Field Notes for the Self
University of Regina Press / 17 April 2020

Field Notes for the SelfPublished by University of Regina Pressby Randy LundyReview by gillian harding-russell $19.95 ISBN 978089776913 In Field Notes for the Self, Randy Lundy – a Barren Lands Cree originally from northern Manitoba but currently residing in Saskatchewan – writes meditations that embrace the landscape, memory and the ever-changing self. Most often in prose-poem style, the long, sinuous verses carry though along a difficult passage where bright and often homely or humorous images catch the light of truth and recognition in the reader’s mind. As the speaker lives with his dogs on an acreage in Pense SK, a rhythm to the seasons and a feeling of expectation (or its counterpart, disillusion) carry the poems towards discovery in the presence of nature. These meditations reflect not only what it is to be First Nation with a heightened burden of memory but also emphasize how difficult it is simply to be human.       Characteristically, an ease and conversational flow lightens these verses, with recurring bursts of clarity and insight, such as come through with simplicity and force in the poem, “In Autumn, Blackbirds”: Yes, the blackbirds are doing it again. Somewhere beyond the horizon’s what they have dreamed for an entire season….

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…

Beautiful Stone, A
Radiant Press / 20 November 2019

A Beautiful Stone: Poems and Ululationsby Lynda Monahan and Rod ThompsonPublished by Radiant PressReview by gillian harding-russell$20.00 IBSN 9781989274200 A Beautiful Stone is a unique collection of poems written collaboratively by Lynda Monahan and Rod Thompson. At the Radiant launch, Lynda explained their creative method whereby the two poets took turns editing a virtual copy of poems over the internet and, in this way, the poems like stones in a stream were shaped by the combined experiences of both writers ( Lynda lives in Prince Albert and Rod lives “west of the city in the woods” according to his author bio). Lynda’s rationale for their chosen method was that they had both shared common experiences, such as the loss of a father, and so she hoped by interweaving the best of the images from two minds they could together create a seamless poem that had a greater universal appeal. As a past writer-in-residence for the John M. Cuelenaere Library in Prince Albert, Monahan strongly supports the idea of art as therapy for life’s downfalls. The collection is divided into a trinity of sections: “Choice of Light,” “Loon and I,” and “Ululation.” The first section introduces a mature speaker whose chosen…