The Day is a Cold Grey Stone
Hagios Press / 13 August 2010

The Day is a Cold Grey Stone by Allan Safarik Published by Hagios Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $17.95 ISBN 978-1-926710-04-4 Prolific and critically-acclaimed poet Allan Safarik has reached the point in his career where a “New and Selected” anthology of his work is well-warranted. Safarik’s made Dundurn, SK his home for many years, but he hails from – and is inexorably bound to – the West Coast, and it’s that watery landscape which receives his literary attention in The Day is a Cold Grey Stone. Safarik’s introduction explains his steadfast connection with Vancouver; the ocean and its myriad creatures; birds (as a boy the poet sold squabs in Chinatown); and the colourful characters (family included) he’s encountered along the way. The metaphoric and somewhat serious-sounding title is not representative of the work en total, which is often playful and entertaining, ie: a herring gull’s “like a starved\chicken with a complex.” There are numerous reminiscences from the writer’s childhood – running after the ice man’s truck; jumping off a garage roof; inhaling the sweet, blue smoke from his Czech grandfather’s Cuban cigars – and anecdotes about folks, including the toothless and wine-stained man in “Fish Candy”: “[He] digs his…

Thistledown Press / 5 August 2010

Endgames by Andrew Stubbs Published by Thistledown Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $17.95 ISBN 978-1-897235-72-0 I don’t know the writer and University of Regina professor, Andrew Stubbs, but I’m certain he’d make a great dinner guest. I make this claim after devouring Endgames, his new book of poetry with Thistledown Press. It’s the breadth of interests and knowledge that wow: Stubbs writes intelligently about theology, psychoanalysis, history, and, most importantly to this reader: love in the here and now. Character-based titles reveal his range: from heloise\ abelard” (tragic lovers) to “the count of monte cristo” and “bond james bond”. One part of the book is dedicated to a poetic portrait of Daniel Paul Schreber (d. 1911), a judge, “failed candidate for the Reichstag,” and artist who suffered from paranoid fantasies that attracted the attention of Freud. The author includes an illuminating introduction to this section. Many of the pieces are written in a minimalistic, “snapshot” style. To illustrate, here’s the poem “foreign affairs” in its entirety: foreign affairs it was a town. it had a beach, vacancies. chat over brandy, bartok. morning: tim’s on the run lunch in the car. somewhere up north. Look at the references here: from…