Red Rover, Red Rover, Please send Blomer over

Maxianne Berger (the same surname as my best friend in grade school, no relation) reviewed The Best Canadian Poetry Anthology in English 2008 at Rover Arts.

“Canadian readers can look at our own literature through a Best of lens.

Although only thirty-seven magazines submitted their 2007 issues (several are conspicuously absent — The Dalhousie Review and Geist, for example), Stephanie Bolster, the inaugural guest editor was able to generate a 100-poem long list, with fifty in the book.

The resulting volume means those of us who are not frequent flyers can enjoy Méira Cook’s “A Walker in the City” by turning real pages rather than clicking on the En Route web site. For those who don’t get The Malahat Review, Bolster has selected Aurian Haller’s “Song of the Taxidermist,” which won Malahat’s long poem contest and the 2007 National Magazine Award.

There are quieter poems, like Dani Couture’s “Union Station” in which “[t]he shoulder knows the will of the heart and its way around/ a crowd. The clam-soft give. The crack of the shell.” There is the exhausting muscularity of Carmine Starnino’s “Squash Rackets”, “for they are always spotting something up-range,/ chasing the acrobounding prey until it’s end-stopped by fatigue”. Susan Elmslie’s “Box” offers understated horror. Craig Poile’s “The Blanket”is a love poem, with humour — “[b]ought from (and possibly made of) Canadian Tire[.]”

I’m most grateful for Yvonne Blomer’s “The Roll Call to the Ark”, with its invitation to multiple reading…Lovers of poetry should buy this volume: read some good poems, and encourage the future of this series.”


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