I’m going to try to stay on top of books read this year, which is not say slipping on them underfoot.

6 days, 6 books.

  1. All I Have is the Moment: An interview with Barry Dempster by Maureen Scott Harris & Maureen Hynes (A Fieldnotes chapbook, 2020)
    • If you are interested in Dempster’s work, or artistic process, or biography, this is a must read. I read it all silently, then again aloud. It has a lot of food for thought. It is comforting to know that he only consciously got under his poems in his 40s and 50s.
  2. These Days, issue #7, edited by Jeff Blackman (Dec 2020)
    • I did not know Ottawa had an ongoing zine. I’ve been out of the loop but Meet the Presses videoed a talk on its start.
    • This eclectic old-style cut and paste and photocopy zine has poetry, drawing, an interview and a puzzle. Psst, they have a Patreon page.
  3. Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020)
    • This was an intense 444 pages, divided into 3 acts in this fantasy novel, set on an alternate earth with something that may remind you of the Catholic church. The female-god’s infrastructure rules with an iron fist. That falls so short of conveying the suspense and dexterous use of the genre to postulate new options.
  4. Ghost Face by Greg Santos (DC Books, 2020)
    • Admission: I have his other 2 books and have been waiting for this one. It takes a turn for the personal from the surreal. I wouldn’t say hodgepodge of style, more mosaic. Some stellar lines and memorable poems, a soft spot of course is his haibun for his dead father, that being a project I do.
  5. 70 Kippers: The Dagmar Poems by Michael Dennis and Stuart Ross (Proper Tales Press, 2020)
    • This book is like a 1930s movie in snappy turns of dialogue, movie references and cinematographic images. The play and poke, chime and support of the poems as they evolve in alternating lines is a thing of beauty.
  6. Sprawl: the time it took us to forget by Manahil Bandukwala & Conyer Clayton (Collusion Books, 2020)
    • I think this is a form they evolved together, echoing and turning on lines each repeats in a collaborative exploration, in the end backforming a sort of villanelle of the repeating touchstones. I can’t summarize it but it did bring tears to my eyes so it is doing some poetic work.