Category: Poetry Reviews

A review of Rose Interior by Tracy Ryan

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. 

Mothering machines: Sasha Stiles’ Technelegy

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.

A review of Sapphic Touch edited by Suman Lahiry and Heidi Chappelow

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.

A review of Body Shell Girl by Rose Hunter

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. 

A review of What the River Told Me by Jane Skelton

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.

A review of April at the Ruins by Lawrence Raab

This poem is so mysterious and so wonderful. Literally, it is made of wonder—some kind of dream quality that awakens spaces inside ourselves. I find myself talking to my grandfather (who I never met) whenever I smell cigarette smoke. This feels to be the material that this poem is made from.

A review of Revenants by Adam Aitken

Anyone who has read Adam Aitken’s wonderful memoir One Hundred Letters from Home will be familiar with Aitken’s particular style that encompasses artefact, the living and the dead, dream and waking, memory and loss. Aitken’s latest collection Revenants, picks up on many of those themes from One Hundred Letters Home, as well as the revisiting the setting and timeframes of Aitken’s memoir: his father travelling in the 1950s, writing letters to his mother from Singapore, or moving through Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Thailand, weaving an absence in and out of the poems.

A review of M by Dale Kushner

Every poem is a journey, every journey a poem. M by Dale Kushner is a stunning collection of poems depicting life’s journey in three stages.  The roads of sorrow and suffering, the paths of transformation toward spiritual joy and desire, and the longing to know and feel all that is holy are contained in Kushner’s work. 

A review of City Scattered by Tyler Mills

Tyler Mills’ new poetry chapbook City Scattered is in four voices, like a poetic radio play set in Berlin in 1930 when radio was booming. Mills weaves four voices/characters in an emulation of an old-style radio drama that invites the reader to explore the lives of women at this time in the context of a society dangling on the edge of totalitarianism and a world on fire. Each of the four steady voices throughout the book have poems that enrich the story we are invited into.

A review of Acanthus by Claire Potter

Claire Potter’s Acanthus both draws on mythology and subsumes the intimate and personal into its broader terrain. Potter’s work is consistently compelling, utilising the reservoir of cultural knowledge abundant in mythological stories and heroes.