Category: Poetry Reviews

A review of Blood from Stone

The collection is an eye opener, poems made in an environment of incarceration and punishment about life ‘Inside’. About jail, about being a prisoner and the fear and danger of prison life. Most of the poems are coruscating and angry and explore issues of life inside, of loss and anger, pleading for real justice and rehabilitation, often displaying a hard wisdom learnt at the hands of corrupt and cruel prison officers.

A review of Letters to a Dead Man by Rosemary Nissen-Wade

Letters to a Dead Man are not letters but prose and poetry about a forbidden love or if not forbidden unethical. This intense love is between a man and a woman is set in Pentridge Prison. Reading the poems it is difficult to decide who was the prisoner and who was the free person. I had my suspicions which were confirmed later.

A review of Be Quiet About Love by Jason Beale

No sentimentality is encountered in Beale poems as he writes about life’s wounds and death. Be Quiet About Love demonstrates a philosophy of life that leans towards acceptance and resignation, often he expresses profound thoughts.

A review of Nightfall Marginalia by Sarah Maclay

Everything is fragile, tenuous, in this world. It’s not threatening or frightening; indeed, a kind of vast resignation suffuses the scene. As the title of the collection, Nightfall Marginalia, suggests, the predominant atmosphere throughout is dusky, dark, and the principal mood is the nocturne – dreamy, romantic.

A review of The China Shelf: New Poems by Jennifer Maiden

There are no notes or glossary, but neither is the book polemical. You are free to make your own conclusions from what comes across essentially, at least to my ignorant mind, as poetic play—full of irreverence and an open sense that we are all pawns in the global power play, and that no matter how powerful these world figures are – whether they be actors, writers, or politicians, it behooves us to pay attention and use our imaginations to engage.

A review of Ordinary Time by Audrey Molloy and Anthony Lawrence

One poet has a ‘time travel machine’ which takes him/her through past and present the other poet writes ethereal intense beautiful words. As I read each poem my mind struggled trying to decide who is he and who is she. I read a few lines and decided, yes this was written by Lawrence, then I read a few more lines and I decided no it was written by Molloy. Finally, I gave up and decided that beautiful poetry does not need a ‘gender’.

A review of Fugitive by Simon Tedeschi

Fugitive is a moving and thought-provoking book. It is pithy and at times, funny, full of minor transgressions, extensive scholarship, music and yes, poetry. There is so much compacted into each of these small pieces and yet Fugitives is airy, with enough space to encompass contradiction, breath and above all, silence, another recurring theme.

A review of Milk cans & cornflowers by Ken Smith

The poems in Ken Smith’s collection, Milk cans & cornflowers, show a love of language that rises above workmanlike prose. The author lets readers experience walks along the St. Lawrence River; shares some of his past, points out striking objects or phenomena, and acknowledges the importance of family, including the “family” of great poets and writers of the past.

A review of Strange Meadowlark by Michael Simms

The music of the poems is suffused by a nuance of idiosyncrasies that leaves one having to learn how to read them, stopping and starting occasionally. But these reveal themselves as integral to the themes. For instance, there’s a conspicuous absence of periods.