Author: FreeFall

Book review of “Morning After You” by Carmelo Militano

gillian harding-russell a review of Morning After You By Carmelo Militano Ekstasis Editions (2014) ISBN 978-177-10343 Carmelo Militano writes from the perspective of an immigrant to Canada from Calabria, Italy whose landscape shares some similarities to the prairies in summer but provides more of a contrast in winter. As well as the freshness inherent in being a foreigner, Militano’s eye for detail and his imagist approach work together with a fondness for unexpected angles and surrealistic effects. Frequent allusions to English literature combined with homely images from his native Calabria weave irony and a layer of suggestion, and lend sophistication and a European homeliness to classical effect. Whereas in“ The Atlas” Militano uses a metaphysical conceit in the manner of Donne’s iconic image in “The Compass,” in “Bus stop, Main and Logan,” the poet builds the poem on an allusion to Ezra Pound’s “In a station of the metro.” Meanwhile, in “Winnipeg Noir,” a piling and patchwork of literary allusions is reminiscent of T. S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland.” Altogether there is a natural grace and …

Book review of “The New World” by Andrew Motion

Nikki Celis A review of The New World By Andrew Motion The Crown Publishing Group ISBN 978-0-8041-3845-1 “Pride, I suppose. Stubbornness. Greed. Some defect in myself, which proves I am my father’s son and also the son of Adam.” – Jim Hawkins, in Motion, Andrew. The New World. New York: Crown Publishers, 2015. Print. Greed, a concept so familial with the psyche, is something that yearns to be satiated through our actions, whether it is to the benefit of others or not. It is thus both destructive and rewarding. This serves as the foundation and the driving force of Andrew Motion’s novel The New World, sequel to Silver (2012)—both serving as a follow-up to Robert Louis Stevenson’s literary classic, Treasure Island (1883). Although The New World serves as the second book in the series, it works well as a standalone novel. Any reminders of Silver and Treasure Island were dispatched within the first few (short) chapters, save for Jim Hawkins Jr. and his un-reciprocating and wholly singular love interest, Natty Silver—descendants of Jim Hawkins and …

Book review of “Verge” by Lynda Monahan

gillian harding-russell A review of Verge By Lynda Monahan Guernica (2015) ISBN 978-1-55071-963-5 In Verge, Monahan writes slender verses that carry a MacEwenesque self-discovery and wisdom. Just as MacEwen associated with ‘magic animals’ and talismans as an extension of her Jungian-conceived consciousness, so Monahan identifies with the fox figure in a series of “verges” or prayers that run through the collection. The term “verge” indicates some brink of discovery through pain—as on the verge of tears—or experience, which Monahan often conceives as a physical landscape. Interspersed with these verges, Monahan writes about family members in terse verses where small details evoke whole lives. Although these intermittent prayers dubbed “verges” supply the title for the poetry collection as a whole, the word “verge” appears in “verge 8,” which I will call the ‘title verge’ for this reason. Here the poetic phrasing once again recalls MacEwen’s finely chiselled, sparse verses: I am on the verge of some understanding some thing I am meant to know (102) “Dark Pines under Water” with its Jungian depths of consciousness comes …

2015 Contest Winners

Our 26.2 contest issue winners have been announced! Our guest judge this year, Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke has chosen the following poetry and prose pieces: Prose 1st Place: “The Dong” by Sarah Butson 2nd Place: “Penny Blossom” by Anna Brooks 3rd Place: “Day of the Dead” by Cassy Welburn Poetry 1st Place: “Daydreaming Tricia” by Michael Fraser 2nd Place: “Finlandia” by Ellie Sawatzky 3rd Place: “The Union Dead” by Michael Fraser Honourable Mention: “Old Bob’s Shadow” by Ron Ostrander Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who submitted!

Chapbook Contest Winner and 2015 Shortlist

And the Chapbook contest winner is… Nanci Lee for Preparation.  Congratulations Nanci! Preparation will be sent out with select issues of FreeFall 26-2 2015 Contest Short List 2015 Prose Short List: Welcome to Khyber Agency Mnemosyne Run Trust Me The Embrace Penny Blossom The Dong Day of the Dead 2015 Poetry Short List: Finlandia Daydreaming Tricia Rhinocentric Green Card Finding Elkford Batter’s box known and strange things Coureur de bois cottage slum The Union dead for the price of a penny Garage Sonnet Old Bob’s Shadow

Book Review of “The Vacationers” by Emma Straub

Lisa Deane a review of: The Vacationers By Emma Straub Riverhead Books ISBN 978-159463157 Gistnopsis: Middle-aged married couple Franny and Jim, 28-year-old Bobby, and 18-year-old Sylvia, along with Franny’s best friend, Charles, his husband, Lawrence, and Bobby’s unwelcome over-40 girlfriend, Carmen—vacation in Majorca for two weeks. Despite their enviable display of plenty during an economic recession, the leisurely literary fiction plot is driven by vividly realistic relationship tensions. Like any group, not everyone is looking forward to spending time together: Sylvia wrestles with being a teen in the 21st century, Jim and Franny arrive at their thirty-fifth anniversary in anguish, Charles and Lawrence battle insecurity while soothing baby fever, and Bobby and Carmen discover the perils of lukewarm “love.” Impressions: This novel lifted my mood on an emotionally gloomy weekend and elicited multiple, genuine bouts of laughter within the first 100 pages. I came across The Vacationers on a top ten list of books to read this summer, so naturally I snubbed it. But when I took a spontaneous family weekend getaway myself, I downloaded …

Book Review of Aaron Cully Drake’s “Do You Think This Is Strange?”

Shelley McAneeley a review of: Do You Think This is Strange? Aaron Cully Drake Brindle and Glass Publishing ISBN 978-1-927366-387   Having just completed my usual morning talk with my aged mother, I notice that I panic, and mentally search for meaning during the conversation with her.  I hope to respond at the right moment, which requires knowing what we are talking about. I think I am listening, I try to listen, but I am often challenged to even know what the topic is. It seems to be skipped over, assumed perhaps, and I have to solve the puzzle quickly before the test question comes. Are you listening? What are you thinking about? I wonder if the conversation includes me, as she will often hang up mid-sentence. I wonder if the difficulty arises from age, or if communicating has always been this way, and I chose to ignore the problem? I wonder if youth has its own focus and finds most conversations irrelevant enough to ignore. But here, too, is Freddy’s problem. Drake’s plot focuses on the …

In Conversation: an Interview with Bruce Hunter

In Conversation: Bruce Hunter Bruce Hunter grew up in Calgary and studied film and humanities at York University. After graduation he taught at Humber College, York University and Banff School of Fine Arts. In 1986 he joined Seneca College teaching English and Liberal Studies. He is now retired. Bruce has published five books of poetry: Selected Canadian Rifles (unfinished monument press, 1981), Benchmark (Thistledown Press, 1982), The Beekeeper’s Daughter (Thistledown Press, 1986), Coming Home from Home (Thistledown Press, 2000), and Two O’Clock Creek (Oolichan Books, 2010). His works of fiction include a book of linked short stories Country Music Country (Thistledown Press, 1996) and a novel, In the Bear’s House (Oolichan Books, 2009). Joan Shillington: Bruce, I think it’s interesting how you write in both poetry and prose genres. Reading your work it seems seamless, but of course, all writing is a lot of work, time and commitment. More and more writers are crossing genres so I’d like to focus on that aspect of your work. Two O’Clock Creek is one of my favourite poems and when I read the chapter …