening and always ravishingly observed. Table Manners is what might have emerged had Julia Child written like Sharon Olds, or if Anthony Bourdain knew his way around a line-break.
“We’re all strangers, even if we think we know each other. Poet Nyla Matuk artfully meditates on our disconnected digital age, while awakening a sensuality to this vulnerable state of unknowing… [She] creates space for the mundane hum of the every day, and opens towards a sense of curiosity. Stranger harnesses the unknown within, and makes it safe to uncover an estranged self.” -Shannon Webb-Campbell, Montreal Review of Books
Based On Actual Events
Taking its inspiration from Melville’s famous line “If man will strike, strike through the mask!”, Based on Actual Events punches through the surface of visible things, grabbing wild at the drifting actual. Calling himself a “a realist in fabulist clothing,” Robert Moore gives us a book-length sequence of sleek, fiercely comic, colloquial poems whose aphoristic storytelling is pegged to a nostalgia for sublimity. His project is to find new frames of reference for our estrangement from the world. With each burst of invention and stylistic high-spiritedness (“So we reverse engineered the awesome and all we got / was this lousy poesy”), Based on Actual Events adds up to be Moore’s best book yet.
The strengths of the collection reside in movement, and Prior’s ability to generate one image and end up somewhere surprising. –Micheline Maylor, The Quill & Quire.
In many ways—the range of interests, quality of language, the attention to rhythm—Prior’s work is a kind of blend of P. K. Page and Karen Solie, but I make those comparisons only to say that his work is already polished and self-assured. –Jay Ruzesky, The Malahat Review.