News:

Poetry Zine Review: 6×6: they say triangle

6×6 #35: they say triangle
Poetry Zine, Kim Hunter, Anna Gurton-Wachter, Judith Goldman, Bridget Talone, Ted Dodson, & Katy Lederer, 56 pgs, Ugly Duckling Presse, uglyducklingpresse.org, $6

This penultimate issue of Ugly Duckling Presse’s long-running magazine is as much a treat in its physical assembly as it is in the poetry contained. The magazine, which features six authors per issue (but mysteriously measures 7” x 7”) is set on wide-margin cream paper, wrapped in a stylish letterpress-printed blue jacket, and bound with a

Read more: Poetry Zine Review: 6×6: they say triangle

Book Review: Arms From the Sea

Arms From the Sea, Rich Shapero, 193 pgs, TooFar Media, richshapero.com, $9.99 USD

 

Rich Shapero is best known for having made a lot of money doing the California tech thing and then using some of that money – what would be a fortune to most of us – to self-publish, market and distribute a book called Wild Animus. Years ago my uncle gave me a copy of Wild Animus, with an accompanying themed music CD, which he had been given for free at, I believe, an airport. If I remember correctly the main guy has an ecstasy-epiphany involving a jet of lava and a deer antlers hat.

Arms From the Sea wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong, it’s terrible; it’s just that much of the time his prose is quite decent when limited to physical description. “’Where are you taking me?’ Lyle asked the bird. It turned toward him, copper eye glaring, impenetrable. The beak looked weathered, carved from fossilized bone. The jowls trembled as if about to speak, then the neck feathers bristled and the bird faced forward.” Not bad!

Lyle, the protagonist, is a masculine dissident in a typical dystopia, which is called Salt because there’s salt everywhere. He carves sea creatures out of blocks of salt, memorializing a precedent sea civilization. He then has a drug/dream/shock therapy/actual entry into a spiritual realm thing, whereby he ends up in the sea heaven place and has repetitious interactions with a god that talks like a corporate spiritualist Life Coach.

Shapero has nothing to say yet is constantly trying to be profound. His world is artificial, more magic than realism, with a creation story that makes no significant reference to any pre-existing creation mythology. So we learn less about ourselves than about made-up sea creatures.

Rich Shapero does have some skill with language, and a lot of ambition, and ought to devote it to a novel about the tech bubble in the early 2000s. He knows about that and his overheated imagination might render a real event vivid and surreal in a good way. I’d read that novel.

 

Chapbook Review: Vertex/Vertigo

Vertex / Vertigo
Chapbook, John Oughton, 24 pgs, big-pond-rumours.com, $10

Vertex / Vertigo presents its audience with an interestingly Canadian vision. Some of the poems play with stereotypical Canadian images and concepts. “For Mr. Hockey,” is a tribute to Gordie Howe and to Death, “in his black and white stripes.” There’s a dark sense of humour that playfully undercuts these references, which might be rather boring otherwise. And yet, there are also works that possess a more serious tone. “Grey Sky,” for example, makes no attempt to blandish its skeptical

Read more: Chapbook Review: Vertex/Vertigo

Fun with Crowdfunding: Emerging Indigenous Voices


[image via the indiegogo page]

In the wake of the #appropriationprize controversy, it’s more important than ever that we find ways to support Indigenous creators and people of clour in telling their own stories. While white media power elites were able to toss around large quantities of money to found a prize that is an affront to all people of colour and to decency in general, if we are able to contribute even a small amount to causes that directly counteract the forces of racism and appropriation in CanLit, we should.

Already, the Emerging Indigenous Voices Prize has crowdfunded far beyond it’s goal, but I think it’s crucial that we keep donating it to show that despite the power hierarchies that keep them at the top for now, that the folks organizing to oppose racism and structural inequality in the arts are much larger, much more powerful, and much more organized than they ever expected. The clock is ticking!

So I encourage you to check out this prize, which “was created  to help support and nurture the work of indigenous youth. The award is crowd funded because every person, big or small, wealthy or modest in means, can make a difference. We are all the richer when there is space for all of our voices to join the conversation.”

Donate if you can here.

Chapbook Review: Sex Made Me

Sex Made Me
Chapbook, Elianna Lev, write@eliannalev.com, $10

Elianna Lev explores intimacy, inadequacy, infatuation, infidelity, and other ins and out of sexuality in Sex Made Me, a book of poetry consisting of two chapbooks. The collection is diverse in form, its poems ranging from two lines to a page, the content spanning illustrations in pseudo-comic format and an excerpt from an unpublished interview with sex therapist Tammy Nelson on infidelity. That variety is the book’s strength as well as its weakness.
Some of the best pieces in the collection are the short,

Read more: Chapbook Review: Sex Made Me

Litzine Review: love scene in miniature

love scene in miniature
Litzine, S. Howe., $5
Do you know why people hate poetry? I do. People hate poetry because it makes you work. Even simple poems have layers we can’t unlock until we’ve experienced more life. Most people are going to hate Howe’s Long poem; LSIM. Howe makes you work hard as they describe every detail of a sexual encounter using unyielding symbolism, with literal language sparsely sprinkled throughout. This type of poetry is almost impossible to critique, for

Read more: Litzine Review: love scene in miniature