Vivian Poems, The
Radiant Press / 25 March 2020

The Vivian Poems: Street Photographer Vivian Maierby Bruce Rice Published by Radiant PressReview by gillian harding-russell $20.00 ISBN 9781989274293 Through The Vivian Poems, Bruce Rice creates a vital portrait of the “mystery nanny” who was also a gifted New York City and Chicago street photographer between the 1950’s and 70’s (until her death in 2007). By entering into her point of view, telescoping through her eye and adopting her persona and voice, Rice lures us into her way of seeing and thinking. By turns, we see the photographer as she was perceived by others, through her opinions as drawn from personal writings and through her street photographs which typically capture people in poses that reflect human moments of indecision. Although some of the poems may be termed ekphrastic, Rice in seeing through the artist’s eyes may also be said to project himself into his own poems, and in so doing, he leaves room for self-discovery inside us all.      What better way to open the collection than with Vivian’s voice to introduce herself in “Vivian Writes Her Own Prologue.” In this elegantly choreographed poem, we see through the child, Vivian’s eyes when she stays with her mother, a single parent, at a friend’s…

Field Notes for the Self
University of Regina Press / 25 March 2020

Field Notes for the Selfby Randy LundyPublished by University of Regina PressReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$19.95 ISBN 9-780889-776913 It’s official: Saskatchewan’s Randy Lundy is one of my favourite Canadian poets. His last collection, Blackbird Song, fueled my fandom for this erudite writer, but the recently-released Field Notes for the Self has secured it. This is a poet at the top of his game: one doesn’t so much read this new collection of mostly prose poems as she experiences it. This is Lundy’s magic: although the title indicates that these are works “for the Self” – and the second person “You” (the narrator) is addressed throughout – I felt these contemplative works so viscerally it was as if they were articulating my own intimate thoughts and practices. Move over, Mary Oliver.   In Blackbird Song, many poems spun on the word thinking, and in this handsome new volume, knowing is central. Lundy writes: “you know you know the song, but nothing is clear to you anymore,” “Your heart knows and holds the key – meditate, live purely, do your work, be quiet,” and “You know that you almost know, and you know that is as close as you will get.”  There’s a…

MENtal Health

MENtal Health: It’s Time to Talk by Allan Kehler Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Reviewed by Marlin Legare ISBN 9781988783475 $17.95 Review Dedicated to Kirk Ackerman Mental health issues, awareness, and destigmatization has been on the forefront social consciousness in the past few years. Mental health has also been the topic of honest discussion now more than ever in modern human history. We benefit from such services as Sask HealthLine, a confidential and free service that can be reached 24/7 at 811, community mental health services, and specific support groups related to mental health issues such as alcohol and drug addiction, problem gambling, crisis intervention, domestic violence support, and others. Despite the fact that more resources than ever exist and that the stigma of talking about mental health issues has dropped significantly, people still continue to suffer in silence from mental health battles. Unfortunately, many of these battles are waged unknown to the world by men and boys. Due to this silence and societal and physiological factors, Statistics Canada estimates that men are three times as likely to die from suicide than women. Allan Kehler, who has an accomplished career in education and counselling, professional speaking and authoring books…

RAW
University of Regina Press / 25 March 2020

Raw: PrEP, Pedagogy, and the Politics of Barebacking Edited by Ricky Varghese Published by University of Regina Press Review by Toby A. Welch $34.95 ISBN 9780889776838 I have never learned as much from a book as I did from Raw. Considering that I love expanding my knowledge about almost any topic, that is a great thing! ‘Raw’ I understood but I had no idea what the subtitle of this book meant – I learned fast. PrEP, the acronym for pre-exposure prophylaxis, is an antiretroviral medicine used to prevent HIV infection. Pedagogy in general terms means educating and sharing information, often with social, critical, and cultural responsibilities. Barebacking is having intercourse without using a condom, a reference most used these days to describe two men engaging in anal sex. Now that we have the title cleared up, let’s jump in! A massive amount of time and research went into the compilation of this book. Each of the 14 contributors, including the editor of the tome, has an impressive resume. As for what this book is about, the editor sums it up best in his introduction: “Each of the authors in this project provides a rigorous examination of the ideological, socio-political, ethical,…

Scaredy Cali
All Write Here Publishing / 2 March 2020

Scaredy Caliby Jessica WilliamsIllustrated by Nathan MonçãoPublished by All Write Here PublishingReview by Michelle Shaw$11.99 (softcover) ISBN 9781999539702 Cali is afraid of lots of things. She is scared when it is her turn to read in front of the class and she is afraid of the other kids when they play tag. She is even terrified of her aunt’s fluffy little white dog, Muffin. Cali is afraid of so many things that the other kids at school call her Scaredy Cali. She doesn’t like being called that…but she’s too afraid to tell them. But there’s one thing that Cali isn’t scared of. And when an unexpected visitor comes to class, Cali gets the chance to show that she can be brave too. Scaredy Cali is easy to read with large bright illustrations that burst with expressive character. Most of the illustrations cover both pages. Some of the words are in bold or capitalized or even placed at an angle and the design enhances the flow of the story beautifully. I especially loved Cali’s secret passion and the way it’s illustrated and expressed in the story. The book is available in softcover, hard cover and e-format. Author Jessica Williams was born…

Gravity Proof, A…A New Universal Law…Zone State and Other Unusual True Short Stories, 2nd Edition
Karl G. Blass / 2 March 2020

Gravity Proof… A New Universal Law… Zone State and Other Unusual Short Storiesby Karl G. BlassReviewed by Ben Charles$19.99 ISBN 9871775110705 “Gravity Proof… A New Universal Law… Zone State and Other Unusual Short Stories”, written by Karl G. Blass is the result of a delightful passion project from a truly brilliant mind. As a scientist by trade, the Austrian-born Karl G. Blass has made a new trail for himself with the release of this short story series. That being said, Blass is no stranger to publications as he has been published and patented over eighty times throughout his career on various topics within the field of Clinical Biochemistry. After obtaining a PhD and an M. Sc. from the University of Windsor in the 1970s, Blass went on to become a professor of chemistry at the University of Regina and a clinical biochemist at the Regina General Hospital from the mid-seventies until the new millennium. Blass’ aptitude for the sciences rings loud and clear in the first chapter of this book, named “Gravity Research Stories”. By the author’s own admission, the third chapter is the most appropriate place of the book to start if the reader is seeking a casual short…

You Can’t Invite a Fish to a Dance Party
All Write Here Publishing / 2 March 2020

You can’t invite a fish to a dance partyby Jessica WilliamsIllustrated by Jimena de la VegaPublished by All Write Here PublishingReview by Michelle Shaw$11.99 (softcover) ISBN 9781999539726 Dance parties are an important way to celebrate life’s big achievements. Like a hole-in-one at mini golf or swinging all the way across the monkey bars. Saskatchewan author Jessica Williams shares her enthusiasm for celebration with a quirky story with an important message: celebrate who you are even when those around you think they know better. Rabbit, Dog, Parrot, Cat and the other pets are having a dance party, but they decide that Fish can’t go because fish don’t have feet for dancing, and they can’t sing karaoke. So clearly Fish wouldn’t have any fun. Fish has other ideas but each time he tries to show what he can do his friends think something is wrong and become even more determined to protect him. They don’t want him to get hurt! Finally, Fish starts to think that maybe they are right. Maybe they do know what he can do better than he does. You’ll have to read the book to find out how the story ends. But rest assured, it’s a magical colourful…