A review of American Seoul by Helena Rho

A language constitutes a world; that idea is significant in Rho’s memoir.  She goes into a Korean shop for lunch with her daughter, and a woman working there encourages her to speak Korean, as does a woman, a minister’s wife, with whom Rho talks on the phone about lessons in Korean for her daughter and son. Growing up, she didn’t speak Korean with her parents. 

A review of Lyon Street by Marc Zegans

For our poet, each of the women who appear in this collection are more than characters. Each one is also an encounter to be reckoned with, an archetype, someone to be understood at a deeper level. The poem concludes with the poet wondering if this “carnival life” was “…a perfect faith that this was forever..” until he and company then “…ambled across Broadway down Columbus…climbed the secret stairs to Apple and Eve,// saw the dancing girl with the welts on her thighs,/ and realized, all this was not just play.”

A review of Women Winning Office by Peggy Nash

Should a woman run as an independent, or as a candidate for a recognized party?  In Canadian municipal politics, everyone is an independent in theory.  At the provincial and federal levels, most successful candidates have a party affiliation.  Nash acknowledges that independent candidates are free of strong central control and vetting; adherence to policy and discipline, and the nomination process that a party requires

An interview with Jeff Seitzer

The author of The Fun Master talks about his new book, about being a stay-at-home dad, how his own neurological experience both helped and hindered him in managing his son Ethan’s special needs, the best (and worst) parenting advice he received, what changed for him as a stay-at-home dad after Ethan passed away, how he came to write the book, and lots more.

A review of Enclave by Claire G Coleman

The book opens like a cracked mirror to our modern society, but it’s not quite a dystopia.  The key twist in the book is so good I will resist the urge to signal it, but there are many twists in the book, moving across a terrain which takes on any number of possible futures displayed simultaneously, with humour, precision, and a poetic grace so smooth it’s easy to glide over its surface on a first reading.

A review of The Circle That Fits by Kevin Lichty

In a vignette-based narrative that takes us from Daniel’s childhood through early adulthood, we find moments of surrealism amid vivid violence within a delicate, rhythmic language that supports the wonder and naivety of the narrator. Daniel’s first circle is drawn by his father, a literal circle in the soil his father says is “all the room you have now” and forms a boundary on his grief after his mother leaves the family.

A review of The Pit by Tara Borin

The Pit is vulnerable. Every character is one that you might know and put a face to. None are foreign or fantastical and in that way, friendly yet tragic in the same breath, quickly urging sympathy from the reader. Just as a pub is a collector of escapists and thrill-seekers, it is routinely a home for the broken and suffering. The manner in which Borin curates a motif of safety is endearing and compliments the beauty of The Pit.

A review of Walking the Labyrinth by Pamela Wax

An ordained rabbi, Pamela Wax’s poems are steeped in ethical concerns and Jewish tradition and practice. “I keep getting books about character,” “Not Moses,” “Bad Girl” and others address her sense of coming up short, failing in her duties as a sister and a daughter, as a human being. One’s responses to grief are complex and often contradictory.

An Interview with Rudy Ruiz

The author of Valley of Shadows talks about his new book and its relation to his previous book, the historical events that inspired the book his protagonists, the role of the U.S.-Mexico border in Valley of Shadows, his advocacy, magic realism, his themes, and much more.

A review of Pentimento by Daniel Ionita

There are angels, demons, Death with a capital D, a plot against Santa Claus, and potato salad, all playing off one another with exuberance. Though occasionally confronting, Pentimento is a charming, inventive, smart and slightly audacious collection that will delight all but the most squeamish readers.