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Thirteenth Issue
Volume 7, No. 1
 





features

O Mordecai, Where Art Thou?
By Juan Rodriguez


fiction

Quebecite: A Jazz Fantasia In Three Cantos
Reviewed by Kelly Murphy

A House By The Sea
Reviewed by Ian McGillis

The Speaking Cure
Reviewed by Mark Heffernan

The Applecross Spell
Reviewed by Eleni Zisimatos Auerbach

Universal Recipients
Reviewed by Eleni Zisimatos Auerbach

Black Bird
Reviewed by X.I. Selene

A Sunday At The Pool In Kigali
Reviewed by Edward R. Smith

Song For My Father
Reviewed by Mary Soderstrom

The Heart Is An Involuntary Muscle
Reviewed by Kim Bourgeois

Another Book About Another Broken Heart
Reviewed by Poppy Wilkinson

Without Cease The Earth Faintly Trembles
Reviewed by Jessica Ticktin


fiction at a glance

After All!
Reviewed by Margaret Goldik

Moosehead Anthology #9: Career Suicide! Contemporary Literary Humour
Reviewed by Ian McGillis


non-fiction

Respectable Burial: Montreal's Mount Royal Cemetery
Reviewed by Margaret Goldik

Shoshanna's Story: A Mother, A Daughter, And The Shadows Of History
Reviewed by Elizabeth Johnston

Louis Riel
Reviewed by Philip Hawes

Tables For One: A Spanish Journal
Reviewed by Sarah Rosenfeld

Practice Imperfect
Reviewed by Joan Eyolfson Cadham

Ha! A Self-murder Mystery
Reviewed by Anne Cimon

Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages
Reviewed by Jill Rollins


non-fiction at a glance

Womankind
Reviewed by Margaret Goldik

A Love Of Reading: The Second Collection
Reviewed by Margaret Goldik

Entering The War Zone: A Mohawk Perspective On Resisting Invasions
Reviewed by Margaret Goldik

Drive I-95: Exit By Exit Info, Maps, History And Trivia
Reviewed by Margaret Goldik

Crooked Smile
Reviewed by Margaret Goldik

Four Hundred Brothers And Sisters
Reviewed by Margaret Goldik

After Notman: Montreal Views - A Century Apart
Reviewed by Ian McGillis



poetry

Snow Formations
Reviewed by Bert Almon

In The Worshipful Company Of Skinners
Reviewed by Bert Almon

Bamboo Church
Reviewed by Bert Almon

An Abc Of Belly Work
Reviewed by Bert Almon




young readers

Emma's Story
Reviewed by Carol-Ann Hoyte

The Mole Sisters And The Fairy Ring
Reviewed by Carol-Ann Hoyte

The Mole Sisters And The Way Home
Reviewed by Carol-Ann Hoyte

Learning With Animals
Reviewed by Carol-Ann Hoyte

Sink Or Swim
Reviewed by Carol-Ann Hoyte

Suki's Kimono
Reviewed by Carol-Ann Hoyte

Peter's Pixie
Reviewed by Carol-Ann Hoyte

A Friend For Sam
Reviewed by Carol-Ann Hoyte

Sam's First Halloween
Reviewed by Carol-Ann Hoyte

Tales Of Court And Castle
Reviewed by Carol-Ann Hoyte

Think For Yourself: A Kid's Guide To Solving Life's Dilemmas And Other Sticky Problems
Reviewed by Carol-Ann Hoyte

Nellie Mcclung: Voice For The Voiceless
Reviewed by Carol-Ann Hoyte




An Abc Of Belly Work
By Peter Richardson
$14
paper 76 pp.
Vehicule Press 1-55065-181-1
poetry

Valuable Cargoes

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New Document Peter Richardson, who is also given to formal neatness, opens The ABC of Belly Work with a poem about his job as an airport cargo handler, the belly being the hold of the plane. Naturally the title poem is filled with lists, a veritable cargo manifest. Perhaps his job shifting objects around has encouraged his use of vivid verbs: they jostle through the collection. Most notable are the verbs in "Coracle," a poem about the birth of a child. The woman in labour is the "hide boat in a gale" and the assisting imminent father is a deckhand. The boat comes through in this joyous poem but only after some slithering and blatting of the child and "reswabbing" of the mother. He also has a very good poem in which the narrator distracts himself from a vasectomy by describing the intricacies of cargo handling to the physician. At the end, the patient is left holding a "wing-shaped bandaid" in place. The other extreme in this wide-ranging book is the powerful, graphic (but not exploitive) "At Hôtel-Dieu," a poem about the suicide of a stepson. The poet seems to have reached a point in middle life when he feels compelled to cast a retrospective eye. Mostly he avoids sentimentality in doing so. A fine example of this kind of poem is "Ten Week Shiatsu Affair," about a brief involvement with what When Harry Met Sally called a "transitional person." Tangerine oil massages from a madcap woman "who played the banjo, smoked DuMauriers and wore a head-scarf" loosen up the narrator's shoulders, which were cramped by the trauma of his ex-wife's affair with "a factory equipment evaluator."

Richardson does not limit himself to the personal. He can write with chilling accuracy about a damselfly eating a deerfly or about the life of "An Imperial Aide (432 A. D.)." The book has some filler near the end, like a tedious poem reworking an anecdote about Deputy Sanchez and Sheriff Hidalgo from a Cormac McCarthy novel. And the "Letter to Our Psychic Mr. Fixit" is an exceedingly long missive to a eccentric handyman who reads Ellery Queen, Madam Blavatsky, Gurdjieff, and Nostradamus while coping with a broken heart. The poem has one very amusing detail: the mystic Gurdjieff supported himself as a student by selling sparrows painted yellow as canaries. The irony at the expense of this eccentric is long and forced. But most of Richardson's book carries valuable cargo.

Bert Almon's newest book, Hesitation Before Birth, was published by Beach Holme Press.