Off the Page

A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover In Praise of Retreat

Why We All Need Breathing Space

By Kirsteen MacLeod

"Retreat is an adventure, and it involves uncertainty. Whether we go to the quiet woods to rest or make art, walk a pilg …

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Book Cover What the Kite Saw

What the Kite Saw: Stories of Children and Crisis

By Anne Laurel Carter

"Children have their own unique ways of facing a crisis. Yes, they need protecting, but they are also resilient. They ha …

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Shelf Talkers: Spring 2021

Shelf Talkers: Spring 2021

By Robert J. Wiersema

One of the best pieces of news in an otherwise dark year was the word that, despite the growth of online giants during t …

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Book Cover The Shadow Life

My Drifter Reading List

By Jen Sookfong Lee

A poetry list by the author of new book The Shadow List.

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Book Cover Fuse

Persian-Canadian Writers You've Got to Read

By Hollay Ghadery

So, where were all the Persian Canadian writers? It turns out, here all along, but not as represented as one might hope; …

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Tough Like Mum: An Essential Picture Book for Kids *and* Adults

Tough Like Mum: An Essential Picture Book for Kids *and* Adults

By Geoffrey Ruggero

Picture books are often written with young children as their intended audience. In Tough Like Mum, Lana Button provides …

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Book Cover We Jane

Aimee Wall on The Great Canadian Abortion Novel

By Kerry Clare

"I didn’t want the plot to turn on an abortion or the decision to have one. Any conflict or tension is rooted elsewher …

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Book Cover Because the Sun

Poetry That's Going to Grab You

By 49thShelf Staff

Great books to read before for National Poetry Month is out.

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The Chat with Christopher DiRaddo

The Chat with Christopher DiRaddo

By Trevor Corkum

Christopher DiRaddo’s sophomore novel, The Family Way, is a dynamic and rich exploration of queer family, parenthood, …

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Book Cover No More Plastic

Fighting for the Planet: Inspiring Books for Earth Day

By Kerry Clare

An eclectic list of inspiring books about fighting to protect the planet.

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Thresh, Thrum, Crush, Blert, [sic], Croak, Swim, Leak

Kate Hargreaves, whose new poetry collection is Leak, assembles a collection of poetry that proves that monosyllabic titles say so much. 

*****

Thresh, by Kim Minkus:

What initially appealed to me about Thresh is the way it's so driven by verbs and imperatives. The language is often clipped, never verbose or rambling, and its precision and efficiency gives the poems a harsh and sometimes clinical tone. There are no extra words here, no padding or evasive language, just assertions, directives, demands, not questions, but instructions and voyeuristic descriptions. Minkus's unyielding grip, the way she refuses to let her phrasing run away or unravel even one bit, gives off an impression of distance, but it's this wall of concision and utility, pushing the reader back, that at the same time drew me to the collection. 

Thrum, by Natalie Simpson:

This is a book that demands to be read out loud. Simpson knows how to stack fricatives and collect consonants in a way that keeps the ear guessing and the tongue tapping. When her words produce a pause, or a trip, a st …

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