Friday, July 31, 2015

Touch the Donkey #5 reviewed in Broken Pencil #68

Touch the Donkey #5 is reviewed by Lyndsay Kirkham in Broken Pencil #68 (the first issue was reviewed in the issue prior). She writes:

Touch the Donkey’s fifth incarnation is a frenetic offering of eight poetic voices, dedicating white space to both emerging and established authors. Purposefully lacking in any cohesive themes, each poet impresses upon the reader a distinctively unique narrative, allowing one to dip in and out of this chapbook’s pages.
    With an unexpected hat tip to Alanis Morrisette’s time on the CanCon television classic, You Can’t Do That On Television and a painfully forced rhyming scheme, pieces like “Green Slime” stand in direct contrast to the philosophical specimen that is Elizabeth Robinson’s “Simplified Holy Passage.” It is in this tug between surreal humour and the profound that Touch the Donkey 5 leaves its mark on the reader, reminding us of the diverse complexity of a life lived.
    One could easily make use of this collection in a self-directed Introduction to Poetry course. A ragbag of poetic forms from found poetry, narrative and humour to free verse and experimental poems are showcased in the two dozen pages edited by rob mclennan.
    Perhaps the most noteworthy piece – one that has repeatedly pulled me back in – is ryan fizpatrick’s “What History?” After a seeming machine-powered rhythm, and a clear attention to sound throughout the entire poem, the final stanza of “Any glorious goal only mined iconography/pooling forward argument. You’re okay/as long as I assimilate my own battles. exhibits fitzpatrick’s adroitness with language, meaning and enjambments. Its rare that I finish a poem and immediately search for more of the authors work, but the selection in Touch the Donkey left me wanting more of fitzpatrick.
    The punctuation-free stanzas of Rob Manery in “More and more” exemplifies the tight, concise and eloquent poetry that is currently elevating contemporary poetry. After “bringing together your most existential moments since 1950,” which is both thematically sluggish and lacking in readability, ones imagination is employed most eagerly by the found poetry laid out by Christine McNair. Using news clippings to play with the notions of transcription, appropriation and journalism, these digestible chunks of text artfully paint a geography of Atlantic Canada during the 1800s.
    Touch the Donkey 5 is mostly a step of continued growth for the magazine; although one detects the obvious commitment to experimental and eccentric pieces, there is a new awareness in Touch the Donkey 5 of offering up a collection that can feed a wider audience hungry for new poetry.

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