Sherwin Sullivan Tjia – Gentle Fictions
Happening upon this gorgeous, evocative chapbook in a 50 cent bin at a used bookshop in my much younger days, his works were the first I’d ever read that told me there was a place, a need, for my own. His style doesn’t submit to any form – he writes what he feels coursing through his body, what he desires, what he glimpses, what he has lost. Indeed, he is more playful and experimental than most, a fact alone which sets him apart as an artist beyond merely a documentarian, as many contemporary poets are. He is unapologetically lustful, sexual; strong and (not instead of), vulnerable.
Rimbaud – Illuminations
There is an honest, naked urgency amid all the decadence, the superfluous, the art for the sake of everything in which Rimbaud writes, where his childish aspirations, dependencies and desires pool and flood, swell and sweep. If you are quiet enough, you can watch him become on the page, you can see the moments enormous and puny where the artist and man are born – a rare experience especially today where such artifice is used by every most popular public figure to polish, airbrush and codify (construct) their identify, their very truth of being. Rimbaud wanted to be known, to be understood, to be worthy of being known, by an audience, by a lover, but mostly by himself.
Tito Rajeshi Mukhopadhay – I Am Not a Poet But I Write Poetry
As a young teen with severe, non-verbal autism, he began publishing his short stories, autobiographical prose, and poetry. His work offers vivid, surrealist explorations alongside poignant expressions of the human experience; it is testament to the human need to connect, to communicate, to understand. He seeks to know the world around him in a way few others even consider attempting, and he does it not as a gimmick but rather, as an honest act of living his life wholly. (His short story collection, The Gold of the Sunbeams is my absolute favourite book: honest and observant, sensitive but firm, fantastical but rooted in a universal sense of unadorned longing for connection.)
Billy-Ray Belcourt – The Wound is a World
They write with an urgency, their poems each an irrepressible act of existence and activism. Dancing through stylistic forms, they weave together themes of identity, sexuality, belonging, and the ache of loss, of lack, of love. Theirs is a necessary voice emerging triumphantly from our often stark Canadian poetic landscape, one whose innate knowingness, whose sense of self and of society, far exceeds the simple beauty of their arrangements of words on a page – which they also excel at.
Her sparse Canadian reflections ripple like a lake at dawn, so much more brimming from below but beautiful, calm, clear when viewed from above. Atwood is the Canadian master of speculative fiction, and – when applied to her own delicate hold on the relationships she nurtures with others, with her past, with her places – offer a stirring yet caressing experience.
A. A. Parr is a Canadian artist, writer and entrepreneur. Her debut poetry chapbook, “What Lasts Beyond the Burning” is forthcoming from Nightingale and Sparrow Press, December 2020. Her creative works have been seen on stages, in galleries, and in print throughout North America over the past two decades. Currently, she is working on her second literary fiction novel while writing a weekly online series of poetry about strangers entitled “I Wrote You This Poem”. In her work, she seeks to explore difficult themes in an attempt to shine a necessary light into our darkest crevices.