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zine review:

Alive! The Sideshow Sonnets

That a chapbook poet has a message for the world should come as a surprise to no one. But it isn’t often that such a poet has a mesĀ­sage as radical as Liisa Ladouceur does, and you almost never see it so well presented. However, once you get below the surface, the concept starts to fall apart. Two factors make this collection worth a second look: Ladouceur’s ideas, and the retro-carnival illustrations of Gillian Holmes. Ladouceur had an ambitious plan to write sonnets about different real-life freaks, each one ending in the word “alive,” and unfortunately her writing collapsed under the weight of her demands. There is no rhythm to the poems, and the forced ending has a jarring effect on a number of them. It would have been preferable to read these poems in free-verse, without the final word restriction, just to see what Ladouceur can do with her theme when she lets herself play. As it is, Alive! The Sideshow Sonnets falls short of the promise of its brilliant theme. (J.Blackmore)

Chapbook, written by Lissa Ladouceur, illustrated by Gillian Holmes, House of Pomegranate Press, The Marlow, 53 Marlow Ave, Toronto ON, M4J 3T8, therss.com/store, liisa@therss.com, $15 plus shipping

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