"Inventive, adventurous, humorous, and a lyric aperture onto the strange beauty of the quotidian, pet radish, shrunken is a delight to read. Unified in their unpredictability, these poems explore a range of forms and voices. Pirie rubs words until they spark and fume, turning the common into an uncommon blaze. Every line is joyful in its eccentricities, and eminently re-readable as it tumbles through language."
"Wonderful words emerge from this type of noun play: “hyacinth” (also “hyenas”) revises the negative resonance of the word “homosexuals” within the original fruit machine text. Pirie shows through Oulipo that homosexuals, like hyacinths, are beautiful.[...] If anyone is “vehement” about anything, it is readers who have snapped their pens (or laptops) in half, made furious by the thought that they did not [, could never] write the pet radish, shrunken. ”
"There is an immediacy to the words and the sounds on the page that is both beautiful and poignant. In capturing the in- stances and preserving them for the reader, Pirie seems to make the simple into the ineffable with a few deft strokes.[...]These poems and many others leap out of the page and into the best of Cana- dian poetry, for being purely of a moment and rich with feeling behind the words.[...] Pearl Pirie is a poet truly in love with language and not afraid to show it. ”
"poems full of (often cutting & sardonic) wit, punning, & delight in the odd & transgressive: ‘catch my flown meaning, the broken sticks / that used to be letters you could make sense of [...] Not everything works (for me), but there’s more than enough I can praise here[...] for all this play, she can also turn to a metaphysical poetics of existential awareness, as in ‘scratch the surface.’ One of my favorite poems in the book, it’s beautifully modulated in its almost cosmic understatement, as it moves from ‘a white line along the forearm’ to ‘we, that storm of particles refilling earth. // we, hills, moving, with spines running thru / don’t return to dust. have never left.’ The Pet Radish, Shrunken offers many moments that hold a reader tight, slightly off balance, & glad to be so.”
"the pet radish, shrunken explores and dissects sound, form, and linguistic play, frustrating what Pirie calls embedded sense – the deeper meanings we ascribe to words, and by extension, the world [...] Many of these poems aren’t pretty in a lyrical sense, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because they please the mind in another way. "
"To read the collection solely for its quirky fun would be to sell Pirie short, for her wit is not frivolous but judiciously cut through with sharp takes on contemporary life.[...] The pet radish, shrunken features a poetic bonus in the shape of cover and title page illustrations by Phil Hall, drawings as simultaneously allusive and elusive as Pirie’s work and a very good match for the text. Bringing these two artists together was a good thing indeed; BookThug’s book savvy be praised."
"to utilize poetry as a way to understand how the world works and somehow navigate[...] a collection by a poet with far more confidence and heft, using language as a series of tools in which to facilitate discovery. "
"Pirie's poetry reminds me of early Atwood. Witty and biting at the same time. I haven't read poetry that I have enjoyed like that for a long time."
"Pirie's poems are protean that way, shifting and blurring. These are poems for an age of media that compete with poems, where "the serenading tv & computer screens sing / bombs, toss some open threats & insomnia aids." They flit to express flickering identities, flail to capture relationships.[...] Pirie's produced a poetry of pixels, of images that flash once then are gone."
"virtuosity w/language is something to be/held. Read the pet radish, shrunken now!"
Post-modern. Post-lyric. Sure explorations of journeys outward and onwards, inward lingward and lungward.
"The lyrics populating Ottawa poet Pearl Pirie's new collection, the pet radish, shrunken, buzz with oblique wisdom and surgically sharp wit.[...] the sonnets, tercets and dialogue poems of this new collection strike powerful and deliberate chords even while they frolic and surprise. ”
She'll slip a hard edge into the most carefree poems to knock you out while other lines evoke giggles[...] a radiant union of contemporary situations and classic themes."
"She’s the opposite of boring!”
"Towards the end of the book, Pirie offers some of her poetics in “unpacking some boxes” with the line that has followed me like the friendliest raccoon in the neighbourhood, knocking over my garbage bins and looking at me full of righteous hunger: “this is the poem: the m & the me versus the ory & the sis.” The homophonic pun on verses, often attempted but rarely so well-served, gleams here. For this line alone, you should buy this book. For this line will ratchet up your spine in the best way possible. ”
"'community is not a commodity'. Pearl Pirie has invented a new genre of poetry when it looked like no such thing was possible. Some of the poems in this book read like pastiched out-takes from all the poems that have been edited and cut to make clean, polished gems. Pearl makes of the shaved off bits a better picture of the real state of the state of the state of mind (sic) that usually gets censored or flies over the radar .”
The side project from the book is a generator of matryoshka words at twitter.