Wanderlust
Thistledown Press / 24 August 2017

Wanderlust: Stories on the Move Anthology edited by Byrna Barclay Published by Thistledown Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $20.00 ISBN 978-1-77187-135-8 How does a book idea begin? Wanderlust: Stories on the Move started when seven reputable Saskatchewan writers enjoyed a barbeque together. In her introduction, editor Byrna Barclay explains that the idea for this anthology was spawned when Shelley Banks expressed a desire to tour and read with her fellow prose-writing diners at a Regina barbecue. Barclay compiled and edited the work, and though no theme was suggested, she found that “in every story a person embarks on a journey of discovery”. Along with Banks and Barclay, Brenda Niskala, Linda Biasotto, James Trettwer, Kelly-Anne Riess, and Annette Bower share imaginative journeys, and the result’s a literary road trip that takes readers to places near and far, real and imagined. Niskala transports readers to a Norse trading voyage in 1065 in her exciting novel-in-progress, “Pirates of the Heart,” and Biasotto to favoured Italian locales. Trettwer takes us to a fictitious potash company, and Riess has contributed a moving novel chapter about a twenty-one-year-old who’s never been kissed, and is leaving Saskatchewan for the first time. “Tara had never seen a…

How To Be A River
Wild Sage Press / 20 September 2013

How to Be a River by Brenda Niskala Published by Wild Sage Press Review by Justin Dittrick ISBN 978-0-9881229-2-5 $15.00 Brenda Niskala’s How to Be a River offers to readers a set of poems as diverse as they are nuanced, as piercing as they are enigmatic. Niskala’s writing is crisp and tight, unburdened by sentimentality, and the poems glimmer with an immediate and luminous arousal of recognition, of the sense of truly “being here.” The poems capture surprising crossways of feeling and consciousness, with subjects that range from the tragic, such as in “Blunt Instrument”, a poem about a young man lost to his loved ones and subject to the criminal justice system, to the provocative “Room Full of Men”, a poem whose character, Anita, will arouse much discussion for her free, unquenchable spirit and her ardent devotion to men. Niskala is a poet with exquisite taste in subject matter and a native ability to capture forms and expressions of human connectedness. The poems in this collection are not only luminous, but they transport the reader with their tracings of the numinous. Niskala writes with an attentive human interest, and her work is rooted in seldom explored realms and rhythms…