The poet skilfully describes how youth and dreams are lost quickly as the result of hard work, becoming part of the machine: “I see myself resembling this cast iron.” Iron is in her hands, in her mind, in her verses, iron controls her life. Anonymity, monotony, boredom, pain and exploitation are observed with poetic care; politics into poetry.
The poet has the ability to immerse herself in nature, her senses capture the beauty that surround us whether at the beach, in a forest or in her own garden. For example, a little rock falls at her feet, she picks it up and she reads its secrets, its past, she hears its voice and she treasures it. Keating has the skill to draw pictures with words bringing to the reader very vivid descriptions.
Taking on a legend is never an easy task, and the Arthurian legend is ages old and feels as if it were set in stone. In her collection of poems giving voice to Arthurian Things, Melissa Ridley Elmes has undertaken to add to the canon of Arthuriana poems that imagine voices, tell tales, and create scenes in which the once-and-future King Arthur and his knights are endowed with humor and humanity.
In LeBlanc’s poetry, grief enters through the senses, often the sense of taste. The collection is imbued with flavors. While I read, they lingered on my tongue. In some of the poems, the flavors are bitter and reflect the bitterness of loss and injustice. The prose poem “Expired” takes us through the journey of cleaning out the spice cupboard, of searching out the jars past their expiration dates.
In Beatriz Copello’s powerful and imaginative poetry collection Witches, Women & Words, witches are seers, healers and instigators of change who are capable of restoring balance both to society and to the individual. They embody that intuitive and creative side of ourselves that reveals a deeper truth. The poems are visceral, full of irony and wisdom, taking the reader on a transformative journey that ultimately expresses hope.
Ryan’s poems in Rose Interior explores inner space as well as the outside world of plants and animals, real or imagined, relationships, experiences and feelings. It is an exquisite and transformative collection.
Whispers are words made gentler and Stiles whispers to her readers throughout Technelegy. As importantly, in Promethean fashion, her whispers are giving life to a new existence. Technelegy is the name of Stiles’ AI alter-ego. Built using a text generator called GPT-3, it draws on existing texts, borrows grammatical structures and vocabulary, and creates anew.
Having edited three anthologies and coedited two others I know by experience what an intense and complicated job it is to compile and edit them. The editors have done a fantastic job, I really appreciated that they were ethnically inclusive and selected not only well-known poets but also emergent and new ones.
Told in vivid verse form, she recounts her reluctant initiation into the sex industry in Toronto, in response to her stark economic circumstance – always a means to an end – through the collapse of her dreams of film school and a career in filmmaking, her hardening into “the life,” to her resignation that sex work is all her life will ever amount to.
Family memories, and what is said and not said, flow through the pages in poems with a tight narrative and strong sense of truth. Reading the poems, I felt like I was entering into a temple where images, sounds and thoughts intermingled in an exuberant and exotic dance of words.