The Second Sex (Michael Robbins)

Michael Robbins’s The Second Sex, like his previous collection, Alien vs. Predator, seems to have grown out of a compost heap in which popular culture and the poetic tradition have been tossed aside to rot. Robbins’s style combines a dense, Simpsons-like pace of allusions with extreme formal rigour and a casual, almost careless attitude. Robbins […]

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Designated Mourner (Catherine Owen)

Reading Catherine Owen’s Designated Mourner is uncomfortable and feels wrong. Elegies for a deceased spouse, Owen’s poems are discomforting in the truest sense. This raw, exposed emotion is doubly impressive due to the actual polish of the poems on the craft level. Owen oscillates between simple, stark expressiveness (“We were so perfect / at the […]

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Mockingbird (Derek Webster)

Derek Webster’s Mockingbird examines a death of another sort, with many of the poems tracing the aftermath of a failed marriage. Even vaguer poems, that don’t seem to address this issue, feel loaded against its backdrop: “Libraries burn. / What we thought would last is gone.” However, the best poems call up other poets — […]

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Hera Lindsay Bird (Hera Lindsay Bird)

Hera Lindsay Bird’s self-titled debut, Hera Lindsay Bird, is crammed with shocking and often hilarious imagery, nestled against bare sentiments: “I am falling in love and I don’t know what to do about it / Throw me in a haunted wheelbarrow and set me on fire.” Bird’s introductory poem captures the book’s tone: “I wrote […]

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Harmonics (Jesse Patrick Ferguson)

Harmonics surprised me. I thought I knew Ferguson’s work, from my time editing dandelion, where I published his visual poetry, some of which I used for one of the journal’s more eye-catching covers. When a friend at Freehand said she had acquired his first book of poetry, I assumed too much. I assumed that the […]

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8-Ball Interview with ryan fitzpatrick

ryan fitzpatrick lives in Vancouver and lived in Calgary. He wrote two books of poetry: Fortified Castles (Talonbooks 2014) and Fake Math (Snare, 2007). With Deanna Fong and Janey Dodd, he helped assemble the Fred Wah Digital Archive. He co-edited a questionably funny anthology called Why Poetry Sucks with the guy who runs this website. […]

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8-Ball Interview with concetta principe

concetta principe writes prose poems and creative non-fiction, and writes academic articles exploring the bond between messianism and secularism. This Real is her fourth book of poetry, and, in being a project on love, is a sequel to Hiroshima: A Love War Story. She is Assistant Professor of English at Trent University. I first came […]

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It Is Easier

It is easier to recognize faces than recall names. It is easier to smuggle ivory than drugs. It is easier to pass through the eye of a needle, for me to shoot up than to think. It is easier to write when you are sad.

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