A Selection of Books and Articles by WordCity’s Editorial Board
While there are many more books by our editorial board to explore, this is just an introduction to who we are when we’re not creating WordCity. For upcoming titles and other news, about us and WordCity’s partners, visit our NewsWorthy page.
How true are the family histories that tell us who we are and where we come from? Who knows how much all the beautiful liars have embargoed or embellished the truth? During a long flight from Europe to Sydney to bury her mother, Australian expat Katrina Klain reviews the fading narrative of her family and her long quest to understand her true origins. This has already taken her to Vienna, where she met her Uncle Harald who embezzled the Austrian government out of millions, as well as Carl Sokorny, the godson of one of Hitler’s most notorious generals, and then on to Geneva and Madrid. Not only were her family caught up with the Nazis, they also turn out to have been involved with the Stasi in post-war East Germany. It’s a lot to come to terms with, but there are more revelations in store. After the funeral, she finds letters that reveal a dramatic twist which means her own identity must take a radical shift. Will these discoveries enable her to complete the puzzle of her family’s past? Inspired by her own life story, Sylvia Petter’s richly imaginative debut novel, set between the new world and the old, is a powerful tale about making peace with the past and finding closure for the future.
BEING, is more than the physical or the noticeable. It’s never time bound or predicable, and often lives with the gifts unacknowledged till their sun rises to meet the night and mark it’s territory for the moment.This book is a journey of thoughts on questions it did not answer. It’s a post elected on the mind to observe and smell the scents of time. It’s the meeting point at the intersection of wandering thoughts ferried on the wings of a hopeful bird to lease a seed of it’s wings span down the path of it’s journey. it’s an affirmation that human souls are more connected at higher level than Congregations at chosen Faith’s.Whatever enriches the reader from the musings of this journey, be blessed. whatever doesn’t, know that nothing is personal for we are all children of the wind and dust and our beauty is in the same differences.
“The title of the collection is expressive of my preoccupation with the flavor of the other: the other home, the other self, the other geography, the other as a human being. One way of looking at our identity is from the perspective of belonging: to a place, a landscape, a culture, a language, another human being. How do we make sense of ourselves when suddenly deprived of access to these familiar spaces? How do we restore the bruised, lost self? Poetry is one of the answers. These poems pivot back and forth between the communist Romania of the 1980s and present-day New York, looking closely at love, loss, nostalgia, home, and the in-between spaces that we inhabit and allow to inhabit us.” –Clara Burghelea
“fresh and daunting”
“Naked and pure, Grenier is a fine conjurer of sinewy imagery.
“the imagery is stark and even phantasmagorical”
” Balgochian’s technique is flawless and his expression is deep and soulful.”
I want to live in your lines.”
“Among the handful of poets – published and/or performing today – one mind that thrills is the one inside Jane’s brain.”
“The accompaniment of music was just stellar … timeless and artistic.”
“nothing can prepare you for the poetry within that stings the senses like the hot breath of the poet.”
“the poetry – spoken or read – burns with a raging in the bluest part of a flame.”
“Her poetry is visceral using neologisms such as “politricks” and “deNOTcracy” to make her points”
“writes not with pen to paper, but rather with the raw nerve endings of her fingers.
“Communicating directly with the nerve endings of her hands her poetry shocks and thrills”
“Balgochian’s double bass drives the music in interstellar fashion”
“like those of the poets of Jazz, the Beats and Rappers, The Last Poets, Gil Scott-Heron and others – Balgochians’ accompaniement on contrabass adds double the gut-punch to their (poetic) rage.”
“Jane SpokenWord is the seer of the street beat”
“The harshest imagery is tempered with brilliant word-play and even humour, albeit a tad dark – and all of it comes as Balgochian’s rhythm is often that of a racing heartbeat even as the words are shepherded by a meter that is dangerously free.”
“you are a tornado poetically. I do get lost in your performance”
“poetry at its finest no matter whether you experience it reading the poems in the book or performed by artists on the sharpest edge of creativity.”
“delivers a riveting account of the streets and what it means to truly walk the beat.”
“when you are done performing it becomes hard for me to come back to the world.”
“I love having the print in hand , together with the spoken productions to slow it down and punctuate. I imagine musical notations all through the lines now. Staccato. Crescendo. Poco a poco…”
“BANG YOUR DEAD is one of the best commentary’s on assumed piety in the face of world injustice I have read for sometime.”
Olga Stein has been publishing her book reviews, essays, and interviews since the late 1990s. Many of these pieces can be found on www.booksincanada.com. She hopes to start redrafting her ms on the Giller Prize and prize culture in Canada this coming summer.
Stein spent many years serving as editor in literary and medical science publishing. While working on her PhD, she edited several novels, scholarly texts, and memoirs. Stein contributes essays to WordCity, the latest of which can be found here:
Geraldine Sinyuy projects original and ancient Africa through raw folktales that are a concoction of fantasy, identity and beautiful language. The master storyteller depicts African indigenous knowledge through old tales once told by long gone story weavers. The great stories told by great-grandmothers of her land are manifesting in her as she now wields her pen to retell, revive and resurrect them through lyrical dexterity and literary prowess. From these wonderfully weaved stories, we mine civilization and barbarism of ancient communities. We also learn with gusto the moral fabrication together with the socialization and the politicization of the human past. These folktales are grandiose revelations that the ancient communities were highly learned, creative and educative; and that their books of wisdom still exist especially through our lyrically able Geraldine Sinyuy.
“The mythological and the very real collide in this startling and profoundly moving collection by Sue Burge. Subjects as diverse as modern Russia, the AIDS epidemic among ballet dancers in the eighties, family history and lockdown are skilfully woven together – managing to walk a delicate line between the profoundly personal and the worldly. This is a collection that reaches inside you and twists you up. These poems spoke to me and changed me a little – which is what a good collection should do. Burge does not shy away from the difficult stuff, but there is an optimism here too, that shines through and left me with an overarching sense of hope.” Julia Webb
Lori D. Roadhouse is a prolific poet with a growing body of credits. Just one of the substantial anthologies that has included her work is Writing Menopause: An Anthology of Fiction, Poetry and Creative Nonfiction, published by Inanna Publications, Canada’s Feminist Independent Press.
This vibrant collection of short fictions explores how families work, how they are torn apart, and, in spite of differences and struggles, brought back together. Darcie Friesen Hossack’s stories in Mennonites Don’t Dance offer an honest, detailed look into the experiences of children – both young and adult – and their parents and grandparents, exploring generational ties, sins, penance and redemption.
Taking place primarily on the Canadian prairies, the families in these stories are confronted by the conflict between tradition and change – one story sees a daughter-in- law’s urban ideals push and pull against a mother’s simple, rural ways, in another, a daughter raised in the Mennonite tradition tries to break free from her upbringing to escape to the city in search of a better life. Children learn the rules of farm life, and parents learn that their decisions, in spite of all good intentions, can carry dire consequences.
Hossack’s talent, honed through education and experience, is showcased in this polished collection, and is reflected in the relatable, realistic characters and situations she creates. The voices in the stories speak about how we measure ourselves in the absence of family, and how the most interesting families are always flawed in some way.
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